The First Daze of Beer Giveaway?! (Now Closed!!)

If you’re new here, welcome! Welcome to my blog. Welcome to my lifestyle. If you’re wondering what we do here, I would recommend going all the way back to the first post, which is essentially an expanded About section. From there, I would recommend that you read last year’s State of the Blog. After that, it doesn’t matter. You’ve caught the essence.

But what I am so excited to announce is that we are doing the FIRST Daze of Beer giveaway! Enter by December 23rd for your chance to win awesome swag from local craft brewers from all over Southeastern Wisconsin as well as some exclusive Daze of Beer merch.

To enter, just fill out the form below. And boom. You’re in! Also, read the rules? There aren’t many. We’re not big on rules in these here parts. Winner will be contacted via an overly emotional and quite gushy personal email from the founder of the blog (lol, me) by New Year’s Eve.

Evil Genius Beer Company, Philadelphia, PA

Picture it: Thursday, April 19th. Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A weary case manager sits at her desk with her officemate and boss brainstorming quick weekend getaways to help her manage the lingering winter blues that have gotten her down. Anything within 8 hours. Those are the only guidelines. No reasonable solution is offered. The hope of a weekend away dims. Fast-forward three hours, she sits at her desk, eating some sort of leftover from the previous night that cannot quell her hunger for adventure. She’s clicking through Google Flights, trying to look forward to her summer trip to Colorado. And then she sees it. Airfare. $6. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Good God, that must be a mistake. $6? There must be a missing zero or a decimal error or something. But no. It is not a mistake. Within minutes, she has herself booked on a $6 one way flight to Philly and $6 back. Between terrorism fees and taxes, she has herself a $25 round trick ticket to the city of Brotherly Love leaving Sunday morning and returning Monday night. She did it. She escaped the Good Land another time.

Dramatic? Yes. But guys! I went to Philadelphia! One two days notice! With no plans! And nothing but a backpack! Was it crazy and impulsive? Yes. Did I have a good time? Yes. Did I drink beer? Of. Fucking. Course I drank beer. So welcome to this fine edition of the blog where I talk about one of the most delightfully silly and meta and nostalgic breweries I could have come across. Evil Genius Beer Co. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

So, I have been trying to get out to Philly for a while, but this trip was so sudden and unexpected I had nothing in mind when I got off the plane at Philadelphia International Airport. I didn’t research any breweries and all I had was a note on my phone with a list of things recommended to me by my officemate. And his list was mostly comprised of his sentimental attachment to his hometown and less interested in my base pleasures, which is beer.

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The actual list.

But anyways, I found myself standing in the designated rideshare pick-up area frantically googling “breweries philadelphia” because I had nothing planned and I just chose the first one that popped up on the “near me” list without even looking at their website. And can I tell you how big of a mistake this was? Just kidding. It was actually one of the most perfectly random Google suggestions that could have crossed my way.

My Lyft driver was quite concerned about my course of action, I must say. He told me numerous times he would never be okay with his daughter, no matter how old she was, just blindly wandering the streets of Philadelphia alone and into some brewery without any plan or purpose. And when he pulled up to the curb, he asked if I felt safe getting out and if I didn’t, he would take me somewhere else. Other than the obviously questionable subway that ran overhead, it was very much the neighborhood you find a brewery. People were hugging in the streets. There was a place on the corner serving brunch with a cute chalkboard sidewalk sign out front. This is where my people were. This is where I belonged. Of course, before I truly departed from my Lyft, I told the driver if I was stabbed, I would haunt the shit out of his car. But we had a good rapport so I do not feel guilty about this at all.

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First nice day in Philly, so the windows were open.

Walking in, the place had just opened. It was 12pm on a Sunday and there were two guys sitting at the small space at the bar, and another bunch at a table. To order, you walk up to the counter and they have a small queue system in place. I decided to go for a five-pour flight to start my day and stood and stared at the board behind the taps with wonder and awe. While having a brewery theme is, to an extent, niche and obnoxious, it can be done right. As mentioned in the Broken Bat post, some themes can be fun. I will also say that the specific theme that Evil Genius was going for also had the ability to be tacky or abused or too kitschy. But, they handled it with grace and dignity, and I was not annoyed by it. Which is saying something as I am annoyed by almost everything. All their beers were named (maybe inspired?) as pop culture references. It was like the Gilmore Girls of beer, really.

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The beer menus were on VHS clamshell cases.

So, as I stated, I got a five pour flight to start. The beers I got in the flight were the Kill It! Kill It With Fire!, #ICANTEVEN, ET Goes Home, Aziz! Lights!, and Scotty Doesn’t Know. The Kill It! was a style of beer that I am not familiar with at all. Mostly because I don’t know anything about beer and I have been running a beer blog for over a year now (I know this because I just paid for another year at this beautiful domain) and I still don’t know shit. But anyways, it was a Biere de Garde with plum and elderberry.  I thought it was good but I didn’t quite get the plum and elderberry flavors. The thing I did appreciate about this beer was that it was beer. That might sound silly, but with a lot of beers (especially some of the ones I’m about to talk about in this very post) with the experimental IPAs and sours, the taste of beer is lost to the kookiness. But this beer was beer, which is something I want to start getting back to more. Beer flavored beer.

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The #ICANTEVEN was a watermelon blonde ale which I did not like. Not because the beer was bad but because it tastes like watermelon. Guess what family? I hate watermelon. I hate it so much. Now, you might be wondering, “Hey, dumb ass, if you hate watermelon, why did you order a beer that was supposed to taste like watermelon?” And the short answer of it is that I am, in fact, a dumb ass. The long answer is that I like watermelon flavored things. Like Jolly Ranchers and juice. But this beer legitimately tasted like watermelon, not the chemically reproduced in a lab equivalent of a memory of what watermelon used to taste like once upon a time before the Great War. I think that speaks to how the beer was made (with real watermelon I would guess) but it also means that I had a hard time finishing it. (But I did finish it because I’m a Guida and Guidas don’t leave beer on the table. That’s alcohol abuse.)

The ET Goes Home was a Double IPA that tasted like strawberry milkshake. Or at least that is what is was supposed to taste like on paper. In practice, in my notes, I wrote that the gimmick outsold the taste. Philly was nearly a month ago at the time of me writing this (timeliness be damned) so I’m not sure I have more to elaborate on the matter.

The Aziz! Lights! falls into the same category as the #ICANTEVEN which is simply. I am an idiot. This was a cucumber IPA, and I am sure to someone it is refreshing, but I don’t like cucumber. Why did I order this? It tasted like cucumber. Unless a cucumber has spent the majority of it’s life in vinegar and comes out a pickle, I will not eat it. I will not let it diffuse in my beverages. I won’t let Jimmy John’s put it on my veggie sandwich. I. Do. Not. Like. It. And I did not like this beer. Because I’m, again, stupid.

The Scotty Doesn’t Know was a oatmeal pale ale. Apparently I liked it because all I wrote in my notes was “‘Twas good.” Which honestly, is probably a glowing endorsement from me. I don’t even know myself that well anymore.

So, after I wrapped up my flight, I was starving to death because I hadn’t eaten all day. And I had just flown in from Milwaukee. But, as I believe in thoroughness of life and was also having a grand time reading I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara pre-Golden State Killer capture (read the book, it’s amazing), I decided to have one last beer. So I got a full pour of the Stacy’s Mom citra IPA. My notes on this beer say this is “what I live for” and it’s light and “less pretentious” than many IPAs. Now, let me take a moment to be self reflective on this statement. Assuming a beer can be pretentious and priding another beer in being less so, in and of itself is pretentious. I think I was starving to death and a little too up on my own bullshit at this point. But guys, I was in the city of Brotherly fucking Love. The city of the Super Bowl Champions. The city that for the last two and a half years of my life I have had to listen to my officemate prattle on and on about how about his the greatest city in the world, no matter what the Schuyler Sisters insist on. I was wrapped up in my love of Philadelphia and was totally fine being pretentious. I had wandered into a city I had never been in before with just a backpack on my back, no plans, no where to go, and I was feeling free and independent. This is what happens when I travel alone. I get too into my own bullshit.

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But anyways, by the time I finished the Stacy’s Mom, I needed to get food. I should mention that there is a light menu at the brewery but my aforementioned officemate had given me an extensive list of food recommendations that I needed to tackle in my less than 48-hour stopover in Philadelphia and I could not waste a meal on a salad. So I closed my tab and headed out.

Since visiting Evil Genius, though, I have become an avid fan of their social media accounts. This is a brewery run by nerds for nerds, and it devastates me that I do not live closer to the lab and cannot visit more frequently. I will also say that the only moment of melancholy I experienced on my solo travels was in this brewery as I sat there reading the beer list and taking in the atmosphere thinking about how much Jake and Ashley would’ve loved that place. The beertender said my told my total was twelve doll hairs at some point. Doll. Hairs. That’s shit Ashley would’ve been all over. I won’t get too sappy about my visit to Philly (especially since I have another post in this two-part City of Beertherly Love series coming up), but this brewery was a great first impression on the city. It was unassuming and disinterested in being anything other than what it wanted to be. It’s definitely on my list for when my friends and I inevitably return. I loved Philadelphia and can’t wait to go back.

Stitch and Snitch Brew Day

Full disclosure: I’ve restarted this post no less than six times. You may be wondering why, but you honestly probably aren’t. But I’m going to tell you anyways. The why is because I seem to suddenly be incapable of writing an intro that is in any way related to the contents of this post coupled with the fact that every single intro ended up being incredibly dark. A lot of guilt for the lack of content. A lot of weird comments about being a twentysomething in a mid-sized city looking for the meaning of life on Tinder and at the bottom of beer bottles. Like they were all really dark. But that’s not what this blog is supposed to be. This blog is supposed to celebrate beer and not bastardize it into some kind of unhealthy coping mechanism, like a Lifetime movie or a very-special-episode of a TGIF show. So here’s where we are going to start today. By celebrating beer.

But not just any beer. My beer.

Remember way back when we went to MobCraft and I mentioned that they are a “crowdsourced” brewery? Meaning, they accept submissions from the masses on what flavor of beer they should brew next, and then people vote and pre-order their favorite beers and the winner gets made into beer. Remember all of this? It’s explained poorly in the original post but look back on it if you want more (mis)information. Well, as you can imagine where this is going, I decided at the end of January to submit a fun beer idea in the interest of science and the constant need to win. Just because I’m losing the war that is “life” doesn’t mean I can’t win a few battles here and there. And why not throw myself into a battle I have no business winning for my idea of a beer that hopefully tastes amazing but might suck, because I have no formal training in flavor profiles? And that’s what I did, guys. I submitted a beer for consideration.

The beer I submitted was named “Stitch and Bitch” but because of rules and laws and modesty standards, they had to change the name to Stitch and Snitch. The idea of it is a sour with raspberry and peach flavors. How fun. At least, that’s what I wanted it to be. I wanted the whole thing to be just really fun. Because for some reason I have trained myself to believe that fun is for other people, something I would never stoop so low as to enjoy on my own. But now, here I am, trying to embrace fun and whimsy.

So, while I keep calling this my beer, I will wholly admit that it is not my beer at all. It is just my silly idea. It is the beer of the fine brewers at MobCraft who looked at my silly idea and thought “Eh, we could probably science this into a beer, right?” And they DID. They put together a recipe and were like “This strongly resembles BEER.” And then I forced everyone I ever met to pre-order/vote for my idea of a beer that was formulated into a stronger beer concept by the lovely people of MobCraft, and thanks to some bullying and I am assuming the kind support of strangers (as I do not have nearly enough actual friends and family to solely push me towards victory) my silly beer idea won. Which means that my silly idea will be an actual beer. A beer that I pitched to accompany a very specific experience. Sometimes I do stupid things like this, but it’s all of your faults for enabling me to do these stupid these.

So, anyways, the fine people at MobCraft invited me and my entourage to Brew Day to see my beer be conceived. While normally I had no interest in witnessing the conception of anything, this was a little different and a touch more sciencey. Adam, who was in charge of making my awesome idea of a beer, and Henry, co-founder/co-owner/delightful human, were so kind and patient to explain all the things that go into beer, specifically my beer, and the processes involved. We got to see it go step-by-step and then we all drank beer waste, which is like a sweeter, less gross version of bong water, I would imagine. It was a beautiful day. I got to meet so many lovely people who work in different aspects of the business, like Kayla who is the director of operations, and Sam, who does their graphics work. Everyone was so kind and welcoming and willing to listen to me talk and answer my questions and put forth so much effort on their Sunday to make me and my entourage* feel welcome and at home.

Do I wish I could write more objectively about the experience? Of course. But I am just so blinded by the sweet and kind gestures of the whole day. It would be so easy to throw a crowdsource beer winner a t-shirt and say “beat it” but at MobCraft, they welcome these winners into their brewery and let them feel apart of the process, which is so cool. It humanizes the whole effort. Beer is about more than catching a buzz on a Tuesday night alone in your living room watching Australia’s Next Top Model. Beer, especially craft beer and local brewers, is about community. It is something the people of MobCraft are clearly passionate about and want to share their passion with anyone who wants to be apart of the culture.

It’s hard to believe that just eight months ago I started this blog, this Beer Journey, as a joke. Bought a cheap domain (and an expensive vanity domain, heyoh, daze.beer) and paid for the cheapest hosting platform I could find, just to jokingly be like “We had beer here. It was fine.” And now, I am sitting here genuinely excited about where I am going to go next. Where my next beer is going to come from. I look forward to hearing more stories from people who pursued their passions, to talking to people in the industry who don’t do this to be rich or famous or cool (although there is an inherent coolness about being a craft brewer). They do it because they love beer and want to share their love. Beer is the perfectly complex mix of art and science and the people who pour their souls into these pints are also perfectly complex humans.

So, thanks to MobCraft here in Milwaukee and to my friends and family for support both my beer idea and my silly beer hobby and thanks to society for supporting this.

*My parents, Emily, Sam, Jake, Ashley, Karen.

Mittenfest, Bay View

Winter in Wisconsin is a long and bleak process that we must all experience at least once in our short lives. At some point, every year, about mid-January, the world gets dark. Very dark. Claustrophobically dark. Every takes down their Christmas lights and packs away their cheer until next year, and all that is left is a void. The sun never shines. There is constantly snow and salt and grime on the streets, on your shoes, in your house. No one can go outside. It’s too cold. Too wet. Too depressing. Smiling is something that you remember fondly, like a hazy memory, and you’re never too sure if a Good Day will ever happen again. Flipping through Instagram, you only notice the pictures of your “friends” in tropical locales and warm climates drinking margaritas on the beer or beers on the patio and wistfully remember when that was you. But drinking outside in the dead of a Wisconsin winter is as absurd and foreign to you as the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

But then, magically, something comes along to change it. Something that does seem absurd on paper but in reality is a heaven-sent savior ready to shake loose whatever frozen depression had settled into your soul. Mittenfest. Wicked Wisconsin winters be damned, for the good people of Milwaukee will not go down with out fight. And that is what I bring forth to you today. The adventures of Mittenfest, right down there in Bay View.

While this is not a brewery event, I felt like it was worthy of content as the bar hosting this preposterously delightful outdoor street festival, Burnhearts, is well-known for their craft beer selection. Plus, they partnered with two breweries, Central Waters of Central Wisconsin and Founder’s of Detroit, which were both serving some awesome and rare beers. As well as beer, there were Old Fashions and a full bar instead Burnheart’s. The best part was, this was about four blocks from where I live so I didn’t have to drive or park or Uber or risk Monica trying to buy drugs from the Lyft driver (again). We could just walk. So, Ashley, Monica, and I were joined by Daze of Beer newbie Molly (who is the person who clued us into this event) and we hit up the mean streets of the most hipster part of the city occupied by the most hipster people of the city to drink beer outside on a brisk 20-degree day. There was live music, flowing drinks, and delightfully friendly drunk hispters all ready to make the most of the day.

And boy did we make the most of the day. I cannot recall exactly what we all drank, but I can give you an overview. I believe every beer I had was from Central Waters. I had their HHG which was an American Pale Ale that I really enjoyed. There was also a IPA I drank that I do not remember the name of. Ashley and Monica also tried their cider that was a vibrant yellow and kinda looked like pee? But they may have liked it. I don’t know. Then there was the coconut rum porter that Molly got that definitely tasted like coconut rum and the memory of past mistakes. None of us like this porter, let me tell you. Also, I have been poking around on both Central Waters and Founders’ websites to find out the name of it and to confirm that it was coconut rum and not spiced rum, but I cannot find any trace that this beer ever existed. But it did. Let me tell you it most certainly did. And I can tell you this with such certainty for several reasons.

One, Molly ordered it. And we all tried it. And no one liked it. And then I went to the bathroom, and while waiting in line, the two girls approached the guys standing in front of me and offered them one for free because they had also bought one and did not like it. And the guys accepted the free beer, didn’t like it, and then shared it with me, and I shared it with the girl behind me. None of us liked it. And then these same girls gave these same guys another one because their other friend also bought this rum porter and also did not like it, so these guys just gave me the beer. And the girl behind me and I shared it. It was a beer that no one liked but brought everyone together. It is a very similar effect the Kardashians or the Patriots have on people.

But anyways, by this time the temperature was dropping and it was snowing. The live music had wrapped up and it was dark and they were just lowkey DJing music. That’s when the dance party busted out. I don’t know if anything in this world can ever recreate the feeling of being drunk on beer and Old Fashions, dancing in an inch of freshly fallen snow, under a black, winter sky and blue stage lights with thousands of other drunk hispters who on any other day would be too “cool” to dance so silly in public. I met strangers and danced with them. I met friends of friends and danced with them. I was invited back to a guy’s after party, which I then tried to attend, but his more sober friend told both him and me and my friends that we were not invited. Which was a good thing because we left Molly behind with other strangers. Everyone loved everyone. The world felt warm and safe and welcoming. It was the kind of thing that you don’t often feel in the dead of winter on Super Bowl weekend in a state where their football team hadn’t even made the playoffs. It was good.

So, shout out to Burnhearts. Shout out to the people of Milwaukee. And shout out to Molly and Ashley and Monica for their undying devotion to drinking, outdoor activities that involve drinking, fun, and new and

Lakefront Brewery Redux, Riverwest

Life is short. I hope you remember that every single day you wake up and start getting dressed for a job you hate in a city you never wanted to live in in a state that has been suffocating you for twenty five years. Life is short. Why are we wasting so much time just going about our routines when there is a whole world out there just waiting to be explored? Well, I will tell you why. Life is short but it’s also the longest thing you will ever do. At the end of life, there is no part two. You’re dead. You don’t get to restart and go for a high score. This is it guys. You will die one day and there is nothing left after that. Your short life will be over and you will wonder What have I even done? Isn’t that the real question, though. What have I even done?

On a personal note, what I will have done is spent hours, days of my short/long life drinking beer and going to breweries and writing about it on a blog that only three people read. Is that what I want to be remembered for? As if anyone would actually remember this about me. But I have said that this blog will be our legacy, and if there is one thing I want to be apart of my legacy it is this. This time I have squandered in my mid-twenties drinking beer with people I don’t hate repeating the same things over and over again until one day one of us gives up and disappears. Did you catch the key phrase in that sentence? The one about how we do the same things over and over again? Just like how every day I do the same thing. I go to work. I look at other jobs. I wonder why I didn’t quit two years ago when I wanted to. Or a year ago when I wanted to. Or six months ago. Or yesterday. I just keep doing it. And that is what life is. Repeating and rehashing past events trying to capture the initial magic until one day you die and realize that nothing will ever live up to the hype. Not adulthood. Not heroin. Not. Even. Beer.

For this post, we fall victim to just this very thing, as you can probably gather from the title. We go to Lakefront Brewery again. I’m not resentful. I had a delightful time mostly, again, but it is just another mark in a life full of rehashed events.

So, this visit brought together a large crew of people who are virgins in terms of the Daze scene. We got some old standards to show (Jake, Ashley, Monica, and me) but along with them came JD, Danny, Claire, and Druecke, none of whom have ever been to a Daze of Beer gathering. In fact, I think this was the first brewery any of them have even visited in Milwaukee? Don’t hold me to that. I don’t know their lives. But in terms of great places to “lose it,” Lakefront is definitely on the top of that list. Not everyone’s “first times” can be special. Sometimes it’s just kinda average and you think to yourself, “Oh, that’s it?” And then you have to try again, and hopefully you figure out what the fuss is about. But Lakefront really brings something. They’re gentle and caring but still know when to throw in a spicy beer with a witty tour guide. They just really know how to take care of a person.

We were also going over Thanksgiving weekend, which is when Lakefront releases their special Black Friday Imperial Stout. Bottles sold out Friday, and we were there Saturday, but they still had it on tap. Limited one beer a person. Does not work with drink chips. And as a good blogger, I really wanted to get one, but as I am not a Good Blogger ™, I kind of forgot about halfway through the visit that I was planning on getting one at the end of the tour.

Here’s a quick rundown of the beers we had without going into detail on anything because there were just to many of us.

Listed in order of how we drank them.

Natalie:
Stranded Coconut Ale, Centennial IPa, Rendezvous
Ashley:
Stranded Coconut Ale, Clutch Cargo, Stranded Coconut Ale
Monica:
Stranded Coconut Ale, Clutch Cargo
JD:
Stranded Coconut Ale, Centennial IPA (traded in two drink chips for one full sized beer)
Jake:
Oktoberfest, Centennial IPA
Danny:
Stranded Coconut Ale, Pumpkin Ale, Hulle Melon, Oktoberfest, New Grist Ginger
Claire:
New Grist Ginger, Pumpkin Ale

A couple of things to note. We all found the coconut ale delightful but strange as it had a very summer-y feel but it wasn’t brewed in the summer, it was made in the fall. But that didn’t detract from it. In the bleak and cold Wisconsin landscape, it’s sometimes nice to have those little reminders that warm weather and joy still exist somewhere, even if it’s not, you know, here. Also, I really did not like the Rendezous. It was a style of beer I was unfamiliar with, and failed to write down so I cannot report back on, but I didn’t like it. I believe Danny and Monica helped me finish it. It was a dark and bitter beer that cut deep to my emotions without being kind, or polite, or helpful in the least.

And so the tour commenced. We had a new tour guide who was a little scattered and definitely still working through his spiel, but once he got the jitters out in the first room, he really came into his own. I know that it was by no means his first tour, but as a person who has professionally given 20 minute long guided walking tours through an environmentally sensitive house, I could definitely see that he was probably within his first ten or so tours. But nonetheless, he was a delight. By no means “underemployed theatre major” levels of delightful, but that probably comes with experience. Also, completely unprompted, but at the start of the tour in the middle of a sentence, another man came running in that works at the brewery with a beer for a tour guide, commanded that he chug it, the tour guide obeyed, and then we all proceeded with the tour like nothing ever happened.

I’d like to believe it is because we have become complacent with life and no long question the absurdity that arises in the day-to-day because the government has conditioned us to no longer see the absurdity. It’s all absurd. Every last moment of life. So no one questions the tour guide being forced to close his eyes, open his throat and just swallow the damn beer because that is what life is now. Just the constant barrage of commands being thrown at us that ten years ago we would never have dreamed of, but are just apart of our daily existence. Cell phones track our every move. Life no longer can continue as status quo. Bitter. Cold. Dark. Absurdity.

So anyways, Danny earned a free beer for participating in a nice glove wave. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Well, too bad. Go on the Lakefront tour and figure it out.

After the tour, we had another beer, and then pocketed our last tokens and headed over to Stubby’s to grab our free beers with dinner. Does that ending feel abrupt? Well, don’t fret about it because it didn’t really end. Nothing really ended. Life is still continuing. I didn’t cease to exist after our Stubby’s dinner. No one did. We all just kept walking through those moments step-by-step, together and apart. So we went to Lakefront again. And we probably will do it another time. And another.

*note: I didn’t take pictures because life is meaningless. Everything is constantly evolving but also unchanging. If you want pictures, just google Lakefront. You will see that it is all the same. Or check out my last Lakefront post. Life is all the same. Fortunately, we all die. Farewell.

Pabst History Tour, Milwaukee

Sometimes, late at night, when the world has largely gone to bed and my mind is settling in for a restful slumber in my Bay View flat, the soft whispers of distant voices pass through my head as I hear the words that are oft repeated to me,  Zac Brown Band is really good live. The words sit heavy on my heart as I give into a fitful night of sleep, tossing and turning, wondering if those proclamations are true. Is Zac Brown Band actually really good live? 

But there’s got to be something said about Zac Brown. His idea of what relaxation looks very similar to what a good Wisconsin weekend is. Sitting by a lake, remembering that time you went to Mexico once, but not really Mexico, but rather a resort pandering to white people so as to not risk exposing them to too much culture (and drug cartels) that allows them to drink as much as they want for whatever they paid for the all-inclusive pricing. But the lake is good enough for you because you have an iced cold PBR and another forty-eight in the fridge that you’ve inherited from all your drunk grandparents and uncles and cousins and siblings. That’s summer in Wisconsin. A cabin up north, a lake, beer, cultural insensitivity and pretending you’re drinking local when actually, the beer you’re drinking hasn’t been brewed in Wisconsin in over twenty years. PBR. That’s right. The beer of hicks and hipsters alike. That’s what we’re talking about on this post. Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer.

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Wow, let me start by saying, this post chronologically comes in about halfway through the last one. Oktoberfest was both before and after this tour of ours, but I felt like this was better saved for afterwards. Unfortunately for anyone who is staunchly against my tangents and is fuming with rage over the fact that the last post was not a brewery post, I have terrible news for you. This isn’t either! It’s a historical tour of Pabst. But there was beer.

Honestly, this was such a delightful trip but it’s been so long, I don’t even know if I remember much about it. Included in the tour was two drink chips, which seemed like a sweet deal since I think Ashley bought this tour on Groupon for like $20 for the four of us. So that made the tour like $5/piece and then we all had beer. You get your first beer in this old little bar that the Pabst employees used to drink in back in the day when they were still headquartered in Milwaukee. It was cozy, for sure, and they were showing a football game on the television. This is where we all got our first drinks. Jake and Tim both got a Pabst Andeker first and Ashley and I got the Potosi Tangerine IPA. Very Wisconsin of us, if I do say so myself. The beers were fine. I don’t honestly remember being particularly blown away by them.

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Then at the start of the tour we were all welcomed into this beautiful hall filled with tables and chairs. It used to be the corporate offices, but now is rented out for weddings and events. Also, important note, Pabst does not own this place anymore. A local historian bent on preserving the history of the city bought it. And honestly, it’s for the best. A lot of the old warehouses and factory buildings that used to be apart of the brewery are either being converted into urban lofts or being torn down so more condos can be built on top of the sacred, hallowed grounds of where one of America’s favorite* beers was once brewed. Say it with me guys. URBAN RENEWAL. Bet you thought I was going to say gentrification didn’t you?

In defense of forward development in the city, I won’t get into gentrification or well-worn rants about erasing lower income populations and minorities from the city’s landscape because that’s not what is happening here. These are just abandoned buildings that have not been used in decades and they are occupying many city blocks just sitting there, empty. On one hand, it’s sad to think about the history of the city being bulldozed, but on the other, the important buildings are being preserved while the ugly ones are being made into condos. It doesn’t make sense for that much land to be wasted by abandoned husks of memories. The land needs to be utilized. This is a city, after all, and that is prime real estate. Honestly, by converting and redeveloping this unused, uninhabited space into expensive, fancy condos, it probably staves off outward expansion and destruction of culture and heritage that thrives just north and south of downtown. And also, I know that gentrification isn’t necessarily a dirty word. Some people see it as a chance for a neighborhood to be revitalized and given opportunity for an economic boom. And I’m also not an idiot. I live in an neighborhood that was once populated heavily by Polish immigrants, who then moved further south and were replaced by a heavily Latin population. Now the neighborhood is very white, very young, very millennial. I am a part of the problem too, guys.

Anyways, we were in the beer hall. I don’t know if you remember that or not because I sure as shit did not. Here we sat through a forty minute long chitchat/video about the history of Pabst. We found out that it used to be called Best Beer, not because they were conceded assholes, but the man who founded Pabst’s last name was Best. It wasn’t until his daughter married a man named Fredrick Pabst who then took over the company so Mr. Best could enjoy retirement that the name changed. And honestly, dumb name change right? Like, it’s hard to get away with calling your beer “Best Beer” if that’s not your last name, but who doesn’t want to be selling their beer and telling people “oh, it’s the Best.” But I digress. It’s been 150 years and we’re still drinking it at frat parties and dive bars in the northwoods so I guess it doesn’t matter.

Also, at some point, Jake won a free beer because Jake knew what the word Pabst meant in German. This is appropriate to mention, because as I brought up in our previous post, Jake spent three weeks in Germany as a social experiment and I’ve spent years in the German Pavilion at Epcot. So, I will concede to him that his German education awarded him a free beer and my time in the German Pavilion has earned me mostly melancholic longing for experiences and people that I will never have the privilege to enjoy again. We’ll give Jake a win in this column.

Before we got to leave off from off from the beer hall into the old offices, we got more beer! Woo! Tim and Ashley got actual PBRs, I got my official beer selection of 2017, which if you do not at this point know what it is, you can show yourself out, and Jake got a Pabst Oktoberfest which he decided was his favorite Oktberfest beer (maybe of all time?). Then, we got to casually join a large group of people and check out some of the old offices. It was cool. I don’t really have more to say that is remotely intellectual other than the fact that it was just super neat. The old hall was neat. The abandon-y sad looking parts of the building were neat. Everything was neat. Someone even declared this the best Daze of Beer event thus far, and I would probably have to agree.

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After the tour, we got to just hang out for a little bit. We drank some more in the beer hall. I finally got a PBR to just feel the spirits of the dead factory workers who once worked on those hallowed grounds, making this very beer for every man (or woman) to enjoy. It was nice. The building is beautiful and old and captures the spirit of this city that I love and hate. No one stopped us as we explored a cute little balcony. No one cared. Everyone was just chilling out and drinking beer on this beautiful Sunday afternoon.

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As I wrap this up, I would like to mention that while I have been talking about how Pabst isn’t brewed in Milwaukee anymore, it’s not wholly true. A few years back, Pabst announced  are turn to their homeland and owned a small craft brewery that brews actual beer. It’s just not Pabst Blue Ribbon. In fact, when I was googling to see what is actually brewed in Milwaukee, Jake and Tim’s Andekers were. Apparently they brew crafts and also older beers that had previously been discontinued to preserve the beer’s heritage and the connection it has to the city. I won’t get into it too much here because at some point in the future, we will probably check out the actual Pabst brewpub which is in the same mess of old abandoned brewery buildings still on Juneau.

While this wasn’t the best written or most interesting post I could have done, it was rather inspiring. Milwaukee has such a vast and rich history, especially when it comes to brewing, and it’s really cool to see something that has not only shaped this city, but has shaped pop culture. Pabst Blue Ribbon is a (in)famous beer. Country singers and rappers and my hipster roommate in Florida and JD Hartley all sing and talk and obsess over this rather unremarkable beer. Our grandfathers drank it. Someone of our grandfathers made it. But more importantly, this beer made us. This day was definitely something to remind us that Milwaukee hasn’t always just been a shithole, it used to be a shithole with a lot more beer.

*citation needed

Third Space Brewing, Menomonee Valley

Take a deep breath and breathe that in. Smell it? Feel it? That’s the putrid scent of failure my friends, and that smell is probably one of the most comforting things in the world. If we are back under the hazy, heavy cloud of comforting failure, that must only mean one thing. We. Are. Home. That’s right, friends, we are back in Milwaukee! God, it feels good to be back in the 414 where we can finally take off that riot gear, loosen our grip on our pepper spray, and purge any remaining Old Bay from our system. Okay, fine, maybe keep the riot gear and pepper spray handy, but trade in that Old Bay for some cheese curds and let’s rock and roll because on this episode of Daze of Beer, we are talking about Third Space Brewing!

As I have mentioned innumerable times across this blog, my personal Twitter, this blog’s Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, my real life, my fake life, and my Second Life, Third Space’s Happy Place is my official beer of 2017 (and maybe the rest of my life but I’ve only just started drinking it in February) so this was definitely going to be a special trip for me. We headed over there on September 16th to celebrate their one year anniversary with them! Well, I mean, they were celebrating it with us, the consumers. It’s not like an exclusive party. Again, this is a bullshit blog. I would never get invited to a real party. That’s only for Good Bloggers™, which has been well established that I am not. But honestly, how exciting is it for them that they lasted a year and in the course of their first year in existence, they immediately knocked it out of the park by making my official beer of 2017? How is that possible? How do people just start doing something and then are immediately like really good at it? I have yet to succeed at anything in my 24 years on this earth, and these people just show up one day and start making a lot of good beer? That’s horseshit*.

But anyways, let’s get back on track. Ashley, Jake, and I headed over before the surprise Brewer game that we were going to attend later that afternoon. Despite it being mid-September, it was hot that day. Like brutally so. I was wearing a knit crop top that fully exposed my bra without concern. That’s how hot it was. I put aside any notion of modesty because it was approximately a billion degrees outside**. But know what pairs well with a hot day? That’s right, a cold beer. Unless it’s a stout or a porter or most IPA and some APAs and a few other pale ale variations. But Landshark definitely pairs well with a hot day. But alas we were not wasting away again in Margaritaville, we were in Milwaukee.

 

So we roll up, park, and wander in. Immediately we hit up the outdoor taps because we are not amateurs and know that the best way to enjoy yourself is alcohol. It’s the most responsible thing you can do. Drink. I learned that from Boy Meets World. (Or I learned the opposite of that from Boy Meets World. Sometimes lessons get fuzzy.) In the spirit of the anniversary party, we all started with their special anniversary IPA You’ve Said It All. This was actually a delightful IPA, even on the disgustingly hot “fall” day. Even Jake liked it and he doesn’t like IPAs (not in the same way Nicole doesn’t like IPAs, but it’s still a thing).

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You’ve Said It All Special Release IPA

Jake’s official review on it, which is the only real note I made about the beer is, “It’s easy to drink with a hoppy finish,” which sounds so goddamn smart. Like, this kid knows what he is talking about. As we all know, as I am not a Good Blogger™ I usually just say “good” or “fine” or “bad” but Jake is quite articulate on his emotions. I am so proud of him. In fact, I am proud of everyone that joins me on these endeavors because I am watching my friends grow into these beautiful hipster craft beer snobs and it brings a tear to my eyes. It’s like watching the student become the master because, to be honest, I’m not sure I’m learning shit.

Along with the beer, Third Space had live bands and food trucks to keep these party animals rocking. The band that was playing while we were there was Life In a Tree who was startling good. They played mostly covers of pop-punk and classic rock music. And then we found out they’re sophomores in college and probably not even old enough to legally drink and it made me feel very old. Like ancient. Like, these kids are in a band and playing at breweries and also have to get back to their dorm at UWM so they can study for their econ exam on Wednesday, meanwhile I’m drinking to forget that I have learned the truth about life and it is that college is a scam and there is nothing in the world that even remotely resembles “happiness” or “joy” as it has been sold to us by the Don Drapers and real-life ad men in the world. And as I saw the darkness creeping into my vision from the ever-present looming reality that we will all die someday, I decided that was my cue for a second round. And Ashley and Jake followed suit.

 

My second beer was a That’s Gold, which was a traditional German style ale. This was the kind of thing that I needed to be drinking on this “global climate change exists” kind of day. It was refreshing and kind to me. Ashley got a Happy Place because, if we’re being honest, Happy Place is one of the few genuinely “happy” things left in this world. Jake went for their Fest Bier, which was their Oktoberfest beer. He found it resembled more of a brown ale than a true Oktoberfest, though, but he didn’t hate it.

At some point around here, I should mention that Tim showed up. He was going to the Brewers “away” game with us, but he had to work so he came late. I believe we bullied*** him into a You’ve Said It All because if you’re not going to try the special release beer, you can’t hang with us. Like, we are now all living in a different world than we once did. We are living in a post-Baltimore world and post-Baltimore Natalie is a changed woman because she had to drink a beer with Old Bay in it. If I can endure that bullshit, we can all suck it up and drink a delightfully delicious special release IPA that did not betray anyone by thinking it needed to put Old Bay or any other table seasonings in it. Third Space would never betray their consumer like every goddamn Maryland based anybody tries to on a daily basis by adding Old Bay to everything, like even the air. Thank you Third Space, and literally everyone else outside of Maryland who knows that Old Bay has it’s place and it’s not in beer.

We at some point wandered over to the taproom just to get a feel for it, but it was crowded because they were playing the Badger game on protectors on the wall. The upside was that the Badgers were playing BYU which allowed me to go into one of my well-worn rants about the state of Utah and the State Of Utah and Mormon culture and the time I got slut-shamed while walking down the street in Salt Lake City while I was dressed far more conservatively than I was on this particular day at Third Space. I’m not a hundred percent sure anybody was listening to me at this point because I think everyone is quite tired of my issues with SLC but Salt Lake broke my heart. I thought I was going to find the Promise Land and instead I found social isolation and snow in July (that technically was when I went into the mountains, don’t @ me).

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For our last beers, Ashley went with the That’s Gold based on my stellar endorsement (look at me advising people in what beers to get!) and I got a Unite the Clan which is a Scottish Rye Ale. I don’t know what those words mean, I just read it off their website. I do know that I liked it but I think at this point I was just really hot and I don’t like to drink when I’m really hot. Or really cold. You need to keep me at a constant 74 degrees Fahrenheit or else all systems slowly start to melt away. That’s why I only once successfully drank ALL the way around the world at Epcot, and that was miserable. It was July 4th, I had gotten drunk, sobered up, drunk again, and sober again in like a ten-hour park marathon pushing through nearly 50,000 tourists. I don’t drink when I’m hot.

But an important note on the Unite the Clans Scottish Rye Ale: Since our trip to Third Space in September, the beer has since won an award! The beer won a gold medal at this year’s Great American Beer Festival and the only Milwaukee beer to win one and only one of two Wisconsin beers to win this year. That’s pretty damn impressive and now I’m feeling a little hipster and snobbish to say proudly, Oh that beer? Yeah, I drank it before everyone knew it was good. But that would be terribly rude, now wouldn’t it?

Now, here is the part that I need to release a formal apology to Tim. I for some God forsaken reason have no notes about you buddy. I know that you drank a You’ve Said It All, and I know that you had a second beer, but I didn’t write any of that down. Again, this bitch ain’t no Good Blogger™, and I would like to formally apologize.

But anyways, this is where we ended our day with Third Space because we had to get over to the Brewers-Marlins “away at home” game, to watch the Brewers further blow their chance at post-season despite being God handing them an additional 3 home-games by trying to level the city of Miami in Hurricane Irma. The most important thing to note here is that at Miller Park they have a local craft beer pavilion and I was feeling a little sad about myself at this point because I went to Happy Place’s home, it’s happy place if you will, and I did not even get one. What kind of monster am I? So I rectified it as best I could and had two Happy Places at the game. Happy Place has the gold medal of my heart.

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Us at Brewer Game, less hot

And so that’s where we leave it. Next time we brunch and then accidentally create content on the fly, guerrilla blogger style (not really). 

*said with love and reverence (also I recognize that they definitely had previous brewing experience long before they just decided to sink a shitton of money and energy into their own micro-brewery. Like, they obviously knew they were good before I knew they were good.)

**citation needed

***or he picked it himself because he knows the nature of these gatherings, who’s to say