Monday, July 8, 2024

Week 2: Malt Across Many Miles

I've lived in the Milwaukee area my entire life; that's 49 years and counting in a place where beer is taken seriously. 

My dad has always enjoyed trying new breweries while I remember my grandparents having their faithful favorites. And although I'm more of a whiskey girl, I've never been known to turn down a beer with friends or family, enjoying them all because of the company. 

This week, I put in some effort, a little bit of money, and thousands of miles to help a couple of others enjoy time with their favorite people sipping some of their favorite beers. 

The idea for this week's act of kindness came to me a couple of months ago in my local Piggly Wiggly while talking to my friend/old neighbor about some of our favorite drinks. Being the liquor buyer for the store enables him to access just about everything he'd ever want, but for his favorite, available only in the Russian River Valley of California. Knowing my sweet boyfriend was taking me there for my birthday a handful of weeks later I asked him for more details. 

Fast forward to the end of June: I stopped in a couple of stores searching for Piney the Elder but quickly learned it was rarely available outside of their brewery, and so we drove an hour out of our way to visit Russian River Brewery to purchase some bottles of this beloved beer, along with some bubble envelopes to wrap them in to keep safe in my suitcase for the flight home. 

My pal Doug sure was excited to receive the surprise bottles this week, and I was so happy to be able to make it happen. And so I planned to do it again, utilizing those same bubble bottle holders to bring some of Wisconsin to Colorado.

Wisconsin's most sought-after beer outside of the state comes from New Glarus (specifically Spotted Cow and their seasonal fruit beers), and I quickly remembered a conversation with some employees at New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Colorado when in town a couple months earlier. As a result, some bottles found their way into my suitcase last week when packing for a return trip. 

Mark and I stopped in over the weekend to make beer delivery #2. Being the 5th of July, it was busy, but we found Ramone just inside. I handed him the goods, he looked at me, smiled big and said, "You just made my day! Come with me!"

He escorted us to two seats at the small bar, told one of the bartenders to fulfill our order on him, and secured the New Glarus to the back room. Mark and I had a great visit, sipping a sour and cold beers on the hot day, eating from the food truck, and almost playing our traditional game of bags in their awesome outdoor space (like I said, it was busy). 

In summary, it was a fun week playing a Sudsy Santa of sorts. ;) I hope the beers become a part of some fun memories as the deliveries have for me. 

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