It's the kindness of baseball strangers that made Milwaukee, Wisconsin, The Beer Capital of the World, one of the most memorable stops on The Baseball Road Trip Of A Lifetime. Thanks to my new friends Seth, Kyle, and Kevin, I can proudly say that for one day, I was indeed part of The Brew Crew.
Beer, Brats and Baseball
That, in a nutshell, is the Milwaukee Brewers experience. So, thanks for reading!
Seriously, though (as serious as beer, grilled bratwursts and baseball can get), Wisconsinites are passionate. About their beer, and their brats. While football might be number one in their hearts, baseball is a close second. Actually, tailgating is probably second. Let's go with baseball at number three. Wait, tailgating might rank first. And cheese. We can't forget cheese. You know what? Let's forget about the order. Because they all go hand in hand. The tailgating, the baseball, the beer, the brats, the cheese; in concert, to deliver the ultimate Midwestern sporting experience. If there's such thing as dancing shoes, when you're in Wisconsin, you'll need your tailgating shoes.
It All Began With A Tweet
Twitter led me to The Brew Crew. Actually, it led The Brew Crew to me. And I'm thankful it did. Seth, a die-hard Milwaukee fan who lives an hour and a half north of the city, contacted me while I was out in Minneapolis. He'd been reading and enjoying Stealing Home, and it turned out we were scheduled to be at Miller Park on the same evening. Then came an offer of a pregame brew, and some tailgating; I was only more than happy to partake. It got even better: Seth kindly bought my ticket to the game, and, along with his friend Kyle, arranged for us to go on a tour of Lakefront Brewery, one of Milwaukee's microbrew houses.
Seth and Kyle: way to represent your great state of Wisconsin, and your Milwaukee Brewers. May every travelling baseball fan have the pleasure to meet you two fantastic individuals. Thank you for your hospitality. Let me know when you're on your way to Toronto, and I will no doubt return the favour. Except, sadly, for the tailgating.
Putting the Brew in Brewers
The Megabus from Minneapolis dropped me off at 1 pm, on time as always, in beautiful downtown Milwaukee. After I dropped my bags to my hotel -- remember, always use Priceline.com, always bid your own price, and, most importantly, always lowball -- I felt antsy. I'd been in Milwaukee, The Beer Capital of the freakin' World, for too long without having a brew; about 45 minutes. But after six hours on a bus, early on a Monday morning, I felt I'd earned a cold one.
Seth, Kyle and I met for the first time ever in life in the lobby of the Hilton. The two of them in their Milwaukee jerseys, and I wearing my trusty Blue Jays cap, the talk quickly turned to my journey, and to the Brewers; to baseball, the ultimate ice-breaker. The three of us, strangers, yet friends, united by our passion for the game. And off we set. Now, Milwaukee's got its fair share of guys on the streets, asking you for a dollar, or a cigarette. One passerby wore a vintage Jays cap, and I felt oddly proud. Toronto was being represented, if only in the name of fashion, all the way out in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Defensive about my eternally struggling Blue Jays, I let my new friends know the old school Jays logo was a hit with the hipsters in New York City, too. And they understood; Milwaukee's ball and glove logo is a popular one in baseball circles. Sometimes, when you're a Brewers and Blue Jays fan, this is what you hang your -- pardon the pun -- hat on.