I know I have been talking about going to the micro-lab lately, and I know all of you have very much been looking forward to that, but interviews take time, biologists are busy, and this guy had a tip to IOWA! coming up. So, in time we will all get into that lab, but for now we're going to IOWA!
My day started early riding on down to DIA, and when I got there I was informed I would be flying out of concourse B. Which is super lucky for me because concourse B is the home of the New Belgium Hub, partially pictured here:
Going to the airports only New Belgium themed bar was a nice start to my morning. They have good food and New Belgium Beers abound. I chewed on a breakfast burrito paired right next to a Sunshine Wheat. I know, it was pretty early, but man you can't just go into the New Belgium Hub and order an orange juice. I felt that a beer was the right move, and a perfect pairing with a breakfast burrito smothered in the verde beauty that is green chili. The spicy of the breakfast and citrusy of the beer prefer to run next to each other, holding hands and proclaiming, at the top of their lungs, the love that exists between them. It all mixed well in the deep confines that is my gastrointestinal system.
Then I got on this little, scary plane:
It's not as if I am afraid to fly, but I prefer the safe (seeming) environs of a larger, bulkier plane. This was a sleek commuter jet, two rows of seats on one side, and one on the other, this is a plane meant for more experienced travelers. And with a front coming in behind us (notice the dark and forboding clouds hanging in the air) there was some wind blowing and some stomach dropping, as well as the breakfast burrito and Sunshine Wheat threatening to re-emerge, again proclaiming their love for each other (albeit in a paper bag with an untrustworthy closure clasp). But alas, I made it to IOWA! unscathed.
Walking out of the terminal I see Cheeze waiting for me. Cheeze is the IOWA! Beer Ranger and my host for the coming days. He is really good at his job and has a funny nickname, so he is kind of a double threat guy. Upon leaving the airport we head over towards his lovely home to pick up some bicycles for riding and start his sales route through Cedar Rapids. Cedar Rapids (henceforth CR) has a convienient and highly trafficked bicycle path through town and we used it to ride about town stopping in at bars and restaurants for quality checks on existing beer lines as well as attempting to sell in more beer lines. We succeeded in all of it. The quality was assured and the new Ranger IPA handles are rolling out quickly. After a few stops we ended up here:
On top of a great beer selection (Ranger IPA I'm looking at you), and a wonderful edible called a Scotch Egg, they also have a large sign out front displaying their affinity towards soccer. Upon going into the bar I realized that this huge sign saying only "soccer" meant that they had a whole mess of TV's playing different international soccer matches (not games, but matches) as well as a decor almost completely dedicated to their favorite international soccer stars, their teams, and jerseys. A huge English Soccer bar right in the center Cedar Rapids, IOWA! Who knew? This was a great surprise that IOWA! offered, and I have come to feel that CR is a totally awesome place, full of bunches of lovely, little surprises.
But back to the bike ride. We were heading down the trail towards more bars and restaurants when we happened upon this sign:
What happens if you are a truck driver and and you have a very important load (maybe this, or this) and a truck already went over the bridge? What do you do? Go around I guess. After wondering about the sign for a few minutes and trying to make sense of it Cheeze then suggested getting back to the task at hand, work. We hit some really nice places, swabbed tap nozzles (checking for cleanliness), checked best by dates on bottle and kegs, rotated stock, and delved into more quality assurance. After a few QA stops we started to think about what CR had to offer in the dinner department. And gyros were decided on. It was at this point that work time stopped and play time started. Although, to me, it seemed about the same. We went to a few bars, drank some Fat Tires, ate some food and talked to people about how great it is to have New Belgium selling beers in IOWA! Then the lawn darts started. Lawn Darts were pulled from the market place (related to (possibly real) safety concerns) years ago, so how did we play this great, but dangerous game you may ask? Well the fine folks over at IT games made a video game version of the real life game, and let me tell you, I dominate. I may be better at virtual Lawn Darts than I am at real life Lawn Darts, which is hard to do, because I am awesome at real life Lawn Darts. Cheeze did not see this coming and in the end I beat him badly and repeatedly.
Upon realizing the late hour at hand Cheeze and I decided to retire (and I don't think he could take anymore punishment at virtual Lawn Darts), so I headed to the hotel and he towards home. Day one was over. And with the conclusion of day one I conclude the first part of Let's Go To IOWA!
Tune in soon, for part two is in the making, and with it we will see more Ranger IPA, IOWA! City, and lunch with the one and only RL Bennett.