Minnesota 2008 with Joey Kanz






If you've been on one brewery tour, you've been on them all. Making beer is a standard process all around. But each brewery has it's own local quirks and practices, as well as the history of the particular Brewery. Those little things make each Brewery unique, and I won't be satisfied until I tour them all and learn each one.












Every summer I like to go to at least 1 Brewers road series, and I would prefer to go someplace new every summer. Unfortunately because of things like my crappy job, lack of money, and lack of time, I could only go up to Minneapolis for like the umpteenth time to go see the Brewers play the Twins. But here I am talking about it like it's a bad thing. I assure you that it is anything but that. I would very much like to go new places, but my friends Mike and Katie Bates live up in Northern Minnesota, and they decided to drive down for this series. I just needed to somehow get up to Minneapolis. That is when I turned to my good friend Joey Kanz. He's no stranger to Brewers road trips (see Scott and Joey Kanz go to St. Louis 1 + 2), but I still needed to sweeten the pot if I was to coerce him into using his car to make the trek up North. When I promised him that we would stop at the Leinekugel's Brewery on Saturday on the way up, I caught him hook, line and sinker. Although Leinie's makes his favorite beers, he surprisingly has never been on the tour. That (and seeing Mike and Katie for the 1st time in forever) was reason enough to make my millionth trip up to the land of sky blue waters. Just like on the Hamm's can. Mmmm...



We got a bit of a late start today, thanks to last night being a Friday night. That means late night drinking for those of you outside of the loop. We finally got up Chippewa Falls around 3 pm (the game started at 6pm and we were still an hour away) and the next tour wasn't for another hour. We had a choice to make - get to the game on time and skip the tour or take the tour and get in late to the game. Without looking at the pictures below, guess which one we did? You said - went on the tour, right? Cheater. There was no way that we were going to pass up free beer, even if it meant getting to the game a little late. It was only my 2nd time on this tour, so we browsed around the Leinie Lodge and drank our free samples. The bartender was taken aback by our interesting mixtures, but we assured her that all Leinie products mix well, no matter how weird it sounds to mix Creamy Dark, Summer Shandy, and Leinie's Red. When our samples were finished, we went out to Kanz's car and had some trunk beers that I had packed in a cooler, and essentially tailgated in the Leinie's Lodge parking lot. Only after drinking our 2 free samples and 3 trunk beers were we truly ready for the Leinekugel's Northwoods Brewery Tour.








Kanz was enjoying his Summer Shandy/Leinie's Red mix outdoors, just as God had intended man to do it. Standing on a bridge over a babbling brook surrounded by trees and forest creatures, Kanz was the giant ruler over them all. Unless you count the big man in the sky that is. He rules all, and provides us with good beer to drink.






The Brewers lost a heartbreaking slugfest in Friday's game against the Twins (thanks to Guillermo Mota) but were able to hang on to their 5-1 lead today. Even though I missed about half of the game, it was important that I was at least up here to hang out with my friends. But the night wasn't over yet, as we went on over to the 7 Corners area of town (which is kind of like Milwaukee's Water Street because it has all the college-aged bars where the cool kids hang out) to spend the remainder of the night. Once there, we met up with some friends of Mike's that I have gotten to know throughout my years of coming up here. So now it was time to go out and mingle with the Minnesota fans in their territory while wearing the enemies' colors. This was going to be an interesting night.


The Herbert H. Humphrey Metrodome is on the edge of downtown, and since it was a Saturday night, parking was scarce. While entering Minnesota, we could (obviously) only find a Twins radio station to listen to the game, but at least we could here the Brewers score some early runs. With the midseason Manny Parra (before he tired out) on the mound, it would be all we needed. We waltzed in around the 4th inning, and by that time the Brewers had staked themselves to a comfortable 5-0 lead. We found Mike and Katie (as well as some friends of their I have known for years) in the upper reaches on the left field cheap seats, and we cozied up into the 3rd row from the top. We were waaaaaaaay up there, as you can see from the pictures, but we were in good company. For the last 5 innings, there wasn't much happening on the field (save for a 9th inning garbage solo homerun by the Twins that put the score at 5-1) so we had plenty of time to talk and catch up. At the time, Katie was pregnant with her first child (she has since given birth to a girl, Reese Bates) so we had plenty to talk about. Both Mike and Katie were enjoying their time in the Northwoods of Minnesota, although they did miss the happening times back in Milwaukee. Squirrels and trees are cool and all, but there are some things about the city that you just cannot replicate in the woods. But you can't burn things in the city...