“It will be very interesting one day to follow the pattern of our life as it is spread out like a beautiful tapestry. As long as we live here we see only the reverse side of the weaving, and very often the pattern, with its threads running wildly, doesn’t seem to make sense. Someday, however, we shall understand.” — Maria Augusta von Trapp.
My handy itinerary – built of hours spent slaving over 30 Google tabs, powered by FOMO – told me that Tapistry Brewing was only 15 minutes away from Greenbush. I hopped in my car, slightly sobered by a rather lackluster first stop, and headed on over.
Tapistry Brewing is in the little town of Bridgman. You get off the highway and you’ll come across a historic-looking house that’s actually a winery. Turn right at the first big light and you’ll be on what is the busiest street in town. It’s adorable – lots of cute little shops, lots of brick. It makes you feel transported, perhaps into the America Trump thinks was great, but without all the white supremacy.
(Still probably a little bit of white supremacy. It’s Michigan, after all. I didn’t have my first horrible racial experience until beer trip #3, but it was a possibility I was always aware of.)
It was a bright, hot summer day, and Tapistry was dark and cool. I always feel like a little mole when I go into breweries in the summer: here I am, eschewing the warm sunlight in favor of a dimly lit room filled with a bunch of people’s farts, probably.
That was how I felt going into Tapistry; it was so nice out that I almost didn’t want to. But I parallel parked my car right in front and told myself I was going in.
And I would have right then, except I got a text from my paralegal.
Hey, listen. I know you’re really excited about your trip because it’s your first big one by yourself, but I’m a little concerned, it started out.
Nicole is ten years older than me, and had been with the firm for about 8 years at that point. She was my boss’s right hand woman and basically ran the operation. She is a very soft, sweet, maternal figure, but strong as steel and able to calm down even the most raving asshole client of ours. She’s a gem. And when she says something, I tend to listen, because she hasn’t yet steered me wrong.
You’re traveling through Michigan on your own, staying in strangers’ houses at night, and your parents don’t know about it. I know you think it’s going to be fine, and that’s good, but can you please check in with me every now and then? And maybe send me your itinerary?Just so I know you’re okay.
I hate being checked up on. I hate people asking me where I’m going, when I’ll be back, why I’m going. I always cringe slightly when a friend says, “text me when you get home!” I’m rather fanatical about freedom, probably because I’m denied much of mine, and all of those things seem like impositions meant to cage me in, even when they’re objectively not. My friends ask me to text them when I get home (after a night of all of us out drinking) because that’s how they know how to say they love me. I get it.
But Nicole’s text didn’t chafe that way. It was a very reasonable request, and it was the Mom in her. I had no problem complying.
Of course, I texted back. I’ll check in with you and I’ll email you my itinerary tonight, when I have wifi at my airBnb. And I’ll text you the airBnB addresses so if I’m murdered you’ll know where to send the cops. I’m currently in Bridgman, about to head into Tapistry Brewing.
Awesome, she texted back almost immediately. Have fun, sweetie.
That done, I got out of my car and headed into Tapistry. It’s in a lovely red brick building, and the space next door is all the brewery, which you can see from windows that separate it from the taproom. The first thing I noticed was the merchandise – it was everywhere. I felt no impulse to buy any. The shirts were lovely, but they all said beer or brewing on them. I couldn’t wear them any time my parents or my Muslim friends/community members would see me in it, or see a picture of me wearing the shirt.
Living a double life is ridiculous sometimes.
I ordered a flight, which I thought was slightly overpriced, but, hey, first-of-its-kind trip, right?
The Gretel was a Dunkelweiss, which smelled of chocolate and banana. It was dark and medium-bodied, and I didn’t care for it much. It reminded me of someone I didn’t care for, as well, so maybe that had something to do with my reaction. I’m a fickle, temperamental little thing sometimes.
I struck up a conversation with the bartender. This was another thing I wanted to get out of the trip: overcoming shyness. I have self-diagnosed social anxiety – who doesn’t? We’re all afraid of looking like weak loser assholes in public, to some extent.
I am painfully shy, and deeply self-conscious, which surprises people who have just met me and people who have been my closest friends for years. Fake it ’til you make it works for me, and people never presume I’m shy based on my demeanor when we interact. I fake being gregarious, confident, and self-assured. I’m really none of those things, but getting better and better at it.
With this trip, there was no one constantly around to talk to, as there would have been had any of my three friends been able to come. I had to sit alone with my thoughts (not a terrible struggle, as I was enjoying finally being out from the dark, soupy haze of a paralyzing situational depression that had plagued me for more than a year), or strike up conversations with those around me that seemed receptive.
The bartender was a super nice guy – they all are. Almost. He told me a little about the brewery, that it had been open two years, and more about the town. When I commented that I wasn’t wild about dark beers in the summer, he recommended a brewery just ten minutes down the road called Cultivate. It had a dark beer or two on tap, but focused on light, sessionable beers, often with a Belgian twist. I adore Belgians, and so this was an easy sell even though it wasn’t on my itinerary. I penciled it in and told him I’d go there straightaway.
The Hansel Hefeweizen was actually very nice. I took some notes in the blue Mead five star mini notebook I brought just for this trip. Yes, I was That Girl – ugh, That Trixie – sitting at the bar in a sun dress, writing down tasting notes. Yikes. Whatever, it’s funny in retrospect.
Mr. Orange was a Belgian Wit that tasted like a Blue Moon with an orange slice already added. Not bad but not great. Reactor with Coconut was a variant of their IPA, and you could really taste the coconut. I liked it even though I dislike coconut. For the Enigma Double IPA (DIPA, which makes me laugh because it reminds me of ‘double penetration’ and I’m twelve), I simply wrote “ugh.”
That’s a common theme: my notes start out all pretty and thoughtful and nuanced, and then as the beer starts to hit my writing becomes an uninhibited scrawl of one word reactions.
Thankfully, I was still good to drive. More than, in fact. I had ordered flight size samples at both Greenbush and Tapistry and only drank at most half of each glass. Plus, I’d had a big sandwich (carbs + protein) at Greenbush. I was perfectly fine. Which was good, because I had another brewery to hit that wasn’t on my list.
Before I left, I ended up hitting it off with an older couple. They were in from South Bend, Indiana, and seemed to make the trip up to Bridgman often. “Weko beach is fantastic!” they told me enthusiastically. “One of the best! And it’s only $7!”
Hard to go wrong with an endorsement like that. Had I had the time, I would have liked to check out Weko beach; I was wearing a bathing suit under my dress, anyway, because I hoped to be at St. Joe’s that afternoon. But it was either go to this beach or go to the brewery that had been recommended, and I picked the brewery.
Tapistry was a good stop, but I wasn’t crazy about it. It had a lot of german beers – hefz, dunkels, bocks – and those just aren’t my jam. If you’re in the area, though, they’re a good one to check out. So is Transient Artisan Ales, with a more varied offering, but we won’t get there until my third beer trip. 😉