Friday, March 3, 2017

I like beer

FACT: I like beer.

This is brand-new information, I know.

It's relevant to this particular blog because I want to write more in here, but I've been having trouble coming up with stuff to write about. The easy answer to that is to write about my interests, but this thing is already full of sports-related posts, and I've been running out of things to say about that.

But then I remembered: I like lists!

I've written most consistently in here when I've had a running series - a Sports by the Day list, or a list ranking all the World Series. So, why not try that? And why not write about beer? Nicci and I often find ourselves at taprooms around the Twin Cities, because that's the trendy thing to do right now, and it's usually a cheap afternoon or evening out. And plus, we now have the Northern Ale Guide to ... er ... guide us on our journey.

So this all started when Nicci and I were at the Summit Beer Hall with her parents. We noticed the people at the next table had a little book called the Taproom Passport, or something like that. It had a page for each of several breweries in the Twin Cities, and every time you went to one, you got a passport stamp and a free BOGO beer.

Fast-forward to Christmas season, and we're thinking of what to get my father-in-law as a present. I remembered the passport and looked them up, and sure enough, there they were. It was the fastest I've ever gone from "what should I get for X" to purchase - I ordered it while Nicci was wandering around a Jo-Ann Fabrics.

A bad picture of a pretty cool passport.
The passport got to us after Christmas, which was a bummer, but once I opened it, I immediately wanted one for myself. They did such a good job of making it look like a real passport - sturdy pages, well-organized, just overall very well done. And plus (I justified to myself), we'd only have to visit five taprooms for it to pay for itself. After that, free beer!

And so I bought one, and Nicci and I started our tour of Minnesota taprooms. And a month or so later, I decided to blog about all of them, because I have a blog and I can. I don't want to be too formulaic and structured writing these, because beer is supposed to make you relaxed, but I will touch on all of these things:

The Beer
After all, it's the most important aspect of visiting a taproom. Is the beer unique? Memorable? Is it worth going out of your way or making a day trip?

The Atmosphere
How easy is it to go there and just chill out with friends, or to have a date night? Is it a place you want to go back to?

The Location
If you're going to go there, what's nearby? Is the place easy to find? How is parking?

The Kids
Yes, we bring our kids to taprooms, because we're awesome like that. Seriously, last weekend we asked the kids what they wanted to do and they both replied, simultaneously and unprompted, that they wanted to go to Lake Monster. They genuinely enjoy going there. I feel like they're a good judge of whether a typical 7-year-old and 4-year-old would think a place is fun. So I'll write about how it went taking them, and whether I'd do it again. (And if it's a taproom where we didn't bring the kids with, I'll guess if they'd like it.)

So there you have it. I'm going to spend the next few months writing about Minnesota beer, which will go over real well for my out-of-state readers. Both of them. I'm not going to write about just the taprooms in the Passport, either, because we don't discriminate here in the Ahrens household. And there are several places in the passport that we've already visited, but I'm not going to write about those until we officially get the stamp for them.

Anyway, I hope I do these places justice. And I hope it's an entertaining and helpful read. And I hope we have a prolific enough summer to cover all the places in the passport, mostly because it'd be cool to fill the thing up.

The next post will be about the first stamp we collected on our passport, which coincided with my first ever trip to downtown Lakeville, Minnesota.

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