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Thursday, December 15, 2011

In which our intrepid adventurers enjoy more beer, watch their teams battle it out, and return home

Game Day

It was all delicious...except the propane. 
Sunday morning dawned cold and clear. After grabbing a quick breakfast down at Luna Cafe in De Pere, (a cozy eatery that made an excellent latte and had delicious scones) we stopped at the supermarket on the way back to the hotel to stock up on food and drink, well aware that everyone else was bringing drink and vittles. The basic items filled the cart fast, hot dogs, bratwursts, buns, chips etc. All was proceeding quickly until I walked into the “Beer Cave” There I spent the next 15 minutes trying to figure out what beer to take with me. (A quick side note on how I buy beer. If in a new area, or someplace I haven’t been in awhile I go out of my way to buy new styles or try new breweries.)

Your fearless author almost
throws out his back
(Photo by Summer Marthaler)
I ended up making two of my own six packs to go along with the remnants of the Capital Brewery Winter Skal and Amber left over from the previous evening.  Six new beers to try (I noahed my beer, grabbing two of each, Lithia Regner Red Ale, New Glarus ChocolateAbbey, Black Top Black IPA, Back 40 Bock, O’so Night Train Porter, and Milwaukee Brewing LouisDemise Ale)

By the time we had arrived back at the hotel and checked out, Justin had arrived. We tossed in his gear in the trunk, piled into the rental and headed over to Lambeau Field. Tailgating at Lambeau is a must for any NFL fan. For thirty bucks we had parking in a backyard mere yards from the stadium, and to top it off parking for most of the rest of the crew showing up. The last time I parked this close to the entrance was in November at the Chargers-Packers game. There I had to have a special parking permit and I was glad I was driving a brand new Cadillac. Here it was open to the masses. 

A motley crew with our token Raider fan

Shortly after we arrived the rest of the tailgating team turned up. First to arrive was Summer and Jake, having driven in from Goodrich, followed minutes later by Davey and Bones. Matt and Ann would arrive later in the afternoon. 

Jake, Summer, friends & Bones
The grill was fired up, the brats were soon on, and the beer started to flow. The first to go was the Rye Porter and IPA that Justin had brought with him from Red Eye Brewing in Wausau. The Rye Porter was fantastically delicious. Soon we were into the bottles of New Glarus and Capital Brewery. Jake and Summer worked on the Miller Lite they had brought, content to drink a beer that was comfortable for them. Between the food and beer, the bean bag boards were set up for some “fierce” competition and general trash talking.

I walked into Lambeau with a mild buzz, a full stomach and over the next few hours watched the Green and Gold dismantle the Silver and Black much to Brian’s chagrin. I kept my whistle wet with first a Miller Genuine Draft provided by Justin, and then discovered that New Glarus SpottedCow was being served at the stadium. A couple of those lasted until the last second ticked of the clock. 

As Brian would say, a pilgrim heading into an unholy land.
(Photo by Brian Smith)
We all gathered after the game, but the energy had drained out, washed away by the excitement and the cold. Brian and I drank the Lithias while waiting for the traffic to clear out, divvied up the remaining beer with Davey, and said our goodbyes as friends and family departed. It was evening when we left Green Bay heading southbound chasing red lights down Interstate 43 back to Milwaukee.

Late that night in the Best Western by Mitchell Field Airport Brian and I ate some wings and fried cheese curds. I washed mine down with a Coke, the alcohol of the last two days finally catching up, my taste buds demanding something different. Brian was resolute and polished off one more beer, this time a Point Amber.
The Seats (Photo by Brian Smith)

The early morning flight on Monday was packed with tourists and business men but still uneventful. The travel had wiped me out, but Brian had to rally and head into work for the afternoon. We brought back four bottles along with some cheese curds from “downtown” Gad, Louie’s Demise Ale by Milwaukee Brewing Company, O’so Night Train, and New Glarus Chocolate Abbey and Back 40 Bock. Two went with Brian, the Night Train and Bock, while I bagged the others. I drank one on the evening I returned. The Chocolate Abbey will be put in the reserve stocks to age for a year.

Brian showed more fight than his team. 
This was an experience where beer played a central role and to me it encapsulates what Jolly Good Fellows is all about. Enjoying beer, both new styles and brands, and those that are tried and true, rekindling friendships and creating new experiences and starting your own traditions. For me being a proud son of Wisconsin, drinking Spotted Cow and watching a Packers game from the stands of Lambeau Field with my friends goes down as one of my all time great beer memories. It was a little slice of heaven.

Thanks for stopping by. 

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