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:


  1. Replies
    1. Lady M ~ Yeah! We always have a good time at the beer tour and it's fun to see which new Christmas decorations are up at The Pabst Mansion.

  2. Great photos. Events like this are great for getting you into them mood for Christmas. After all, we can't have Halloween all the time.


    1. Ali ~ Thank you! :) So true. I probably love Halloween as much as a person can, but around Christmas I'm entirely in the Christmas spirit. Holidays are pretty separate in my mind. I really enjoy reading the Creepmas blog posts, but I don't think I could get my mind to combine the two holidays. Still, it's fun to see what other people put together!

  3. Looks like fun! I like to see lights & tour historic places, too.

    Oooo, Redd's Apple Ale - just discovered that this year, too! Good stuff! i don't know about the chocolate beer, tho.

    1. Lisa ~ It was! Yeah, those are some favorite activities of mine. I'm really into history and architecture, especially from that time.

      Yeah! Redd's is awesome! So far, I've talked to a few people who like it. What's with those negative reviews? People are free to their opinion, but there are a lot of bad opinions of it out there! I could have had a whole pitcher of Redd's. :) The chocolate beer was better than expected. I generally dislike malty beers, because they taste like syrup to me. This was OK. Kind of chocolatey, kind of beery. I do like that ChocoVine stuff, though! Have you tried that? It's sort of a chocolate wine that comes in a few flavors. I like pouring it in my coffee.

  4. I didn't come to town for 2 days because of the rain. But I'm here now. The tour looks interesting, I'd love to see the hallogram of Mr. Miller. The caves look awesome. I can see why you like the Pabst mansion, that's my kind of building. As your pictures show, there was a great sky that night for your walk. Yeah, I'm kind of a plain beer guy. The more extravagant tasting beers are good, but day in and day out they get too rich. The original Miller beer is the beer that I have found is the most dietetic because of the way they brew it, even over lite beers. All in all your tour looks like a lot of fun. I had fun that night to, just watching movies but it was an awesome experience seeing the moon and sky. And I also had two 25oz Hurricains for lunch.

    1. Matt ~ Oh, Has the rain been pretty extreme? Yeah, the hologram is pretty cool. He walks out with his stein of beer and starts to talking to the tour group like we're at a party in the beer garden. I know it's an actor being projected as a hologram, but if feels strangely like his spirit is there. He has this German accent and everything. I think his appearance adds a nice touch to the tour.

      The Pabst Mansion is my kind of building too! I love Victorian architecture. There are so many details. It's a shame I couldn't take any photos inside. The wood carving is outstanding! In some rooms there are lacy details on the ceiling, like giant doilies with gold foil. There's something to look at everywhere, especially with the Christmas decorations that are up now.

      There are times I'm in the mood for plain beer and there are times I want something a little stronger or darker. I don't generally like beers with overly sweet additions. I guess the Redd's could be considered a sweet beer, but I didn't think there was a lot of beer to it. I love hard cider. But yeah, any beers that are malty or syrupy are generally not for me! And I'm especially wary of any that have wheat, honey, or berries in their name.

      Hurricanes as in these?

      Hurricane High Gravity

      I had thought you meant those big slushies for some reason. Actually, after some googling to figure out what I was thinking, I found out I wasn't that off. There's a Hurricane mixed drink that looks like a slushie. Actually, it sounds pretty good. It has orange juice, pineapple juice, grenadine, and rum in it. You mix it up, freeze it, and add some lemon/lime soda or ginger ale. All those ingredients sound good!

  5. Well, it rained for 14 hours straight causing a lot of road closures, flooding, mud slides, power outages, and damage to houses. I personally didn’t experience any hardships to speak of. I usually walk 2 miles to Burger King every morning for coffee and wi-fi, and I walk it even in the rain, but this time I decided to avoid getting drenched by getting enough food for 2 days, and sit it out - felt good.

    I love German accents, so that hologram sounds cool!

    I often think if I built a house in the country I’d like to build it with Victorian overtones. I don’t know how feasible that would be, but it’s a dream. But it’s also nice to have cool places like the Pabst mansion to visit and kind of get your Victorian fix.

    Yeah, I didn’t know if you’d know what I meant by “Hurricanes” but the link is exactly what I was talking about. It has 8.1 alcohol content which makes it cheaper than quarts of regular beer - for what you get. It actually tastes good, it’s strong like hard liquor, but has no after taste. I also usually don’t like malt beer or sweet beer, Beck’s is actually my favorite tasting beer but if I drink it everyday then the uniqueness of the taste is lost, so once a week would be fine. One beer that is sweet that I like is Bud Black Crown. It has a caramel flavor but it’s not cheesy, it tastes exactly like Kraft caramel’s, and it’s not expensive.

    1. 14 hours straight of rain! Wow. I imagine that was annoying and destructive. That much rain sounds unusual. Yeah, that was probably a good move not to go out walking in that kind of weather! No one wants a ride down the street with a mudslide. :) I remember watching some video of a mudslide in Colorado and it was pretty scary. This guy's car just went moving on down the road with it.

      I think building a Victorian inspired house in the country would be an amazing project! I would so enjoy that, and the decorating. I used to dream about living in an actual Victorian house or an old farm house. Now, especially after knowing someone who moved into a house that was over 100 years old, I'm aware of some of the issues that come with it. Issues with electricity, plumbing, etc. That and I've heard too many ghost stories about old houses by now. ;) So maybe starting from scratch and making it look Victorian is the new dream!

      Yeah, I didn't know what you meant by "Hurricanes" so some googling was in order. That does sound like a lot of alcohol for your buck! I think it was $1.29 or something like that at Walmart. I'm trying to remember if I've tried Beck's. I might have some time back. I know a lot of people love it! I don't think I've had the Black Crown, but I've seen it for sale. Rolling Rock is my favorite beer. It's a lighter beer and good with meals. Also inexpensive as beer goes!

    2. Yes, we had another storm yesterday, two more are expected this week, luckily we’re not getting the usual associated 40 mile-an-hour winds, thank God. But because of the mud slides yesterday they closed another section of the Pacific-Coast Hwy. We don’t have snow, but we have rain.

      Yeah, I can see were living in an old house might be problematic, and I often wonder myself how I’d react if I actually lived in one of these old spooky houses that I think are so cool, would I actually be too scared to live there in real life. One thing I think that would make a house look pretty cool is indoor wood paneling, that’s one reason why the Sherlock Holmes movie The House of Fear is my favorite because the inside is paneled with wood and it gives it a dark gloomy atmosphere.

      Rolling Rock, how interesting! Yeah, I’ve never tried it but I know we sold a lot of it at Target, I’ll have to try it sometime.

    3. Matt ~ 40 mile-an-hour winds! Ugh. That with rain sounds like no fun. Even 25 mile-an-hour winds are too much. Yeah, I guess rain can be a big problem. I was going to say earlier "At least it's not snow" but now I'm not sure which is worse.

      Haha! Oh I know what you mean about the old houses. I collect a lot of pics of them on Pinterest as you know. I like looking at pictures of haunted looking or abandoned places, but I'm not sure how well I'd do actually living in a haunted house. I'm thinking I wouldn't do too well with it. I'll have to look for that wood paneling in "The House of Fear".

      Rolling Rock is everywhere, so you should have no trouble finding it. It must be a very popular beer! I think it's good with Mexican food.

  6. The moon was creepy and gorgeous. I love the beer theme. The bikes were cool.

    1. Julie ~ Yeah! It looked like a Halloween sky more than a Christmas sky, but I wouldn't complain about that. :) I liked those custom bikes too. Miller and Harley Davidson are two very Milwaukee things!