It was a brisk, overcast Saturday morning. I rode to Northwestern’s campus (my first ride since my crash) to rendezvous with Dean, Dan, Matt R. and Ami. We were joined by Ben, appropriately bedecked in a Northwestern bike kit. I arrived early to help John Clarke from GooseIsland set up the biergarten in NU’s Wildcat Alley, which in 45 short minutes would be swarming with fans of college football…and delicious Goose Island beer. The table tents and banners were in place. The cold plates had been iced and the Spidermonkeys were ready. Dan was on Honker’s Ale. Ami, Ben, and Matt were on 312 Urban Wheat Ale, our sponsor beer. Dean was pressing the flesh and working the crowd. I took my post behind Old Faithful, the Harvest Ale tap. 9 AM rang and the die-hard fans began to trickle in. Having worked the previous two tailgate events, I knew that this was the calm before the storm. I cautioned my fellow monkeys not to rest on our laurels. With each free second, I poured reserve beers; stockpiling them for the deluge I knew would come. All the old favorites were there, known solely by their nicknames. Physics prof, Party Down, Sir Talks-a-Lot and “business in front – party in the back” were all at the ready, beer tickets in hand. These guys could put away beer after beer while simultaneously talking your ear off, but the Monkeys were ready, pouring for other patrons while indulging the stalwarts. As 10 o’clock rolled around and the NU band finished their pre-game performance, the crowds really started to roll in, NU and Minnesota fans alike. From that point until we closed shop at 10:45 I didn’t close my tap, shoving one plastic cup after another under the stream of (shameless plug) – delicious, cascade-hopped, amber, 5.7 % alcohol by volume, seasonal ale. With each few spare seconds I helped myself to a gulp from my own cup of brew. My teammates kept pace beautifully and Matt even managed to wangle some tips out of the deal. The sputtering sound of foam and the rush of CO2 indicated the blow of the kegs in rapid succession. Mine was the first to go, but I smoothly switched to my alternate spigot while Carlos tapped a new keg. The 312 and Honker’s taps also flew through the beer, but the monkeys manning them were not at all bothered by the spray of foam on their nice kits. We poured and poured, all while smiling and schmoozing with the game’s attendees. Dean kept the mood light by swinging through and chanting “Spidermonkey! Spidermonkey!” with us responding “Caw Caw Caw!” While not sure how many kegs my teammates went through, I blew through three, which equals about 480 servings (each ½ barrel contains approximately 160 servings). At 10:45 we stopped serving. We were lightly soaked in beer (Dan was standing in it barefoot) but we were all smiling, due in no small part from the beer we had ourselves imbibed. Greater than that, though, was the fun we had. Kudos to all the Spidermonkey volunteers, as it was a great way to thank our generous sponsor for their support.
Ca Caw!!-
Joe H.