Sardines. That's what we were. And we will blame JP Larson. That's how we spent the hour and a half drive to Eau Claire this morning. But we did it for the cause. Eau Claire had a waiting list (yes, a WAITING LIST) for kubb sets, and we decided to help a friend and deliver some much needed sets to the Local Store. The Subaru was low, and six sets somehow fit with all our stuff. Slightly uncomfortable, we trekked over to the big EAU.

(I think someone owes the girls a beer (hint: It's JP)

We drove by the soccer fields this year and heckled the many people helping with pitch setup. This would be the first time in 3 years Tony and I didn't help setup. We took a vacation with a much needed reprise at Valkyrie Brewing in Dallas, WI. 

The tour started at noon but we showed up around 11:00 a.m. so we headed up main street and checked out a small antique shop. If it wasn't a cash only venue I would have purchased a new Schlitz Stein and a Point pint glass. Next was the pottery shop. The place that built the trophy for the Dallas Oktoberfest Kubb tournament. We met with the artist and surveyed his collection. We then sat down and talked business. Let's just say that business cards were swapped, and some ideas about kubb tournament trophies for the Fall Kubb Klassic were thrown around. We will see what happens.

After the brainstorm, we made our way to Valkyrie. Our DMK crew was there waiting, and not long after, the Rhymes with Tube crew from Madison showed up as well, which was simply awesome. Since last Fall they have done some amazing improvements. They have an incredible new bar table of solid rock, imprinted with the words Valkyrie on its surface. They are a biofuel brewery (one of the only ones I am aware of) and their boilers burn used vegetable oil. And we got the tour from no less than the brewmeister (Randy) himself.

I have been to many breweries and toured many facilities, and I have never learned so much in this one tour than I have in all the others I have been to. Generally, a brewery tour has you guided by someone that knows about maybe when the place started, who the owners were, a little about the brewery process, and maybe they let you smell hops. This was a completely different tour. It was intimate, informative, grassroots, and blue-collar all in one. It was great.

After the tour, we continued with the drinking from the bar. Randy and Ann kept giving us samples of all the brews. We tried everything, even stuff not on tap. The would grab bottles from the beer cave and pop the tops and give us samples of beers named Blaze Orange and Hot Chocolate (Chocolate/Ceyenne pepper).

(Randy continues to 'feed' the crew delicious Valkyrie brews)

We bought more beer from Valkyrie than we had in the other 3 days of touring. By far this was my favorite and greatest beer tour/tasting room experience of my life. Thank you Dallas and Valkyrie Brewing!

(Our spoils from Valkyrie. 6 cases for the road, eh?)

Needless to say, we had a few before the friendlies at the soccer fields. Even so, we showed up in full form, setup a pitch between the Kubboom crew and the Kubbsicles and started getting our practice on. Kubb'd was there; we saw Chad and Chad from Fox Valley, CwS were representing, Steve and Chris from King Kung, and some new folks getting their drill on to our left. A few throws, a few downed kings, and a few handshakes later we were ready for the Firehouse.

We were in the right place. Stapp King on a table. Berserker Kubb shirts aplenty, and hugs from Donna. This was the Firehouse, and it was time for a drink. I had some Creme Brulee stout and Jaime had a Zombie Killer Cherry Cyser mead. And I don't want to brag, but now I am 6-0 at the Firehouse on bubble hockey and went for 100% shutouts in all my (2) games. This is a good sign. 

After fist-pumping Eric Anderson and my entire team refusing to touch the Stapp King at the Firehouse, we grabbed some dinner. Table for 15; that is how we roll. After a meal, sharing the anticipation of the battles tomorrow with our crew, and talking a little strategy on wind direction and field conditions, we all retired....well except for Grant, who (I assume) was planning on buying shots after shots for Fox Valley. Fishbowl anyone?