If you want to keep up with us during the week and not have to wait until Friday, you have a few options!
We traveled from Chicago to Wisconsin. We almost lost a passenger, Honey tried to escape, via the back right window, in the truck, at a stoplight in Chicago. Thankfully, we stopped her. What was she thinking?
The drive was about 4 hours. We arrived in the middle of nowhere (Amherst), WI to Central Waters. We were really, really excited about checking out the brews from here.
We ran into our first planning error, Master Google said they open at 8 AM, but they really open at 3 PM. We arrived around 1:30. We bought some package beer (Brewer’s Reserve Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale) and sat on their patio, split a beer, and I worked on blog things, while Ethan watched a TV show. They opened there doors at 3 and there were about 20 people there. We were blown away by the beers, they had lots of barrel-aged stouts on, we sampled Rye Barrel Chocolate Porter, Brewer’s Reserve Bourbon Barrel Cherry Stout, Brewer’s Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout, and Cassian Sunset. We got to meet the brewers and we gave them a Foothills BBL Sexual Chocolate. Sharing the NC love!
We got in the car and traveled further through Wisconsin on our way to Iowa. This drive was one of the most beautiful drives. There were huge, green hills, with cows speckled all over them. It was very picturesque, except I don’t have a picture. 🙁 We traveled mainly on country roads to Iowa.
Toppling Goliath is in the small town of Decorah. We were in the middle of nowhere and then a cute town showed up! We checked into the hotel and headed out to Toppling Goliath.
We met some really great people here. We made a few trades to other people that were there visiting, doing the same thing we are. We shared a beer with the workers, Collaboration without Representation from Deep River & Bottle Revolution. Everyone loved it. We ordered a pizza and shared that while sampling the Toppling Goliath beers. We tried: PseduoSue (galaxy hops), Xhops silver, Seltfird Stout, Pompeii, Golden Nugget IPA, Thresher IPA, and PseduoSue. My favorite was Pompeii, while Ethan loved PseduoSue on draft.
We really lucked out, they were releasing bottles of Xhops silver when we were there. We picked some up and headed to our hotel to hang out with the dogs.
We drove 3 hours to Minneapolis. We arrived in just enough time to change clothes (into our Texas Ranger’s gear) and head to Target Field. We checked every single city that we are passing through to see if we could go to a home game. Minneapolis is the only city that worked out and it worked out perfectly with our team, The Texas Rangers, being there.
It was a smaller ballpark, but very clean and well kept. We had a great time, minus the horrible score. We left halfway through to head to the Mall of America. Ethan road a rollercoaster and then we did some shopping for me! This mall was so crowded, and had tons of stores. We only had time to check out the lower level.
We went back to the hotel to freshen up and check on the dogs and then headed to Surly Brewing Co.
This was a brewery that blew my expectations away. It had such an amazing outdoor area, it looked like a park. It was amazing. We completed an IP trade and shared a beer with him and then decided to have dinner. The wait for the downstairs pub area was ~1 hr. Ethan spotted The Brewer’s Table restaurant upstairs and asked about that. They do a tasting menu with beer pairings. This was absolutely amazing. One of the coolest ideas and aboslutely amazing food paired with their already amazing beer.
The beers we tried were: Todd the Axe Man, Barrel-Aged Darkness, Surly Pils- #3 Spahir, Hell, Gose, Witch’s Tower, OverRated, Blutpakt, Folks Summer Ale, Fiery Hell, Xtra-Citra, Cacao Bender, and Four. Our favorite being the Barrel-Aged Darkness.
We slept in and took off. We had a big day ahead of us, 9 hours of driving. We were very shocked and surprised when we noticed that the speed limit is 80 mph in South Dakota. We passed through the Badlands, which were very beautiful in a desolate way. We skirted around the edge of a bad storm, which prevented us from taking the inner loop parkway through the park. We arrived in Keystone, SD. We could tell immediately that this town had not been renovated since the 70’s/80’s.
We went checked in and went straight to Mt. Rushmore. The monument was breathtaking. It was so surreal seeing it in real life. This was something on my bucket list, that Ethan obliged to let us go check it out. I mean, when else are we going to be in rural South Dakota?
The park was very crowded, I am not sure if it was because of 4th of July weekend, or if it is always crowded. We spent about an hour there walking around, checking out the different angles, taking pictures, and we tried the speciality Mt. Rushmore beer, which I don’t think I will ever drink again, unless I find myself at Mt. Rushmore again. We headed out for pizza and went back to the room and hung out with the dogs and relaxed.
We got a ton of sleep and woke up early, partially because we were so, so cold. We loaded the car and headed out. Hate to say it, but we were happy to see Keystone, SD in our rear view mirror. We passed the beautiful Mt. Rushmore one more time on the way out of time, still just as stunning as the night before. We headed through Black Hills National Forest. The rock formations were absolutely beautiful. Honey & Little T had their heads out the window the whole time and were acting crazy! Running back and forth from window to window, I really think they wanted to live there. They wouldn’t make it 5 minutes. We passed by Crazy Horse Monument and could see the side of the face, we really did not have the desire or time to stop.
We headed through rural Wyoming, well I say rural, all of Wyoming may be rural. There was no where to stop for hundreds of miles, I was really happy we had plenty of gas and snacks. We stopped at the first gas station we saw and had to ask what the tall “fence” for lack of better words, behind the fences were. We had all types of guesses, mostly surrounding around keeping game in or out of the highway. The attendant told us she was asked that 15 times a day and it was to keep snowfall off of the highway. Interesting. We saw lots of deer (or antelope) in the distance and wondered why there were even electricity poles.
As we approached Colorado and civilization, we started thinking about remapping our route. This made me a tad nervous, but it would clear up all of tomorrow for not having to drive, ANY! That was a huge pro, the con was that we would have to scratch off New Belgium. We decided that was okay.
We headed through Ft. Collins and added a new brewery to the list that we were both very interested in, Funkwerks. This was such a great spot. It was small, had an extremely laid-back vibe, and lots of unique beers to choose from. We had 2 flights, the Solstice Flight and the Base & Barrel. Honey and Little T were allowed here and had a blast, mainly barking at other dogs, but hey!
From here, we continued to Lyons, CO to Oskar Blues Taproom, the brewery was closed for 4th of July, but we had an awesome time at the taproom. We played arcade games, pinball (lots of varieties!) and Super Mario. Needless to say, I was an extremely happy girl. I had an Aretha Squeeze Ya and Ethan had an old favorite, Pinner.
Avery Brewing Company was our next destination. We put the signs on the windows and headed in. We split a Callipygian and Xolotl and then each ordered a beer with dinner. I had Zwickel Joe’s and Ethan had the India Pale Ale.. I had roasted veggie tacos and Ethan had fried chicken.
We head into Denver to our hotel. We started a load of laundry, freshened up, and hit the town for 4th of July fireworks and shenanigans.
First we hit, Falling Rock. There were tons of craft beers on tap for here. I ordered a Juicy Banger IPA from Station 26 Brewing Co. and Ethan ordered an Elevated IPA from La Cumbre Brewing, mine was the best!
We headed out to Sloane’s Lake afterwards to catch the fireworks. We sat on the grass and watched all of the shows against the Denver skyline, it was amazing. After the show we stumbled upon Joyride Brewing. This was a great spot with great music, great beer, and a photobooth. We both had the Serpent Deflector NE Style Pale Ale. We headed to 1UP a super cool arcade for late night games, because neither of us can pass up an arcade. It was a great time.
First things first, we took the dogs to the Railyard Dog Park. They loved it! Honey and Little T both loved being able to run and play. We went to Denver Biscuit Co. for late breakfast/early lunch. We had seen this restaurant on Diner’s, Drive-in’s, & Dives forever ago, and it has been on our radar ever since. It did not disappoint.
We went to freshen up and hit the town. Brewery stop #1 for the day was Great Divide. This was a small area and we had just missed the tour, the next one wasn’t for an hour, so we decided to just enjoy a fresh brew. We both decided on a Chocolate Oak-Aged Yeti. It was the perfect choice.
From here, we headed to The Source, which is an awesome warehouse that was transformed into a market, of sorts. This is where brewery #2, Crooked Stave, is located. We shared an awesome flight of Petite Sour Raspberry, Petite Sour Blueberry, Persica, L’Brett d’Raspberry, Origins, and Nightmare On Brett (aged in Leopold Bros. whiskey barrels). They had an awesome selection of bottles to-go, so we picked a few of our favorites to bring back to NC with us. We went to Acorn, in the Source, and split a bar snack. This place had seriously awesome food! I wish we had more time to walk through all of the local shops in The Source, there were so many great ones.
We went out to see our friend’s new apartment and then to dinner by their place. It was so much fun catching up.
We had a nightcap at CraftyFox, which was right by our hotel. We shared samples of Firestone Walker Bretta Weisse, Russian River Blind Pig, and AleSmith Hammerhead. This spot was a really cool building, with a great taplist, but it was empty. I have no idea why. We headed back to our hotel to get ready for another day!
We got up early, loaded the car, and headed off to Glenwood Springs, CO. This was only a 3.5 hr drive and it was absolutely gorgeous. There were tons of mountains, covered in green trees, against the blue skies and tons of rivers and creeks flowing.
We got there a little early, so we checked into our hotel, got changed and headed to 4 Dogs Liquor Store. They always have a great selection of Casey beer, so we had to check it out. We picked up a few things and then stopped in at Whole Foods for lunch.
We headed out to Casey Brewing for our tour and tasting. It was a beautiful spot along a river. It was stunning with breathtaking views. We had a small tour group, ~10 people. We learned a lot about the history of Casey and the ingredients and the process. We got to sample beers throughout the process, we tried the Elephant Heart Plum Fruitstand, Oak Theory, and Biere de Garde. Troy was there in the back pitting apricots for his next brew. We got to chat with him, which was just like talking to a celebrity! We got our bottles to go and a cute zip-up hoodie for me! We got to drink special things for on-site consumption. We tried the Raspberry Fruitstand, Casey Family Preserves- Cab Franc, and The Cut: Balaton Cherry.
We headed to hang out with some friends that we met on our last trip to Aspen. We went to his house and shared really great beers together. They cooked hamburgers and fresh vegetables for us on their grill and it was such an amazing night. So normal, almost like we were at our house 1,849 miles away.
We got up early and loaded the car. I hung out with the dogs and let them explore outside of our hotel for a little bit, which had incredible views. I think everywhere in Colorado has incredible views, it is just gorgeous.
We got to look around The Avalanche Cheese Creamery, which was one of the coolest things I have ever done. We put on hair nets, shoe covers, and a lab coat and got to see how the process of making meat and cheese works.
We headed to Casey Brewing again, because it is my favorite brewery, and I had to go back. Oh, and we wanted a few extra bottles, as well! Today we shared the bottle of Casey Family Preserves- Chardonnay and Dry Hopped Oak Theory. This was just as much fun as yesterday, they were bottling in the brewhouse, so that was really neat to watch.
We continued on our journey and head West to Salt Lake City. The drive was interesting. Southern Utah looked like a dessert, there was a sign of warning that you would not pass ANYTHING for 106 miles. That is a long time. As we progressed through Utah, we saw more trees and rivers and still the beautiful mountains.
When we arrived, we checked into our La Quinta. We headed to Unita first. Unita looked like a restaurant, decent size, and clean. Utah has different laws, if a beer is on tap, it must be under 4%, or you drink it from the bottle. We shared a Tangerine Hop Nosh.
Epic was a really small space, only 6 seats. We had to order an entree to try a beer. The good news was the beers were super cheap, like $0.40 a sample. I tried the Tart N’ Juicy Sour IPA and Ethan tried numerous other IPA’s. From here, we strayed from out list and went to Redrock Brewing. We had heard from a few people they had the best DIPA in town. We shared one, and it was okay, we loved our brownie we split for dessert.
We headed back to the hotel to hang out with the dogs and wake up early for our next day of traveling!
We are headed up to Seattle next and all the way down the West Coast. If you have any tips or ideas, please share them!
Happy Traveling, The Barbee Housewife