Last week I got an email from my friend Bob, Wisconsin correspondent for the Great Lakes Brewing News. He sent me an itinerary of a mini-tour that he and those involved with Madison’s Great Taste of the Midwest, a beer festival that many refer to as the best in the country-even better than the Great American Beer Festival. Since I’ve been to neither (which I am a little ashamed of), I can’t comment. Regardless, it is a highly acclaimed event. I, along with Tim as the other Beer Trip guys were off camping, decided to make our way over to High Noon Saloon and Brewery in Leavenworth, Kansas to meet up with them for a little bit. They were scheduled to be there at 8:15 PM, so Tim picked me up (since I drove to Gordon Biersch on Wednesday) around 7:30 and we headed to Leavenworth.
We got there right at 8:15 PM. When we got there, we saw that a band was playing and I was asked to pay a $5 cover charge. I’m not sure why, but this really annoyed me for about two minutes. I told the guy at the door, who was really nice about it, that I was just meeting the brewery guys from Wisconsin and didn’t want to pay any cover charge. He was about to go ask a manager about it, when I just said, “Sorry. I don’t know why I am so against a $5 cover charge. Here you go.” I still hate cover charges at a brewpub, when I just wanted a couple of pints of their beer, but I get it. I just wish the band was better.
After a bit I told a guy by the bar that I was Dan, the guy who used to write about Kansas for Southwest Brewing News, and he seemed to recognize me. He even bought me a beer, which was nice. I told him that I was friends with RD, the owner, which is probably a stretch by I really consider myself friends with all of the Kansas brewers that I covered. And I miss talking to them every other month. He came over and talked to me for a bit, and I told him that I was going to tag along with the Wisconsin guys when they came in to take a tour. He said they were running late but that was fine, and he went back to his family. Tim and I grabbed a table, another beer, and we waited for Bob and crew to arrive.
About 9:30 PM, they arrived. They had a large crew, and these guys were doing it up right. They had a nice bus, with a driver, and a solid itinerary chock-full of brewery and brewpub visits (and even a distillery). They even had the itinerary printed on t-shirts that they wore, which is arguably a step up from the buttons the Dahlbeeyotch made for us for Beer Trip V (“Shut up and drive! It’s Beer Trip V!”), but I prefer the buttons. Bob introduced me to a few people in the group, including a couple of brewers from Ale Asylum in Madison and the guy behind the Great Taste of the Midwest. They were all really great guys, and it is an event I’d really love to go to sometime. After a few minutes, RD come around and asked who wanted a tour. About three-quarters of the group went to the brewhouse for the tour, which was interesting enough.
At the end, RD gave them all a glass, which was one of the more practical brewpub pint glasses that I’ve seen. It had the High Noon logo on one side, and the back had a list of their flagship beers. It ended up coming in hand a few times when people were asking me what High Noon beers they had. I thought it was a cool idea. We went back to the bar, talked to a few more people, and before I knew it, they were headed back to the bus. Before they left, Bob was nice enough to bring me a few Wisconsin beers for me, including some from my friends at O’so (Night Train!). It was pretty cool. They left, and Tim and I had one more Stumblin’ Reindeer, their winter seasonal, which was really good. After the band played their rendition of “Cherry Bomb”, we felt it was time to call it a night. We made the drive back home, and I gave Tim a couple of the beers Bob gave me for driving me.
It wasn’t an eventful night, but it is always great meeting people in the beer industry. And I like checking out the local brewpubs when I can, which isn’t as often as it was when I was the Kansas correspondent for SWBN. So basically, I had a really good night, and hopefully I can make it back to High Noon again soon, and hopefully someday to Madison for the Great Taste of the Midwest in the next few years.