Friday, May 31, 2019

River Cruising Along the Border: Minneapolis, Minnesota - Part 2


We’re waking up in downtown Minneapolis. A quick Marriott breakfast bar meal and it’s off…we’re out of here. At least for the day.

Jumping in the rental Ford Escape, it’s onto Interstate 35 heading north. Almost immediately, we’re crossing the Mighty Mississippi when Tim chimes in…


“Isn’t this the bridge that collapsed?”

Watch the Video!


Ah, yes…yes it is…and thanks for reminding me while I (who already has a bridge phobia anyway) am on said bridge.


It was a tragic day several years ago when the bridge here collapsed during evening rush hour killing 13 people and injuring another 145 due to bad design and too much weight. A little over a year later, the replacement bridge…the one we’re on now…was opened up.

Past that infamous river crossing, we continue north into lake country and head east toward the Wisconsin border. It’s a quiet, scenic road…many lakes, streams, farms, and a herd of buffalo.

It’s not long before we’re in the tiny village of Taylor Falls.

Parking’s easy and the ice cream hits the spot at Schoony’s. Afterward, it’s a short walk under the bridge to get to the office of Taylor Falls Scenic Cruises.  The web site promised wheelchair accessible boats but the river is raging a little today and we’ll have to walk down a road to an alternate loading area.






We get there and there are stairs into the boat. The crew easily handles Tim’s manual chair that he uses for travel but I don’t think it would have worked if we’d had his power chair.




It’s a warm day so Letty and I pull a couple of chairs out from the cabin and set up with Tim on the open-air bow. Since most people want to sit on the upper deck, we pretty much have it to ourselves save for the elderly lady with a cane that occasionally comes out to sit there too.




The paddle wheeler shoves off and we’re on our riverboat cruise of the St. Croix River…Minnesota on the left and Wisconsin on the right.

The first destination is slightly upriver to the “falls,” which after years of floating logs down river have degraded to a short section of rapids. The boat turns around and we head downriver.



The scenery is, in a word, spectacular. The water, the color of tea due to the decomposition of leaves up stream, is clean and inviting.


The crew points out different rock formation as we go through the dells. Kayakers lazily float by wooded islands in the stream.



A bald eagle circles overhead looking for fat fish.


The weather is perfect, the water relaxing, and our batteries are fully charged at the end of the 2 hour cruise.

We spend a little time looking at glacial potholes…deep pockets scooped out of the rocks by ancient glaciers…near the parking lot before moving on.


Downriver we get to the larger town of Stillwater and have dinner at a place we saw on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives…Smalley’s Caribbean Barbecue.

The hostess is a little clueless at first but finally finds us a spot on the outdoor patio by the bar. The server makes up for her by being very gracious and knowledgeable.

We have some jerk wings, ribs, and their smoked jalapenos that come free and unlimited with each meal. They’re great but the reason they’re unlimited is because they are extremely hot and we’re panting all the way back to Minneapolis.


We've got more to see back in the city but that’ll be next time. Be sure to join us again for the next leg of our great Minnesota adventure.

-Darryl

Copyright 2012 – Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved
Photos by Letty Musick
Copyright 2012 – Letty Musick
All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

KARA AIELLO SPECIAL GUEST POST: Dog Sledding in Minnesota

Re-running this guest post about a winter adventure in the Great White North of Minnesota...


By Kara Aiello


I love to travel, I always have. Through travel I learn about new cultures and people, challenge fears and prejudices and I do so from the endurance and strength of my wheelchair.  Although I have taken many trips that have excited me beyond the text of a book, there is one trip that I want to share that has been a dream of mine since my relatives in Minnesota took this trip back in the early part of the decade, Back in 2011, with the support of Wilderness Inquiry, an organization that specializes in trips across the globe and makes it possible for all people to travel, including those with disabilities, I flew out to Minneapolis MN to visit my family and embark on a dog sled trip up north near the Canadian border.

The dog sled trip was to be a four day trip with two days of travel through quaint towns and open Minnesota land-scapes.   The two days in between would include dog sledding, hiking and challenging our grit and limbs to the midwest cold, by sleeping outside in 10 degree weather and jumping into a frozen pond before running to the safety of a warm sauna. 

I flew out to Minneapolis on a Wednesday afternoon and met my cousin at the airport who took me to her home to prepare for the trip.  I love staying with these guys as it makes travel all the more easy. I don’t have to worry about dragging gear across country for I get everything I need from them.  Their middle name after all is “outdoors.”  I find that when I stay with them to prepare for a trip, it becomes a night of entertainment with a comic twist that the camera would end up documenting.  One picture taken as we prepared to pack was me wearing an oversized beaver hat and gloves to match.  There was no way I was going to wear this on the trip, but the picture is forever on face book for a good laugh. 

On the day of the trip, my cousin dropped me off at the Wilderness inquiry headquarters where I met fellow participants and crew who would be our guides on this trip.  There were families and singles and people with and without disabilities.  Some of the disabilities were visible to the eye and some were not.  Their experiences were developmental or mental health and taking this trip allowed them a place to challenge themselves in a way that other life experiences may not have offered them.   So we took off on our seven hour trip that allowed us the time to get to know one another and take in the colors and quiet living of the Minnesota landscape.  Once we arrived, we unpacked our gear and headed to our home where we would live for the next four days. 


This trip to our new home was an adventure in itself.  Those of us who used wheelchairs were assisted into a one man sled that was sturdy and comfortable.  Our gear was placed in these sleds for transport as well.  Our guides who would become close friends tied themselves to the sled and would become our human sled drivers and take us to home base.  As we traveled, I felt a sense of excitement and awe at being able to do this. I love feeling the cold wind lap across my face and the smoothness of the ice and snow under the sled.  

We traveled across frozen lakes and when we came to a steep hill going upward, yes upward our human guides ran with all of their might and power up the hill and man did we fly. It was scary and exhilarating all at the same time.  Once we got to the top, I could only imagine how fast they would take us going back down the hill. After all, this was a rush for them as well as us. Once inside, we were introduced to more staff that would prepare our meals and were shown where we would sleep the next few days.  It was a large cabin like structure with a ballroom size mess hall with army style tables and a small fire place with couches and chairs that made for a cozy evening after being out in the cold.  We unpacked our gear, had dinner and then met with the team and two of the dogs who would be taking us on our adventure over the next few days.  

One of the dogs that came in was so friendly and sociable she had to make sure she greeted each and every person that was in the room about four or five times.  The other dog that came in was very shy and kept to herself.  But I was excited to have my picture taken with her even if it was more stressful for her then me.

On Friday began the day of dog sledding and hiking.  Although many opted for the hike, I was one of the few who begged to stay back so I could prepare for the dog sledding.  One group went in the AM and I went in the PM with another group.  It was both exciting and nerve wracking to hear about the AM group’s trip with the dogs.  The hills were steep some said and there were nooks and crannies that could cause the sled to tip over especially if the dogs slowed down.  Now just to give an image, I live with brittle bones from birth and here I was, ready to embark on this trip…am I crazy?  Yes I am but I was up for it.  When it was my turn to go, I was escorted outside and helped into my travel sled to escort me to where the dogs are. 

Once in the sled, my guide would take me down snowy steps with the help of others and I found this to be rather smooth, not rough at all.  Then we embarked up steep snowy white hills that glimmered when the sun hit it just right and helped us to see for miles around. We got to where the dogs are and I transferred into my dog sled and was warmed with blankets and pillows to cushion any hard blows below the sled.  One by one, each dog was attached to the sled and once attached the dogs came to life with excited howls and barking and if not kept under control would have taken off without the rest of the dogs or the guides ready to lead.  


Once all were attached we were ready to embark on our 2 ½ hour journey through the wilderness.

My sled started slow as we began traveling through the woods with the pathway very narrow and steep.  The dogs knew what to do and where to go as my guide directed the speed of our movement which was about 7 or 8 miles an hour.  At times our travels were on flat snowy runways and across large snow covered lakes. At other times we would travel up and down mountainous inclines that felt more like a roller coaster ride.  Nature was everywhere with birds chirping and the son peered through the trees as we traveled.  On one adventurous move, we had to literally jump over a snowy groove in order to get the sled over a mound of snow. I was amazed at how cushioned the jump was and once down we were on our way again.  The trip included moments of comedy too as the dogs would tend to get over excited and get their ropes twisted around one another. When that happened, we would need to take a five minute break and get the dogs untangled.  To end the adventure, we had to tackle a death defying hill that came up just past the cabin and would bring us back to home base.  The hill was so steep that I felt I was looking down at a ski slope as we began to head down the hill.  The guides had to hold on to the dogs hard as we headed down the hill full force. Let’s just say it was a terrifying rush and I’m glad we made it out alive.


In the evening, we settled in for dinner and reminiscing of the days travels.  We also prepared to embark on our next adventure which took us out into the elements to sleep over night in 10 degree temperatures.  In order to survive the night, we wore layers of clothing and had special mats and sleeping bags that kept the heat incased within our own sleeping bags that we took with us.  We also were given candy bars to eat in the night should we become hungry. I never knew that we burned calories when our bodies were cold.  We slept on an open frozen lake near the cabin and our eyes were treated to millions of stars in night sky.   I slept OK for my first adventure but not like I was used to and did not eat like I should have.  The next morning I was starving and also came to see that some of our group became so cold they had to go back inside and sleep in the warmth of the cabin.  I went back inside and devoured a full breakfast of eggs, bacon and anything else I could get my hands on. Yumm.

Later in the day, I was treated to a hike in the afternoon that was a surprise highlight of my trip.  Although I am very independent when back home in my every-day world of accessibility, I had to allow myself to be OK with depending on other’s to assist me when traveling through the deepness of the snow.  But in allowing myself to do this, I also opened myself up to a world that I would never be able to get to with my wheelchair unless I put skis on my wheels.   I was escorted in my sled through open frozen lakes and snowy woods and taken to a part of the woods that felt like a winter wonderland.  We entered a woodsy door that took us into nature at its most raw and beautiful.  There was snow everywhere on trees, logs and ground. We did not know where the ground started and ski ended.  We came across a frozen waterfall and river that was partially flowing and breathtaking.  I felt exhilarated and free as we embraced nature around us.  It was a memory I will never forget.

Our last adventure was one I somewhat participated in.  A group of us went out to where a frozen pond was poking out through the ground and people took turns jumping into the eye opening, jaw dropping icy cold water.  Once out, people would warm up in a Luke warm sauna that was right next door to the pond.  Although I did not dive in with everyone else, I relaxed in the sauna and tried to get warm when the door would open up to the outside and people would come in and spray me with the icy cold water.



On the last day of the trip, people participated in a last day hiking and then we packed our gear and said goodbye to our hosts at the cabin. Once outside we embarked down a steep snowy hill with a speed that felt like 90 miles an hour. We then crossed frozen lakes again which took us back to our cars.  We drove home for seven hours and reminisced about out adventures and once back to home base, said our goodbyes and promised we would meet once again for another Wilderness Inquiry trip in the future.

Story and pictures by Kara Aiello - Used with permission.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Malls, Baseball, and Waterfalls: Minneapolis, Minnesota - Part 1


Behind us is all the fun, food, and beer we had in Milwaukee. The wonderful Ambassador Hotel and the delicious pannenkoeken that we had for dinner last night at Benelux.  Ahead of us lies the drive.

We’re on a wide open interstate in Dairy country. As we make our way out of Milwaukee, it’s nothing but rolling green hills, an occasional rain shower, and lots of cows.  This will be an all day drive so we settle in for the long haul.


Watch the Video!


A few hours out, we hit the biggest vacation destination in these parts, Wisconsin Dells.

I had tried to see if any of their waterparks had any sort of wheelchair access before we went but no luck…not even a pool lift into a lazy river.



It’s touristy…very touristy…as in wall-to-wall tourist traps and curio shops. Even in my wildest dreams I didn’t imagine it would be that bad. For us, it’s just a snack stop along the way where we can get a quick bite to eat, gas up the car, and go to the bathroom.

Just before the border with Minnesota on the St. Croix River, I make one more bathroom stop at a restaurant that also gave out samples of some truly delicious local cheese. Since you needed to be a customer to use the facilities, I got a couple of hunks of cheese and some full-strength, old fashioned milk…the kind that comes in the glass jar and has a thick plug of cream on the top. Those will come in handy later for snacks to go with the summer sausages we picked up at Usingers back in Milwaukee.



A few minutes later, we’re crossing the Mississippi River and easily find our hotel, the Residence Inn at the Depot, in downtown Minneapolis.

Upon checking in, my wife notices a little sign on the counter…like the kind they use to announce conferences and such…except this one says “Welcome Darryl M…The Residence Inn Depot’s Guest of the Day.”



Kind of cool…the manager tells me they pick a guest at random each day for the honor.  I get a little swag bag with a bottle of water and a couple of granola bars.

After unpacking, we have one more trip to make today.


Tim said one thing that we absolutely had to do while here was try a Jucy Lucy.  He saw it once on the Travel Channel and had been dying to have one.

We drive to a neighborhood in the southeast part of the city…one that seems to have seen better days…and find the last place to park at Matt’s Bar.


It’s a dark, narrow, divey place on 35th Street and we squeeze into one of the nominally wheelchair accessible tables. Just in time too…a few minutes later, the place is full with about 20 people waiting to get in.


We all order the specialty…the Jucy Lucy…along with some Grain Belt beers. The Jucy Lucy (yes, that’s the way they spell it) is just a cheeseburger but instead of a slice on top of the meat, the cheese is stuffed into the inside of the patty so when you bite it, hot, melted cheese oozes out.


Here at Matt’s, the cook works in a microscopic kitchen at the end of the bar, churning out dozens of them on a flat top about four feet wide.  The meat is cooked with diced onions and served basically with the burger, onions, and a bun.  It’s up to you to add condiments from there.

We dig in and, yes, they are delicious.  A perfect little welcome meal for a friendly dive here in Minneapolis.



We feel honored…




More to come, stay tuned as we dig deeper into Minnesota’s big city. Will we have fun? You betcha!

-Darryl

Copyright 2012 – Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved
Photos by Letty Musick
Copyright 2012 – Letty Musick
All Rights Reserved

Sunday, May 26, 2019

THE COCKTAIL HOUR: Tequila Old Fashioned



Here's a real easy and real light cocktail for you.  It's basically a whiskey old fashioned recipe but using tequila instead.


Watch the Video!
We'll make a couple of very slight adjustments for the taste of the tequila and to shave a few calories.  Total calorie count - 100.


Here's the recipe (one drink):


1.5 oz. tequila
2-3 oz.soda water
1/2 packet sweet 'n low
dash of bitters
1 pineapple chunk or spear


Put sweet 'n low in an old fashioned glass followed by a dash of bitters.  Pour just a splash of carbonated water on that.  Fill glass with ice.  Pour in tequila and fill to top with the carbonated water.  Put in a wedge of pineapple and enjoy!


Hand Picked Wines straight to Your Door- Exclusive member discounts

-Darryl
Copyright 2010 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Friday, May 24, 2019

Game Day in Beer City - Milwaukee, Part 2


We've been eating a drinking in Milwaukee for a little while now. Let’s turn to something else the city does very well…sports!

Baseball is our sport. One of our travel goals is to see each Major League stadium. There are 30 of them altogether.  Our main reason…but not the only one…to visit Milwaukee is to notch our 22nd stadium, Miller Park.

Watch the Video!

Before that, we spend a little time seeing the city along the fantastic Riverwalk that winds through downtown. We do a bit of pub crawling…which you can see in more detail in this week’s Cocktail Hour, TheMilwaukee Pub Crawl.  Go ahead, click on that link and check it out.  We’ll be here when you get back…

One of our rules for stadium trips is that Tim makes all the arrangements for tickets. At Miller Park, there is no good public transit, so Tim also buys a parking pass which you can buy in advance for $9 if you’re handicapped…normally $15 on weekend games at the gate.

Turns out we could have gone on our hotel’s shuttle for free but that’s one to grow on.  Maybe next time.

Being an idiot, I had left our handicapped parking placard back on our car’s rearview mirror which was now sitting in the parking lot of the airport in Ontario, California.  Luckily, at the gate, I was able to show the parking attendant the wheelchair in the back and explain what a moron I was and he let us in.

We were directed to park in the tailgating area.  Here in Milwaukee, that means something.  Approximately 6 – 7,000 people surrounded us, barbecuing, drinking, playing games, and generally having a good time.  It’s said to be the largest tailgate party anywhere in baseball.  I believe it.


We spend a little time exploring the stadium and visiting the gift shop where Tim and I buy t-shirts to wear for the game.  You might notice that my shirt does not say “Brewers” on it. Instead, it says “Cerveceros.” More on that in a bit.


Come game time, we find our seats up above third base in the upper deck. We’re up pretty high but the views are still fantastic. A friend of mine from high school meets us at the game and we spend the next three hours catching up on the thirty plus years since we’ve seen each other.  It was a great time.

As far as the game went, tonight was Cerveceros Night where the team celebrates Hispanic heritage by changing the team name for a day (the visitors were the Piratas from Pittsburgh), playing mariachi and Latin music, and bringing out a special jalapaƱo mascot for the evening.


The Brewers…er, Cerveceros…handily beat the Piratas 5-1 during this evening’s game, putting a win in the middle of a losing streak. 

You can see more of our thoughts on the stadium at our Field of Dreams report on Miller Park (click on either of those links).

The next morning, after another delicious breakfast at the wonderful Ambassador Hotel, we jump on the freeway and head north a little more than 100 miles.

In a spot where I see nothing but endless trees and very little evidence of civilization, there’s a sign that says “Lambeau Field Next Exit.” We have ended up in the pretty town of Green Bay.

Not very well signed from the exit, nevertheless we finally do see the stadium lights (it’s pretty much the highest point in town) and make our way over.


Home of the Green Bay Packers, there are stadium tours given almost everyday. In the Atrium connected to the side of the stadium, there is also an extensive gift shop and a restaurant.


We’re here for the tour and to meet my friend afterward for lunch.  We find out the history of the team, founder Curly Lambeau, and legendary coach Vince Lombardi. The team has won more championships than any other in the NFL. The gift shop sells more items than any other gift shop, in any sport, in the world.


The guide then tells us that NFL rules prohibit us from videotaping in the stadium itself, so we must rely on our still camera to tell the rest of the story.


The grass is embedded with plastic strands to keep it from getting worn out and having to be constantly replaced. 90% of the seats are just plain flat bleachers. After the current renovation is complete, it will have the second highest capacity after Dallas.


It’s a fun tour and lunch at Curly’s Pub is delicious.  Now, it’s time to pack it up, head back to Milwaukee, and move on to our next destination.

Darryl
Copyright 2012 – Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved
Photos by Letty Musick
Copyright 2012 – Letty Musick
All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

FIELDS OF DREAMS - Miller Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Originally playing in Seattle as the Pilots, the team was bought by used car salesman Allan Selig. Moved to Milwaukee, Selig...better known by his nickname, "Bud"...changed the name to the Brewers due to the city's fame in the beer brewing industry. Bud Selig went on to become the Comissioner of Major League Baseball, a post he holds to this day.



The team was originally in the American League where they Won the pennant in 1982 but lost in the World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals.  In 1998, the team moved to the National League to make way for expansion teams.  Since then, the team has made it into the postseason as a wild card in 2008 and as the Central Division Champions in 2011 but have yet to make another World Series appearance.




They're not a team filled with big superstars but their left fielder, Ryan Braun, won the 2011 MVP award...under cloudy circumstances.

The stadium is a retractable roof park that is unique in baseball in that the roof folds out from each side like a circular fan instead of just a flat, sectioned roof.  Here are the stats:

Opened: 2001
Surface: Grass
Construction cost: $400 million
Capacity: 41,900
Field dimensions: Left field - 344 ft; Left center - 371 ft; center field - 400 ft; right center - 374 ft; right field - 345 ft.
Home team: Milwaukee Brewers (National League - MLB) 2001 - present
Events attended: 1 game

Once you're there, it's easy access at any entrance for wheelchairs.  There are plenty of elevators, and ramps too, for access to the upper levels. Unlike many stadiums, we did not experience a long wait for an elevator.

Wheelchair locations are dispersed throughout every level but there are only a couple in the front row...in the very expensive seats right behind home plate.  Tickets were very easy to get by calling the ticket office at (414) 902-4000. Ticket prices run $11 to $195 and have three tiers of pricing.

Closed captioning is available on the ribbon displays on the front of the second deck. There is also a web-enabled app for smart phones, laptops, and tablets. Go to fancaptions.com/mil for more information on this service.


Sightlines are exceptional here from anywhere in the stadium.  Food is very good, especially sausages as Milwaukee is known for having great tube steaks. In fact, sausages are so revered here that every game features a race between five mascots dressed as the most popular sausages sold in the stadium...bratwurst, hot dog, Italian sausage, Polish sausage, and chorizo.

Mascot Bernie Brewer sits in his treehouse and slides down the slide 
when the home teams hits a home run or wins the game.

Beer selection is average to good and prices are somewhat reasonable.




Tailgating is encouraged and vast swaths of parking lots are populated with thousands of fans celebrating up to game time. There's also a small baseball field in the parking lot where kids can play a pickup game.

Public transit to the park is poor...just a few buses and taxis. If you buy ahead of time, you can save a few dollars in purchasing a handicapped parking space.



There are plenty of lodging options in nearby Milwaukee. We like the Ambassador Hotel which also features free shuttles to and from the game.

While I still have some stadiums I think are better, my wife says this is her new favorite. I do agree you'll have a very good time here.

-Darryl

Copyright 2012 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved
Photos by Letty Musick
Copyright 2012 - Letty Musick
All Rights Reserved
Updated for 2013

Monday, May 20, 2019

Milwaukee - The City That Beer Made Famous


It’s the city beer made famous, breweries and bars dot the landscape. Our latest escapades return us to the shores of Lake Michigan and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

After flying all day on Southwest and picking up a Ford Escape from Thrifty Rent-a-car at the airport, we eventually find our hotel, The Ambassador Hotel - Milwaukee, on Wisconsin Avenue adjacent to Marquette University.

Watch the Video!

The third floor room features a king size bed, a queen size sofabed, flat screen TV, wifi and wired free internet, basic wet bar, robes, ironing board and iron, accessible restroom featuring a barred bathtub with seat or roll in shower.

Letty says it’s the most comfortable hotel bed she’s ever seen.

Upon check-in, we’re offered a deal…$7.95 for breakfast vouchers. Seeing their site beforehand, and knowing that breakfast here went for twice as much, we snapped some up. We’re glad we did because breakfast is in their beautiful restaurant with entrees such as spinach omelets, pancakes, bacon and eggs, and delicious waffles covered with fruit served to your table by actual waiters. No warmed up breakfast bar entrees here.

Our main reason for being here is to notch another point for our seemingly never-ending quest to see every Major League Baseball stadium. We have tickets for tomorrow’s game but today is for exploring the city. First up…as all our friends who have experience here have been telling us…we have to go to the Third Ward.


This is an old area, burned down in a big fire long ago and rebuilt into an Italian neighborhood, that is being gentrified. While some buildings are still waiting for their time in the redevelopment spotlight, most of the area has been spiffed up and is home to nice little boutiques, restaurants, bars, and anchored by the Milwaukee Public Market.

It’s also the south end of the Milwaukee Riverwalk, a three mile long accessible walk along the Milwaukee River that takes you through the highlights of downtown.



We start filming (see the video above) and soon run into another crew doing the same thing on the river side of the Milwaukee Ale House. It’s a great walk that we’ll take full advantage of later. Tonight, we’ll have dinner at Benelux, a restaurant and bar dedicated to all the good food and drink of the European lowlands.

And what food it is…Tim and I have their very good burger served with Belgian frittes and a beer palette (four beers served on a wooden palette) made up of Belgian strong ales. Letty has the Friday fish fry with Ichtagem’s sour red Flemish ale.  That’s after a very tasty starter of tater tots filled with brie and accompanied by a Sriracha garlic mayo dipping sauce. It is very good and we vow to come back again before we leave and dig a little deeper into the menu.



An aimless trip south of town takes us to St. Francis, home of a big monastery, a bunch of bars, and a nice beach. It’s a nice place to stretch our legs a little, take some pictures, and just relax before heading back into town.


All in all, it’s a fun but short overview of the town we’ll be spending the next four days in. Stay tuned for more fun, drinking, eating, baseball, and cheeseheads here in what will turn out to be one of the best destinations we’ve been to.

-Darryl

Copyright 2012 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved
Photos by Letty Musick
Copyright 2012 - Letty Musick
All Rights Reserved

Sunday, May 19, 2019

THE COCKTAIL HOUR: The Milwauke Pub Crawl


Luckily, we got a ride to and from today’s adventure. Good thing…there was no way we were going to end this one sober…

Milwaukee is the city that beer made famous, so how does it stack up to the self-described “Napa Valley of beer” that we visited last year (Denver)? Very well, thank you.

Watch the Video!

We start off with a standalone visit to Benelux in the Historic Third Ward. Yes, you need to capitalize each word.


With a thick bible of beers to choose from, Tim and I have a palette of strong Belgian beers while Letty goes with a bottled sour.  It’s hard to pick from our palette but Letty says the sour, Ichtegem Flemish Red, could have more bite.


Next, it’s on to the actual crawl. We start at the north end of town where the really cool Milwaukee Riverwalk starts. First up is the American absinthe made right here in Milwaukee by Great Lakes Distillery and served at Trocadero. It’s the first time we’ve had it and it tastes like anisette and looks like cloudy water. Not bad but not really my cup of tea either.  I enjoyed the shot of Cazadores Reposado I had better.

Across the adjacent Hudson Street bridge, which has a really cool, wheelchair accessible, pedestrian bridge hanging under the main bridge, we go to Lakefront Brewery to take the tour.  This tour is so fun that it is rated as the number 4 best thing to do in Milwaukee on Tripadvisor. It should be number 1.

Our tour guide is hungover and drunk, but he’s funny, knowledgeable, and keeps our glasses full of our choice of Lakefront brews. I’m partial to their flagship variety, the Stein.


Seven dollars gets you on the tour and four tokens for beer. Answering trivia questions or helping the tour guide gets you more tokens, plus the generous policy of free frequent top-offs means there is much more beer available that most people can handle. I ended up giving my last four tokens away.

Walking along the river, we eventually end up in another historic neighborhood, Third Street…also known as Historic Old World Third Street.  Yes, with the capitals.


Mader’s has been here over a century, serving good but expensive German Cuisine. They also have a happy hour so we go inside to enjoy a $5 ceramic stein of Spaten Oktoberfest and a glass of Pinot Noir.


Afterward, it’s a couple of doors down to get some more Lakefront beer (two mugs for $3) and some Franziskaner Weissbier at Milwaukee Brat House along with some of their namesake fatty sausages and deep fried cheese curds.

With that, we cannot crawl another foot and call for the hotel shuttle to take us back. It’s all in the video above, so come along and watch as we take in as much Milwaukee as we can handle.

Cheers!

-Darryl
Copyright 2012 – Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved