Milwaukee Beer Run

beer run 5k logo

Today, I participated in my first race in more than two years. I used to be a runner. During training for my first marathon (that wasn’t), I suffered some injuries and ended up needing pretty major ankle surgery.

My brother, his fiancé and I completed The Milwaukee Beer Run 5k & .05k. They did the 5k and I did the .05k. That is the only distance race that would bring me out of racing retirement. Plus, beer.

Here’s the problem you guys. I am a hot mess. I may have had surgery to fix my ankle, but it’s still not what it used to be. 

As we were walking from the car to the starting line, my ankle gave out on me and I biffed it. Of course my loving brother couldn’t stop laughing. Thankfully, we were in the grassy part of Estabrook Parkway, so it wasn’t a hard fall. I was a little worried that my surgically-enhanced-so-it-wouldn’t-be-unstable-and-give-out-on-me-anymore ankle gave out on me, but I shook it off and we continued to the race. 

prerace2
Jenn, Andy & I pre-race
jenn
Jenn’s awesome beer goddess dress
prerace
Busted out the good ol’ winter running tights

I wasn’t sure how the race would go. I mean, .05k is really far you guys. It’s nothing compared to the numerous half marathons I did years ago. 

As the emcee counted down to the start, I felt that same jittery excitement that was so common for me when I was a runner.

Three…two…one…go!

And we were off! There was a point during the race where I hit the wall. I think it was around .04k. I wasn’t sure I would finish, but I powered through it and ran across the finish line. 

This is my "I just got a .05k PR" face
This is my “I just got a .05k PR” face

The race lasted less than 30 seconds. I barely had a chance to work up a sweat. But, I did PR today — 0:29! Honestly, if it wasn’t so packed with people walking, I would have gotten a better time. There’s always next year. 😉 Then it was time for some tasty beer from the Estabrook Beer Garden.

beermug

beer

After Andy & Jenn finished, the line for beer was insanely long, so we decided to head off to brunch.

As we walked back to the car, my OTHER ankle gave out on me and I fell on the pavement really hard. Like almost crying hard. My left knee was scraped, throbbing and hurting. It was pretty great you guys. 

I’ve been icing my knee and ankle on and off ever since. I have a feeling I will be hurting tomorrow. :/ 

TBT: Brewers Style

Umm, so the Milwaukee Brewers are doing amazing. Like crazy, amazing. Like best in the whole entire league amazing. And for a Brewers fan, this is pretty freaking awesome. So in honor of this awesomeness, today’s TBT brings us to the parking lot of Miller Park in 2011.

One thing that makes Brewers games so much fun is tailgating. If you have never tailgated, this needs to go on your bucketlist ASAP. If you have never tailgated in Wisconsin, you also need to add that to you bucketlist. Us Sconnies, really are experts at tailgating. Trust me. 

Fam at the Brewers game

Amy, our brother, and I were tailgating a Brewers/Cubs game (which is one intense rivalry).

Emily tailgating to her bro

This may be one of the favorite pictures I have ever taken with my bro. 

Go Brewers! I look forward to “Rolling out the Barrel” soon!!

Dave’s BrewFarm

Last Sunday, Matt and I met a couple of friends at Dave’s BrewFarm in Wilson , WI. It is only about an hour from the Twin Cities…and I have to say it is a rad lil brewery.

Dave's BrewFarm

Dave’s BrewFarm is a brewery on a farm. It was a pretty awesome experience, as I have never been to a brewery with such a set up. Dave’s BrewFarm is a small brewery that promotes sustainable business practices and is even wind-powered. On top of that, Dave had some  great beer. He had 8 beers on tap, including a session, an IPA, a stout, a sour and a few others. They all had clever names too, however I forgot to write them down or take a picture of them, so you’ll have to take my word for it. With a lot of Dave’s beers he takes a classic beer and puts his own personal spin on it. Matt and I did a flight of all the taps, and I have to say I liked all of the beers. While we are easy to please, we know good beer when we taste it.

Matt and I were able to talk to Dave and his wife, Pam. They are some pretty awesome people. I always love talking to the owners of breweries and restaurants. Not only do you get a more personal experience, but it is nice knowing the people behind the business. Pam also runs a CSA from their farm, so some of the herbs and other ingredients that is put in their beer are grown right there on their land. 

Any day at a brewery is a good day, however it was beautiful Sunday. One of the first warm days of spring. It’s nice to get away from the city and enjoy the sunshine and fresh country air. I look forward to heading back to Dave’s BrewFarm soon.

Dave's BrewFarm

Oh, and the friends we met. Well, one of them is the chef and owner of The Gray House in Minneapolis. Let me tell you, if your chef friend offers to bring “snacks.” Always say yes. 

foodbrewfarm

Burning Brothers Brewery

While National Beer Day was yesterday, we are going to booze it up today by highlighting a local brewery. I do have to say being gluten-free really poses some challenges for finding delicious craft beer. I personally feel much better when I stick to my GF lifestyle.  Beer is one thing that is hard for me to give up. I know, I know. There is GF beer out there, but much of it is just not the same as good, ol’ craft beer.

Living in Milwaukee, and now the Twin Cities, there are huge craft beer scenes. It is always a great afternoon when you spend it in the tap room of a local brewery. One problem, my favorite local breweries are not gluten-free. There are some that do have one GF beer, but overall it is pretty tricky. Or, I just love one of their non-GF beers, and I really would rather drink that. I do usually let myself have one glutenous beer a week. I am lucky in that I only have a gluten sensitivity, so I am able to make choices like this.  But a brand new brewery opened up in Saint Paul called Burning Brothers Brewery. And, guess what?! It is a completely gluten-free brewery. Yes, every single beer they make is gluten free.

The brewery founders used to be fire eaters, hence the name “Burning Brothers.” They were talking about starting their own brewery when one of them found out he had Celiac’s Disease. He took his home brewing background and decided to channel his new found GF lifestyle into this brewery. Together the brothers formed Burning Brothers Brewing, which also happens to be the only dedicated gluten-free brewery in the Midwest. Lucky for me, the brewery is only a mile from where I live in Saint Paul.

burning brothers

Burning Brothers Brewing has been distributing beer around the Twin Cities. I have been following them closely for when their tap room opened. And…this past weekend the time finally came! Matt and I headed over there this past Saturday afternoon. They had their Pyro beer on tap, and it was delicious.

Their Pyro is an American Pale Ale. The Burning Brothers describe the Pyro as :

An American twist on an English bitter, this light fruity beer is a drink that can be enjoyed at any time! We substitute the traditional English flavor with our own unique blend of American hops. Note the initial taste of orange followed by just a hint of grapefruit. Three years in the making, our APA stands strong against any other APA on the market. It’s a beer that looks good and delivers a crisp beer taste, enough said!” 

It was a tasty session beer that I can see myself enjoying all year long. I can’t tell it is GF, which is a good thing. I look forward to trying their other beers in the future. But in the mean time, I have my growler of Pyro, which will be refilled often.

growler burning brothers

Right now they are only distributing to the Twin Cities area. So if you are in the Twin Cities, make sure to check them out! 

TBT: Mars Cheese Castle

This week’s TBT is not being “thrown back” very far. Last June, I moved to the east coast for about 8 months. Well, I needed my car out there. So you know what that means ROAD TRIP! But wait, it gets better ROAD TRIP WITH AMY!!

We started the day in Milwaukee, which is only about an hour from the Illinois border. However, there was one place we had to go before crossing the border into Illinois. MARS CHEESE CASTLE!! We were about 40 minutes into our road trip, but seriously it is a Castle of Cheese. (Well, actually, It is not a castle physically made of cheese, but it is a castle that houses A LOT of cheese and cheese novelty gifts.) So, with moving the farthest I ever had from the Midwest (and of course, Wisconsin), we knew this would be the perfect place to stop before leaving the Sconnie nation.

Mars Cheese Castle

If you live in Wisconsin, there is a good chance you have been to Mars Cheese Castle at some point in your life (or many times in your life). If you have visited Wisconsin by way of Interstate 94 from Illinois, there is also a good chance you have also been to the Mars Cheese Castle. 

Mars Cheese Castle is great. You can buy nearly every cheese imaginable, particularly awesome Wisconsin cheese. They have cheese novelty gifts, shirts, and lots of other good Sconnie souvenirs. But they also have a deli and a bar. How can you not love this place? I mean it has cheese and beer. What more do you need? Amy and I decided to have lunch at the bar, as we got a late start. I don’t remember what Amy had, but I had a cheddar filled bratwurst with German potato salad.

What makes this place even better is what happens when you sit at the bar…other than just getting a beer. So, you know how some bars have complimentary popcorn or nuts…well, Mars Cheese Castle brings over a gigantic tub of cheese spread and crackers to enjoy on the house.* They hand you a plate, and you just spoon as much cheese spread as you want. Heaven, pure heaven.

Mars Cheese Castle Bar

So, we enjoyed our cheese spread, cheese filled brats, German potato salad, and a refreshing beer before hitting the road.** We also had a nice chat with the owner of the cheese castle…so I guess we had a nice chat with the “Cheese King.” The Mars Cheese Castle has been family owned for quite some time.

All in all, it was the perfect “last” stop in Wisconsin.

 

*I can’t guarantee they do this every day. Previous times I have been there, I was either not 21 or not able to stop long enough for a beer.

**We never advocate drinking and driving. The driver only had one beer, plus we hung out for quite awhile to make sure we were all good to keep driving on. Needless to say, between the late start and the trip to the Cheese Castle, we did not throw down a lot of miles on that first day.