Wednesday, January 11, 2006 AD

Moose Drool meets Apple Spice

Also posted at Purpose Driven Drinking blog...

This past weekend I spent in Winona, Minnesota with my 14 year old son at a Bantam hockey tournament. Youth hockey tournaments are interesting events for many reasons. The kids, as with most kids, are not as interested in playing hockey as they are in doing things they cannot do at home. Those activities include swimming in the hotel room with their buddies, relaxing in the hot tub, roaming the hotel halls searching for exciting moments, watching movies and playing group videos games in someone's room and sneaking in a little food fight if a mom lets down her guard. The kids do want to win their games, to be sure, but the imagined excitement of the sleepaway tournament is far more exciting. If they win some hockey games, all the better.

Parents also have a few highlights to look forward to. We can meet at a downtown coffee cafe, roam antique shops together and gather for meals. And if we are very lucky, we get a chance to meet at the hotel bar or around the pool to share a beer and talk. These moments are wonderful to me. Your son's teammates parents are usually people that you don't otherwise sit down and talk with and after an enjoyable evening you are often left regretting that fact.

My son is in his second to last year of youth hockey; after that is high school sports and I don't know that the parent comeraderie is the same. Many of the parents on my son's team are the same parents from several other teams of past years. This past weekend, I found myself looking forward to these familiar faces. They looked out for the moms that were solo for the weekend (dad is with child 2, 3 or 4 at some other event) and made us feel welcome. We are all becoming a group of people that could walk up to each other at the grocery store and easily start a casual conversation. This weekend it occurred to me that I had never sent anyone of these good people a Christmas card. I will remedy that soon with a card and a photograph of good times.

Another benefit of my hockey weekend was enjoying two new beers. At the local juicy lucy hamburger bar, I enjoyed a Leinenkugel's Apple Spice beer. It was surprisingly delicious. It lasted through talk at the bar as we waiting for several tables to open for our group of twenty. We had to break into groups and as I enjoyed my meal with two other parents, it's sweetness complimented our tales of how we met our spouses. I wanted to have another, but since I was driving I savored my single treat.

Back at the hotel pool as we gathered around a table, one of the dad's handed me another treat: Moose Drool Brown Ale. Much less sweet, it was also a pleasant surprise. As I enjoyed it, he told us a college days tale of running a campus "seniors only" bar. I like brown ales and always have. I have never enjoyed thin beers past my freshman days of wasteful drinking (and I never "enjoyed" those beers, but mindlessly followed others). My adult rule of drinking is to drink the best of beers and enjoy slowly.


Anonymous elle said...

My favorite beer, before I realized I shouldn't be consuming wheat, was Leinie's Red. Good stuff, that Leinenkugel's.

9:45 PM  
Blogger Whey Lay said...

Love your blog, I've been reading it for a while, but Lienie's Apple Spice? It's an apple crisp crammed into a beer bottle. Something much tastier and not quite as sweet is Lienie's Berry Wiess. My friends accuse me of being a closet wine cooler sipper over this but it is my current favorite, after Sam Adams Spring brew.

11:04 PM  

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