Ahhhh, fun weekend.
This post could also be titled “The Tale of Two (Booze) Tours”, but more on that later.
Saturday morning Pete was up early. Like, if it were a weekday, it would be before we were dragging ourselves out of bed, and well before we’d be trying to get Pete to wake up. Figures. So we tagged along when Scott headed to the Farmer’s Market, and kind of did our own thing this time (like, purposefully, rather than trying to stay near Scott). First smoothies, then kettle corn. Pete had charmed several handful of samples out of the people running the kettle corn tent while we waited on our smoothies, so I figured the least I could do is actually buy a bag.
A bit of a side note here: Pete has grown up to be quite the social butterfly, something that Scott and I find completely perplexing, considering this is the child of two very introverted, mostly private people. He never stops talking, loves to start conversations with random strangers, and according to his preschool teachers, “Pete always has so much to tell us every day, he keeps everyone entertained”. He’s his aunt Aimee’s mini-me, and frankly it’s terrifying 😉
Anyway, we also perused the market. Pete has an undying love for asparagus and it’s allllll over the market this spring, so of course – every booth he felt the need to chat up the vendors about their ‘awesome’ asparagus, tell them how much he loves asparagus, etc. etc. He also proudly told vendors his name, my name, his address, and other random bits of information. I love that child but YEESH. Time to teach him about polite conversation and personal filters.
After a bit Pete got bored with the market and found a family to befriend. Then he dragged me into the Capitol to explore it a bit, which is where Scott finally caught up with us. He had picked up fresh breakfast empanadas from a food cart, so the guys settled in and had a post-market snack before we headed back home.
Oh, before leaving we also went up allllll the way to the top of the dome (lots of flights of stairs, people) to check out the observation deck for the first time.
A few weeks ago, I read that Death’s Door Distillery was having a Parents Night Out evening coming up – essentially a cocktail and cheese thing, with tours of the distillery and demos from Fromagination; Keva Sports down the street was providing the childcare. All nice and tidy. But at $30 a pop for the cocktail hour and $25 per kid to drop them at Keva, I figured it was maybe something we keep in mind for the future. Except: Edible Madison was giving away tickets, I tossed my name in the hat, and lo and behold: we won. Sweeeeet.
So Saturday night Pete was dropped off at Keva for his evening of sports extravaganza, and Scott and I headed out to Death’s Door.
Super-cool place. This is where Scott went for a butchering session/meat raffle once (yes, MEAT RAFFLE, you did not read that incorrectly), but he didn’t get the tour and not nearly as many free cocktails 😉 The spirits from this place are top notch and they have made quite the name for themselves in a short period time, being picked up on both coasts by the hippest restaurants and getting name-dropped in foodie magazines. They also exclusively use the hard red winter wheat grown on Washington Island, single-handedly expanding the acreage for wheat farmers there from 5 acres to 12,000 acres in a mere 6 years. Pretty cool.
We took our cue from Pete and actually acted like we weren’t shy wallflowers for once, mingling with a few couples, the Death’s Door dudes on hand, and near the end I found myself cornered by an older, immpeccably cool French-Canadian woman from Fromagination who told me her name was “Shee-SELL” (Gisele, I finally realized; girl’s accent was THICK). She talked my ear off, and shared me at one point that she really isn’t into cocktails, but “Eef I am dining somewhere and the wine leest is Shee-TEE, weell I geet a gin and tonic”. All those years in high school and at college studying French, and yet I can hardly understand the accent. Anyway, she was like the living embodiment of Marie Calvet. The head guy at Death’s Door regaled us with a story about this one time at a magic fruit party (think: those old acid-dropping parties, only a lot less illegal) where he drank way too much vinegar and was sick for days. I think I need to stick my head out and pretend to be social more often because holy cow, there are some characters out there.
The cheese pairing demos and tour were both really fun. On the tour we were also introduced to a few nondescript barrels in the corner of the warehouse area, which were aging whiskey that they hope to have ready in 3-5 years. Although they hope to age them for more like 8 years. And also would like to take up to Washington Island to be the first freshwater-aged barrel whiskey. And Scott and I decided that if we started saving now, we can maybe afford a bottle when it’s finally on the market.
After a run in with a very nice but terribly drunk woman that we just could not shake to save our lives, we sneaked out (enough socializing for us!) and decided there was no better way to end the evening than with pie, I mean hell as long as we were trolling Middleton. So we scored a booth at Hubbard Ave. diner and got a few slices. I got the derby pie (pecan with chocolate bottom) and Scott got their peanut-butter silk. Scott totally won. I was sad with my (still very good) pie after sampling his.
We picked up our Beez (who told us his ‘new party place’ was ‘totally awesome’ and that he can’t wait to go back), we all went home and crashed. Seriously crashed. As in: Pete didn’t sleepily come in our room to wake us up until 8:45a the next day. It was bliss.
Sunday was mostly playing catch up on chores and stuff. We also finally turned on the AC – the temp wasn’t so bad, but low 80s and super-humidity plus rain is kinda gross. And Plus it’s supposed to be that way for the next 3-4 days, so we officially give up. For now anyway (highs in the 60s after that, OMG I CAN’T WAIT).
New Glarus Brewery was selling its Anniversary Ale starting at 1pm today, only at the brewery, and Scott is not one to miss something like a limited release beer thingie, so away we went on a quick trip down to New Glarus. I know I have said this before but I totally mean it: I love that little village. If it didn’t mean a treacherous, white-knuckled drive to Madison every day in the wintertime, I would move there in a heartbeat. But I am a grandma-level nervous driver so that’s probably not the brightest idea. Ever.
SO ANYWAY. We got there at the height of the day (it was 82 degrees without a cloud in the sky and my friends, we have officially lived here Long Enough because holy lord, that was miserably hot). The Brewery is one of the prettiest ones I have seen, a series of Swiss Village-esque buildings and lovely landscaping. They are still working on a portion of the brewery, Scott told me it was the building they’ll use for their offices. They are quite the thriving company.
After picking up those precious bottles of anniversary ale (I was nice and bought some separately for him, as they had a strict two-per-person limit) we checked out the tasting room, gift shop, and biergarten. Then off for a self-guided tour of the brewery.
New Glarus makes some mighty tasty beer and are well respected. They are easily my favorite brewery around (sorry, Free State and Boulevard, but know that you both will always hold a special place in my heart). And their beer can only be found in the state of Wisconsin, so if you ever find yourself this way: stock up. It’s worth it.
Also it would be totally worth it to work there: they have a pilot brew set-up onsite for all employees to use to brew their own personal beer, as they wish. NICE. No need for homebrewing systems for them.
We spent a little more time in the biergarten after poking around the brewery. Scott grabbed some snacks from the car, but Pete was crabby and complaining about the heat (dude, it was hot) so we packed up and called it a day.
Then we headed home, gassed up the car, and got a DEEElux car wash (oh, to be a kid again and have that much joy over the freaking car wash, man). And we got home just in time – there were thunderstorm warnings chasing us all the way home, and they finally caught up to us a few minutes after we pulled into the garage. So we spent the rest of the day inside, doing laundry and taking it easy.
Next week we are doing our usual for Memorial Day – hitting the city instead of heading to the super-packed lakes. Our neighborhood pool opens, BratFest kicks off, and a roadtrip. We’re starting summer with a bang.
Have a good week everyone! See you after the holiday.