Went to the Summit Brewery yesterday here in St. Paul, which was founded in 1986 by a guy who was originally a chemical abuse counselor. Seriously. You can't make that up.
The definition of a microbrewery is a brewery that sells less than 15,000 barrels of beer annually. Summit surpassed that over a decade ago and is now a regional craft brewery, with hopes of breaching the national market in the next decade.
The tour was unextraordinary in that it was like any other tour I've been on. Some rooms smelled overwhelmingly like hops while others smelled like my head was stuck in the recycling bin after a frat party.
So why go through it?
Under the three tiered law set in place after Prohibition, breweries must sell to distributors, distributors sell to the bars, restaurants and liquor stores, who in turn sell to drunken louts like yours truly. It is illegal for breweries to sell directly to the public. What does this mean for me? Charging for a tour and then giving away beer at the end is sort of like selling beer directly to the public. Some breweries are able to find ways around this, but Summit makes the tour free, and more importantly, the beer as well.
Each visitor gets three tokens that are good for one 10 oz. beer of his or her choosing. I tried the Oktoberfest, then the IPA, and straight back to the Oktoberfest. I'm longing for fall, you see.
Last night I went to see the Minnesota Twins play against the Kansas City Royals in the Minneapolis Metrodome. It was unsettling to watch a baseball game inside. My friend Tom, who went with me, tells me they're about to break ground on a new stadium nearby. It's supposed to be outdoors and will hark back to the old ballparks of yore. Philly just built a stadium like that a few years ago. It has an old timey feel with the old timey name of Citizens Bank Ballpark.
The Twins won the game 5-3, but it doesn't matter because apparently they've given up hope for the pennant this year, despite making it to the playoffs for the past few years in a row.
After the game I went back to Tom's house where we watched TV. I haven't really been watching any TV on this trip. When I saw an athlete giving a press conference, I asked, "is that Michael Vick?"
"No, that's a guy on the Minnesota Timberwolves."