This past Saturday the big man hit the streets for the 5th Annual Santa Pub Crawl. We updated the route this year by avoiding Southport and instead made a trip around Wrigley Field. Everything was going great until our crawl crossed paths with the 7th Annual Sweatpants Crawl at Bernie’s. At that point we were surrounded by lame people in sweatpants. A girl proposed to purchase my Santa suit for $100 (I found this highly insulting). We moved on to Murphy’s Bleachers where unfortunately the Sweatpants people where already there. At Murphy’s an evil wench tried to rip off my beard and some kid tried to steal my hat.
Regardless of these outbursts we had a good time and the more limited crawl kept me functional throughout. We took time for photographs outside of Wrigley, and Sports Corner and Goose Island were great starting points for the crawl.
This year for our annual Hockey Trip we headed to Philadelphia for the Flyers – Penguins game. This was supposed to be the most ‘hostile’ environment we’ve yet experienced, but oddly enough it was the most subdued crowd we’ve seen yet. I’m sure this had a lot to do with it being a Thursday night and the entire row of Eastern Europeans who sat behind us but nonetheless it was a manageable crowd experience. Also Crosby was out so Flyers fans didn’t have anyone to boo.
The Pens started hot for about three minutes and then they basically didn’t compete until the third period. With that being said, we were one lame three-bounce-goal from pulling even in regulation. Malkin looked good but held onto the puck too long, Letang is sorely missed and Jagr looks like a 40 year old hockey player.
After the game ended we all headed towards the mens room which once again attests to how placid the crowd was. While waiting in line we learned that Ben Roethlisberger had torn his ACL and was down for the year. Moving forward I will try not get my news in public restrooms.
Nodding Head Brewery
Nodding Head Brewery as you would assume is filled with wall to wall bobbleheads, kind of reminded me of home. We ended up catching the tail end of the Steelers – Browns game and to our surprise Ben was still playing. I tried the Sled Wrecker and then moved on to the 3C which was one of the better beers I had all weekend.
As the night came to a close we soldiered on to partake in cheese steaks. We grabbed a cab and headed over to Pat’s Cheese Steaks and Geno’s Steaks. I wasn’t aware they were both 24 hour establishments, so we were able to have sandwiches from both to compare and contrast. There were only three of us for this part of the trip so we ended up ordering two sandwiches from Geno’s and three from Pat’s. To say Pat’s is better than Geno’s would be a major understatement. Either way we suffered ‘Geno’s Revenge‘ the next afternoon.
After we got up and moving around Friday morning we headed over to Reading Terminal Market to checkout the shops and then to get a DiNic’s Roast Pork sandwich. I have to say this sandwich was much better than the Cheese Steaks from the night before.
After lunch we continued on our walk of Philadelphia checking out the Liberty Bell. The display has recently gone through a renovation and the tower it used to be housed in at Independence Hall can be seen through the screen in the photograph above. I think it is a really unique way of displaying the bell and once the renovations of the bell tower are complete it will be a stunning setting.
After another epic Furman March which took us under three highway underpasses and a series of block houses that were transplanted from Belfast we ended up at Yards Brewing. The majority of our party was not too high on making this trek but I think we were all pleased we did. In addition to Yards’ regular beer line up they had the ‘Ales of the Revolution’ beers which is where I focused my attention. I had General Washington’s Tavern Porter and Thomas Jefferson’s Tavern Ale.
Craft Ale House – Limerick, PA
The Craft Ale House was a late addition to our itinerary by Josh’s mom who clearly knows a thing or two about beer selections. Craft has one of the larger bottle lists I’ve ever seen and it’s basically a liquor store as well where you can create your own six packs. I had a Wipeout IPA and the Jai Alai IPA. This was one of the highlights of the trip.
Victory Brewing – Downingtown, PA
In addition to the Hockey game, stopping at Victory Brewing Company was a priority destination. Their brewpub is a large warehouse type building with a couple large dinning halls and a good size bar. We ended up getting a drink at the bar and then grab a table for dinner. The food was as good as the beer. We ended up getting three growlers filled for the road. You can see the amazing sophisticated growler filling station in the photograph above. I’m pretty sure it was from the future. With dinner I had the Donneybrook Stout, a Storm King and the Victory Lager. It was the first time I’ve seen either the Lager or the Donneybrook Stout which was about the smoothest stout I’ve ever had.
** Kyber Pass is an intriguing place to say the least.
On Friday we drove down to Indianapolis for the inaugural BIG TEN Championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium between Wisconsin and Michigan State. I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve seen a Football game indoors. That stadium was great, though I would prefer an outdoor game. We had decent seats in the upper level and I don’t believe there’s a bad seat in the house.
The crowd was evenly split between Michigan State and Wisconsin fans and there were a good portion of other BIG TEN fans throughout the stadium. To start the game they had both bands merge and play the National Anthem which was a nice touch. I’ve never been to a bowl game so this was a unique experience to see this many fans from different teams at one game. With the game going back and forth throughout, the momentum of the crowd would shift accordingly. I liked how they set the bands up near the corner of opposite end zones.
Wisconsin took an early lead and then Michigan State rallied by way of going for the two point conversion and carried the lead until late in the game. Wisconsin converted a 4th and 7 and then went ahead for good. Michigan State attempted a late rally but took the penalty you can’t take just as they were about to get the ball back. Wisconsin held on for the won 42-39 comeback win.
ACC – 73,675
PAC 12 – 59,376
Conference USA – 32,413
BIG 12 – 58,141 (defacto title game between Oklahoma State – Oklahoma)
Considering Wisconsin and Michigan State aren’t quite the ‘marquee‘ teams in the BIG TEN I thought it was a great showing and an amazing game atmosphere. I can only imagine what an Ohio State – Michigan Title game would be like.
***** The complete set of my photographs from the game can be found on Flickr.