Monday, May 14, 2012

In Wisconsin, we drink beer from Das Boot!

I'm not much of a beer drinker. The same cannot be said for most Wisconsinites. At most social gatherings in Madison, I tend to be the only guest who chooses wine over beer. What can I say? I prefer something fruity.

When my coworker Tonya (a Wisconsin native and avid beer fan) returned from traveling internationally, she decided to celebrate her return at one of her favorite downtown Madison bars, the Essen Haus, on May 5th. Tonya guaranteed that the evening would contain blog-worthy material, and as usual, she spoke the truth.

My friend Elysha and I began the evening at her house in true Cinco de Mayo fashion: she made enchiladas and I brought skinny margaritas. Once we were full (and in my case, tipsy), we headed over to the Essen Haus for a true Wisconsin-style celebration.

A sample of Essen Haus decor.
A live polka band provided the mood music while I ordered some bar munchies and we settled down at a table with Tonya and our three new friends. And then, it happened: Das Boot arrived. Das Boot is a large glass boot filled with beer that is shared around a table while adhering to six traditions set by the bar:

1. Das Boot must not touch or be set down on the table.
2. Das Boot must be consumed with the toe pointed out or up.
3. Das Boot must be passed around the table and shared with all.
4. Das Boot must be flicked once one decides to pass it to the next person.
5. The last person to drink from Das Boot before the person who finishes it has to buy the next one.
6. Once Das Boot is down to a level where someone will injest the remaining beer during one's turn, other people at the table must initiate ceremonial table pounding for encouragement. Other patrons at the Essen Haus will also pound on their tables in solidarity.

Elysha proudly models the full Das Boot with our new friend, Rob.
Drinking Das Boot!
Regardless of my fondness of beer, I was required to participate according to tradition #3.

Tonya made sure that I understood all the rules before I was entrusted with Das Boot.
Holding the boot for the first time, and very excited about it!
While others opted to chug Das Boot, I was more of a sipper. I played by the rules and was an avid boot flicker and table pounder.

I've lived in Wisconsin for a tad under a year. I never could have predicted in May 2011 that in a year I'd be spending Cinco de Mayo at a bar in Wisconsin listening to polka music while drinking beer out of a glass boot. But that's the thing about Madison (and my life in general): there's never a dull moment.

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