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!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Life of Crime

Yea, we didn't realize we weren't the only ones!

River Horse Tripel Horse

For my first review at The Private Beer Stash, I’m reviewing a beer that I’ve had stored away for a special occasion. Tonight I enjoyed a River Horse Tripel Horse by River Horse Brewing Company.

It has a Golden Amber coloring to it. There is a hint of hazinesst. Light passes through easily and you can make out images through the glass, but not clearly. When I poured it a half inch head formed consisting of a thick mass of tiny white bubbles.  It faded to a film on the top of the beer and some lacing formed on the side of the glass.

The aroma was an enticing blend of Bananas and cloves. What I found surprising is that with a 10% ABV I could barely detect a hint of alcohol without searching for it. The flavor, much like the smell is mostly of bananas and cloves with a touch of roasted malts.  There is a slight hint of alcohol, but not much. As the beer approaches room temperature you get a slight biscuity flavor.  The finish is leaves a pleasant malt flavor in the mouth.

It’s a light bodied beer. The carbonation is just right for the beer to add some bite to the tongue, but not to be distracting.

This is a dry beer that drinks very easily. When you factor in the 10% ABV you have to really watch yourself or you could end up feeling the effects quickly.  I thoroughly enjoyed this beer and look forward to enjoying it again.I give it 7 out of 10.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Countdown begins...

....and I am nervous.

This year I am lucky enough to be able to attend Great Taste of the Midwest.  This event, AKA Beerfest, happens every year and E.D.B. has attended the past 2 years, but this will be my first. We leave on Saturday.  I have heard many stories about this event, get there early, stand in line, wait for a million tiny samples of beer, people passed out in random places and of course, the hangovers.  I have also been given a ton of advice...such as "If you don't like it, dump it on the ground" and "Eat pretzels and drink lots of water in between beers".

I plan to follow as much advice as I can remember, but I'm afraid that two hours or less into the even I might.....I can't believe I'm going to say this..... but..... I might LOSE MY TASTE FOR BEER!! *insert organ music here*

Who the hell goes to a beer fest, let alone one of the largest in the Midwest and then decides, "Meh... I don't feel like drinking beer anymore!"  Methinks I may be that person.

If anyone has any ideas on how to counteract my possible predicament, please post your responses below!  I can use all the help I can get!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Who we are.

I figured that I should give a little bit about who we are and the players in some of our stories. I'll start with myself. E.D.B.

Evil Drinking Buddy (E. D. B.): I started my love of beer when I was in college. It started when I turned 21 and I decided I wanted to try every beer that was made. I had no clue at the time that it was the start of the Craft Beer Revolution and that there would be no way possible to do such a thing. I quickly discovered that there was so much better beer than the mass produced large markets out there. Don't get me wrong, I'll still drink one, but I do prefer a good craft beer. I've been reviewing beers for over 5 years and soon I will start posting those reviews on here.

Blondilcious: My loving and and beautiful wife with whom I'm devoted to, she's the only thing I love more than beer and she'll challenge me on that. We've been married for 12 years (at the time of this post). We share a lot of the same interests and most of our hobbies are the same. I've never met another person that shares any many similar interests with me than she does. Plus, you aren't going to find any one else that is going to throw themselves on this grenade.

The Boy: Our oldest son, I haven't talked about him yet, but that's mainly because he's 19 and moved to Kansas to get a job. He used to give me a run for my money when he was growing up, but he's out of the house and is turning into a fine adult.

Clone:  When he was younger he was just like me. Same personality, sense of humor, etc. It was uncanny. We nicknamed him Clone because it was like we didn't have a son, we just cloned me. As he's gotten older he's changed and has taken on some more of his mother's traits. He's still very much like me personality and temperament ways, but is starting to go his own ways.

The family in general shares the following hobbies: Re-enacting, Canoeing, Camping, Shooting, traveling and for the adults... Beer. We also are into spirits, we don't limit ourselves.