Hello, everyone! I hope this post finds you in good spirits! If you follow me on Snapchat (@kidsyd_44) you may have seen a few, well maybe more than a few, snaps of me at a Goose Island event a few weeks back. If it looked like I was having fun, I was! But before I tell you all about the event, you might be interested to know how I got there. Well no worries, I’m covering all that and more with pictures, snapchats, and a video in this blog post.
How I Got There
One day I was watching one of my favorite YouTubers, Erik Conover, and he mentioned that he was partnered up with Goose Island for their Road to the Harvest event. He said that there was a contest going on, and all we, as his subscribers, had to do was Instagram a picture of our latest adventure and include a few hashtags for a chance to win a trip to the event as well. The incentives were the free trip of course, and the opportunity to meet him.
Having recently come back from Ireland (if you’re curious about that trip you can read about it here) I had plenty of adventure pics, some of which had already made their way onto Instagram. So with a few clips and an edited caption, I submitted my photo.
Weeks went by, and I thought nothing of it. I mean, I never win these things… I never even enter them. But sure enough, I got an email saying that I had won! 😲 Yup, you read it right. I won! Confused and excited I read through the contract and quickly accepted my offer. The best part was that I could bring a friend. Well, to make a long story short, everyone I asked who I thought might be interested in luxury camping and beer had other plans. So once again, I was faced with the dilemma, to go by myself or not to go at all.
I think we all know which one I chose. 😉
So with that said, on August 18th I packed my bags, got on a plane (2 planes) and found myself on a bus from Spokane, Washington to Bonners Ferry, Idaho for Goose Island’s Road to the Harvest!
What is Road to the Harvest?
I’m sure you’re wondering what this event was all about. Road to the Harvest is an event focused on the harvesting of Goose Island’s hops for the following year’s brews. This event celebrates the harvest by bringing contest winners, influences, and distributors together to learn more about Goose Island beer, how the hops are harvested and to celebrate.
But this can only take place in one location, Bonners Farry, Idaho, where the Goose Island hops are grown. Now I don’t expect you to know exactly where that is, but it is extremely far north. We were 10 miles away from the Canadian border, and lucky for me, the bus I was on to get to Elk Mountain Farms overshot the destination by exactly 10 miles allowing me to see the Canadian border. 🙌🏾
Camping? No, Glamping!!
I like nature, but I wouldn’t say I’m a camping kind of girl. I’m the girl who wants to go on a hike, but also wants to sleep in her own bed that night. But glamping definitely changed my perspective! Now, I know glamping is exactly what is says… glamerous camping, and this would be unrealistic in many other normal, non-contest winner circumstances, but I made the most of my glamp. Honestly, I think I slept better there than I do at home, and despite it getting cold at night, the blankets and comforter were superb.
It was what I would imagine VIP camping at Coachella to be like!
Not pictured (or snapchatted) were the luxury showers and bathrooms. They were in trailers so at first I didn’t expect much, but again, I was pleasently surpised.
The Ultimate Dining Experience!
One of the major draws to Road to the Harvest is the opportunity to have a meal prepared by an iron chef served in the middle of a hops field. It was as amazing as it sounds people! For those of you Bravo Iron Chef fanatics, I was fortunate enough to have a meal prepared by Stephanie Izard. 😱 For those who don’t know, she is best known for being the first female chef to win Top Chef.
Residing in Chicago, she has three restaurants, The Girl and The Goat, Little Goat, and Duck Duck Goat, which are all to die for, especially for you foodies out there. But considering I haven’t had a proper visit to Chicago yet, I’m glad I was given this amazing opportunity to dine with food prepared by her outside of the Windy City.
Now, she prepared the meal the first night I arrived and it truly was amzing. But every other meal we were given at the farm was prapred and served by renowned chefs as well. To say the least, I did not go hungry. I walked away from every meal stuffed!
Learning About Hops
If you can recall from my Ireland blog post, I don’t really drink beer. That little taste of Guinness at the Guinness Storehouse was my introduction to beer, and it didn’t go over too well. Since then, I hadn’t tried any other beers. But while in Rome (or Elk Mountain Farms) you do as the Romans do. I’m happy to say, this time around I liked it so much more. I enjoyed it more because…
- It tastes WAY better than Guinness.
- I got a first-hand look into how the beer was made.
I, along with everyone in the group, examined the hops in the fields, watched them get picked, witnessed the drying process, and finally saw them get packed away to be turned into beer as we know it. To say the least, I had, and still have, more respect for what actually goes into making Goose Island beer. Gaining that perspective made the beer taste that much better in my opinion.
🙌🏾 The Entertainment🙌🏾
With everything I had experienced already, I truly felt spoiled, but the surprises didn’t stop there. During our down time, Goose Island had a hot air balloon come on the property to take event goers for a ride. Again, I couldn’t believe it. 😱 Taking a ride in a hot air balloon had been on my bucket list for quite some time, and while the ride was short, I’m still proud to check it off my bucket list.
Fun Fact: I’m afraid of heights, so that was really a stretch for me. 😬
Also, Wilco, the band, hosted a private concert for us in the hops field. While I had never listened to their music before, I really liked them! They honestly performed like they were in front of a crowd of thousands when in reality there were probably under 300 people there.
What I found most entertaining during their concert was one of their guitarists, Nels Cline. He was so into the performance! See snapchats below.👇🏾😂
There you have it, folks! My time at Elk Mountain Farms with Goose Island in a nut shell. If the snapchats and pictures weren’t enough, I made a mini video of what it was like to be at the event through my eyes. Check it out!
Oh, and as a side note, I did get a chance to meet the YouTuber who made this all possible for me, Erik Conover. He is an awesome guy and just like he seems in his video, down to earth. If you don’t know who he is, check out his YouTube channel. He makes awesome travel content, so if you have an affinity for wanderlust, you’ll love his stuff.
Erik, if you’re reading this, thank you!
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Until next time, get up, get moving, and live your best life!