Saturday, December 3, 2016

Brewing up some happy holiday memories

The Miller Brewery has kicked off their Holiday Lites display and last night my mom and I went for our yearly visit. I bet this photo got your attention!

We'll revisit this lion later. He was hanging out drinking from his lion decorated stein in the stables.

I'll start in the Miller visitor center. There was a new sculpture there this year. My interpretation of it is that it's a modern Miller worker surrounded by a bunch of little Miller workers from the past.

One of the little guys that was standing down by his foot:

A Miller themed Kendall Johnson motorcycle:

After watching a promotional Miller movie, you walk to the light show. There are lights and decorations lining The Miller Valley. 

Those are conveyor belts moving up above, I assume with beer.

A lovely stained glass window with the girl in the moon.

So now we're arriving at the light show. You'll probably remember the big white house.

There were some new parts to the show this year. This may have been the best light show yet!

I said "the big white house" before, but it looks many different colors depending on the lights.

This was my favorite look for the house:

I loved that magenta color cast up on the trees too:

Something new that I liked were the little lit up shapes that appeared in the windows. There were dancing gingerbread men and snowflakes:

Another new addition was the keg tree:

I bet you haven't seen one of those before!

I like it lit up with all those colors reflecting off of the shiny metal. The keg tree was sitting atop that fortress looking building which I think is a bar/restaurant.

One more new thing was snow! We didn't have snow falling last night so they created some for us. I know this photo looks more like it's of some white animal's fur, but it's fake snow blowing overhead.

A few pics from the other direction as we walked back:

After the light show, the tour group went into the Miller Caves. You probably remember the caves from past years. A surprising thing about the caves was how warm they were. I say surprising, since their old use was for keeping the beer cool.

Nicely, we had a pretty small tour group this year. It was probably the smallest group we've been with ever. So I had space to move around in the caves and get some new photos.

That mural is of the Miller workers in the beer garden.

In front of the mural is a sculpture of a cooper.

As you might remember, after a brief explanation of the caves, we get to meet the ghost of Frederick Miller, via hologram. He brags up his brew and gives an inspiring little speech. It's always the same and I always look forward to it. This is the best photo I've managed to get of him yet! He walks back and forth a lot while talking, and it's a challenge to take a clear picture of moving light.

A tribute to Gambrinus "The Patron Saint of Beer"

The decorated ceiling lamps and the girl in the moon:

This shot turned out surprisingly cool. I was just trying to get the antique lamp, but I ended up liking the whole scene. Nice spooky shadows and lighting!

After visiting the caves, we went into what were once the old stables to have some beer samples. This old bar area is where you pick up your beer and pretzels.

The first sample everyone gets is Miller Lite.

We had a few choices of which beers to taste after the first cup of Miller. Both of us chose the Redd's Wicked Apple Ale which we remembered liking from last year. After that I chose the Blue Moon Cappuccino Oatmeal Stout and mom went with the Leinenkugel's Bavarian Dunkel.

You can see the Blue Moon was dark. At first I didn't realize there was a cappuccino part, let alone the oatmeal part. It's just that I didn't want the other choices, so I went with Blue Moon. The brew sounds potentially strange, but I actually ended up liking it. I get that it might not be for everyone. If you like something that tastes like both a dark beer and coffee, you'd be into this.

See, it even looks like a mix between dark beer and coffee:

Here's a glance around what's in the stable room:

There's a stage type area with some Christmas decorations and an antique sign.

You guys might be familiar with "The Girl in the Moon" who is a big part of the Miller brand and logo. You've seen her in different forms through these photos.

From what I could tell by reading this old ad, this giant wooden girl in the moon used to sit above "The Beer Hut" pictured. There's a cute message in this ad which you can probably read if you enlarge this pic. It's hard to tell when this photo was taken, but root beer was only 5 cents. I'm guessing the 1940s or 50s?

And here's our friend the lion again.

There were some antique machines from the beer factory out on display. This one is the filling machine. Bottles were placed under each of these spouts and beer would flow into them. According to the sign, the pressure of carbon dioxide pushed the beer out of this machine. Individual servings of beer could be packaged for the first time with the aid of this machine.

This next machine is the blender. What this machine did was blend four separate brews attached to it into one mix. That way, if there were any differences they'd be evened out into, as the sign put it, "one quality beer".

I like to take pictures of the signs or plaques that go with historical objects and read them later. I just liked the looks of these old machines. They look kind of Steampunk.

Back near where we were parked, there was a beer themed Christmas tree.

See the cans? Here's a closer look:

And the bottle star at top:

I was calling this one "the skeleton tree" because it looked like it had a spine.

Another cool tree, uplit in blue:

I hope you enjoyed this year's photos!

Remember, a week from today (Dec. 10) I'll be posting the Christmas sweater party pics! So send me those photos of you wearing your wildest Christmas sweater, hat, etc. and I'll include you in that post. I finally figured out more or less what I'm going to be putting together for an outfit!