Tag Archive | brewery

Circus Trip 2018: The Rockpile Museum

Day 11, Thursday, July 26, 2018

After I hiked at the Fetterman Fight site, it was time to get back on the road.  Rain had been threatening and as soon as I got back to the car, it started raining just a little.  I headed east on I-90 and drove for a bit before arriving in Gillette, Wyoming.

The Rockpile Museum, Gillette, Wyoming

Gillette has a small museum called the Rockpile Museum – it is free!  I stopped there and ate lunch at the picnic table that they had out front.  After lunch, I went inside and checked it out.  The Rockpile has exhibits on Wyoming’s history, from the fossil record up through present day.  Wyoming has some pretty incredible fossils; even some fish fossils with some really impressive teeth!

Other exhibits included a display of quilts, and other artifacts associated with pioneer life in Wyoming.  There were artifacts on the mining industry, as well as farming and ranching.  Outside museum there were two historic one-room schoolhouses that have been moved to the site.  It was such a fun little museum!  I didn’t check out more of Gillette, as my mom and I had spent a little bit of time there a few summers ago, but one day I would like to see more.

Back on the road, I crossed into South Dakota!  My 5th state! Soon, I arrived at my destination for the evening – Spearfish, SD.   Spearfish was such a cool town; I would love to spend more time there.

I arrived in South Dakota!

It was about 5 pm when I got into town, and I went downtown and found the Spearfish Brewing Company.  It had a modern, eclectic vibe; I had The Schwa beer – it was a blonde ale with pink guava added in.  It was so delicious, with a light citrusy flavor – perfect!  I sat at the bar and talked to my neighbors and journaled a bit – it was a nice chance to just relax.

My view at Spearfish Brewing Company

Afterwards, I went back to camp at the Spearfish KOA and made dinner; taco rice and sausage with a Huckleberry Lager that was brewed in Whitefish, Montana.  It was a nice evening!

MI Road Trip: Starting Michigan with a Beer!

In October, Jon and I took a week off of work and spent 8 full days in Michigan. The trip was dual purpose; a family visit primarily, but we were also able to take a couple of days touring part of the northern area of Michigan’s mitten – the most northern part that isn’t the Upper Peninsula.

Jon and I arrived in Michigan on a red eye flight on Saturday morning. We were both a bit bleary eyed when we wandered into the car rental place that morning, and more than a little confused when the agent told us that he didn’t see our reservation. It took me a minute, but then I realized my mistake (and accidentally let a curse word pop out as I was marveling at my stupidity). We had booked our flight to depart from Seattle on October 3rd, so I booked the rental car for an October 3rd pickup. What I hadn’t paid attention to was the fact that since it was a red eye, we wouldn’t arrive until October 4th. Ooops!

Fortunately, there were still cars available, and he didn’t even charge us for the extra day.   Alamo rocks! We just had to pick a car. Jon was kind of interested in trying a Prius, but that gave me flashbacks to all my government travel, so thankfully I was able to talk him out of it (I think the backup beeper helped him realize how annoying Prius’ are).

Soon we were on our way to a Cracker Barrel breakfast to load up on coffee. After breakfast though, even the coffee couldn’t keep us awake and we ended up settling down for an hour long nap in the car (not while driving). This red eye was much more difficult than the one we took in 2012 – I guess we are getting older!

Jon had big dreams of stopping in Ann Arbor to check out the city, and to stop at a record store, but in the end neither of us had the energy for it.

So instead, after driving about 90 minutes, a tired, un-showered and slightly groggy couple stumbled into the Dark Horse Brewery in Marshall, Michigan (population about 7,000) about 2:30, hoping to get a bite to eat and a brew. The joint was jumping! We were able to snag the last open table – a table for 6 near the door. We ordered our beers and an order of nachos. My beer, the Raspberry Ale, didn’t exactly hit the spot, which was kind of surprising since that is normally exactly the type of beer I would like.  It just didn’t come together on the palate. Jon’s beers were amazing. He had two while we were there; a Double Crooked Tree IPA and then the 4 Elf Winter Warmer.

I especially liked the Winter Warmer, with a great balance of spice on a dark winter ale. YUM! And the nachos, although simple, were sinfully good. Chunks of chicken, tomatoes, olives, shredded lettuce and pepperoncinis, smothered with that fake Velveeta cheese on tortilla chips. Jon prefers a bit more upscale nachos, but I dug right in and was happy with our choice.

Terrible picture, great nachos!

Terrible picture, great nachos!

If you are a regular, you can get into their mug club, with handmade ceramic mugs hung all over the ceiling for loyal customers.  I loved the look!

Mugs hang from every inch of ceiling space

Mugs hang from every inch of ceiling space

After we had been at Dark Horse a little while, we invited a couple who was waiting for a table to sit down and join us. It turned out that they were from Grand Rapids, down for an afternoon beer tour of Dark Horse. They had rave reviews about the tour, offered at noon on Saturdays – next time Jon and I are in Michigan, hopefully we will be able to check it out. They explained to us that Dark Horse is also featured on a reality show on the History Channel (I’m not sure what is historical about a relatively new brewpub but…) about life in a brewpub. We hadn’t heard of it, but my mom had (she knows all sorts of random trivia). We still haven’t seen the show.

Finally we pulled ourselves away, bought some bottled beer to go, and took our leave of Dark Horse. We will certainly be back again.  Please promise me that if you visit, you will check out the crazy toilet in the ladies’ room!  That thing had a panel on the side with all sorts of buttons!  I’m really not sure what it did!

I have no idea what “features” this toilet offers

I have no idea what “features” this toilet offers

Have you had Dark Horse beer?  Have you seen the show?

SW National Parks Trip: On the Road…

After we left Petrified Forest National Park, we got back on the road to our next destination.  We were staying in Williams, Arizona that night but we stopped for dinner in Flagstaff along the way.  We didn’t get much of a glimpse of Flagstaff, but what we did see made us both want to visit again sometime in the future.

Our choice for dinner that evening was the Beaver Street Brewery (in keeping with Jon’s brewery cravings for the trip).  When we got out of the car, we were immediately frozen to the core by the frigid wind!  I was surprised by the huge drop in temperature from earlier in the day, only a few hours away.  We hurried into the restaurant, and were met with a lively atmosphere, but we were seated right away.

We started with an appetizer of Steamed Mussels in Thai Curry Sauce, served with slices of baguette.  It was a fantastic dish!  The mussels were juicy and the curry sauce was delicious, with just the right amount of spice.  It was a very pleasant surprise, because I’m not usually a big fan of curry spice.  Another thing that I liked was that the sauce was thick enough that you felt that you could really get a portion onto the pieces of bread that came along with dish.

Steamed Mussels in Thai Curry Sauce – YUM!

Steamed Mussels in Thai Curry Sauce – YUM!

For dinner, I ordered the Enchanted Forest pizza.  It had brie, artichokes, olive pesto, red peppers and pine nuts.  It seemed like an odd combination of ingredients, but I decided to give it a try.  It was fantastic!  It was certainly one of the most creative pizzas I have ever had.  There were so many flavors coming together, but it really worked!  I let Jon have a little bit, but I have to admit, I pretty much stuffed myself on this pizza. I paired it with a raspberry ale, called the Bramble Berry Brew, which was delicious and light bodied.

My Enchanted Forest pizza – so creative!

My Enchanted Forest pizza – so creative!

Jon had the Green Goddess Salmon salad.  It was a big piece of grilled salmon on a bed of mixed greens, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and a chiffonade of fresh basil.  It was drizzled with a balsamic vinaigrette.  The salad was so huge that it was heaped on the plate, almost falling off the sides.  Jon really liked his meal too, so we were three for three on great dishes!  Jon had two beers; the Lumberyard IPA and the R&R Oatmeal Stout. He liked both, but liked the IPA better.  He said they were some of his favorite beers from the whole trip.

Jon’s Green Goddess Salmon Salad – it was huge!

Jon’s Green Goddess Salmon Salad – it was huge!

If we lived in the area, I’m sure this would be a place we would come back to.

After dinner, we got back on the road for the last 30 minutes of driving to Williams, AZ. Williams is located about 50 minutes directly south of the Grand Canyon, with an easy straight drive up to the park. It also has several reasonably priced hotels. We could have stayed somewhere closer, but the prices go up and the availability goes down as you get closer to the park.  Our plan was to stay there for 2 nights, and spend the entire day in between at the Grand Canyon!

We watched carefully for elk, because we were driving at dusk, but we didn’t have any problems (we did see an elk right by the side of the road though!).  We got the car unloaded in record time because it was still so cold and windy, and checked into the Quality Inn.  Luckily, it didn’t take long to get settled into our cozy room and warmed up.

Of course, we made it an early night, because we wanted to get an early start on the Grand Canyon!  I couldn’t believe we were finally going to see it!

Have you been to Flagstaff, Arizona or the Beaver Street Brewery?  What did you think?

 

SW National Parks Trip: Santa Fe Evening

After the C&C, we made our way to downtown Santa Fe, where we would be staying the next two nights.  To be honest, I was pretty excited about having two nights in one place!  Our home away from home was Hotel Chimayo de Santa Fe, a locally owned hotel right in the heart of downtown, just around the corner from the main square and the Palace of the Governor’s.  Awesome location!  And a percentage of the proceeds from your stay go to the Chimayo Cultural Preservation Association (CCPA), a group dedicated to historical preservation of the nearby community of Chimayo.

Hotel Chimayo Lobby

Hotel Chimayo Lobby

We got checked in just before 5 and were delighted with our room, just off a courtyard with bistro tables and hanging ristras (strings of drying peppers).  Our room was very spacious, with a living room and a bedroom.  The only drawback was that the bathroom was tiny, but the vanity was outside in a little alcove off the bedroom anyway, and how much time do you really spend in the bathroom?

The Courtyard of the Hotel Chimayo

The Courtyard of the Hotel Chimayo

We set our bags down, relaxed for a few minutes, and then set out to see some of the city before the light faded into evening.  The downtown historic area of Santa Fe is quite compact, and easily walkable, so we checked out some of the places that we wanted to visit in the next two days.  I just kept getting more and more excited as we wandered around and peeked in closed shop windows, and saw the historic Pueblo style abode buildings.  This was Santa Fe!

Jon was excited about our dinner; he had picked out the Blue Corn Cafe for our meal that evening.  A friend of his back home had told him that it was really good, so we checked it out.  I was surprised to see it so empty when we arrived, but that became a theme for our whole visit to Santa Fe – apparently late April is still the off season, because it can be so cold (and it was, but we didn’t let that stop us).  The Blue Corn also brews its own beer, so of course we had to try it.

The Blue Corn Cafe

The Blue Corn Cafe

Jon had the Southwest Cobb Salad, with a Roadrunner IPA.  The IPA has a medium body and a long, bitter finish.  It contains 8 hops varieties.  He also enjoyed their Gold Medal Oatmeal Stout, made with rolled oats and possessing chocolate and coffee flavors.  Yum!

I had the Atalaya Amber, which is described as a well balanced beer with a hint of citrus, brewed with Cascade and Mt. Hood hops.  Hops from home!  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, because Washington state produces over 77% of the United States’ hop crop (say that 3 times fast!).  I paired my beer with the Steak Fajitas.  I liked the fajitas, but I was a teensy bit disappointed.  You see, they were served with green and red peppers and onions, but I don’t like onions.  Normally I just ask if they can substitute the onions for something else.  Mushrooms, carrots, cabbage… I’m not picky.  But apparently the Blue Corn didn’t have anything else they could throw in.  Really?  That seemed surprising.  I ended up getting more peppers.

But still, we were both pleased with our meals and our beer, and we left full and happy.  And I forgot to take a picture before we both devoured our meals.  We walked back to the hotel for a nightcap at the very empty (low season again) hotel bar – an Amaretto Sour for me and a Gin and Tonic for Jon, before heading back to our room to watch TV.  What a great day!