New Glarus Brewing, New Glarus, WI

Miracles be damned, the story carries on to another Wisconsin institution. New Glarus Brewing. So, this year I decided to be a good daughter and take off on September 14th to celebrate my father’s birthday with him since I had a full day of activities lined up on Saturday (his actual birthday) and also the day before (September 13th) was the beer release party for Stitch and Snitch at MobCraft. So I had this day off to both be a good daughter and to recover in the event that I drank too much at the release party. For the record, I did not drink too much because I’m an adult, but it was still nice to have the day off.

Although it was once again ungodly hot. Like, miserably hot. So I rode out to Monroe with my parents to check out the Cheese Days festival, which I’m sure would’ve been super cool if I wasn’t so miserably, god-awfully hot that day. After that we headed up to New Glarus because it was only twenty minutes away and we thought we should check out the brewery.

First, let me say, that this was not my family’s first venture to the New Glarus Brewery, but it has been a good ten or fifteen years since the last time we went there and no one remembered it at all. Mainly because they’ve done radical remodels of the brewery and surrounding. I guess if I am digging into the vague and repressed parts of my memory from my middle school years (which is when I believe we went out there) the brewery was small and industrial. Now it is big and shiny and welcoming to visitors. The only formally guided tours they do are on Fridays at 1pm, otherwise it’s all self guided.

We walked through and read the posters and looked in windows and admired the beautiful people just trying to do their jobs while hundreds of tourists filtered in and out to stare at them. I went up a staircase that went to nowhere. We watched as bottles shot down a line like the opening scenes in Laverne and Shirley. It was beautiful. Then afterwards we went into the beer garden for my parents to have some drinks.

The thing about the beer garden was that I didn’t understand the theme. It seemed more like a beautifully done replica of some Tuscan ruins, which doesn’t exactly scream BEER. I think, honestly they were going for a German thing, and maybe it was working, but it didn’t feel like it was working to me. To me, it was Italy. Or more accurately, the Italian Pavilion in Epcot Centre’s World Showcase. But it was Germany or something, apparently.

Anyways, I was hot and didn’t feel great. Mostly I was hungry. Profoundly and deeply hungry. But my dad wasn’t really interested in indulging my whims of food because he felt that I should have filled up more at the Cheese Festival. Which is true. This is was mostly my fault. But the thing about New Glarius is that while they do put out different beers on occassion, they are more of a tried-and-true kind of place. They have their standards and their seasonals and you know what you’re getting. Now, I was going to tell you what they had, but I just went and pulled up my notes app and saw that I do not have any notes.

What I do remember for sure, is that my dad got a Staghorn. That’s it. That’s what I remember. Again, this is not the place you go for useful or good information on beer. This is where you go to see the ramblings of a madwoman.

But on the upside, after we left, on our drive home we stopped at the World’s Largest Culver’s and I got a scoop of the flavor of the day, which was s’mores. See, I remember the important stuff.

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Good City Brewing, Lower East Side, Milwaukee

What I was supposed to be doing on this day, the day in which I visited Good City Brewing, was attending an exciting double date day with Jake and my cousin Kaitlyn and her husband Andy where we were supposed to go to Third Space Brewing to celebrate their 2nd anniversary and then we were going to pop over the Great Lakes Distillery to just continue drinking until finally one of us blacked out, tripped, and ended up in some river. What happened, however, is Kaitlyn and Andy got tickets to the first Packer game of the season and canceled on us and so I canceled on Jake (or he canceled on me) (or we mutually decided to just not do anything) and my sister and I decided to just walk around the East Side to enjoy the natural beauty of a very lively, vibrant part of our city.

First, let me just talk about my love of the East Side. Everyone says Bay View is just “the East Side with parking” but personally, I find their vibes quite different. Bay View is where you move when you have your first kid. It’s mostly duplexes and there are yards. Things are spread out. There’s a Target. The East Side is young, trendy children who just graduated from UWM and aren’t quite ready to give up their lifestyle of drinking PBR at 4pm and smoking a joint in a dreamily, romanticized fashion out the window of their 100 year old apartment building while musing on the filmmaking masterpieces that Wes Anderson is cranking out bi-annually. You’re enamored with quirk and craft beer. You dreamed of moving to a city like New York or Boston or Chicago, but you’re stuck here. In Milwaukee. The East Side is as close to Brooklyn living as you’ll find in Wisconsin. They aren’t hipsters, not like the broke hipsters of Riverwest or the old hipsters of Bay View, they are just… aimless.

So Emily and I were wandering around the East Side, from Brady to North. And along our stroll from bustling Brady, filled with mid-thirties suburbanites trying to recapture their glory days of being untethered by kids and mortgages and corporate jobs and old hippies who were wistfully, publicly smoking weed and reminiscing about the glory days of Brady, when it was like Milwaukee’s own Haight, up to the Whole Foods on North where the crowd slowly transitioned into a younger vibe, college kids over zealously enjoying their first weekend of college away from their helicopter parents they left behind in Northern Wisconsin in the “big city,” we walked past Good City Brewing.

Upon our first pass, we were still full from our breakfast enjoyed at Qdoba with our parents (highly recommend Qdoba breakfast if you can find it somewhere near you), so we decided to put it on the “maybe” list for our afternoon activities and kept on walking. When we decided to return back to the car so we could drive up to Riverwest (always a mistake, I hate Riverwest people desperately) we walked past it again and decided, hell. Might as well have a flight.

Before venturing into Good City’s Farwell taproom and brewpub, I was already quite familiar with a couple of their beers that I had enjoyed in cans. Specifically their Motto APA that I have taken many places with me. Like to Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War and Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again. Okay, mostly I’ve just snuck this beer into the movies with me, but it’s good and I really like it. But what I was not expecting was to walk into their taproom and be handed a beer menu and to be confronted with 10 beers, 8 of which were in the IPA-family.

It is well established that I love IPAs. I could drink them all day. I’m even coming around to the idea of session IPAs so I can actually drink them all day without getting piss drunk after three of them. But Emily does not like IPAs and when you decide to split a flight because it’s noon and you’ve both got places to be (even if those places are just Riverwest) and you want to be a Good Blogger™, being faced with only 2 non-IPA options for beer is not too welcoming. Also, I find it lazy to predominantly offer IPAs as your beer options. IPAs are incredibly easy to make. You just keep throwing hops at the wall until you are satisfied that some asshole in a flannel is going to sniff it and say “wow, super floral” and then take a sip and with wide eyes proudly proclaim “DAMN that’s hoppy!”

But anyways, what we ended up getting in our four-pour flight was the Film Fest Lager, only available in September for the Milwaukee Film Fest season (yes, Milwaukee as a film festival, no. It doesn’t matter to literally anybody), the Varietal #9 which was Belgian style pale ale, the Motto APA, and the Reward triple IPA. As a good sister, should I have gotten a triple IPA when I knew that I was supposed to be sharing these beers with my sister who does not like IPAs? No. But did I have much choice in the matter? Not really. The breakdown was pretty simple. Emily really liked the Film Fest Lager, as did I. But I also was pretty cool with the Motto APA and Reward triple. Neither of us liked the Varietal 39, however. I think we’re just not very into Belgian style beers. Quite wheat-y in general.

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Anyways, the place seemed pretty sanitized. Classic brewpub with tables and full servers and garage doors that were open onto the beautiful early fall day. The usual. There was nothing that really stuck out or wow-ed me about the place, other than the fact that the food smelled so good. But the bartenders weren’t anything remarkable. They mostly had some drama about Dave Matthews going on behind the bar, and as it is no longer 1998, having Dave Matthews related drama is exhausting for me to listen to. Especially as a patron of a bar and not someone who actively chose to associated with people who mark all their major life events by who they were dating at which Dave Matthews’ concert.

I apologize that this isn’t a better or more informative post about Good City. I was just underwhelmed by the entire experience. I think my cousin Kaitlyn said it best when she told me “Oh, I always call that place Okay City.” Because that’s what it is. Just okay. They make a shitton of IPAs and they do it just fine. It’s nothing that I would go out of my way for. I can’t imagine there is much variety you can have when all you’re brewing is forty seven different IPAs. But there’s always next time.

And speaking of next time, my next post will be about New Glarius Brewing, found only in Wisconsin. Don’t get too excited, because I didn’t have any beer there!

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

Oktoberfest, Pere Marquette Park

October first is a very important day for me, personally. It’s not necessarily anything that involves beer. October 1st is a day that my life changed, even before I had a life to change. October 1st is the day that the world was first welcomed to greet the future, and experience imagination and technology, arts and science, world cultures. October 1st will forever mark the day that both the world and the World changed forever. October 1st, 1982 is the day the Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow opened it’s gates and welcomed all of us to a place like no other. That’s the day my home opened. That’s the day my heart changed, even though I wouldn’t even have a heart for another 11 years. That’s my day.

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Cheers, baby.

But since my life is bitter and cold, I could not be home on such an important day. Instead, I was enjoying brunch and planning on attending the Pabst History Tour (post to come) while wistfully following all the activities of the 35th anniversary celebration by proxy through my friends on SnapChat and Facebook and Instagram. I did toast to Epcot at brunch while all my friends who don’t understand how to accept their lord and savior, Figment, into their hearts stared at me with deep concern that I had finally, officially, lost my mind. But then, like a sign from the heavens, while sipping a beermosa on the gorgeous fall morning, a man wandered past the establishment in which we were dining wearing lederhosen. At first we thought, Oh, maybe that old man works at the Old German Beer Hall which was just a few storefront down from us. But he seemed old. And then another passed. I got nostalgic for things like Werthers caramels and the currywurst of the Germany pavilion at Epcot and shared an antidote about how my adviser in college’s wife’s uncle was from Germany and when he retired he moved to Florida and now works in Germany at Epcot. Jake also spent a month in German and tried to steal my emotions by talking about how he’s actually been to Germany, but I couldn’t be deterred. Epcot was my home. Germany was just a social experiment for himself.

And so, we concluded our brunch, with time to spare before our tour, we followed the growing, raucous sounds of polka music and crowds of people and found what we were not looking for but have always been seeking. An Oktoberfest celebration put on by Milwaukee County Parks on the Milwaukee River. And that was the moment we made content on the fly. So, without further adieu, on this special not-on-format-but-still-on-brand edition of Daze of Beer, we drink beer outside and listen to polka at Oktoberfest.

As I said, we stumbled upon this celebration already in full swing although it was around noon. The delightful thing about Wisconsinites and Germans and people who enjoy German culture is that it’s never too early to have a beer, especially if you’re having a beer outside with other people. That’s hard science. Go ahead, if you’re sitting on your porch at 8am and there are at least three other people on said porch and you and at least one of those other people have a beer in hand, if you crack it, no one will judge you. In some niche circles, they will cheer you on. We have normalized alcoholism and it’s quite charming.

So, we figured, what the h*ck, might as well beer with the best of them. Jake, being the bold and bawdy bard that he is, got a litre and started with the Staten Oktoberfest. Jake definitely also started this impromptu content creation with the bold claim of “This is actually pretty yummy. This might be my favorite Oktoberfest beer.” And I trust him on that quote I actually wrote down, because he’s been to Germany and also, he also made some intelligent remarks on Third Space’s attempt at an Oktoberfest beer previously. Tim got himself the Goose Fest Bier. Then Ashley and I both got the New Glarius Staghorn.

We stood around and took some beautiful, well lit photos while I just kept repeating “This. Makes. Me. So. Happy.” I really like drinking outside during nice weather. It’s strange as a person who does not typically enjoy the outdoors, but I like being within the safe confines of  a city setting, as were on this fine day, with the sun shining, drinking a beer. But unfortunately, joy cannot last forever, and we could only drink one lonesome beer before having to say “auf wiedersehen” to the entire party to catch our Pabst tour. But fret not, fore following our tour, we returned.

Upon our arrival back to Oktoberfest, we immediately grabbed a beer because again, can’t just stand around outside and not drink. That’d be a waste of time. Jake got the Staghorn Little, Tim went with the Sprecker Oktoberfest, as did Ashley, and I got the Spaten Lager. We also grabbed some food. Brunch was far behind us and the fall sun was starting to lay low in the sky, and it was time for late lunch/early dinner. We all got brats and chips and also someone got cheese curds that were quite good. And in the tradition of German beer halls, we sat at a long communal table (actually just several picnic tables pushed together) and that’s when we were regaled with tales by drunken bags players about how the bags tournament is horseshit. They laid out their plight, expressed their emotions, looked for our advice, and Jake said, “Yeah, sounds like horseshit.” And that’s how Jake made friends with drunk bags players at Oktoberfest. Our German forefathers would be so. proud.

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We enjoyed some more polka, but the festivities were winding down. The beer wasn’t flowing and the crowds were thinning. Also, I had planned on a taking a nap that day when I left my house around 10am and now I was finding it closing in on 5pm and I was exhausted. So we gathered our lives together and headed home.

Next time, we hear more about that Pabst History Tour. It’s not a brewery but there’s still beer! 

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