Well I personsonally woke up entirely to early after going to bed to late. Basically, every year I have the same feeling the night before Beer Trip, and that is one of massive anticipation. Like I'm 8 again and I know that the next morning I'm getting to go to Disney World. This morning of course was no different. I woke up at 5am ready to get this trip going. I had, for the most part, gotten everything ready the night before so I decided that since it was technically Beer Trip I would go ahead and start drinking. I cracked open a Tallgrass IPA and got on with my day. Ed showed up right at 7am to pick me up and we got to Dans about 15 after, where i promptyl cracked open my second beer of the day. We got our annual pre-leave pic, loaded up and off we went. We got on the highway and cracked open a Cave aged Ommegang Abby Ale, while being seranaded by Lidnsey Buckingham and Holiday Road, our theme song. That bottle lasted all of 7 minutes with 5 of us drinking it, as Timmy was the DD for the day. Up next was Kelly busting out some of his spent grain bread and a incredible bottle of Stone Brewings Sublimly Ale. That was some very incredible beer and we were well on our way to St. Louis and Mattingly Brewing Company where our buddy Drew is the Head Brewer. It took a bit to get there since they had a highway or two closed but we got there and that's what matters. We go in and it's kind of a smallish place but nice decor with about 8 or so beers on tap. We get a couple samplers and order some lunch. As we're eating this dude walks in and I notice him noticing us and he kind of disappears for a bit. The beers are all solid and I thought it was really cool that somebody I know and have brewed with created these beers. Well, after about 10 minutes the dude who was checking us out comes by with a bunch of samplers of what he called a Uber APA that was very nice and hoppy. He introduced himself as the Assistant Brewer and that this was his very own creation. I thought that was really cool of him. Usually what happens is we get treated special after we tell somebody about what kind of trip we're on. He must of had a sixth sense about us or something. He even took us down to the brewery which was in the basement of this older building and showed us around. It looked like a homebrewers place on steriods. It was a really cool set up and I was personally impressed they get 90% effieciency from it. (sorry went all homebrewer geek on ya there). We ate and Jerid brought us another beer of his, a ESB, which again was very nice. We finshed our lunch and headed off for Bloomington, Il and Illinois Brewing Company. We had a couple of hours drive and we got there around 4 or so. Looks like Bloomington is revitializing their downtown as they had some cool looking places. We go in to IBC and we all order something different. I got the brown ale which was probably the best of show. We hang out there for about 40 minutes or so....long enough for two bad pool players, Kelly and myself, to have the worlds longest game of pool. Kelly asks some people at the bar if there is a decent liquor store around. We get to the liquor store and well it was very, very cool. They had lots of stuff we couldn't get back in KC so we all bought some "treats" and headed our way to Desthil Brew Works. We pull up to Desthil and there is this massive crowd dressed way better than us standing outside. I was nervous thinking we might not be able to get in. Luckily it was some sort of Mayor reception that was being held outside and the resturaut had plenty of room for us. I order up a sample and the beers were really good. They had a wit that was outstanding to me, and I'm far from a fan of the wits. The whole line up they had was rock solid. We were told by our hostess that the appetizer of beer battered bacon was a must and well, since I'm fat, I was down. We got two orders and it was a japaleno bacon, beer battered, fried then had maple syrup drizzled on it. I thought it was quite good, but thought it could of been stepped up a notch with some Thai peanut sauce, but hey that's just me. The food there was some of the best I've had on Beer Trip I think everybody was very happy with their choices. We head off to Rockford, Il. and we stayed at the far from spectacular Sweden House Lodge. Dan goes to check us in and comes out with what I know is unhappy Dan face. He says that we won't have water from 6am - 7:30am, which is extremely uncool with us needing to be leaving by 8:15. Well we go in to put our stuff in our rooms before we head out ot Carlyle's. We stroll in and the place is looks old with new decor. This place had fantastic beers. Dan ordered up a Bourbon Barrel Creme Brule' that was silky smooth. I get their IPA and the aroma was one of the best, the taste didn't dissapoint either. There was only two beers we weren't impressed with but out of the 10 we tried that's damn good. We get back to the Sweden House and noticed that we needed to make a small change to the sign out front. Then there happened to be this dude that was, well to be quite blunt, fucked up. Not sure what he was on but dude was on something. We Ed told me this morning that the cops came later and could hear in the hall that the cops were asking this dude all kind of questions about what he was on and things like that. I'm just glad we had a great first day with some seriously outstanding brews.