We left upstate New York a few days before New Years Eve 2014, drove to Baltimore where the temperatures dipped well below zero with a wind-chill akin to Yellowknife or Siberia, or just Syracuse, let’s not be dramatic. Deciding enough was enough we split for the South. Within ten hours of Baltimore we’re in Savannah, Georgia parking the car under a palm tree, walking into a liquor store.
Tag Archives: brewery
New York State is the ‘Empire’ state, founded by businessmen where, on rare occasion, the legislative body that governs this large and diverse landscape gets something right (sort of). The Farm Brewery Law in 2013 was an excellent step in the right direction as far as economic development and tourism for New York’s smaller farming communities. Continue reading »
OK – Taos. All that I wrote about the drive from Pueblo Colorado to Taos, New Mexico was true, except for some specific details, details that I’m not sure need to be covered in a blog more or less about beer. Suffice it to say we left a bar in Pueblo, Colorado around 11pm and drove 35 miles through a blinding snow storm to a rest stop, tucked ourselves into bed in the back of our Element with pie in the sky hopes that the snow would subside by morning, it didn’t. Using a Frisbee (it was early October so we were unprepared for a blizzard) I cleared as much snow off the car as I could and we were off towards Walsenburg, Colorado, where we stopped for coffee, bought bad gas and caught up on email before moving further on towards Taos.
Continued…. After crossing the massive Mackinac Bridge, we’re on main land Michigan en route to Traverse City, where we have a hotel reservation and a nose for good beer. The road is empty and though the sun is exposing the colorful treetops, a dense fog gives way to a freakish yet mercifully brief snowstorm before evaporating into a picturesque glorious morning. After many off the beaten path stops to stroll through the towns and walk the shores of North Eastern Lake Michigan, we’re in the quaint quasi-cosmopolitan town of Traverse City just after lunch.
Out of Milwaukee on the road toward Green Bay, the highway is empty and what we can make out in the faint moonlight is endless and empty flat space with the all too familiar odor of cow. With each passing mile a gnawing sense of the creeps is crawling its way into my head, yet we press further on into the Midwest midnight void. Continue reading »
….Bee Line to Chicago, still hot but anxious to return to the Windy city…but not for the wind. After a lovely walk around Millennium park we opted to take the long and slow way up Lake Shore drive towards Evanston into the bucolic Chicagoland suburbs. Surrounded by beautiful homes, fancy cars, boutique restaurants, prep schools, yoga shops and six dollar a gallon gas, we found a brewery. Now I’m not going to give the name of the establishment (or name of the town as they are synonymous) because the beer was bad and given the BMWs and Barbour jackets passing by, one gets the sense that this kit beer tasting nano-brewery is riding the craft beer wave. The gorgeous smartly decorated bar, lacked authenticity in its obvious attempt to draw a specific clientele, the one that carries gold and black credit cards, the one that doesn’t wear socks in their penny loafers, one that is so pathetically nouveau riche they are unable to recognize a beer from a ginger ale. Without finishing our glasses of slop we paid the check and split, but tipped our hats to the moxy of a business owner who can get away with charging top dollar for a shitty product. Continue reading »
…..continued – We reluctantly left Detroit on Monday, September 9th. It was humid and rainy, but by the time we reached Kalamazoo there was a blazing sun beating down on us. We walked the quaint, quasi cosmopolitan city in the early evening and while Julie captured a gorgeous sunset the humidity thickened the air considerably. Kalamazoo was not just a point on the map, it was west and we were headed west, but most importantly Kalamazoo is home to the Bells Brewery.
Lounging on the Bells outdoor patio, too excited to have my first Oktober beer to worry about the lake of sweat forming on me in places no man wants moisture, I was relaxed and ready for a beer. The Marzen came and was good. Of course it had the proper aroma, was malty without fruit, down the center as far as bitterness, however not as classic Bavarian a Marzen as I’m accustomed to, feeling like an American Amber dressed as a Marzen. I often like when breweries take something classic and delicately spin it to fit their aesthetic, doesn’t always work, but for Bells it does. Continue reading »
Following an enjoyable labor-day weekend we left western New York and continued along Lake Erie.
After stopping in Cleveland for a sunset beer, “the king of beers” we spent the night on highway 90 outside of Elyria, Ohio. Without a particular destination in mind, we heard the city of Detroit calling to us and set our compass. Being Julia’s birthday “season” I found a brewery that crafted Belgian’s named Dragonmead, which as luck would have it, was close to our hotel.
By the way, Detroit and the surrounding metro area is an awesome city, zombie land, abandoned, condemned, forgotten but beautiful in it’s dystopian, post-apocalyptic Cormack McCarthy charm, which feels like a theme for the cities we travel to these days. Continue reading »
Ellicottville Brewing Company. Ellicottville, New York, is in the southern tier of western New York State, nestled in the Allegany Mountains. Julie and I were married in a house outside of the small ski town and of course spent quite a bit of time at the brewery during our wedding weekend. Having returned to Ellicottville a few times since, we’ve witnessed the brewery’s expansion. EBC has outgrown the rustic ski town bar with a brew house in the back, to a large restaurant and even larger brewery operation. This time we sat at a very modern and chic outdoor bar. Continue reading »
Taps, Niagara Falls, Canada. As one of the first breweries we visited, Taps in an important milestone in my beer tasting adventures.
During our honeymoon in Niagara Falls we found Taps brewery in a converted garage not far from the picturesque town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. At the time they had only a couple of beers, we bought a six-pack of the now retired “Premium Ale,” which was excellent. Fast forward a few years and we’re in the new and expanded Taps brew house and restaurant in downtown Niagara Falls, Canada. Continue reading »