Holly, who lives in Madison, WI, started her all out assault on our once-healthy livers by treating us to an afternoon at Wrigley Field. She opened her sunrise attack by hurling a few rounds of Miller Light towards us from Murphy's bar near the stadium. She continued the barrage throughout the Cubs-Brewers game with bottomless beers and endless food on the rooftop deck. Just when we thought we might be able to retreat with a few liver cells intact, the General MacArthur of Wisconsin assured her victory with round after round poured forth from bar after bar in Chicago.
By the morning light, we were able to gather the wounded soldiers and mount a retreat north towards Madison, where Holly had a milder, more healthful (healthful....what an annoying word) day planned for us. Our powers as rain gods seemed to be diminishing and we were fortunate enough to enjoy a beautiful afternoon walk around Madison and the University of Wisconsin. For our fancy dinner at the local sushi spot we were joined by one Bert Pinsonneault-choral director and runner extrodinaire. We spent the better part of the next day similarly, adding the luxury of fancy cheeses, Wisconsin beers, and card games.
That evening found us at the world-wide movie premier of "Go West Happy Cow," a low-budget movie about a guy wearing a cow costume who drives west with a trailer full of "Happy Cow" brand beer. The cow-dressed-star himself was there to ensure the premier went off without a hitch. Watching the movie was like watching baby movies of children you don't know; it can be cute for a while, but after a half hour you start looking for an exit strategy. Unfortunately, I don't think Paramount will be picking up the movie anytime soon. On the upside, we followed up the premier with a stop in at the Essen Haus for a few boots of quality Belgian Beer. If I recall correctly, my liver might have made an alcohol induced call to Bert for reinforcements. Unfortunately, the reinforcements did not arrive. Shame on you Bert.
Undeterred by a night out on the town, the next morning we were in Milwaukee at noon for a tour and VIP tasting at the Sprecher Brewery with a dozen of Holly's friends. After a rather lackluster tour of the facilities, we were escorted through a large barrel, and into the VIP tasting room. The host more than made up for the lackluster tour with a fantastic hour and a half of perfectly paired beer and cheese tastings. From there we carpooled and cabbed over to the Lakefront Brewery downtown where we just missed the last tour of the day. We consoled ourselves with a few samples and an impromptu dance party to Miley Cyrus' "Party in the USA." Believe it or not, from there we stumbled to the Milwaukee Ale House for dinner and a final round. While Paige (who had abstained for the last half of the day) drove us back to Madison, I fell asleep at roughly 6pm. A mere 13 hours later, I awoke refreshed and ready to face the day! My only request was please, no beer.
Before we headed out of town we spent the afternoon with Bert and his wife Laura, who had just flown in from her sister's bachelorette party in Las Vegas. Needless to say, she was onboard with the no beer request. We enjoyed lemony drinks at the coffee shop and pizza before he decided it was time to shove off and set sail. And so, shortly before the sun set, we once again, with destination uncertain, hopped on the road and headed west.