I knocked on the door, was greeted with, “COME IN!”, and walked in to see my friend on his knees cleaning up an unidentifiable liquid with a rag. Not wanting to be left out of the action I then caused his son to knock over his milk on the counter top. The day would get much better from there but also end in a predictable way.
After a nice round of clean the mess I asked if we were ready to go.
“Dude, we have to make pretzel necklaces first,” was the reply.
“We are going to need something eat while we are there and what’s better than pretzels?”
That logic I couldn’t argue with because where we were going we were going to need plenty to eat if we would see the end of the day. Along with our wives, we were on the verge of departing for Great Lakes Brew Fest 2012 at the Racine Zoo. The Brew Fest organizers say that, “Our goal is to be the premier festival for the craft brewer and craft beer drinker in the Great Lakes Region while raising funds for the internationally acclaimed Racine Kilties Drum & Bugle Corps. The Great Lakes Brew Fest is in its 9th year and will feature unlimited sampling of more than 250 craft beers and sodas from nearly 100 brewers on the beautiful shore of Lake Michigan.”
After spending 20 minutes alternating a series of tiny twist and gigantic sourdough pretzels onto length of twine we were off. In hindsight the twine was a poor choice. That stuff would give a rhino a blister; it rubbed the back of my neck raw under the weight of the pretzels. So for next year I’m thinking some kind of ribbon, or even string for my sensitive skin. When we approached the entrance there were hundreds of others wearing pretzel necklaces too, kind of like the group within the group. Having one on made me feel like an insider, a veteran of Brew Fest, not some wandering rookie! I was one of them, destined for the Brew Fest Hall of Fame!
After queuing in a quickly moving line we walked into the zoo and were handed a commemorative pint glass to use for sampling. Each glass offered the illusion of responsibility with a tiny little line and a “3” giving all the vendors a guideline so they don’t over serve anyone. How could anyone get drunk drinking a meager three ounces of beer? Easily, when those beers have an astronomical alcohol content and taste like Angel sweat and you drink dozens of them. Did you ever try to join the century club in college? It’s a lot like that. In the event that anyone got a tad rambunctious the dozens of police officers on hand were more than willing to help that person find their center. No one did though. As close as anyone got to acting a fool was when a pint glass was dropped, and there were several towards the end of the day. The timing for these poor people couldn’t have been worse because there always seemed to be a lull in the noise of the crowd when it happened, kind of like farting in gym class doing sit-ups. The echo of the smashing glass was heard all around the grounds and the offender had the disdain of the entire crowd rained upon them. One twentyish girl’s face turned red like a tomato as she giggled and hurried for the exit.
As the day neared an end the Racine Kilties came out and played for 30 minutes or so and they were fantastic. The uniforms were very sharp and they were very well organized. I was glad that I had a front row spot to see it all.
Normally at this point I would embarrass the people that were with me that may have done some things during the event that they would rather forget, if they remember it. But, I won’t this time. I will spare my friend and his questionable reputation my pen. In reality he didn’t do anything out of the ordinary for an event like this and he kept his pants on. So, you get a pass this time bud. Enjoy it.
If you are a lover of craft beers and if you have the opportunity and the desire, I recommend going to the Great Lakes Brew Fest next year. And don’t forget your pretzel necklace.