Things to note about me… and the number you shall count is three.
- Hyper organized when it comes to projects, especially events, trips and activities, and hyper focused on things that interest me.
- People often say “we should do X” or “Y looks fun, let’s go there someday” or “we really need to hang out more often” I became tired of these things never actualizing. I want to see X and I just am never going to actually see X unless I stick it in my calendar. Then I have a plan and I end up seeing 85% of what I want to do and see. It does have downsides. I do tend to lose out on spontaneity, but having a 2 year old kinda puts a kibosh on spontaneity.
- I’m short, blond, married, have a 2 year old, have extremely long hair, and have a very decidedly not mainstream clothing style.
Aaaand so, when in November of 2018 I made the decision to visit 50 Ct I needed a plan. My problems:
- My husband and I each get a weeknight we know in perpetuity in advance that we have free. My husband works Sat and Fri so generally, unless I get child care, I won’t be able to go out those nights.
- My husband doesn’t drink. I don’t wanna go alone cause that is sad… and lonely. I love experiencing life, but I like sharing the experience. I needed accomplices
- If I were to get 50 breweries in 2019 I would need 4.16 breweries per month. But some months (where we have a lot of family obligations, or travel plans, etc) would be harder to make that goal that others.
If I didn’t have a plan, I would end up going to half a dozen then next November be like… aw man… I really wanted to do that. So, in Dec… I started the planning. Google Sheets is my best friend. I started by creating a line for each brewery with some basic information like their hours, address, do they have food there? Food trucks? Do they list prices? What kinds of beers do they brew. (More on my dislike of IPA in another post) This seems like an easy task. Just go to each website, type in the information
“Mama… want more juice”
Save to the google sheet,
“Mama… want apples.”
then organize each of the breweries by quadrant of the state they are located in.
“Mama… school bus has wheels. Go round.”
True story I have a kid. I know a lot of breweries claim to be kid friendly, and maybe they are, for certain kids, but I get so little “adult time” sans the kiddo that I am really not into my precious adult time being over run by lot of other people’s kiddos running around and generally being disruptive and bored… cause they are at a brewery.
“But” you say “you could bring YOUR kid to the brewery too and then you could enjoy the brewery and not have to worry about child care.” Yes… if by “enjoy” you mean run after a rambunctious 2 year old where everything is new and he doesn’t understand basic concepts like where you can and cannot go. There is not much enjoyment in kicking back and drinking my delicious beer when most of that time I’m leaving my delicious beer and making sure my kid is not destroying, annoying, or exploding. So no… When I want to have fun as an adult I do it without my kid. When I want to have fun as a family we do things WITH my kid and when I want my kid to have fun and experience things I have no interest in I bring him to do that knowing I won’t enjoy it, but it will give him great experiences and broaden him as a human. In conclusion just because a brewery says you can bring your kid doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Maybe if they are older kids who can sit and read a book or play on an ipad or something, but young active kids, just not. I don’t want to bring my 2 year old to breweries. I won’t have a good time and if the whole point of this endeavor is for me to enjoy myself, child care must be arranged.
Back to the concept of researching all the breweries…
Ok, so right here I feel I should mention that if you own a business, it should be self evident that certain information needs to be on your website. Things like… your address maybe? Or perhaps your hours of operation? (I’m looking at you Cold Creek Brewery in Ellington that doesn’t list hours of operation at all… anywhere…) But, not to single them out exclusively, I was appalled at the lack of information on many brewery’s websites. Some didn’t even have a website… just a facebook page that didn’t have much information on it. Sheesh there are plenty of free website options. This is the digital age people. I mean look, it took me 20 minutes to set up a blog and I’m not particularly an internet savvy person. Get yourself a web site. Put some basic info on it like operating hours, address, and contact info. Also, listing your hours as 4 to close is NOT as helpful as you think it is… #NotHelpful So then I started making a list of people who would be willing accomplices. Messaging, emailing, phone calling until I had a decent list of willing victims, I mean valued team members. I created a section for each person listing what kinds of beers they liked, What days they were available, How into beer they were and how many breweries they were interested in being apart of, etc. That is where there magic started to happen. I opened my calendar and marked every day I had available for brewery trips. I opened maps and plotted trips. If possible I wanted to do something between breweries and food was necessary and optimizing breweries that are open on weekdays vs those only open on the precious fri-Sun block that required an extra level of organization by getting child care. I started nailing down dates and soon I had a plan formulating.
I found myself in distinct lack of an important thing, namely, a passport. Jan was fast approaching and I needed the all important passport to get stamped. The brewers guild was not particularly helpful as they had a downloadable passport but it was for 2018. I was only a couple of weeks away from 2018 being history so it didn’t do me much good. I emailed the president of the Brewers Guild, Phil Pappas. To his credit, he did answer my email a few weeks later, but his reply was unsatisfactory. “Just use the 2018 passport. We are going to print new ones in Feb.” Meh…This was unsatisfactory. I couldn’t wait a whole month to start my adventure. Note I did say I needed 4.16 breweries a month.. That puts me way behind. So I started my own. Also, why would you start the 2019 year in Feb? *raises an eyebrow of incredulity* I got a plain piece of printer paper. Wrote the name of the brewery I was visiting each day and asked them to stamp it and sign it. Notes on the responses I’ve gotten in the individual posts about the breweries.
I decided to blog this journey and give some facts, tidbits, information, and opinions on the various breweries I visit. I’m vain enough to hope that at least a few people would be interested in following along. If you are one, please stick through for the ride. I plan on writing a post for every brewery I visit with information on their hours, the vibe there, if they offer food or local food that I had that was good… or bad. What kinds of food trucks were there. Was it crowded. Was there parking? Etc I hope you stick around for the ride!