Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Weekend Getaway

A few days ago, T. and I pulled into our parking spot out behind the apartment building, home after a weekend getaway.  I spent last Thursday and Friday, my new regularly scheduled weekend, on a business trip to Southwest Chicagoland.  As such, I ended up with the golden ticket of sorts--a weekend off, together, with the husband.  We decided to take advantage of it by going to Kalamazoo, Michigan, to check out Bell's Brewery and hang out in town for the night.

He and I had a really great time!  We were able to Hotwire a nice room for a really reasonable price, and we checked in there before heading to the brewery.  It was packed, of course, being a Saturday afternoon; still, we had no problems finding a parking spot in an additional lot not too far from the brewpub.  We weren't able to find a table anywhere, so we altered our plans of ordering food there, but we definitely got in line to try some beer.  I started with a Raspberry Ale; T. got The Oracle, an IPA.

Our second collective choice was Venus: The Bringer of Peace.  Bell's has started a series of beers based off of Holst's The Planets, which I just think is so neat.  Venus is the second beer in the series and it certainly did not disappoint! (You can learn more about The Planets here.) We drank these outside in the beer garden, another beautiful space.  Though there was definitely a chill in the air--it was mid-October in Michigan, after all!--our spirits were warm (and the beer helped a little, too).

It was starting to get closer to dinner time, so T. pulled up a list of restaurants nearby.  He was delighted to see a listing for the Kalamazoo Beer Exchange.  Yes, that's right, like the stock market!  We had to wait a little while, but for prime time on a Saturday night, I found it to be a perfectly acceptable wait.  We entertained ourselves by watching the beer sessions and trying to predict how the prices would change between one board to the next.  Such a fun atmosphere and experience!  We were eventually led to a table up on the second floor, where I had both a good view of the beer exchange board over the bar behind T.'s shoulder and the pool tables down on the ground floor.

We ended up placing our drink order after a market crash, which meant they were super cheap!  I got the best cider I've ever had in my life, while T. got an IPA that even I enjoyed drinking.  We got an appetizer and enjoyed our drinks and conversation.  It didn't take long before our dinner arrived--he got the meatloaf, I got a crispy chicken salad--and eventually we went for a second round of drinks.  This time, T. got a stout, and I tried mead for the very first time.  We were incredibly pleased with our experience at the Beer Exchange and would definitely go back, should we find ourselves in Kalamazoo again.

After dinner, we headed back to the Civic and stopped at the Meijer for some refreshments and dessert before returning to our hotel.  Though the room was very simple, it was perfect for what we needed.  We watched Bojack Horseman and mixed a few cocktails before eventually drifting into sleep.  In the morning, we packed up and checked out of the hotel, deciding to stop for coffee and breakfast pastries at the Water Street Coffee Joint.  We went to Bell's General store to pick up some beer and a t-shirt for the mister (arriving right as it opened) before our unsuccessful attempt at a brewery tour; this was our cue to get a little lost, driving through the countryside and taking in the fall foliage.

Though I had a wonderful time on our little weekend getaway, it was a relief to return back home to familiar territory.  There is nothing better than sleeping in your own bed, and we enjoyed what remained of Sunday evening before heading back to work on Monday.  The busy season is starting at work for me, so an actual vacation is far out on the horizon.  But hopefully I'll be able to get a few weekend trips in here and there, a chance to fulfill some of my wanderlust.

(Some photos from my Instagram; some from the husband.)

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