Launch Pad Brewing, Aurora, CO

It has come to my attention that I have not been writing these posts in any particular or succinct manner. Apparently I went to this brewery and never wrote about it, which is very similar to what happened with Enlightened, except I definitely got emotional while writing the Enlightened post (for obvious reasons) whereas there will be no emotion here. Here is the cold, hard, mean facts about a brewery in Aurora that I went to the first week of September (yes, it is currently New Year’s Eve and the sun is setting on this decade).

But I really did not have too great of a time at this brewery so I never felt a strong compulsion to get into it. The thing that I’ve discovered about myself in recent weeks/months/lifetimes is that I feel bad shit talking breweries now. Not that this place is worthy of shit taking. It wasn’t that bad. It was just a bummer. But I should note that everything that happens in Aurora is a bummer. This was before I figured out that I do not vibe with the city of Aurora. I am going to wholly blame Aurora for this. It is a sprawling, personality-less wasteland just east of Denver that went from being a suburb to a whole ass, all consuming city of it’s own. The population of Aurora is angling it to be the St. Paul to Denver’s Minneapolis. The Twin Cities of the West. And must like how people scoff and whisper warnings about St. Paul, that’s how people treat Aurora. This dingy and less glamorous version of their neighbors to the west. Slightly cheaper housing, endless anonymous houses and rundown apartment complexes. Disillusioned faces of one time hopeful Denverites who wanted to own property and found themselves stuck in Aurora. There is a reason that I don’t live in Aurora although my campus is in Aurora. It’s because Aurora is a huge. Fucking. Bummer.

But I didn’t know that when I went to this brewery. I had been in Colorado scarcely three weeks at this point. And that night was going to see IT at a theatre in Aurora (that I still occasionally go to and is one of the few things in Aurora I actually visit). Anyways, I should just say that I went to Launch Pad Brewery for beer because I saw on some list somewhere that it was one of the best breweries in Aurora. Which, I mean, I guess is an accomplishment because Denver’s brewery scene is so bumpin’ that it’s now bleeding into Colorado’s largest city by land area now.

I should note that the beertender (I still hate that word) told me I could not have the first beer I ordered because the keg kicked and she “didn’t feel like” changing it. Actually what she told me. It was weird. I could understand if there just wasn’t more of that kind of beer? And maybe that is what she meant to say? But she legitimately told me she just didn’t feel like changing the keg. But whatever fine.

As is now becoming a habit, I do not have notes on this brewery. But I did document everything I drank on Untappd. (Also, if we’re not friends on Untappd you can friend me @upside-) The first beer that it appears I drank was the Project Highwater which was a altbier. I gave it a middling rating of a 3.0 on Untappd, but since it’s a German style beer, that makes sense. I’m really become that asshole who likes to push off the more traditional beer flavors in favor of dumb shit like kumquat or whatever the fuck American craft brewers are doing with their IPAs and shit these days. The second peer I had was a Project Apollo and lo and behold, it appears I liked it. Wanna know why? It was an APA and I’m insufferable. The last beer I had noted was the Ariane 6 which I gave another 3 to although it was an IPA.

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I do think I had more to drink than this because I remember feeling pretty ~good~ when I was done drinking, and this was way back in the days when I had a tolerance for alcohol. But that is the point in which I stopped checking in beers on Untappd. The brewery was fine, honestly. The beers were fine. The vibe was weird but I was also there in the middle of the day on a Thursday in September. But, whatever. I just had to purge this one from the memory banks and continue on with this journey. See y’all in 2020. Maybe things will get better although I’m pretty sure they’re going to get worse.

Enlightened Brewing, Bay View

Wow. I bet you guys were not expecting another Milwaukee brewery so soon with this whole “me moving to Denver” and all. And let me just say, you’re right. You probably should not be getting blessed with a post about the Good Land this soon, but apparently I am such a bad blogger that I went to Enlightened and just deadass forgot to write about it. So today, while I was scrolling through my notes on my phone, I realized my grave error and decided that I should write about. Partially because I strive for total transparency with my audience (Nicole and Jake Smith and Wesson) and also in part because I miss Milwaukee, and specifically Bay View, in a way I never thought possible. I miss the changing of the leaves and the smell of fall and my neighbors being the most extra motherfuckers imaginable in their Halloween decorations. I miss Vanguard and Stone Creek Coffee and the Avalon Theatre. I miss a sense of community and people on the street passing you with a hesitant smile because they don’t want to get mugged but they also don’t want to be rude. I miss all of it.

And today, while sitting at a brewery in Colorado Springs, of all fuck places, I scrolled through my phone notes and saw the time I went to Enlightened and I fell into a hole of memory and loss. So travel back in time with me to this night, on a warm summer day in July, while I waited for Nicole to arrive from Michigan. I will do my best to fill this story as accurately and truly as it deserves, but portions have been lost to time and I do not know if I will be able to truly capture the feeling of the humid night in July, the eve before I saw Phish in concert for the first (and only) time.

I was antsy, that I remember for sure. And I know that Ashely was not home, but I do not know where she might have been. That is a memory I’ve lost. A fact I failed to retain. I was alone and desperate to take on the world, somewhere. Something. Anything. At this point, I already knew my days in Bay View were number. My time in Milwaukee was coming to a close. I wanted to take as much of this city, the city that shaped me, in before I was destined to leave again. I thought about going to Component again, a great love of mine, but I also knew that it was time for me to branch out. To experience something new in this city that raised me. I thought long and hard about it. How far I wanted to travel. What I wanted to see.

Then I remembered the steady stream of kind and daily regulars that graced us at the cafe every day. The staff of Enlightened Brewing right in Bay View. I hadn’t had a chance to visit to their old tap room before they moved into the more spacious one just down the road from the cafe I worked. And that is what I set my sights on. I drove, though I know that I could’ve walked. But in Bay View, it was a dicey. I headed up there after ten pm, and in a city like Milwaukee, anything could happen. I could’ve been fine to walk, or I could’ve been mugged. Anything. That kind of city. No matter how dismissive and belittling the people pf Denver want to be about my hometown, Milwaukee is not some small Midwestern town where everyone smiles and says “How’ya doin’ der?” It’s a city. A city with problems and crime and concerns. A real, goddamn American city.

And so I went.

The night was warm and I was not prepared for the lack of air conditioning, though I do not know why. At that point, after all that time in Bay View, I should’ve known better. Air conditioning was the exception rather than the rule. But it wasn’t terrible. They had the windows (garage doors) wide open and occasionally we would catch a cooling breeze that weaved from the lake, past the houses and down the long and winding roads to this brewery on Allis Street.

The humidity caught in the wood and fill the place with the familiar and comforting scent of “basement bar.” It felt like home. That’s what Milwaukee always felt like to me. Home. A bitter and contentious home. A place that I could never wait to leave but could never picture living without. A place that accepted me for who I was, but still felt it their responsibility to point out my flaws. Milwaukee.

The three beers I had were Barbe Rougue, Te Ipsum, and Sentient Twig. I made absolutely no notes on these beers nor did I even rate them on Untappd. But I don’t know if it mattered. I have such fond memories of this night, of me alone at this brewery, of the moments of comfort being invaded by the realization that these days were numbered. My time in Bay View was numbered. My time at Stone Creek was coming to an end. These places, built by people so firmly rooted in Wisconsin culture, emanating such a visceral feeling of Home, would not exist outside of Milwaukee, or Wisconsin, for me. Even in Denver, a bar that smelled like a basement bar would still be different. Soon… Everything would be different.

But that night, at that brewery, in that part of time. Everything felt right. Me alone at a a bar. Me happy to be where I was. Drinking good beer in the Good Land. Genuinely embracing the culture that made me, raised me, honed me.  Check out Enlightened Brewing. Feel the warm embrace of a bar that smells like fresh wood and beer. Live in the culture we were meant to, and know that I’m still struggling to find that here in Denver. A city that everyone says has a great beer culture.

Coors Brewery – Golden, CO

I’m living my best life right now, is something I tell myself every single day when it becomes more and more apparent that I am, in fact, not living my best life. Denver is so boring for me, my dudes. I can never find something truly worth doing, most of my time is spent fighting with people about couches, making coffee for business people in LoDo, and avoiding school work. When I’m depressed and broken to my core, I see a movie now that I’m an official AMC A-List member, which is just their version of MoviePass. (Not to brag, because this is wholly not a brag, but I’ve legitimately seen every movie being shown at AMC right now.)

But last Thursday I had some free time and was, once again, suffering a wholly crushing couch-related defeat, so I was looking for something to do and decided to do part two to the MillerCoors tour that I started way back in 2017. If you want me to lament about the passage of time, I can, but as we speak, I’m texting Smittsburger about where we were at 24 versus where we are now at 26 and I’m too sad to really get into it. But you can check out that post on your own if you so choose.

Anyways, I went up to Golden just to discover that this tour is $5 for Colorado residents and $10 for everyone else. It’s self guided. And you get three beers at the end and a pint glass. Is it worth it? Fuck no. Here’s the thing. I don’t give a shit about listening to recording of a guy in a recording booth in California, wondering why he went to Julliard if all he’s going to do is audio tours, reciting a script about fucking trash beer. I don’t care. Coors is the same story as literally everyone else. He was like “oh, I am a German immigrant and I know not what to do other than to brew the golden ale of the gods.” And then he was like “but alas, where?” And found some crisp af water in the mountains and was like “ahoy, here I shall stake my claim.” And boom. Fucking beer. I love Halloween.

Of course there was like, scandal and intrigue and shit, but man. There’s beer. And the tour is boring. And the line to get beer at the end was so long that I only had one and slammed it, because I’m 26 fucking years old. I do not need to wait literally twenty minutes to drink a goddamn Banquet Beer. That’s the kind of shit you do when you have a fake id that only works at a trash heap bar on Water Street. I can literally walk in anywhere in this whole nation and just buy a good beer. Not something only suitable for flip cup and your grandpa’s garage. Not even my grandpa’s garage. My grandfather only drank Miller Lite. Like an American.

Also, it’s total horseshit that this tour costs ten dollars and you get, arguably, less than the free Miller tour in Milwaukee. Because on the Miller tour, you also get pretzels! Here you had to buy pub pretzels out of a vending machine! Like a monster! And there’s no caves. In Milwaukee, they have CAVES and caves make the tour. And they don’t even have to “make” the tour because the tour. Is. Free.

The buildings weren’t interesting to look at. They were historically appealing. They were just… buildings. Factories. The Miller Valley is a rich and bustling little area that preserved the interesting history that Miller brought to Milwaukee. What the fuck does the Coors Brewery have? NOTHING. There is nothing redeeming. Just like most of what I’ve seen of the immediate Denver area. No goddamn culture.

4/10, would not recommend.

*I took pictures but my phone won’t let me get any of them off the phone and onto my laptop but that’s fine. The pictures weren’t interesting anyways.

Vision Quest Brewing Company, Boulder, CO

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.


Hacienda Brewing Co – Milwaukee’s East Side

It was a Saturday, that I know for sure. A Saturday on the first day of June, where I worked diligently to get my cafe in order before I went home for the day. I was loading a dish washer filled with mugs to be sanitized, counting down the seconds until I could remove my apron and head home. And that’s when I heard it, “Can I speak to your manager?” The voice. The phrase. The moment. Jacob P(hucking) Smithsonian the Eighth. Standing there before one of my baristas, hellbent on causing global destruction.

No. I told him no. How dare he. And Ashley. And Molly. Arrive there, on that day. The day of my daughter’s wedding. And ask a favor of MY barista? To that, I say no. But, that is how my day started. It was the end of an eight hour spiral into hell and the start of some hot fresh sassy content. It was the day we went to the Hacienda Brewing Co. grand opening in a neighborhood I avoid like the goddamn plague.

We did pre-game at 1840 Brewing in Bay View, which is a place that should probably get a post at some point. I love 1840. They have great beers. We’ve been there a few times now. But I haven’t actually ever dedicated time to even considering writing about them because I am not a Good Blogger™. But one day. Hopefully sooner rather than later. You know how things can change around here at the drop of a hat without notice.

Sorry, but anyways, that’s not what this post is about, though it hundo p should be. This post is about what we did after going to the ever-delightful Bay View brewery. What we did was schlepp all the way tf to the East Side to hit up the Hacienda Brewing Co grand opening.

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Alright fam, here’s where my Bay View bullshit is about to come out. Lemme start with the beers. It was bumpin’ in there, so we each had a grand total of ONE beer a person. Because it was so busy, which was to be expected it was a bitterly cold, rainy June day and everyone was squeezed inside a brand new brewery. Molly got the Tropi Choco. I think she liked it. I got the I’m Not a Doctor, which none of us liked. Jake got the Does Anyone Work around Here? Which, if memory serves, he also was not a fan of. And Ashely got There’s No Other Way, which I do believe we all liked.

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I think that we would have to go back to have a better sense of the beer, to be totally honest. But while we are on the topic of honesty, let me talk about why I’m not too eager to rush back up to the East Side. First and foremost, I am not an East Side person. Especially not that far up on the East Side. I feel old up there. I look old up there. It’s all college kids just bumble-fucking about, hoping to make friends, score weed, or get laid. None of which I really want to be around. Such an intense and frustrated energy those cargo shorted, Hawaiian shirted dude-bros carry with them into their bars, clubs, and pizza shops.

But second, this brewery really embodied something  that I am never super interested in. And, do forgive my old lady rant here for a brief moment in time, but I have to speak my peace before I die of old age and have to haunt y’all to accommodate my unfinished business. And here it is. What Old Lady Natalie has to say about her issues with Hacienda. It’s too Instagrammable. And that is coming from a person who runs Instagrams and routinely says things like “this is my aesthetic” or simply “aesthetic.” Everything is so perfectly tailored and manufactured and planned to be great on Instagram. And I know this because I have Instagrammed it.


The lighting is good. The colors are visually pleasing with high contrast and funky colors. There are different prints and neons and shapes and patterns everywhere. The color schemes lend well to being highly saturated in a filter. And my cynicism does not allow me to enjoy this. It makes me think that this was all uniquely and intently manufactured to trick these 22 year old aspiring influencers to instagram the shit out of this place for free publicity. And you know what? It works. I instagrammed this place. I have now seen numerous friends and casual acquaintances instagram this place. It is just meant to be Instagrammed. It’s the Wonder Museum of Milwaukee breweries.

There. I said it.

And I think the thing that really gets me down on this and makes me want to rail against it so hard is that I don’t feel like any of the beers we had were good enough to let the place stand on it’s own. And I know that it’s a new-ish brewery and I should be forgiving, but I think that a lot of new breweries that do not have this ultra-instagrammable interior don’t have a chance to find their footing and find what makes their beers good and unique before they go under. And I understand that Hacienda is a subsidy of a larger brewery (Door County Brewing Co.), so they have the money and support behind them from the jump to offer these visually stunning taproom experiences, but I just feel like… it’s inauthentic.

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Fuck yeah, my friends. I said it! Inauthentic. If ever there was a drinking game to accompany my blog, it would be to take a drink every time I get on my high horse about authentic vs inauthentic experiences. This is exactly why I live in Bay View (for now, more on that later). Because I’m the asshole who thinks they have the right to decide what is and is not authentic. I do not have the right or authority to do so, but I do and I will continue to be an asshole about this until the day I die. I don’t know. I like the kitschy, weird, and unique drinking spaces, but I like them when they seem to have slowly evolved over time, collecting knickknacks and dust at equal measure. Not opening your doors and on day one you have this weird and wild look about you. That feels like it’s pandering. And again, inauthentic. It tricks you into feeling things that capitalism wants you to feel to force you into becoming a more valuable consumer. It’s a Don Draper like lie.

So, anyways. We went to Hacienda. I might go back if I have time. But I’m running out of time. We all are, in fact. But for right now, mine is more short than most. Remember what I said. I may live in Bay View, but only for now.

Hi Sign Brewing – Austin, TX

I don’t want you guys to ever think that I have forgotten about the blog, because that could not be furthest from the truth. I love this blog and the passion I have for this blog is only hampered by the constant barrage of defeats life keeps hurling at me. In an ongoing effort to better my life, it just keeps slipping further and further away from a controllable place. I don’t really drink much anymore, nor do I really go to many breweries anymore. It takes so much effort to put on a pair of leggings just to roll into MobCraft once a month anymore. I work a lot. Weird hours. I’m sad and angry a lot. Weird emotions. I’m tired. Oh so fucking tired. Constantly.

But way back in April I went to a brewery in Austin, Texas while I was there for a job interview (for a job I didn’t get). And I got drunk with a middle-aged Tito’s traveling salesman and one of the beertenders who I think might have said he was also like a head brewer or owner or something. And that was a fun time. If you can remember all the way back to April, the last post I had go live actually was written at this brewery and I was drunk when I wrote it and forgot that I wrote it until I saw it one Twitter. That’s wild. And exciting, for sure. Or such a constant bummer of a life that is lived solely for the comforts of alcohol. But regardless, here we are. I went to Hi Sign Brewing in Austin, TX.

Getting here was a trip because it was down a road that had a million warnings telling me not to go down the road. That there was no road and if I chose to pass all these signs telling me to turn back now without heeding there warning, I would almost surely be murdered. Or something. I’m not quite sure what they said. I just know that they did not want me to go down there. But I was bored, tired, and just had a four shot lavender latte with oat milk from some coffee shot and it was 5pm and I was ready to go to bed party. But at the end of this road was a brewery! And I went inside of it.

When I got there, it was happy hour time and there were a few business-y people hanging out. I posted up at a table under a mural of Jay-Z (for some reason?) where I caught up on my socials and also worked on cranking out some content for this blog while drinking a beer.

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The beers I drank were the Super Astronaut, Salty Dog (noted as “alright”), Hi-C (noted as “good, their most known beer”), No Scooters, and Mellow Johnny (noted as “good lager”). I should also mention that I think I drank more beers than this, because I had a flight of four pours and definitely continued to drink for hours after that, but that list only has five beers on it (four of which were in the flight), but I did not note them. But that is because, as I mentioned before, I got drunk with a traveling salesman who was in his fifties and we regaled each other with tales of seeing bands live and drinking in weird places and the one time he ended up dating a girl who was addicted to heroin but he decided that maybe he wasn’t a heroin guy (although he also assured me he was definitely a coke guy in the 80s).

The brewery had its garage doors open and although within the city limits of Austin, feels so set apart from the sprawling hipster city. Out back there were trees and a grassy area with some food stands. I know there was pizza being served out there because Mr. Tito’s ordered one and offered me some of it. (I declined, never take food from strange men trying to seem cool to a 26 year old girl who admitted to be traveling alone). But it was beautiful.

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As I mentioned, especially in April, things were not going well. I was transitioning into a new cafe and a new role, I was constantly stressed about what I was going to do for money and work and a living. The weather in Wisconsin was still bitterly cold, we were still weeks away from our last snow fall, and months away from our first good weather day (that day just happen four days ago, but don’t worry, yesterday it was 40 degrees when I saw Jason Isbell OUTSIDE on the LAKE. Ugh.) But sitting somewhere that was moderately warm, with a warm breeze, cool beer, and the company of misfits and misfortunates in America’s leading Hipster Capitol (suck it Portland), everything felt wildly okay. Not great. Not even good. But okay. Like even if life was a constant drudging march of disappoint, there were moments like that, where you were an anonymous girl in a city far from home, shooting the shit with just some guys that you’ll never see again. That’s my brand.

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They had good beer. I think that’s the main takeaway from the situation. I think that’s why no one comes here, to hear if a place has good beer. And this place does. And it has a relaxed, no frills, but wholly fulfilling vibe I didn’t find many place in Austin. It thrived in authenticity, which I often rail about and seem incapable of finding in newer cities. But this place was unpretentious and wholly good. 10/10 would recommend. Alright kids. Now go to bed.

Arbor Brewing Company, Ypsilanti, MI

I am tired. Let’s start there. Jesus Christ am I tired. This is a different kind of tired. A deep in my bones kind of tired that I have not felt in a very, very long time. This isn’t my usual millennial depression kind of tired where I just don’t feel like it, this is the kind of tired that comes from a job where I’m working seven, eight, nine days in a row, with one day off a week, on my feet all day, talking to people face to face all day kind of tired. This is the kind of tired that our forefathers felt on an easy day, but my millennial bones feel on a hard day. Or any day. All the days. That’s why I haven’t been around for months. I do have a post almost completely written about Shoreline Brewery in Michigan City, Indiana that is full of life and bright, silly words, but I do not have the energy to even finish it. I do not possess within my body the tone that is required of that post. I do not even know that girl anymore. She wrote that post back in the first week of February when she was just starting a new job on the promise that things may be better. And things are better. I guess I can promise you that much. Things are infinitely better than they were before. I no longer have the millennial tireds, as I mentioned, I have the service industry tireds. Those are different tireds, and I’m not saying they are good tireds but they are healthy for me.

But I do want you guys to know that I have not forgotten about you. I want to write about the time that I went to Arbor Brewing Company a goddamn lifetime ago. I went there in November. Yes. Of 2018. A lifetime ago. I was alive then. Well rested, nervous all the time, constantly running through a million different scenarios in my head about what would happen if I didn’t find employment soon. I was wondering if I should move to Austin to live with Nicole. Or if I should really take the plunge and just whole-ass move to Portland without a job or a plan and just wing it. I still had a car. I still had legs and will and freedom. And I found a place in this world that I had never known existed but it captured a part of my body, mind, and soul that I didn’t even know I could give away to some little town in bumfuck nowhere Michigan.

But yet, I rolled into a bar in Ypsilanti, Michigan, a town that I had never heard of. A town that upon texting people the name of it I had gotten responses like “What?” And “You cannot be that drunk.” And “Did you just have a stroke?” But there in Ypsi, as the locals call it, I bellied up to the bar and started doing the only thing I know how to do when I’m alone in a town in a state I am not native to. I ordered a goddamn beer. And do you know what I received? A fucking beer. Actually, several.

The first beer I ordered was a Buzzsaw IPA. It couldn’t been good, it could’ve been shit. I don’t remember. I didn’t make a note about it. I’m going to lean on the side of I enjoyed it, but I don’t know. Here’s a spoiler for a couple paragraphs down. I got pretty inebriated at this brewery. I wouldn’t recommend doing what I did. That’s all I’m going to say. Don’t be me. Be a better person. Drink responsibly.


The second beer I ordered was the Strawberry Blonde Fruit Ale. I also didn’t make a note about this beer but I don’t think I liked it. But this is the point where I was feeling fucking bold (not drunk yet) and I made the stupidest comment in the world which was “Is the Strawberry Blonde Ale just the Strawberry Nitro on CO2?” And the bartender made some kinda snappy comment about me being perceptive or something, which I was not being. I was asking a normal question but this is the part of the night where things spiraled out of control and I made myself a friend named Brian the Bartender.

Third beer was the Tilted Earth Winter New England Pale Ale. The note I have on it? “Awesome” Yep. That’s it. But I bet that’s exactly what it was.

And then my last (two) beer(s) were Sacred Cow, which instead of letting four months later Natalie describe it. I’m going to insert what Day of Drunk Me describe it by way of the note I made for myself.

ABC Ypsi.png

Honestly, based on that note alone, I would say that maybe I should just start bringing my laptop to bars with me and writing these blog posts in real time, because the drunker I get, the wilder my notes get. For example, this note:

Old Eyes 2019.png

Also, there is a wild ramble where I started to review the bartender. But since this isn’t a blog where I shit on (nice) people, I’m going to refrain from posting it. But I did note that on Fridays they have “Phish Fridays” where, unlike Wisconsin we have Fish Fridays where we just eat fish fries and listen to polka, at this place the manager on Friday nights, I guess, plays Phish in the brewery. How delightful. But also the bartender was like, not as much of a Phish guy as he is a Umphrey’s McGee fan. I didn’t prompt him on this. I didn’t even prompt him on the Phish thing. He asked me what kind of music I was into and I said my typical line of “Northern White Girl Alt-Folk” and he said he was in UM and Phish and then obviously I had to tell him about my Phish Phase, which is actually a lifestyle, about how I’ve actually been to an UM show (this is where I think I really won him over) (also, I’ve now been to two UM shows? My life is out of control y’all but in a good way! I swear!), and how I saw Dead and Co. last year and that ZBB is really good live (he agreed).

But by the time all of this happened, I. Was. Drunk. Man was I drunk, but me being drunk wasn’t apart of the plan. The plan that I was supposed to have dinner with Nicole and her Aunt Sarah and Sarah’s boyfriend Dario. So I had to sit there in my shame and sober up so I could scoot on over to Ann Arbor for dinner. (Oh yeah, did I mention this all happened before dinner?)

Anyways, thanks for coming along on this shame journey with me, y’all. Maybe someday soon you’ll read about Shoreline Brewing in Michigan City. It is apart of my three part Michigan series, but since Michigan is no longer a novelty for my life, I don’t know if this is a series of Michigan posts or the beginning of my new Michigan lifestyle.

Oh, and bonus reading. I wrote this in a coffee shop in Ypsilanti because I love Ypsilanti and I needed to capture how I felt at that moment in the moment. It’s titled The Ballad of Ypsilanti and it’s not good but it captures my love and pain and the way my life was back in November. God Bless Ypsi.

Soo Brewing Company, Sault St. Marie, MI

Today’s post is about a very important day in Daze of Beer history. This post is about the first brewery I visited post-my last job. I mean, yeah, did I end my last job like an eternity ago and did I visit this brewery also an eternity ago? Most definitely. But does that shock anybody? Of course not. Whatever delusion we all carried that I would become better at posting on the blog once I didn’t have a job were carried by the idea that I wrote these posts on my own time, which I did not do. I wrote 90% of all my content on my work computer at my last job during downtimes (or when I should’ve been doing something but couldn’t overcome the debilitating anxiety that made opening emails one of the hardest tasks to overcome in my day). Once I became a person “between jobs” (I am now, once again, gainfully employed so I feel like I am qualified to call my brief timeout from the workforce me being “between jobs”), I had nothing to avoid other than my bank account and I fell off the writing train.

But one of the first and only big “things” of my unemployed phase was I went to the UP on a whim on day. I woke up, not even a week after I had concluded my time in my previous personal hell, and got into Hector (Oh, did you guys know that I got into a car accident in December that total Hector who was in my life for not even 10 months? Pour one out for him, man, because now I am one of those hipster assholes who doesn’t have a car and my life is infinitely more difficult because of it… but back to the story) and we went on one of our last journeys together to the UP.

In all honesty, my intent was to land in Canada. I had my passport. I had my breweries planned. And I was ready to do it. But the problem that I discovered once I got within a mile of where I was going (and within eyesight of the border), was that the breweries that I wanted to go to were closed on Tuesdays and I would have to wait until Wednesday to visit both of them. As it was Tuesday, I had to come up with a new plan. But luckily, Sault St. Marie is exists both in and out of America, and in both of these lands, there are breweries.

So, I went to a different Sault St. Marie brewery that was a little more… dare I say… free? I went to Soo Brewing Company, in Sault St. Marie, Michigan! Now, here’s something else I had to contend with as a newly unemployed person. The “noon on a Tuesday” brewery crowd. I think I have mentioned in previous posts, specifically the one where I was in Philly?, that as a gainfully employed person, nothing prepares you for what it’s like being one of (or thee) only people(/person) in a brewery. But now that I was finding myself unemployed, I got to become that person.

So, I walked into this cutesy little store front to find a very casual “living room” vibe place. There were a couple of people playing cribbage who were friends with the guy working (who may have also been the owner) and my pick of the taproom. I ordered a flight consisting of the Mystery Table Ale, Soo Brew, Boom Baby IPA, and the 13 IPA.

An overall statement to make about this, based on my (lack of) notes and my Untappd profile is that I found all the beers very middling, which is also what I remember. Everything was very firmly fine. I was not a huge fan of the table ale but that’s also because I just really don’t like table ales all too much to begin with. I did like the 13 IPA a lot, marking it as my favorite beer of the brewery. But in general, the beers were fine. Just fine.


But the tap room was wild. Like I said, it felt like walking into someone’s living room. There was sport memorabilia hung up on the walls and a groovy vibe of your friend’s step dad’s basement going on. The people playing cribbage were incredibly comfortable and at home there (but then again, they were definitely very close to the worker/maybe owner), and everything felt chill, albeit a little outside of my normal bullshit hipster comfort zone. The man working was also brewing at the same time, and it was one of open-to-the-tap-room brew ops that I typically hate because the smell of brewing is usually a little much for me. I think it impacts my experience. But they were running such a low volume, doing it for the love not the glory kind of operation at this place that it didn’t really impact anything. I will say, though, that while I was there the kind and gentle soul that was working must have been brewing an IPA because there became a strong whiff of something a little less hoppy and a little more… happy? What I’m saying is it smelled like weed but I’m off my game and don’t really know how to make a joke out of this.

Overall, it was a nice place. It was small but it was clearly done out of love for the art. And then it started snowing and I was hella pissed because it was far too early in the year to snow and I was planning on spending the night in Sault St. Marie to venture into CANADA the next day to check out those other breweries, but someone told me they were calling for 8 inches that afternoon and another thirteen inches over night into the next day and I was not emotionally prepared to deal with any winter driving yet, so I bid adieu to Michigan and headed south again.

But I will go back to Sault St. Marie again, probably this summer, and head into Canada to check out their breweries. I’m still very interested in the North of the Border bullshit that might be happening in craft beer. But as for this brief trip, I wrapped it up wildly quick.

Alright, guys, you might think that’s what I’ve got to say about Michigan, but my next post is set in Michigan City Indiana, and then after that, (if I ever get to it lol), will be another Michigan post coming hot from the Lower as well as some bonus content about Ypsilanti. Sit tight, I’ll get back to Milwaukee eventually… maybe?

Ecliptic Brewing, Portland, Oregon

Hey guys. Welcome to 2019. As you can see, I have officially gotten no better at being a blogger. You would think that at some point, I would either close up shop or just write a goddamn blog post but you know that I’m not good at doing either of those things. I like the blog but I’m remarkably good at finding an excuse to not write for it.

Today’s post is going to be about the time I went to Portland back in October when I had a job and things were going well (Narrator: Things were not going well) and the weather was warm and the sun was shining in the Hipster Capital of the World and I drank beer. But I’ll be honest, I just referenced my notes and, not surprisingly, I do not have any notes about this. But I’ll do my best to fill in the events.

So, what brought me to Portland was my dear friend JD’s housewarming/birthday party. He bought a house. He turned 25. He moved to Portland. It was reason to celebrate. And one part of that celebration was going to JD’s favorite brewery in all of Portland, Ecliptic Brewing. We also lucked in and it was their first birthday! While I know excuses are not fair or fun, I will say that part of the reason why I do not have notes is because we were with a big group of people who did not know about the blog and I was too ashamed to explain the whole blog to these new people. I’ve got a delightfully aloof and disinterested reputation to maintain and me giving a shit about something does not allow for that, not when I was with some Canadians and some other people(?).

But honestly, I ended up having to explain the blog anyways. If there are people who do not maintain chill well, it’s my friends who haven’t stopped drinking for 32 consecutive hours. So I made a new friend (shoutout to Brady is most decidedly not reading this blog post) and then proceeded to explain to him that I run a blog. About beer. And worse than that fact, it’s not even a good blog. On its best day it’s passable. On its worst day, it’s not even a blog because there is no fresh content and it’s just stale ramblings of a madwoman.

Sorry, I digressed.

Since I was playing the role of a Good BloggerTM that day, I got a six pour flight. And better news than this delightful flight was that it was only eleven dollars for a six pour flight. I quickly learned through my short (but still too-long) stopover in Portland, that it’s insanely cheap to drink there. It’s dumb expensive to rent an apartment or drive a car or anything else that is incorporated with the idea of cost of living. But the beers were cheap. And that’s coming from someone who is used to drinking in Milwaukee, where we already have the luxury of cheap beers. But Portland’s coming for our brand on that.


But then again, what Milwaukee’s got on Portland is that I can afford to live in one of the trendiest neighborhoods in the city for like, what most people pay for their monthly parking spot in other cities. Then again, when was the last time you ever heard Milwaukee mentioned when it wasn’t the butt of some joke? Sorry, you didn’t come here for me to rehash my constant love-hate relationship with the city of Milwaukee. I need to save that for our couples therapy.

Back to the beer!

The flight included the Orbiter IPA, Capella Porter, Carina Peach Sour, Starburst IPA, Phobos Red Ale, and Spectra Hoppy Pilsner. The Starburst was my favorite, because, as I learned about six months ago, I have a favorite hops and it’s galaxy hops. For the most part, it reminds me of Blue Moon ice cream, which is also my favorite flavor of ice cream*. But overall, the entire flight was very good. I do remember that there was one beer that I was surprisingly not too fond of, I think it might’ve been the red ale, but as I didn’t take notes and I do not have access to my Untapped profile right now (I’m on an airplane! I’m in the sky! This is the highest I’ve ever been! Praise.)

Another fun thing about the brewery was, as previously mentioned, it was their first birthday so they were doing beer giveaways (maybe?) and free hor’d’oeuvres  (most definitely). So, a little more on Ecliptic in general, is that they have a full menu and are rocking the brewpub thing pretty well. It didn’t feel gross or sell out-y or anything like that. I feel like sometimes places that decide to go with a full kitchen do not balance good beer and good food well. Either they lose sight of the passion (lol I hate myself) of the beer in the pursuit of a decent food offering, or they go for the full menu thing and it ends up like an overpriced Applebee’s. And while we did not eat there as we had just come from brunch, the hor’d’oeuvres were bomb (can I type that on an airplane?).

And then we moved on with our day from there.

I will also briefly mention that we did also go to another brewery that day, but I only had water there because I was a little beer’d out. I wasn’t drunk or anything, but it was still early in the day and we had a whole day of drinking ahead of us. I couldn’t risk ending up like Jake Smith or something (look at me calling your dumbass out my dudes). But the brewery that we went to (and I think I ate bacon at for some reason?) Was called Ex Novo. There’s photos.


By photos, I mean this one. The only known photo.

Also, everyone else went to a third brewery called Reverend Nat’s or something (again, I’m on a plane and can’t google it and sure, could I just look it up when I go to post this? Definitely. Will I? Of course not. That takes the charm out of the blog. I can’t be a good blogger all the time). And everyone loved that place. I, however, did not go there. Ashley and I took a Lyft to the nearest Target which, news to us in the moment, was in Washington. So that was fun. I had never been to Washington and now that I can say that I have, and it was to go to Target to get cake mix for JD’s birthday.

Overall, Portland, in all it’s hipster glory, is obviously killing it on the beer front. There is so much more that I did not get to in my weekend trip, but I’m excited to go back and see JD and Andrew and Emily (none of those people are reading this) and drink beer. Maybe rent a car and head out to Bend, OR which is essentially the Mecca of Craft Beer. Now, if only there was an easier and cheaper way to get out to Portland, that doesn’t require a whole fucking day spent in an airport (don’t ask, I’m still tired), I’d try to get out there soon.

But yeah, that was Ecliptic. My next few posts are probably all going to be set in Michigan? I know, that’s a weird place for me to be fucking around, but I’ve been a lot lately. Other than that, it’s nice to be back and I’ll catch y’all sometime soon. Maybe next week, maybe next year? Who knows! Happy 2019 my dudes.

*For those of you who live outside of the Upper Midwest, Blue Moon ice cream is not beer flavored ice cream. It’s a fruity, creamy artificial kind of flavor that I think also have notes of lavender. It’s been my favorite ice cream my whole life and I didn’t even know that it didn’t exist outside of the Upper Midwest until I moved to Florida and we had a HILARIOUS (or not) misunderstanding in the break room at Innoventions before the start of our morning shifts when a bunch of grown ass people were talking about their favorite flavors of ice cream and no one had any idea of what I was talking about until Rebeca (shouts out girl!) (she’s also not reading this lol), who is from Michigan, walked in and was like “Oh yeah, I love blue moon.” And I was validated in that moment.

90s Brew Crawl, Minneapolis, MN

Your girl gets around. Which is not something most people would ever think of me. Partially because you should never judge or shame a girl for her proclivities, no matter how her actions are perceived by you, and also because I don’t really get around too much. But this time, we’re going to talk about how Nicole, my cousin Rachel, and I went to three Minneapolis breweries to celebrate our dear friend Kayla’s Golden Birthday. Now, as you know, I am not very good at writing in a timely fashion, so let me assure you. Kayla’s birthday was in September. She turned 28 on September 28th. And yes, it is December. And yes. I am just writing about this now. But bear with me. Like I said, I get around and when you get around, you’re not also known for your timeliness.

But anyways, we didn’t just go to one brewery in Minneapolis but rather, three.

The first place we went to was actually a cider-y, which means, they just did ciders. And, as we all know about your dear friend Natalie, ciders give me heartburn. But anyways, we went to Sociable Cider Werks and Nicole got a Rusty Chain, I got a Mead for Speed, and rachel got a Free Wheeler. Rachel’s Free Wheeler was super champaign-y, not to be confused the Champaign of Beers, which is actually just Miller High Life. While there, Nicole also tried their candy apple cider and the only note I have on that was that it was “alarming.”

The problem I had with Sociable was mainly that it was really small but also super busy. And I know that part of the problem was that Kayla was sporting an entourage of approximately thirty people all dressed in their finest 90s attire (did I mention that it was a 90s themed party? I was dressed super grunge but it was too cold for my attire because Minneapolis in September is like Milwaukee in October which is like Florida on a record-breaking cold day). But it wasn’t just her party that was taking up space, but it was just busy. And it was a Saturday afternoon, so that happens. But goddamn was it busy.


So we moved on to Able Brewing, which, spoiler alert, was my favorite of the three breweries that we visited. The place had space and it was lowkey and everyone was very chill. I had a Cosmic Fruit and Nicole had a Blk Wlf. Rachel had water. She was DD-ing us because she’s a doll and I appreciate everything about my cousin and I am so lucky that she was willing to let Nicole and I stay with her and also to go out with us although she didn’t know Nicole that well and she didn’t know Kayla at all but she was still super game to dress up in 90’s apparel and hit up some bitchin’ breweries with us.


It should also be mentioned that although Able was my favorite brewery, I can never go back there. I broke a glass within seconds of being there with a full fucking beer in it and it was terribly embarrassing. I never break glasses, that’s not my bag. But yet, there I was, craft beer on my booties.

But besides that, I loved that place and wish that I had more beer there. It was a small but focused tap list and the crowd was lowkey and the music was present but low. We hung out at a table next to two couples with a hipster little baby child that kept wandering off. I loved it. Everything about it. It was my kind of brewery. I aspire to visit again if I ever get back up to the Cities sometime soon. I mean, it shouldn’t be hard because that’s where Rachel and her husband Eric and live and they are delightful people and I love them, but I also always forget how much of a bitch that drive is. Six hours is all well and good until you try to stop at a Starbucks at quarter to 8 at night in bumfuck nowhere Wisconsin and they tell you they will not serve you because they are closed but the app definitely says they don’t close until 8pm and they were just being lazy and now you have to continue to drive another four hours back to Milwaukee sleepy and sad.

But I digress.

The last brewery we went to was Indeed Brewing, which was right down the street from Able. We walked there! It was cold! I was wearing a skirt and a crop top and fishnets! Again, it was fucking cold. But whatever. At Indeed I got a Day Tripper, which was really good, I think and Nicole got a Lucy. If memory serves correct, all of their beers were Beatles themed beer names. Honestly, this might be why I shortly thereafter had a dream that my friends and I opened a brewery where we had all Phish-themed beers.


And, about Phish-themed beers, unrelated to our time in Minneapolis, but MobCraft Brewing will be brewing an experimental small batch of one of my Phish-themed beers that I dreamt about. Scent of a Mule Ginger IPA coming to the MobCraft taproom soon (probably in January? Maybe December?) I’ll keep y’all posted on that front later.

But back to Minneapolis in September. After Nicole and I finished off our beers, we decided to hit up a liquor store and get drunk in Rachel’s basement watching Match Game. It was like a warmer, more wholesome fun than rolling around the mean streets of Minneapolis looking to score some smack and ass. I kid. I roll around the mean, cold streets of Milwaukee without concern.


Also, I visited a Margaritaville at the Mall of America because you know I love me some Landshark.

Minneapolis actually had a super cool craft beer scene that I definitely only got a small sampling of while up there. But I want to go back and maybe soon (but maybe not soon). Also, the next couple of posts are still going to be far from Wisconsin and you will find me somewhere more serial killer-y. What? you say. What could be more serial killer-y than Wisconsin? And to that, I must say, somewhere a bit more PNW-y. But until then, farewell.