Tag Archives: beer

We tied the Not(stad)!

Eugene and I tied the knot three months ago. We’ve been asked countless times since then, ‘How is married life treating you?’ The fact that I’m finally getting around to posting about our marriage three months after the fact should answer that question for you.

Married life’s been busy. Busy in the best way.

My better half and I have always done things on our own terms, and our wedding was no different. In an effort to keep things simple, fun and all about us, we ran off to Colorado for a long weekend in the Rocky Mountains — and a wedding!

July 22, 2015: Road trip

Lucky for us, Colorado is only about five hours from home. The two-lane highway commute through Nebraska and Wyoming isn’t bad either.


I took in the picturesque prairie views from the passenger seat. (The whole ‘passing semis on a two-lane highway at 85+ mph doesn’t do good things to my heart.)


We’re also blessed with really good — and sneaky — friends. The Casanova’s managed to track down our hotel and send us drink chips for the fancy hotel bar before we even arrived.


Speaking of hotels, ours was awesome. If you ever find yourself in Fort Collins, Colo., book a night or two at the Armstrong Hotel. The 92-year-old inn stands amid all the action and is just plain cool.


And — bonus — the rooms are reminiscent of a quaint college apartment.


The hotel was even home to a resident cat, who we found lounging on the luggage cart every night.


After settling in at the Armstrong, we hit the streets of downtown Fort Collins and landed in an outdoor patio. Nothing says, “Hello, wedding weekend!” like a couple of tall beers. We spent an hour or so people watching while we sipped our brews and ate dinner.


Then we took advantage of the Casanova’s wedding gift and ended our night with drinks at Ace Gillett’s, the hotel bar. Eugene ordered a beer by a name I can’t recall, though I do remember he was pumped to see it on tap. I opted for a cranberry ginger martini. The lounge even boasted local live music. Wednesday night’s ticket was a young piano-vocal duo performing classic tunes.


July 23, 2015: Wedding day

Some of the best black coffee I’ve ever sipped was at Snooze in Fort Collins, Colo. Everybody told us we had to grab breakfast at Snooze. Thank goodness we took their advice. The sunny eatery was the perfect start to our wedding day. And the food — oh my god! The food was fantastic.


We spent the rest of the morning taking it easy. Our little ceremony was held on a blue-sky, 90-degree day at the Annual Flower Trial Gardens on the Colorado State University campus. The gardens were a little more than a mile from our hotel, so we took the opportunity to walk through Old Town Fort Collins and explore another part of the city.

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Judge Schultz officiated our ceremony. He was a sweet man with sage advice for a healthy marriage. He also had ties in both South Dakota and Wisconsin. Small world coincidence or fate?


We exchanged weddings vows we wrote ourselves, listened to what Judge Schultz had to share, and sealed it all with a kiss.


And with that, we were married!


Then celebrations ensued! Our hotel, which was conveniently located near the city bike path, offered cruiser bikes for guests. We armed ourselves with a map of the local breweries and hit the open path in search of a good time.

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Cruiser bikes are fun! The path weaved through town and lined the Poudre River, offering ample opportunity to take in all of Fort Collin’s natural beauty.

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Stop #1 was O’Dell Brewing Company. O’Dell makes some of our favorite beers, and the brewery didn’t disappoint. We each opted for a flight and had a grand ole time trying new brews as husband and wife.

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After deciding on our favorite tap, we each grabbed a glass and headed out to the patio before taking a brewery tour.

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Next up was Fort Collins Brewery. The beers were so-so, but the food. was. bomb. Some couples serve dry chicken and mushy veggies after they exchange vows. Eugene and I ordered a soft pretzel, wrapped in bacon, presumably deep-fried, and dipped it in spicy stone ground mustard. To each their own.


The rest of Fort Collins was clearly at O’Dell, because Eugene and I were the only ones sharing the the dining area with a ’70s cover band. If you’ve never grooved to Cherokee People while sipping mediocre beers, you’re missing out


When we picked up the brewery map from the hotel, the guy at the front desk told us the best coffee stout he’s ever had was the Sad Panda at Horse and Dragon Brewing Company. He warned us that the brewery was a ways away from the others, but we’re avid coffee stout drinkers and couldn’t be deterred.

Unfortunately, both Eugene and I are also terrible with directions — especially after a couple of beers, on bikes, in a new city, without a GPS. We overshot the brewery by a mile or two and ended up using the GPS on my phone to guide us in the right direction.

But hotel guy was right. I would go the distance for Sad Panda any day. The bartender got wind that we were just married and poured us each a second beer on his tab. We likely would have stayed at this brewery all night if it didn’t close at 6 p.m. And if it wasn’t such a trek to get back to the beaten path!


Are you sensing a trend yet? Fort Collins is a mecca for craft beer and we were bound and determined to celebrate our marriage by sampling it all. After biking back from the boonies — and subsequently working off our buzz — we saddled up to a bar boasting more than 70 craft beers on tap.


And finally, we wrapped up the ‘Great Craft Beer Tour of 2015/The Notstad’s Marriage Celebration’ at Equinox Brewing. Although Eugene will likely deny it now, we were totally beered-out by this point. Don’t get me wrong, Equinox makes a pretty stellar stout. I’ll just be sure to drink less beers before diving into my next Fluffhead Milk Stout on nitro.

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July 24 – 26, 2015: Honeymoon

What’s a Colorado vacation without a trip to the Mountains? No vacation you’ll ever catch me on.

When Eugene and I decided to get married in Colorado, my one requirement was that we spend a couple nights in Estes Park. The Rocky Mountain town is home to some of my favorite memories from past Colorado trips, and I wanted the opportunity to add to that memory bank with Eugene.

So, first things first, we continued the Great Craft Beer Tour of 2015 with a quick stop at an outdoor beer garden in downtown Estes. Eugene’s stout was so thick, he was left with a beer foam ‘stache, which isn’t apparent in the photo below… But my husband is cute, so what the heck, I’ll share it anyway.


My dad first took me to Estes Park in 2006. Since then, our numerous Colorado trips have revolved around fly fishing with Kirk. While the point of this particular trip was not to fly fish, something would have been missing if we didn’t cast a line into the Rocky Mountain waters.

So we booked an afternoon trip with Kirk and headed out onto the Big Thompson River. It was Eugene’s first time casting a fly rod, but he caught on quick, and even had a few bites. Unfortunately, he’s still working on setting his line, nonetheless he managed to catch more fish than me. Eugene was even able to set a Colorado state record for a rainbow trout. (I should also note that Eugene added these last few sentences when I asked him to proofread this post.)

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Let the record stand that I, Kelsey Ann Notstad, reeled in more fish than Eugene.


I was especially pumped about this nice rainbow…


… who looked even better after I held him up to the camera.


But fish or not, the best part about pulling on a pair of waders and sloshing through a river is the view.

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Next stop: Rocky Mountain National Park. We spent the day taking in all of Rocky’s breathtaking (literally — the air is thin up there) views.

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And finally, we wrapped up the best wedding getaway ever with dessert, a walk around Lake Estes, and drinks on our hotel’s patio bar.

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“Where there is love there is life.”

The love I have for Eugene is indescribable. It makes my stomach flip. It makes my heart beat faster. It makes the corners of my mouth turn up into a smile. And — most importantly — it gives me life.

I wish we could relive these five days every day. They were the most fun, carefree, perfect days I’ve known.

Family and friends, we love you too! We had a blast celebrating our love in Colorado, and we look forward to celebrating again with all of you. Keep an eye on your mailboxes. We’ll see you on the shores of Lake Monona this spring!


Hey? Sorry I’ve been a bad friend.

I feel like I’ve been saying that a lot lately. It’s not that I do unfriendly things. I’m just really bad at staying in touch. Lucky for me, I’ve got a great group of friends who don’t mind. We’ll go a month or two without talking, before we finally connect and carry on conversations like no time has passed.

But, wow. It’s been ages since we’ve chatted… nearly nine months!

I could list off a whole slew of excuses as to why I’ve been a bad friend. But to sum it up, we’ve just lost touch. So, you’re probably wondering how life’s been… let’s pick up where we left off, shall we?

In August, I ventured out to Sturgis… or as the locals call it, “The Rally.” If you’re unfamiliar with the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Google it. It’s outrageous. Growing up in a household of Harleys, it was surreal to finally be there. The weeklong event boasts bands, bikes, booze and boobs. Like I said, it’s outrageous.

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Throughout the summer Eugene and I hiked. A lot. The hiking trails in western South Dakota are seemingly endless, and we’re taking full advantage of our outdoor playground. I especially enjoy wearing Wisconsin garb while I hike through the Hills; because without fail, I’m bound to come upon a handful of traveling cheeseheads, who are always more than eager to strike up a conversation with a fellow Wisconsinite. Following conversations of this nature, I always rhetorically ask Eugene, ‘Isn’t it cool that we live in a place where people vacation?’ So cool.

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In September, Eugene and I headed east to celebrate one of my college friend’s weddings. I’m finally coming to terms with the fact that yes, we are all real adults and getting married, buying houses, and having babies is the new norm. Crazy as that may seem.

You can tell by our shiny faces that we had a great time on the dance floor… as all wedding guests should. The 18-hour roundtrip drive and unfortunate speeding ticket were totally worth it.

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As summer turned to fall, Eugene officially became a rated air traffic controller! I’m still wrapping my head around his career, but I’m fairly certain this “rating” means he can talk to planes without supervision. For me, this rating means the end of flashcard review sessions, which is slightly discouraging seeing as I was just starting to master the ATC lingo

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In November, one of my very best friends Janaye came to play! Remember when I said earlier that I had a really great group of friends? Case in point. Sure, South Dakota is sweet, but let’s face it, it isn’t a place people are itching to travel. Which makes me all the more grateful that so many friends have set aside long weekends to visit.

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Janaye, Eugene and I had a grand ol’ time enjoying quality craft brews, hiking through our beautiful state and national parks, and catching up on all of life’s crazy turns.

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For Thanksgiving, Eugene and I road-tripped home to Madison. It was the first Holiday we were able to spend with our families since moving to South Dakota. And, lucky for us, a Badger home game landed on the same weekend. On Wisconsin!

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I snapped this shot on State Street before heading home for the night. Mist and all, can Madison be any more beautiful?

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Upon returning to South Dakota, I bid farewell to my job at the credit union. It was definitely a bittersweet goodbye, so naturally we eased the mixed emotions with a shotski. Great coworkers are something to treasure.

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In December I stepped into a new, scary, exciting role as Digital Media Coordinator at Black Hills Corporation. In this role I help manage all of our social media pages, work on our websites, and learn something new every. single. day. Seriously, I think my brain knowledge has doubled over the past four months.

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Throughout the winter months I spent my weekends skiing at my fav local spot, Terry Peak. While the hill is great, I lacked good company. Eugene, being the tall lanky guy he is, isn’t the hugest downhill skiing fan. So I spent most of my Sundays making solo tracks. One Sunday I was lucky enough to catch the first chair on the backside.

In my opinion, this is absolute bliss:

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As winter turned to spring, we picked back up our hiking game. Eugene and I came upon this family of bighorn sheep in Custer State Park. It was our first time encountering our wild neighbors with a baby in tow. We stopped on the path and watched each other for a bit before the family carried on uphill. Nature is so neat.

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In March, I braved a nine hour solo road trip east to spend the weekend with college friends. Lucky for me, it was one of the first nice weekends in Minneapolis, so patio parties were out in full force. We spent all of Saturday drinking beachy cocktails and laughing. It was perfect.

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Back to hiking for a second. This spring we drove five miles down a gravel road and hiked uphill for three-and-a-half miles to take in this view. Crow Peak is definitely a locals hike, which I love. Every single person we passed greeted us with a smile — several even stopped to for a quick conversation. I always welcome breathtaking views and friendly folks.

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I think I’m going to rename March “Mucho,” because my month was filled with Mucho love! Dumb idea? Whatever. At the end of Mucho Love Month, my BFF4L (or as we affectionately called ourselves in high school: 4/4) spent some time in South Dakota. Al was here for an extra long weekend (YES!) and I don’t think we could have fit in any more hiking, beer drinking, and fun.

Have I mentioned how great my friends are?

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Weekend highlight: hanging out with the begging burros in Custer. When it comes to snacks, these donkeys don’t mess around. This guy stuck his head right through our open window to snag some cashews from Eugene… he also kicked another donkey, who tried to get in on the treats.

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And finally, in April, Father Tom made his long-anticipated appearance in Rapid City, South Dakota. Yay! I’ve always been attached to my parents and nothing makes me happier than spending time with them. Per usual, the weekend was packed with site-seeing, exploring and eating. We even managed to sneak in a hockey game. Rumor has it, we tired the old guy out big time.

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And now here we are. Spring is slowly giving way to summer and I’m looking forward to more adventures. I promise to stay in touch over the next couple months.

What have you been up to?

39 signs you grew up in Madison, Wisconsin

5307_4679843646254_965550817_nWhen I saw the Thought Catalog article, “26 Signs You’ve Lived in Madison, Wisconsin” making it’s social media rounds, I was thrilled! I love Thought Catalog. I love love love Madison!

While some of the list items were purely Madison, the majority of the article was UW-Madison student-centered and there is so so much more to my fair city.

So, I bring you a list:

39 signs you grew up in Madison, Wisconsin (according to Kelsey Bewick)

1. You “snuck into” the student section at Badger football, basketball and hockey games.

2. When it comes to singing UW’s Alma Mater you instinctively wrap your arms around your neighbor and sway. And aside from “U RAH RAH WI-SCOOO-OOOON-SIN,” you have no idea what the people around you are singing.

3. You politely ask your gracious parents to drive you and your friends downtown to avoid dealing with parking (read: paying for parking) when spending a night out.

4. You and your friends visit places like The Old Fashioned, Capital Tap Haus and State Street Brats with the sole intent of ordering a basket of cheese curds and a few beers.

5. You’ve discussed, in depth, the logistics of holding a Cheese Curd Crawl– like a bar crawl, only with cheese curds.

6. You recognize Culver’s cheese curds are sub par—with their thick breading and mixed cheeses—but you’ll still order some when you’re feigning a fix.

7. You visit “townie bars,” on your respective side of town, and you know every single person in the place– it’s like a high school reunion. Silver Eagle, anyone?

8. You want to love our lakes, but you realize they are disgusting mid-June through early September. 

9. Regardless of how gross our lakes are you still spend every available summer minute on or near them.

10. You don’t look twice when you see hoards of people waking around downtown with with a steamed-up bag of bread on a summertime Saturday morning. It’s also commonplace to see these same people ripping strips of this bread from the bag and eating it as they walk.

11. Stella’s Spicy Cheese Bread and coffee make for a feasible Farmer’s Market breakfast. Feasible and delicious.

12. Aside from the cheese bread and coffee commodities, the true reason you attend the Farmer’s Market is to people watch from the Capitol lawn.

13. You’ve seen a pack of naked bikers make laps around the Capitol Square on a few chosen Saturday morning Farmer’s Markets. And you’ve felt a true sense of community when you turn away from that pack and see that every single person around you is also smiling ear-to-ear.

14. You still rely on a GPS to navigate hidden streets on the other side of town.

15. When you’re feeling especially directionally challenged, you call your parents– who’ve lived in Madison their entire lives– and begin feeding them landmarks until they lead you to a recognizable place.

16. You know what it feels like to bike through the middle of rush hour traffic– in your own bike lane.

17. You’ve gotten lost on our maze of bike paths at least once… or you’ve hopped on a portion of the bike path and popped out in some part of the city you did not intend to.

18. You’ve taken a kayak or canoe down a random river channel and popped out in some part of the city you did not intend to.

19. You’ve probably met the governor during a school field trip to the Capitol. If not, you’ve surely taken a class photo in the courtroom during a school field trip to the Capitol.

20. If you’ve moved away, you’re far more excited to dine at your favorite local restaurants than you are to eat your mother’s home cooking when you return home.

21. You get sucked into the hype that is Freak Fest.

21. You don’t fully understand the hype that is Freak Fest.

22. When you were young enough to attend the Mifflin Street Block Party, you thought it was the coolest thing.

23. You remember when the Westside felt like a faraway, foreign land.

24. You’re still wondering what happened to the Holiday Parade around the Square. Remember that?

25. “Sea of Red” conjures up images of State Street and Camp Randall crawling with people clad in Badger gear on game day.

26. And speaking of game day… the smell of grilled brats at 9 a.m. on Regent Street is completely familiar.

27. You remember when South Towne Mall was a real mall, not the strip mall it is today.

28. You had the luxury of using city buses as everyday transportation to and from middle school.

29. You also had the luxury of chasing down said city buses, if you didn’t make it to the bus stop on time.

30. The first warm spring day was a big deal– it meant you, your cousins and your aunt would wander in and out of  State Street shops.

31. While you could never wear it yourself, you enjoy the wafts of patchouli oil you smell while walking around State Street.

32. You’ve never been able to escape conversations about politics and the environment.

33. You vaguely remember what Lake Monona’s skyline looked like before the Monona Terrace.

34. The word “Beltline” makes you cringe.

35. You had no idea you suffered from road rage until you drove on the Beltline at rush hour for the first time.

36. Your parents grew up with the mothers and fathers of some of your best childhood friends, because most of them never left the Eastside of town. And you think that is the greatest thing.

37. There is something so cool about the Capitol, you cannot get enough of it.

38. You’re constantly learning new things about Madison that cause you to fall further in love with the city.

39. You get that Madison is big, but small at the same time, and unique, and special and you have your own list of things that remind you of home and life in Madison.