We can't stop here... (#BatCountry #RoadTrip #beer)
As I begin penning (so to speak) this entry, it's around 8 o'clock on a rainy Monday morning, the memories still ultra-fresh of this trip that I simply must chronicle. It would be all too easy to chalk this up to "you had to be there" or "you wouldn't understand," and indeed I could just put up a bullet-point list of the places we went and say "Doesn't that sound awesome!?!?" But this was a road trip, and so I must try to help you understand, even try to make you feel as if, maybe, you were there in spirit. Not an easy task, and my writing is beyond rusty. But try I shall...
Financial pursuits and pet ownership have kept us close to home for the better part of 15 years. Indeed, neither of us could think of a time in the last 10-12 years where we'd been away from home for longer than several (6, 8, 10) hours. I know, I know - not necessarily healthy. Vacations are important; vacations are healthy. But... the business. But... the animals. The stresses of the last several years demanded a sacrifice, and that sacrifice was deemed to be a weekend where no work should be performed and we must be away from home.
As we are Creators ov Beer, we determined a good travel plan would be to visit other Creators ov Beer, as there are many of these within easy driving distance. We were to follow a simple program:
"Go somewhere, then figure out where to go next... Repeat until it is time to return to homebase."
Friday, approx. 2pm. The canines at a boarder, and the felines seen to with copious amounts of food, we loaded essentials into our conveyance and set sail. After a short errand at the Haus ov Money, we were on the road, she reading aloud from "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," a Work which would set the tone for our adventures. After a short stop in Lebanon for biological functions and chocolate we arrived at the Meadery as expected.
The Proprietoress, Tia, greeted us, and offered us the chance to sample 8 of their creations, which we eagerly accepted. All 8 of the meads and ciders we tasted were fantastic. These people do not follow the current trend of making everything sickly-sweet; most of their creations are near-bone-dry, and even what they label "semi-sweet" is dry in comparison to most offerings available now. We savored our sample flight, purchased a bottle of Dry Mead and a bottle of Dry Cider, as well as a bag of exceptional toffee made by some other local business, and set sail once again.
The next destination, as mentioned above, was Sun King Brewing. They're a very popular craft brewery, so we simply had to visit. A very weird experience, it was. Arriving, we noticed a stuffed parking lot, and thought "must be overflow parking from somewhere else, no way can a craft brewery have this many patrons!" Wrong. Sun King was utterly slammed, though oddly the staff told us it was "slow." A very large scale operation, this, with a ticket system for sampling beers, and longish lines and all. We didn't find any of their beers to be standout. Osiris IPA was pretty good, as was Bitter Druid ESB, but the rest left us ... flat.
Speaking of flat, upon leaving, we mentioned to a staffer our plan of a random craft brew road trip, and he informed us a new one had opened recently, nearby, Flat12. Next leg of trip: easy!
A short drive put us there, and what a visit it was! They brew a milk stout; a favorite style of mine, and theirs is very good. She (and I, too) enjoyed their Joe Brahma, as well.
Broad Ripple seemingly magickally appeared in front of us, and we parked the conveyance in a paid lot and began a nice leisurely walk. For those that have never been there, Broad Ripple is an area of Indianapolis that is basically a few streets worth of (mostly) privately owned and very interesting shops, of all kinds. We took our time getting to Barley Island from the lot. A very pretty skirt decided it needed to come home with her, and also several tobacco products and accessories deemed we were their new home.
Barley Island is another somewhat large scale craft brewer, with a restaurant on premises. We'd read their menu before, and were intrigued by the cake with hop syrup and barley frosting. But, first the beers! We sampled a few of them; none were particularly "awesome," but not bad. We ordered up a piece of the cake to share, and while it was good, just as a cake, none of the brewing ingredients shone forth in the flavor. Oh well.
So then we sauntered back to near the parking lot, and as it was well past 5, perhaps even 6, it was time to obtain sustenance. Not an easy decision. Do we head West to Beef House? North to TPC or somewhere else in Zionsville? Far north to Three Floyds? Decisions! None of the places we'd vaguely talked about maybe-hitting were West, so Beef House was out.
And so, accompanied by more reading from the Book of Thompson, we headed into Zionsville to "figure it out when we got there."
So it was about 8, maybe 9 when we rolled into, of all places, Lafayette. Zionsville didn't work out. Too many narcotics agents. We went to our old haunt, LBC. They'd just put out a new brew, made with Agave, that we had to try. Very damned good. Fed and happy, we rolled out of Lafayette and forged Northwards.
It was too dark by now for any reading to occur, so our trip North was accompanied by Good Music. Elton John, Bob Seger, and Siouxsie, among others. Our destination was Three Floyds, but that was for Saturday.
It was midnight, Munster time, when we slinked through town, looking for a roost for the night, which the Hampton Inn gladly provided. After some wonderful Bonding Time(tm), we fell into a fitful sleep on a lousy (WAY TOO SOFT) bed, and awoke the next morning, ready for adventure!
Three Floyds does not open until Noon, and we were awake at 7 or so. So, it was decided that we would partake of the hotel's breakfast and then visit the John Dillinger Museum which is very nearby. The breakfast was very good, and after receiving (and not accepting) a very interesting offer in the breakfast lobby, we went back to our room and prepared to check out before the next leg.
We arrived at the Dillinger Museum right around open, but after seeing many billboards for nearby Palaces ov Sin, we aborted the Museum idea and set forth for one of these Sin Palaces. Rounding the bend to our Palace of choice, there appeared before us a beautiful sight: LAKE MICHIGAN! We knew we were close to the lake, but not that we were basically THERE! The way the highway is constructed, you can't see it until you round this bend on the exit down to the Sin Palace.
It had been about 20 years since I'd been to one of these Palaces of Sin, and that in the City of Sin, and she'd never been... So this would be a treat. We arrived, parked, and entered Ameristar. Wow, casinos have changed. After a relatively short, but fun, visit, we left the glassy-eyed thralls of the slots behind: it was time to head to Three Floyds.
Three Floyds is somewhat of a legend. With brews such as "Dark Lord," and "Zombie Dust," and an event day once a year called "Dark Lord Day," which brings 10,000 people from all around, we knew it would be Our Place. And, oh, it is.
Our server resembled a character from long-since-canceled favorite show of ours. He was inked probably from head to toe, and had many piercings as well. Very friendly, very cool. Seated us. Asked what we wanted, and we asked for a beer recommendation, to which he said we had to have Zombie Dust. He wasn't wrong. As we enjoyed the brew, and worked on deciding what to have to eat, we looked around at the decor. Art, mostly of a darker sort, all around. Tap handles lining the ceiling rail. Bad 70s cycle-sploitation flick projected onto one of the walls. Kick ass.
Ultimately, we had a scotch egg (amazingly good here), an order of fries (served and cut/prepared in the style of frites and very good), and a very good pizza. She also consumed a pint of Topless Wytch and a bottle of Wandering Aengus cider. Oh yes, the next leg should be interesting! :D
We left Three Floyds (sadly!) and headed to Crown Brewing, in very nearby Crown Point. Interesting place; shares a building with a pizza place - same owners, obviously. We ordered a sampler flight at the bar, and then moved to a table, to avoid the yammering of Cliff Claven. The beers were fairly good. The shocker was "Crown Blue" - a beer with blueberry. Usually, these are overly sweet, but not this one. The blueberry flavor is there, in the back, but not the sweetness. It was very good. She consumed most of the samplers - as the pilot, I had to stay sharp, so as to avoid narcotics officers and man-eating lizards. The next leg would be even more interesting due to this.
The next destination was Kokomo, nearer home. Accompanied for a while with reading from FLLV, and then an eclectic mix of music to include U2, Rush, Queensryche, and Cradle of Filth, we drove the 130 miles or so to Kokomo.
The plan was to visit Half Moon in Kokomo, and sample their beers, and either eat there, or some other random place in Kokomo.
Half Moon's interesting. A totally unique concept in brewpubs, they've decided to emulate the feel, look, and style of a mega-chain eatery such as TGI Friday's or Chilis. Basically "it's just like TGIF/Chilis, except we make our own beer here." And it obviously works for them! The place was packed. Thankfully, they offer a sampler flight of their beers, and we ordered that. None of them were standout, except perhaps "MILF-n-honey" a mild, easy drinking "lawnmower" beer. And we both appreciate any reference to fornication, so the name is win.
The food didn't seem interesting enough so we formulated a plot to comb Kokomo for a good, authentic Mexican place, but gave up easily, and headed back to Lafayette, and went instead to Taj Mahal, an Indian place, for a good (basically) adventure-end meal.
We then grabbed some ice cream, and headed back to homebase to muse over the adventure.
The next day, Sunday, it was mandated that we receive new ink in order to commemorate this adventure. And so, the art you see above was inked onto us by Mitchell at Operation Ink.
And so ends this tale, but fear not, more will come, as the Snow God has been slain, and warm days grace us. 33 hours in length, 9 of that driving the approximately 450 miles we traversed, it was an adventure we will never forget, it being our first of this length and breadth, in about 14 years.
Epilogue: As I prepare to mash the "Publish!" button, I've previewed this chronicle many times, and I find it's not conveying what I wish it to convey, yet better words are not coming to me. And so, I will Publish! this, not overly happy with it in tone and style, but at least it chronicles the adventure more or less accurately. Now to re-check and ensure that all evidence has been disposed of. And deal with the bats.