Monday, November 7, 2016

1st Post

It started as a gift: "Plane tickets! To… Chicago?" It was my 25th birthday and I had just opened a card that included 2 tickets to the Windy City. My girlfriend and I had never been to Chicago, or any cities comparable in size to our home in Atlanta, for the main reasons that we like outdoorsy vacations, and that I'm not a huge fan of crowded cities. This being the case, a trip to Chicago was obviously not the first destination on my list to visit. "…Why?" I tried to appreciate the sentiment behind the gift, but it was completely missed on me. Why would she take me to a place full of crowds, cars, businesses, and it's probably not that much different from staying here in Atlanta? She decided to chime in, "Lagunitas has recently opened a new facility there, and I thought that you would like to visit. Also, there are several other breweries that we can visit, and they are all close enough for a short cab ride or walk!" There it was. I was convinced. I was going on a trip to visit breweries!

For years, I had been enamored with the changing beer scene: following local breweries, attending beer festivals, collecting local brewery glasses, etc. It wasn’t until this gift of a plane ticket that I realized that my love of travel, and my love of beer could be combined. Due to this short 4 day trip to Chicago, my entire world changed. Not only did I visit Lagunitas’ new (and incredible!) facility, but I learned about the culture around the area by doing other things: I visited smaller local breweries (some of which became giants later on), I visited local pubs and met very interesting people, I tried new beer from places not yet attainable elsewhere, I talked to cab drivers, and learned about Uber (which I have used ever since); I saw the river died green which is incredible to see, I had real Chicago pizza, and I even  went to White Castle for the first time! All of this and much much more, just because I went to drink some beer.

Since that time, my life has never been the same. I am constantly finding new breweries and locations to visit so that I can go learn about the newest brewers, beer, local history, and just to find new adventures in general. Just a few of my accomplishments while traveling for beer include: Summiting two 14,000ft mountains in Colorado, white water rafting class 5 rapids in Costa Rica, meeting famous blues legend Buddy Guy in Chicago, climbing freezing cliffs in California, and most recently, touring Belgium with other beer enthusiast like me! All of these accomplishments have been guided by the beer. Each place that I have visited, I have met new people, seen new places, learned about different cultures, and made new and lasting friends.

While this all sounds like a life of thrills, adventures, and beer drinking, I do have a full time job that requires well over 40 hours a week. During this time, I do what I can to get in my fix of adventuring, which usually consist of weekend travels around Georgia to try every brewery possible. I still find it amazing  that after living in Georgia for so many years, I still find new and interesting people, and great new beer. If you never look at this blog again, the least you can do is look up your closest brewery, and think about taking the trip!