It feels weird being here in this empty text box on this nearly defunct blog, writing about something I did. For the last fifteen months I have been indoors. I largely spent that time unemployed, broke, scared. So fucking scared. For the last fifteen months, I watched the news as people around the world died by the millions, our governments failed to protect their most vulnerable populations, unable to see my grandfather or my friends or most of my family. I had to defer grad school, and now I don’t think I’ll go back. I had to move back in with my parents, back to the Milwaukee area, back to this weird little life of mine. Back to a smaller world than the one I was just starting to grow into in Denver. It’s been a crazy year.
Where has this blog been? Mostly in hiding. What’s there to write about when you can’t go into a brewery. Or, more accurately, won’t go into a brewery because it’s not safe. Or, wasn’t safe? I’m not sure where we land on safety, but there is something notable that has changed. On April 20th of 2021, a quiet afternoon in Mukwonago, Wisconsin, I walked into a Walgreens and was stuck with a needle– for the second time. I got vaccinated. Now, that doesn’t mean I immediately ran out into the world and decided that it was time to rejoin the unmasked masses. Firstly, it takes two weeks before your vaccine is fully effective, so I had to wait. And even then, I just found myself feeling anxious and scared. When the CDC announced that fully vaccinated no longer need to wear masks in most situations, I cried. Not because I was excited, but I was nervous. I have been “practicing” not wearing a mask by not putting one on at drive thru windows like I have been doing for the last year. The second week of May, my friends and I went back to MobCraft to have a few drinks. It was scary, but the tables were spread out and there were hard rules that if your ass wasn’t in a chair, your face was in a mask. I have now been to two restaurants, MobCraft three times, and Component once. My heart still goes all pitter-patter, pitter-patter when I first get somewhere, but I’m getting better.
Or, at least, I thought I was until I got to Eau Claire this week for work and discovered that no one in this whole fucking town is wearing a mask. Not employees, not people in stores, nowhere. Culture shock. Absolute culture shock. But, at the same time, I’m in Eau Claire. What do I expect? Oh, also, that’s where I am! Eau Claire! That’s what I’m writing about! Me being in Eau Claire!
Much like I am struggling to interact with humans outside of my immediate family and core friend group lately because it’s been so long since I’ve needed to, I am apparently also bad at blogging now. Just kidding, I’ve always been a Bad Blogger™️. But, big news, biggest of big news. I had to go to Eau Claire for work which means I made this big, bold choice to… go… to… a brewery! Fuck yeah, yah girl is back. Not only did I go to a brewery, I sat at. the. bar. My fully vaxxed ass was really out here playing fast and loose.
Anyways, I went and didn’t take any pictures so let my words do the serenading here. After extensive research into the breweries of Eau Claire (there aren’t many), I decided that after the day I had had at work, I wanted something lowkey so I settled on Modicum Brewing in Altoona, which is apparently right next to Eau Claire. Who’d’ve thought.
There was a good handful of people of people inside, and a few enjoying their small patio, as the weather was sunny and the humidity was significantly lower than what we had been dealing with for the last few weeks. So it was a beautiful day and I drank inside. Hah, yes. Suck it COVID*. But anyways, there was a nice guy working the bar and he was shooting the shit with me for a bit about this and that. Which I love. And I miss.
The first beer that I had was their Party Vibes IPA, the only IPA currently on tap. I really liked it. I made absolutely no notes about it because, of course I didn’t. But I did give it a 4.5/5 on Untappd so I really did like it! And I drank it way too quickly. However, a nice thing about this brewery, is that none of their beers were an offensive ABV where I would like be “this is delicious” and then three beers in I’m like “you mean to tell me these were all 11% abv? That should be illegal. I’m drunk.” None of that happened!
My second beer was the Idiom Amber Lager which I also liked. The one thing about this beer, and it is definitely not the beer’s fault. Or no one’s fault? I’m not here to put fault on anyone or anything, but they served it in a glass mug, but the balance between the handle and the vessel that held the liquid was off and it was weird and heavy to hold? And I felt like the only way my weak, frail lady arms could drink this beer was to clutch it in both hands like I was in a Hallmark movie sipping cider with the mysterious new love interest/secret Santa Claus who just moved to town while snow fell around us on the town square. Like, every time I went to set my drink down, I felt like I was letting it clatter to the bar top like I demanded attention. Which like, I always demand attention, but this was much.
My last beer was the Strowboss Farmhouse Ale which I ordered for absolutely no reason. I do not like farmhouse ales, and I only ordered this beer because people around me kept ordering it and I’m easily influenced by both people and advertising so I ordered it although I do not like farmhouse ales. And guess what bitches? I really, really, really liked this beer. Like, so much so now I’m wondering if I’ve always liked farmhouse ales and it’s actually table beers I don’t like? How many farmhouse ales have I passed up because I thought that I didn’t like them just to find out yesterday that I do like them? Or maybe this was just an exception to the rule? Anyways, as my vaccinated summer progresses and I have to decide between having a hoe phase or a hops phase, if I lean towards the beer path and choose hop phase, I will have to explore this new interest in farmhouse ales? I think I’m going to Mobcraft again tonight so if they still have on on tap, I may just have one.
Anyways, that’s it. That’s my first brewery back. It’s been a goddamn long year. It’s been scary and sad and I’m very much still recovering and I hope that we keep the nurses and doctors and EMTs in our hearts as we start to go back into the world. They have seen so much more horrors than we can ever imagine while we were stuck inside drinking beer alone and questioning every sneeze. I look forward to being able to do this again. Post on this blog that is.
*There very much is still a pandemic. There, very much, are still people dying. I should reign it in.