The beer gods were looking down on the Tour de Brew LNK ride last night, only mere hours before it was overcast with periods of rain but then the rains stopped, the clouds parted and sunshine shone down on Moran's Liquor Works akin to a rainbow pointing to a pot of gold... liquid, hop infused gold in this case.
We showed up to the rodeo a little later than usual last time, call it winter rust, ill preparedness the night before or whatever you like but this time we were determined to be a bit more prepared and got everything ready and staged the night before. It paid off, we got the bikes and gear loaded on the car and flew like the wind down to Lincoln and got to Moran's before most of the crowed descended on them.
It was still standing room only, mostly because Moran's lacks any seating, but it wasn't butt hole to belly button yet like it has been for previous rides that we'd showed up later to, I'd say we timed it perfectly for this one and even had time to enjoy a few of the samples being offered from Lagunitas... they were all tasty.
Cycle Works had $3 glasses of the Fusion 23 on tap, if you've never had one of their Fusion series they seem to be really good American IPAs this one had a bit of citrus flavor to it. As the number implies this is the 23rd experimentation/modification of the series and I believe they make one batch and then never again. I'm not usually a huge fan of the IPA but this one wasn't as hoppy as some can get and had good flavor.
Kitchen Sink Cookie Company was also there again, not sure if this is going to be an ongoing thing all year or not but with all the amazing cookies that they have to offer the fat kid in me kind of hopes so.
The Unemployment Sandwich caught my eye this time around. The name alone is worth a try but then you find out it's made from burnt sugar and molasses with just a pinch of angst thrown in and how could you go wrong?
The taste was even more amazing than the name, I never knew what angst tasted like but now that I do I can definitely see why it became so popular during the Grunge movement in the 90s, it's freakin delicious... which makes me wonder why they all seemed so sad and hell bent on killing themselves through over self medication.
On the way to the bathroom, actually while waiting in line for the bathroom, I came to the realization that I don't own a single piece of clothing with the Moose's Tooth logo on it so I had to rectify that immediately, it is a pretty bad ass logo after all and the new hats are pretty sweet on top of that.
A few beers a cookie and 30ish minutes later the crowd started to fill Cycle Works and we were getting hungry so it was time to shove off in search of food and more beer.
We usually end up somewhere in the Railyard for food on these rides so we decided to switch things up a bit and head to Ploughshare.
While it's not an overly long ride from Cycle Works to Ploughshare it was enough to fuel our appetites, some of us were so ravenous they were wasting away.
As always the beer and food were fantastic, had a great crew for the ride as well it was nice to see a few new faces and a few we haven't seen for several rides.
Usually I'm not overly fond of places where you stand in line to order your food and drink at the counter, it always feels fast foodish to me but on nights like last night it's nice to have it all taken care of at one time; plus the quality of the food and the beer is worthy of a little compromise.
Full of food and even more beer it was time to slowly roll on to Empyrean Brewing in hopes of finding a good place to post up for the rest of the evening.
Someone forgot to give the "we are going to casually ride over to Empyrean" memo to Gary as he attempted to ride off into the sunset on his own there for a bit.
It really did turn out to be a perfect night for a bicycle ride with friends.
Amazingly we ended up at Empyrean early enough that we were able to snag a table, a really big table with a whole bunch of chairs as our group doubled by the time we made it to the taproom. When we got there it was just us and 1/3 of ZZ Top in the corner.
In fact we our timing was so good that there were only about a handful of other people in the entire place and best of all absolutely no line for beer, SCORE!
Best T-shirt of the night goes to this guy, I personally don't partake but I'm also not opposed to others partaking if they so choose; there are bigger problems in this country that need more of our attention and resources than worrying about something this trivial IMO.
**Slides soap box under table**... The prizes for the ride ladies and gentleman; some awesome swag was going to be won this night. That skateboard would look nice on my wall... but would it be mine.
It didn't take too long for it to fill up to standing room only as the raffle drew near.
Apparently the girlfriend had scored herself a few Kitchen Sink cookies when we were at Cycle Works, I guess I'll have to be on my best behavior for the next few days until the cookies are all gone in hopes of getting a few crumbs thrown my way.
Runner up for best T-Shirt of the night, haven't seen one of these in a couple of years.
And then it was time to call numbers and win prizes.
I used up all my winning luck for the entire summer on the last ride so I had little hope of winning much... but Gary on the other hand, that dude must be blessed when it comes to raffles, he always seems to win something and tonight he hit the jackpot. First was this glass with stickers and discount coupons.
And then this wooden sign...
Then he finished by winning yet another wooden sign.
Mark jumped in on the winning by scoring this poster, I think between him and Jamie they scored two posters but I didn't get a shot of the second one... I hope you'll be able to sleep not ever knowing if there was a second poster or not, if not I am totally sorry completely my bad.
Michaela and Alix got in on the winning as well, Alix with a T-shirt and sticker, Michaela with a glass with stickers and coupons.
I have no idea who these people are but I noticed that they both ended up winning a glass and since they were wearing Cubs apparel I figured I'd record it for posterity... being Cubs fans they aren't exactly accustom to that winning feeling.
The big winner of the night though ended up being Michaela winning a $100 gift card to Moran's Liquor Works. They say money can't buy happiness but $100 will buy a lot of alcohol and that's a pretty darn good substitute.
Then just like that it was all over, empty beers and losing tickets were all that remained minutes after the last prize was given away. As quick as the place fills up it empties twice as fast as people jump on their metal steeds and ride off to places unknown for a good beer induced slumber until the blaring alarm in the morning so rudely snaps them back to the reality that it was only Thursday. Another super ride in the books, here's looking forward to next month and tasty offerings from none other than Empyrean Brewing Company, should be good as they have home court advantage and all.