Day 3: Brewpub mania!

Posted by Nate in Beer, Travel.
Monday, April 7th, 2008 at 8:07 pm

Up early-ish to pack and load up the car before breakfast at 8 – fruit salad again, equally delicious, and a three-layer cornbread: organic whole wheat, unbleached white, and cornmeal, followed by a baked raspberry cream cheese French toast.  Yum.

20080407184653_pict0002.jpgThen we had to bid adieu to Bayfield and hit the road East…  The first leg of the journey was full of wildlife: a big coyote on the side of the road, a heron that I’m going to call a Great Blue, a bunch of swans, and some sort of grouse – tufted head, brown, white and black markings…  Handsome big guy, whatever he was.  Rick?

20080407184637_pict0003.jpgBy lunchtime we had reached Houghton, home of two brewpubs on our list.  We started at the Library with a sampler of their 10(!!) beers.  Great stuff, they had a wheat that Karen was fond of, and a Rye and a Bock that were really wor20080407184621_pict0004.jpgking for me.  We filled a now-empty growler from Fitger’s for $5(!!) and moved on to the Keweenaw Brewing Company around the corner.

[ side note: on the way to Keweenaw, we saw a pawn shop with a sweet accordion in the window.  We’d been chatting about accordians earlier for some reason, and Karen had said she’d love to play one, so we stopped in.  Ended up having a great chat with the employee about his polka band and accordions and concertinas in general.  Fun, but no purchases this trip.  Car too full of free llamas. ]

20080407184559_pict0005.jpgThey’re a bigger brewing company, with a full canning facility down south of town – I think I read 30 barrels?  Their tasting room has an 8 barrel system so they can bring on more variety – we tried an ESB, 30 Shilling, Pale Ale, 20080407184545_pict0006.jpgBlack Ale, and a Stout.  All excellent, the 30 and ESB stood out to us both…  Learning from our friends at Odell’s in Ft. Collins, we busted out some of our Surly, New Belgium, and Breckenridge beers and worked out a trade for a growler of ESB!  Woo hoo!

20080407184521_pict0007.jpgAfter Houghton we hit a few intense patches of rain, but it stayed near 40 so no snow.  Our friend at Keweenaw had hooked us up with a nice map of 20080407184505_pict0008.jpgMichigan brewpubs, so we found one that I’d left off our list: Jasper Ridge.  Another round of samples later (skip the samples and go for the stout and the pale ale!) plus free popcorn and we were on the home stretch to our destination for the night in Marquette.

20080407184451_pict0012.jpgWe’re actually staying a bit out of town, and on our way back in for the run to the Marquette Harbor brewpub – called the Vierling, I think – we saw this huge crazy 20080407184357_pict0013.jpgstructure extending out into the harbor.  We were both at a loss as to what the purpose might have been – no train tracks led to it, no freighter could approach, and what were all those sections 20080407184341_pict0014.jpgthat looked like they could be lowered individually?  We considered it for a while on our walk to the restaurant, and then gave up.  Any ideas?

The beer here was also very good, and we picked up on a theme – blueberry wheat.  We’d seen this in Jasper Ridge, and I’d also experienced it in a bar in 20080407184317_pict0016.jpgBoston: they throw a handfull of fresh blueberries into the glass just before they serve it to you.  The berries ride the carbonation up and down, presenting a fantastic visual element to the delicious beer.  The other winner here was a pretty awesome chocolate wheat – sort of a stout but with some softer edges from the wheat instead of just roasted barley.

20080407184259_pict0017.jpgAnd now, dear readers, like the sleepy Travelodge bear, I can "bear"ly keep my eyes open!  More tomorrow if you’re lucky, but we actually have to cover some serious ground tomorrow so don’t hold your breath…

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7 Responses to “Day 3: Brewpub mania!”

  1. Nate Says:

    Just read that today was also the 75th anniversary of the repeal of prohibition – I KNEW we were celebrating something!

  2. Rick Says:

    Ok, you knew I’d have to comment with a bird photo and question! It is almost certainly a ruffed grouse. They are fairly common in the area and although the photo leaves a bit to be desired, the markings look good for a ruffed grouse. Good spotting! As for the odd structure by the harbor – I have no idea! Thanks for the running blog on your trip – it’s fun and vicarious pleasure for the readers. That is once we wipe up the drool from reading all about the luscious beers.

  3. JP Says:

    I can enlighten you on that “huge crazy structure” in Marquette harbor: it is the remains of a section of iron ore loading dock. Train track on top and hopper cars were pushed out to the end. Iron ore freighter docked and deck officer indicated to man above which cargo hold to send a carload into. RR cars were unloaded into chutes and they were lowered and ore rushed into the ship. I assisted with tonnage calculations on a loading once. If you put too much ore in the forward or stern holds the ship’s stability could be affected. Your pic is a section of a long loading dock. Better examples exist in Superior and Duluth. This brings back memories of our deck gang shifting lines on the dock to position the ship to accept ore from different chutes. Older ships had steam winches to tension the wire rope lines. Newer vessels all had electric winches. Looks like you’re having a great getaway!

  4. Jeremy Says:

    Y’all are just plain awesome. Please keep traveling, and drinking beer, and McGyverin’, for us desk-bound and beerless.

  5. Karen Says:

    Thanks Rick for the bird IDing, and thanks Jack for the info on the “huge crazy structure”! Smartypants Dads! That is what we thought both the bird and the weird big thing were, but in the case of the bird it was just because that’s the only kind of grouse we know. In the case of the big weird thing, what was confusing us was trying to figure out how the freighters could have come in so close to shore – wouldn’t they have ran aground and gotten stuck?

  6. Karen Says:

    Oh and ps, in case you missed it, Eric left a comment about this on the previous post, and found this site with lots of great photos of the “huge crazy structure”:

  7. Mary Jo Says:

    Dad says no they wouldn’t have gotten stuck because that all would have been dredged down to the proper depth so they wouldn’t get stuck–now that they’re not using that anymore they don’t bother with doing that because it was very costly to dredge all that, dump it on a barge, and find someplace else to unload it. He also said that they also used that to load coal at some locations–he knows they did it at Duluth, doesn’t know if they did it at Marquette.