I’ll need some recovery time from this MISadventure…
I need to preface this post by saying that the Saranac Brewery Tour is worthy of the time. It’s interesting and steeped with history. So when I say it was an epic fail, that’s all on me. The other patrons on the tour must have thought I lost my mind.
A friend told me that her young daughter really enjoyed the tour. I have wanted to go for years, and I didn’t have a plan for today’s adventure. When I called the brewery’s toll-free number, a nice young lady told me that children are welcome. Moreover, at the end of the tour there’s a special treat: “…complimentary sodas, and pretzels.” My 4-year old got to pick: the Utica Zoo or the brewery tour. He chose the tour. He was a prince the entire time—he walked around with his hands in his pockets, he held doors open for me, and he listened to the tour guide. So to do the tour with a 4-year old is reasonable and it would have been a nice adventure. But my littlest man was off-the-charts WILD!
What in the world went wrong? For starters, I was solo with both kids. You’re probably thinking that’s already a deal breaker. But my husband’s job keeps him busy and he travels. Life goes on, and I am a determined gal. I was sticking to my promise and this is a personal challenge that has become important to me. Blog on…
Okay, I had no idea that Saranac is the 2nd oldest brewery in the United States, which means it is old, and definitely NOT stroller friendly. To the 23-month old, “Get up. You’re walking.” Let the meltdowns begin.
“OKE! OKE! OKE!” All soda is “oke” to Little Man. He has aquired a taste for it, so when he saw 2000 6-packs as we entered the store, of course he wanted one. “You have to wait,” I told him. That’s when he threw himself on the floor, face down and flailed like a fish. “OKE! OKE! OKE!” Nothing in my bag of tricks was working…juice, water, unt-uh, he wasn’t having it. “OKE!”
Crackers worked for a minute. Eat one, throw one is his eating style at the moment, and when the tour finally started (late), Little Man left a trail of cheese crackers en route. I first did my best to retrieve the mess, but I couldn’t keep up with the tour and my janitorial duties. (Saranac, sorry for the long trail of smushed cheese crackers!)
There were steps. Lots of steps! I had a diaper bag, both kids in tow, my camera with a heavy lens attached… Little Man, sprouting his independence, insisted on climbing every stair. Team Turtle, as the last ones at each stop, got lost, twice. Other tour patrons had to double back to find us.
At that point, I was pleading inside my head, Please get us to the bar! I needed to get my kid a soda so I could end my self imposed torture. And I needed a double of whatever had the highest alcohol content!
When we caught up to the group, I felt like I had boarded the school bus without any clothes—everyone was still and quiet because they’d been waiting for us. Little Man unabashedly whined and cried for most of the tour. I could see the cogs in every patrons’ head: What the devil was this woman thinking? “Is you stupid or somepin?”
The stairs, the meltdowns, carrying the baby when he’d let me… I was a furnace inside, more from embarrassment than anything. I kept thinking, Man, I really stink at being a parent right now. This is monumentally humiliating.
Finally, finally…the bar! There was no mercy from the other patrons. I was imagining balloon quotes coming from their mouths as I chased Little Man around the crowded bar. “Hey, mother of the year with the screaming 2-year old… you brought two kids on a beer tour so you can just wait your turn.” I did. Little man: whine, cry. Me: chase, sigh. Mercy! Uncle! I just needed to get up to the bar to get my kid a daggum “OKE.” So desperate, I almost screamed, Hey, I’ll give up my beer tickets and pay if you let me up to the bar.
Finally, our turn. The sweet, young tour guide obviously did not have children, or, she was intentionally torturing me for my poor judgment. She served us two sodas (full) in real GLASSES. I got to carry all of that while coraling two kids. I barged back into the table I had staked with my bag. Folks were sitting there now. They turned out to be nice, even after one guy almost got a full glass of Shirley Temple in his lap. Little Man and I got drenched in his sticky soda as he fought me over holding the glass himself. Who was in charge? Clearly not I.
I cannot remember a time when I was more thrilled to exit an establishment, especially one that makes my favorite beer. As Team Turtle walked down the stairway to leave, I think I might have heard a collective sigh of relief from every patron in that place. If it wasn’t real, it was certainly real in my head.
As for Saranac, it is a very interesting establishment and I’ll go back (sans kids!). It’s definitely affordable at $5 for the tour. As an FYI, kids are free, but under 4-years old? This gal will get a babysitter for such outings henceforth.
Here’s what I overheard between tantrums: It’s one of the top 20 beer producers in the United States and is the 2nd oldest brewery. It survived prohibition by starting a line of sodas—ginger beer, root beer, orange cream… They use real purees in their beers. They just started the fall batch of pumpkin ale and it smelled like grandma’s kitchen in the mash section. And that’s about all I heard. Apologies for sloppy fact finding.
Like many things Central New York, I was introduced to Saranac when we moved here. TERRIFIC beers—I especially like their IPAs. If you enjoy a robust, spicy beer with a kick, the Imperial IPA is one of my hubby’s favs, and the Legacy IPA would probably be his second pick. They are spicy and super filling and it’s easy to stop at one—probably a good thing as their alcohol content is high. I came to love Saranac’s White IPA about three years ago. When I couldn’t find it in stores, I thought it was discontinued, but much to my delight, they simply renamed it. It’s now called Cloud Splitter. I found it in their 12 Beers of Summer, along with the Legacy IPA, Summer Pils and Gen IV. Yes, I walked out with a 12-pack of beer and I wanted to chug a couple by the time we got to the car. For the record, I did not.
I was quite embarrassed about the day and wondered how on Earth I could bring myself to share it. But what the heck, some days are just like that. Tomorrow is another day and I get to try again. I need a low-key, kid centric adventure to redeem myself. Maybe I’ll take the weekend off to recharge. I’ll decide tomorrow. Right now, today’s monster is sleeping like an angel and I am having my second glass of wine–You probably guessed that I can’t bring myself to look at beer at the moment. 😉