Friday, July 19, 2013

Day 68 - Luck, Wi/New Glarus 20th Anniversary Strong Ale

I have never been to Luck, Wisconsin. While visiting this small community in Wisconsin’s north woods would not normally be a list of things I want to accomplish, the fact that my lifelong friend, Ryan, currently calls the town home gave me more than enough reason to experience it for the first time. As a result, I made a commitment to Ryan that I would make the drive to visit him some time during my “I have never...” year. Assuring me there would plenty of new experiences from the trip, Ryan and I narrowed in on the weekend of July 19th to make the visit. Ryan informed me a weekend long festival, Lucky Days, would give us plenty to do at night and explained our days would be filled with a variety of unique north woods experiences. As a result, I committed to the date, packed my bags, and prepared to make the journey north for what would undoubtedly be an unforgettable weekend.


Luck, Wisconsin

My trip began this afternoon around 1:30. With knowledge I had a long journey ahead of me, I took some time off of work this afternoon in hopes I could make it to Ryan’s house before dark. At nearly five hours long, the trip proved exhausting. Although the scenery on the trip grew increasingly more stunning as I drove, my stationary position behind the wheel wore as the miles passed. With stiff legs and heavy eyes, I eventually made it to the sleepy town of Luck, which reminded me somewhat of my home town. Small businesses lined the town’s main street, and people milled about the quiet streets. On my way through I took a few minutes to walk through the town before getting back in my car and driving the rest of the trip to Ryan’s house. Exhausted, I finally arrived at Ryan’s house a little after 6:30 pm. Pulling into the driveway, I was taken by the log cabin resting in a remote portion of the woods next to an otherwise unpopulated lake. The old forest surrounded the cabin with the exception of a small stretch of shoreline on the far side of the property. Before knocking on the door of the cabin I walked to property and took in surroundings. The area was pristine and peaceful, which was a welcomed sight after my long journey.

The lakeshore
After standing at the water’s edge for several minutes, I went to the cabin’s door and was greeted by Ryan’s roommate, Eric. He explained Ryan was out on one of the nearby lakes, which made sense given we both expected me to arrive much later in the evening after I put in a full workday. Eric welcomed me into the house and explained I could make myself at home. After contacting Ryan to inform him of my early arrival, I unloaded my car and took a seat facing windows overlooking the lake. With the evening setting in, I took a few hours to relax before meeting up with Ryan and his friends. After a brief bit of planning, we decided to meet at a bar and restaurant in nearby Siren called the Pour House. Although more driving was the last thing I wanted to do, I was looking forward to spending time getting to know the area. In turn, I got back in my car and started driving north until I finally stumbled upon the sight of the Pour House.

The Pour House
The building's bright, animated sign made the Pour House unavoidable as I drove through the small town of Siren. After pulling into the parking lot I entered to a spacious bar occupied by several small groups of people. Seeing Ryan and the lake crew were not yet in attendance, I sat down at the bar and was immediately by a middle aged woman. She promptly asked me what I would like. I responded with a statement of uncertainty, to which the bartender responded with a recommendation of the on-site brewed Pour House Ale and the Friday Fish fry buffet. I accepted her recommendation, which set the woman to work preparing my drink and grabbing me a plate for my meal. With the plate in hand I found my way to the buffet and loaded up a plate of food for my first full meal of the day. Over the next 15 minutes I worked through my meal and slowly sipped on my beer. The food was delicious and the beer offered a nutty full flavor with a hint of hops. I felt content as I relaxed and prepared for the weekend. A short time later, Ryan and a group of people walked in the bar door, with Ryan announcing an excited, unrestricted greeting at my presence. After celebrating my success at finding the Pour House, Ryan introduced me to his friends, Dave, Kerry, Carrie, and Jackie. Together the six of us spent the next few hours chatting and playing dice games as the clock wound toward a new day. I was clearly among good people, which made it easy to settle in for a weekend up north.

20th Anniversary Strong Ale
Eventually, Ryan reminded me of his obligations the following morning which prompted us to head back to his house. Upon arriving the two of us arranged a place for me to sleep and caught up. As we reflected on the night and some of past adventures together, I gave Ryan a gift I had brought for him, the limited New Glarus Brewing 20th Anniversary Strong Ale. With two bottles in tow, I open a bottle for Ryan and a bottle for me. For the next hour we continued our conversation over our drinks and continued reminiscing about our decades of history together. Ryan also laid out some details as to what to expect from the weekend and told me of our forthcoming adventure the next day, swinging from one of the tallest rope swings in the area. Excited by the prospects of the coming day, we ultimately decided to call it a night. As I prepared myself to sleep, I thought about the day’s events, the night’s experiences, and the forthcoming weekend. Even though I had only been in Luck for a little more than six hours, I could already tell why people choose to call it home.

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