Thursday, October 4, 2012

Still not old!

For the first time in 21 years I celebrated my birthday. I’m not telling you how old I am, but I can honestly say, I’m still not 40! Blondelicious did a fantastic job getting it together.  Thursday we went into Warrenville to hit Two Brother’s brewery for some fun. We met up with my college roommate, had some drinks and a great time.  I love visiting breweries. Usually you can get beers there that they don’t distribute. This time was no different. They had a batch of beer they had just tapped that they weren’t bottling. It was pretty dang good, and strong!

Friday Blondelicious threw me a birthday party. My friend D helped out with decorations and even made a quest for me to do. Which was rather entertaining, if not an attempt to embarrass me with stories from my childhood AND having to profess my undying love of Taylor Swift to an entire bar? Don’t ask, I’m not telling! The best part was the cake my wife bought me. It was done up to look like the Necronomicon from the Evil dead/Army of Darkness series.  It was made of red velvet cake with raspberry filling. Very delicious.

Saturday we hit various establishments that give away free stuff to people on their birthday. We also stopped midday to get pierced again. She had her nose pierced and I finally put a ring through my right ear. So that makes 2 new piercings each in the last 3 weeks for the both of us. YAY! We also hit both of the local breweries; Pig Minds Brewing Company and Carlyle Brewing Company. Over the weekend it was brought up multiple times, which is the better brewery. I will say they both have their strengths and weaknesses. Each has beer that is good and each has beer I don’t like. I think it’s just a matter of one’s mood. Saturday night we were just checking in where we were on Facebook when we notice that one of our local favorite singers was performing that night at a bar we both like. So off we went to hear some Jimmy Buffett songs! 

I really have to say that I’m glad I decided to actually celebrate my birthday this year. It was better than I anticipated.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Service really does make a difference.

When you go out to a restaurant or a bar, you expect a certain level of service. In fact tipping is based on the quality of service you received.  In the last couple of weeks we’ve gone out and received varying levels of service. In the span of 5 days we went from some truly horrible service and management to some of the best we’ve ever experienced.

Let’s start with the worst. We went to a local establishment. We were sat by the hostess and then nothing…  After about 10 minutes a waitress came up and asked if anyone had been over to help us. Nope! She said, “You’re not in my area, but what can I get you.” We had her for the rest of our visit. She was busy, her section was full and she was bouncing all over the place, she would come over and check on us, took our food order, brought our food out. There was long waits between her visits to our table, but again, we were not in her section and she had at least 3 large groups. Then again, we never found out who our actual waitress was supposed to be. Normally when an establishment is busy, I relax on my standards of service and this waitress was working her tail off. That’s not why the service was bad. The service was bad because there were 3-4 other waitresses standing around chatting, occasionally checking on one or two of their tables and flirting with one of the bus boys. The manager would come out and not say or do anything. Meanwhile we sat at our table waiting to order drinks and food.  When the manager came around just to touch base with us, like she did with everyone else, I told her my honest opinion on the service. I said our waitress was great, hardworking, but the other girls have been standing around. I went over everything and she really didn’t seem to care. But she did go to “talk to the girls” and from the reaction, I think she blamed our waitress. I ended up leaving our waitress a 20% tip, and a note that she was awesome just so she knew the truth.

Then a couple of days later we go to a different establishment. We were sat immediately and then we had our waitress take our order. If it wasn’t her it was one of the other waitresses that would bring food, clean empties, bus the table. They would check on us. The kicker, this place was even busier than the place that we had horrible service at and they had less staff working. We ended up spending more time and thus money at this place only because we were having a good time.  When the manager touched tables, we had not one complaint.

So any restaurant or bar owners that read this. Remember, it’s not just one waitress that makes the experience; it can be the others that are not even yours. Waiting on drinks and food while watching your other staff stand around doing nothing does not make customers happy, especially if their waitress is running around trying to take care of many large groups.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Survived and even THRIVED!

Great Taste of the Midwest was ahhhhmazing :)  I had such a fantastic time and I didn't lose my taste for beer all day!  So many new things to try and the weather was absolutely perfect.

E.D.B. has already posted about the day and there's not much more I could add :)

Here are four of the brew I truly enjoyed:

  • Brady's Brewhouse - Cranberry Wheat Wine
  • 23rd Street Brewery - Half Day Hefeweizen
  • 23rd Street Brewery - Pomegranite
  • Two Brothers Brewing Co - Pahoehoe
I'm looking forward to going back next year, but up next is Screw City Beerfest!

Some Pics from The Great Taste of the Midwest.

Here are some pictures from our visit to the Great Taste of the Midwest. 

This is the entrance to the Great Taste of the Midwest.

Blondelicious kept trying to get me to pose serious for pictures, and I just wouldn't. This is the most "normal" one we have of me by myself. 

Of course I'm always up for a fun competition, how about Rock Paper Scissors for bar swag?

Even after almost 13 years of marriage, I can't help but check out Blondelicious' breasts any chance I get. Of course I'm not generally caught on film doing it. 

Here we are after being told I needed to be, "Serious". 

I have to give Props to New Holland Brewing company for having, what I thought, was the best theme for the event. 

Podcast regarding the Great Taste of the Midwest

My friend D asked me to join his pod cast and add some opinions regarding my experience at The Great Taste of the Midwest.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Stouts and Smartphones

Just a word of warning for all my beer loving friends out there; Smartphones do not like Stouts. Last night I was getting ready to enjoy a freshly poured Breakfast Stout from Founders when somehow I accidently knocked it over onto my phone. GASP! I know, total alcohol abuse! At first I thought everything was okay with my Droid Razzr, it seemed to work just fine. Later in the evening I tried to make some calls, people could hear me, but I could not hear them. Then I tried to charge it, it wouldn't charge. Finally I tried to play some music on it, and it would not play. I gave up!

So folks, heed this warning. If you have Smartphone and you want it's oppinion on beer... They don't like stouts.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Great Taste of the Midwest 2012

Last weekend Blondelicious and I attended the Great Taste of the Midwest (GTMW). This has been my third year attending, and it was her first. Last September she went to the Screw City Beer Festival, but the GTMW is much larger. To give you an idea they had 5 large tents that had 25-30 breweries, plus a couple of smaller tents that held one brewery they were showcasing. They advertise over 500 beers are in attendance. I didn’t count, but I have no doubt in my mind they had well over 500 different beers. I didn’t even try sampling all of them.

This is a difficult event to get into, they only offer 6,000 tickets. You either have to camp out for them, hope you win the ticket lottery, have a friend that has an extra or hope you can find someone selling them. They are face valued at $50.00, but I’ve seen someone pay upwards of $200.00 for a ticket. Why? Because once you get in… all the beer is free, and it’s all craft beer. There is no Miller, Budweiser, Coors, etc. The breweries they have are some of the Who’s Who of Craft Brewers as well as a lot of smaller breweries that you probably have never heard of or can’t get in your area.  They had breweries from Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and of course, Wisconsin.  I had four tickets this year. One I sold to my College Roommate, the other I ended up selling at a local bar because none of my other friends were able to go or were interested.

I had some great beers and I’ve started a list of Breweries I’m going to visit next year already. I’ve already hit my goal of breweries to hit this year so I’m probably going to revisit ones I’ve already been to instead of hitting new ones this year. That way I can always have something to look forward to.

Here are some of my favorites I had this year:

Aged Bourbon Barrel Kriek 2010- New Glarus Brewing Co.
Barrel-Aged Cherry Black Power – Revolution Brewing.
Blueberry Flanders Cask- Perennial Artisan Ales.
Bourbon Black Cherry Porter – Short’s Brewing Co.
Dirty “old” Helen II Sour Ale – Barley Island Brewing Co.
Firkin Wisco/Rosie Sour – Lakefront Brewery
Just about anything from The Livery.

There were many more, but these really stood out to me. There might be pictures coming. I can't find the camera!