Recently Erin and I made some new friends with Jonathan and Sarah. You may remember them as the first couple to appear in the Holiday Meal video. Besides the Holiday Meal, we've had them over for a couple dinner and talked quite excessively about our Michigan Brewery Tours we go on each MLK day weekend. As they heard more and more about it, you could sense that they were waiting for an invite.
It was a real pleasure to have Jonathan and Sarah along not only because they shared our love of beer and adventure, but because it would add a second female to the crew and we would have some people to consistently split some hotel and gas costs with. Almost everyone on MBT has a nickname, however, and we never came up with anything. So, Erin and I dub them Chops and Scrappy. It may not stick, but it is worth a shot.
On a usual Friday, I begin getting antsy at the office between 3:45 and 4:00. At 4:19 (which is the approximate volume of a unit sphere), the department's "Fluid Dynamics Seminar" meets at the Dukum Inn. On the Friday of MBT, I had to wait until 11:15pm before my first beer at 3 Floyds in Munster, IN. It closes down at 2am, so we were able to have ample time to enjoy our first night. I enjoyed a pint of Sand Pebbles, Zombie Dust (which according to Beer Advocate is the 7th best beer in the world), Arctic Panzer Wolf, and a Blot Out the Sun Stout.
Once we had broke our fast at The Commander restaurant in Munster Saturday morning, we drove to Battle Creek, MI for lunch and beers at Arcadia Brewing Company. Erin and I split a salad and a quesadilla. I enjoyed an ESB, a Skye High Rye, and a shorty of a London Porter.
Our afternoon was spent at Bells in Kalamazoo. That was where we met the New York (or eastern) contingent of our group. Since I brought two corny kegs for Brian to take home, he told me to put a few beers on his tab which I happily obliged. I remember trying a Kal-Haven, Red Nose ESB, and The Wild One. You may be wondering why I did not have Hopslam or Two-Hearted Ale since these are some of my favorites. I can get those at home. The ones I mentioned are specialty beers that can only be had on tap.
To end Saturday evening we made our way to the Kalamazoo Beer Exchange which surprised me in two ways. I imagined something a lot more like the stock exchange with the prices of beer moving across a screen, but it was a solid TV screen that was updated every 15 minutes. Given that small and minor let down, the place was a lot more immaculate and larger than I had expected. I split a vegetarian lasagna with Erin and had a few drinks the only one of which I remember was Lagunitas Sucks. That turned out to be one of my favorites for the entire weekend.
I'm very glad Erin was driving to Ann Arbor the next morning since it gave me another hour and a half to remain very still and sleep off the adventures from the previous day. By the time we arrived at Jolly Pumpkin for lunch, I was almost tip-top. The La Roja was a brilliant beginning to my Sunday (Chops ordered one as well). This is an American Wild Ale (just like The Wild One from Bells) which I will be tenaciously seeking from now on. A Smashed Chick Pea Panini along with a draft of Maracaibo Especial topped off the lunch with excellence.
The afternoon was spent at Dragonmead in Warren. They had a World Beer Cup Silver Award winning beer called The Ring of Fire. It was a cream ale brewed with jalapeno, Serrano, and habenero peppers. It was by far the best chili beer I had ever tasted. After checking in at the hotel, we got a taxi to Kuhnhenn where we ordered take-out Thai that was so good my mouth watered while writing this sentence. I hyped up their DRIPA too much I think. Although delicious and an exceptional beer, it didn't quite match my expectations. The Creme Brule Stout and their American IPA were also good enough to remember and write down. Kuhnhenn closed at 10pm, so we closed our Sunday night down a little early.
At our hotel, Brian offered his room up for some Euchre and more beer. His room was in the hotel next door. After another beer and several rounds of Euchre, I grew very tired and went upstairs to knock on 332 which was the room in the wrong hotel. Hopefully, nobody was occupying that room at the time. I finally realized my mistake and went next door.
The long journey home started after brunch in Warren. We broke up the drive with a great lunch at the Fiddler's Hearth in South Bend. I had a Monk's Cafe and a Hopslam from the tap. We ordered Welsh Rarebit for the table and Erin and I split a Pear and Walnut Salad and some English style Indian Curry We dropped off Chops and Scrappy in Macon, and got back to Kirksville a little before 1 in the morning. It was a great MBT3, and has us looking forward to MBT4.