I hope my readers had a good weekend, despite the lousy weather. Of course it was lovely before I had out of town guests, and today it is not bad out, but when everyone was visiting it was cold and wet. We still had a lot of fun anyway. My beer-loving aunt and uncle from Denver wanted to check out the Madtown brewing scene, so they came to town Thursday evening, along with Ma and Pa Hat from Minnesota. Travalon and I decided to bring them to Karben4 for dinner and beer sampling, but unfortunately it was too cold to enjoy their wonderful patio area like Travalon and I did with Rodney during Craft Beer Week. The Denver crew like their beers hoppier than Travalon does (he does not like IPAs at all), and while I don’t gravitate toward IPAs myself, I actually did enjoy all the beers.
Friday I had taken off of work, but Travalon had to work in the morning. I headed over to the hotel with my ukulele to jam with my uncle, who plays the flute. Since I am not that adept at jamming on the uke, we decided I should bring the mandolin the next day. Once Travalon got off of work, we went to Ale Asylum for lunch and a flight of their delicious beers. They even have Gail Ambrosius chocolates there, so we had some of those too. Our next stop was the Chocolaterian, so we could show off the Madtown craft chocolate scene some more. Everyone enjoyed the Parisian hot chocolate. We went to Olbrich and explored the conservatory, then we went into the gardens despite the cold weather, climbed the rose tower, and made our way to the Thai pavilion. In the evening we went to a Wisconsin fish fry with Irish overtones at Erin’s Snug Irish Pub. They have their own beer there, made by Leinenkugel’s.
Saturday my uncle and I jammed on the flute and mandolin in the morning as we all waited for my aunt and uncle from Chicago to arrive. Once they did, all eight of us went to Next Door Brewing for a flight of their tasty beers and lunch, including beer pie for dessert. My uncle from Denver loves New Glarus Brewing, so we drove down in two cars and got there not long before they closed. We had enough time to buy some beer and a fancy stein for my dad’s birthday the next day, then we went to an old tavern in town with murals depicting Switzerland on the walls. They actually had some New Glarus beers that the brewery shop had been out of, so we got some there too. We walked down the main street of the cute town, then we headed back to Madison and had dinner at Liliana’s, one of my favorite restaurants. Everyone seemed to really enjoy it, and my Denver relatives were very happy about their extensive vegetarian menu.
Yesterday we all met for brunch at Crema Café, and Rich joined us to celebrate Pa Hat’s birthday. He ordered “hot chocolate, maximum fat” and they even put sprinkles on the whipped cream! It looked so decadent, you would have thought he was the birthday boy! After we ate, we sang “Happy Birthday” to Pa Hat, and a bunch of innocent bystanders gamely joined in. Pa Hat liked his stein. My aunt from Chicago headed off to C’s Bakery to get some of their famous rhubarb treats, and everyone else also headed out, so Travalon and I went for a hike in the south part of Cherokee Marsh. Afterwards I found my fourth tick of the season – yuck! We ended the evening by watching Guardians of the Galaxy 2, which was even better than the first one. So it was a wonderful weekend from beginning to end.