Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Some very hoppy Christmas traditions

This past weekend was full of Christmas and beer themed activities. As some of you might remember, it's a yearly tradition for my mom and I to go on The Miller Brewery Tour and see the light show. We also visited The Pabst Mansion to see the Christmas decorations.

As you can see, there was a very dramatic sky above us during our time at the brewery. This really added something since we spent a lot of time outside walking to the light show and between buildings.

I thought I'd add a few photos of the moon. Look at those reddish tinged clouds. Does anybody know what that means? Something I like about this picture is how the smoke from the buildings is mixing with the clouds in the sky. It's all sort of the same color so it looks like the clouds are pouring down to the ground.

Something cool happened here. It looks like a spotlight is on the moon. I think I happened to take a photo just as a cloud was passing by.

A few beer themed bikes were inside the Miller visitor center:

I have to get a photo with the giant beer bottle each year.

Here's one of my favorite photos from the light show. There was a rainbow of lights passing by. A neat feature of the show is that the lights blink and move to the Christmas music that's playing.

After watching the show we walked to the historic Miller Caves. The streets were decorated nicely with snowflake lights.

The Miller Inn is this fortress-like building which holds a beautiful bar. The beer tasting at the end of the tour used to happen here.

The historic Miller Caves:

These caves are 60 feet underground, lined with brick, and look like tunnels. This is where Frederick Miller stored his beer to keep it cool and insulated. He'd collect ice from the surrounding lakes to help cool the beer.

This photo is a wee bit fuzzy, but it's the best I could capture of the spirit of Frederick Miller. Well, he's more of a friendly hologram that appears in the caves to tell people about his beer. He seems like a ghost anyway. This hologram moves around quite a bit, so this is as clear as I could capture him.

A beautiful stained glass portrait of "The Girl in the Moon" hangs above a door of the stables. This is where we go now for the beer samples at the end of the tour. The Girl in the Moon is a logo for Miller beer.

These Racing Sausage mascots are a familiar sight for those in the Milwaukee area. They were strolling around while people were tasting the different beers.

We had the standard Miller Lite, Redd's Apple Ale, and Frederick Miller's Classic Chocolate Lager that they just bring out at Christmas. The Chocolate Lager was OK. I'm not really into malty beers. We loved the Redd's! It seemed to get a bad rap in the online reviews, which I don't understand. I guess it's a beer/cider hybrid. Maybe the cider people didn't want the beer and the beer people didn't want the cider. I don't know. It just tasted like cider to me and not even hard cider. I wouldn't have guessed there was alcohol in it. Anyway, I like hard cider, I like beer, and I like Redd's.

Onto the historic Pabst Mansion. Captain Frederick Pabst (of the Pabst brewery) lived here around the turn of the century. Isn't this place amazing? It reminds me a little of Stately Wayne Manor (only fancier).

A few more angles:

The chapel which was used as the beer pavilion for the 1893 Chicago World's Fair to present Pabst beer:

I found a photo of what the pavilion looked like back in 1893 when it was representing Pabst beer at The World's Fair:

The Pabst Brewing Company pavilion from the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. Just an amazing piece of architecture. (Now located on the East side of the Pabst Mansion.)

Anyone who has read The Devil in the White City will be interested in that!

Since I couldn't take any photos inside the Pabst Mansion, here is a video tour of the rooms:

The rooms looked somewhat different than what is in the video. Work is constantly being done on the house and there were glittery decorations everywhere for Christmas. I love touring the Pabst Mansion. It's strangely comfortable for being such a huge, fancy home. But then, I'm really into Victorian decorations, woodwork, ironwork, etc.

I wrote about The Miller Brewery Tour and The Pabst Mansion a few years back. If you'd like to revisit that blog post and read some ghost stories about Captain Pabst, here it is: