Let’s get nostalgic. A lifetime ago, back in 2017, I was asked by my boss of the time what my plan for the summer was. She wanted something big, lofty. A self betterment of sorts. At the time, all I could come up with was that I was going to Utah in June. I remember saying that and her telling me that it wasn’t good enough. I pondered a moment longer and said, “I don’t know. I need something else… A… I don’t know… a vision quest.” I was in one of my millennial sads. It was March. I felt stuck in my job that I hated, in a city that I hated, in a life that I hated. Does this sound familiar? Well, it should. Because this was the running theme of this blog. Me drinking beer as a way to outrun my millennial sads.
It’s wild that moment was over two years ago. Two years ago, before Daze of Beer, before the ComBITment 2018, before Phish and even that one time (which turned into two times) I saw Umphrey’s McGee. That was when I was 24 and hadn’t embraced just the absolute absurd bullshit that life can be. In 2017, my millennial sads peaked. In 2017, I bottomed out. In 2017… I never thought I would ever actually get that Vision Quest. And maybe I won’t. But here’s something I haven’t talked about here yet, and it’s important. It’s something big. This is me taking an active role in my life instead of just letting my life happen around me. I am starting my new life at a brewery I’ve never been to before… In a town I’ve never been to before.
Today I might not be on that vision quest I dreamed of. But I am at Vision Quest Brewing Company in Boulder, Colorado.
Y’all know a lot about me. A lot about what my life is. Everything on this blog is never new information for anyone because the only people that read it are people who know me personally. But sometimes I like to pretend that y’all don’t know this. You don’t know why I’m in Boulder (actually I bet no one knows why I’m in Boulder in particular, which is simply because I just didn’t know what to do with my day today). But thinking about 2017 me, the idea that I could be sitting in a Boulder brewery drinking beer is unheard of because when you’re Millennial Sads peak, you can’t picture yourself outside of your millennial sads.
I’m in Boulder because I have no furniture in my apartment and my air mattress deflates in an hour. My apartment is within driving distance of Boulder because I don’t live in Bay View anymore. I don’t live in Bay View anymore because I moved to Denver. I moved to Denver to try to make the most of my life. I’m going to grad school. I’m trying to fix the stuckness that 2017 Me felt sitting at her desk every day dreading the phone ringing. And that 2018 Me tried to drown in beer and weird bits and excessive travel. And early 2019 Me was crushed under while working at a coffee shop in Oconomowoc. I’m trying to better myself.
And now, here I am, not quite achieving that vision quest I always assumed I would probably venture on with my former officemate for some reason. But I did find this brewery that is going to have to be Good Enough. And I didn’t even go looking for it. I didn’t drive to Boulder to go to a brewery called “Vision Quest.” I drove to Boulder because I was bored. And while sitting in the parking lot of the busiest Target I’ve ever seen (before figuring out this town is 90% college campus and it’s move in weekend), I looked up breweries and this is the first one that popped up. And it felt like a calling.
I didn’t need to try mushrooms in the forest or drop acid at a concert for a jam band I don’t give a shit about. This is my kind of vision quest. Just a brewery serving standard issue beer.
What did I drink? Well, I had an apricot sour that was actually pretty good. I think it maybe could’ve “soured” a little longer as I was getting a little bit of yeasty flavors in it, but I still enjoyed it. This is a rather small operation going on here and the fact that they endeavored to devote space to aging a sour is inspiring. I know that the sour trend can be tough on smaller breweries that do not have the space or time to just let beer sit around for a few months while it gets weird. I also had a “That’s Really Cute” which is a double IPA and ho-leee-fuck is it good. Startlingly good. Insultingly good. It is so good I find it unfair that not only are humans allowed to fucking brew and serve this shit, but they are serving it 40 minutes in moderate traffic from my apartment at the bottom of a Big Ass Hill my car had to go over, and my car did not like going over it. Un-fucking-fair.
My grand exit from Milwaukee was turbulent. My life was filled with a lot of crying and yelling and downs this summer. So many different people disappointed me in such wild and weird and unexpected ways. But so many other people, people who had no reason to step up, showed up and were there for me and helped me get here. To Colorado. To a place where I could sit here and drink a fucking beer at a place called “Vision Quest Brewing.” A place that found me.
I can promise you that I’m not done crying. I can promise you that things are going to probably get a lot weirder and more stressful before they level out. But for today, for right now, I am sitting at a brewery drinking a fucking beer like a goddamn American. And that’s all I can ask for.