07 February 2017

New Buds

New Buds....

Houston had a little party over the weekend. You may have heard about it. LOTS of people were in town and there were plenty of events and activities that came along with this party.

Last Wednesday, accompanied by friend Martha, I dropped in on some of my favorite visitors, the Budweiser Clydesdales.

Martha, Me, Rocco

These big boys were stationed at the Anheuser-Busch/Budweiser Brewery last week so we killed two three birds with one stone by chatting up the Clydesdales, touring the brewery and tasting some beers all in one afternoon.

First we met Rocco. He was the biggest of the two horses on show at 19 hands. (Your bit of horse info for the day: one hand is equivalent to four inches.) Extremely patient, he stood quietly while person after person snapped a pic or two and patted him. These horses are bomb proof. Also, they are spoiled beyond belief.


Next up was Jack.  Jack was a little bit smaller at 18 hands. He was also a bit more personable, possibly because his line was shorter and he had not been as slammed with people as Rocco had. They were both so soft and sweet and it just made me realize how much I miss that wonderful horse and leather smell. Someone should bottle that scent. I know women who would pay to have the smell of horse, leather and grass around them 24/7. (Me!)

 My mother always said 
"You shouldn't kiss the cat." 
I imagine she would also say 
"You shouldn't kiss the horse."
Except I did.

I'm pretty happy here.
Love them horsies.

Notice I'm on my tippy toes.

The Clydesdales are draft horses, bred to pull wagons. They first made their appearance with Budweiser in 1933 when Augustus and Adolphus Busch gave a hitched set to their father to celebrate the repeal of prohibition. (And here's my post on that subject.) Now there are three teams of Clydesdales in the US and they travel around as representatives of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. While there are ten horses on a team, only eight are hitched at one time. The other two are back ups, rotated in so that everyone gets a break.   These horses are NEVER ridden. It's against company policy because of insurance reasons.  (I really, really wanted to get up on one though. My sweet horse Picasso was big at 16.2 hands but these guys... well, you would be sitting pretty high up in the air.) The largest two horses are at the back of the team, doing most of the heavy pulling while the smaller ones are up front. The four horses in the middle are trained to rotate up or back as needed.

Clyde, the Dalmatian, was up next but he wasn't being as cooperative. He was in his truck but not too keen on coming out. He did sneak up for a few pats but I couldn't get my picture with him.

Well, Martha did get a snap of my bracelets and Clyde!
Isn't he handsome?

After we had our fill of Clydesdales, we moseyed over to the actual brewery and decided to take a tour. I love seeing how things are made. Even more fun, we got to taste beer straight out of the tank, unpasteurized.  (Another fun fact: canned and bottled beer is pasteurized while keg beer is not.)

Imagine how much beer is in here!

Our tour guide taps the tank for a taste of really fresh beer. 

Martha and I raising our cups for the first time of the day. 

Then we headed into the tasting room to sample the beer. I mean, that's practically a requirement, isn't it?    Our favorites? Oculto, which is aged with tequila barrel staves and infused with blue agave and Montejo, an authentic Mexican lager.  

Love that bottle art.

The Oculto, with its 6% alcohol content, was a winner just for its bottle art but it also had a citrusy flavor that almost made it a beer cooler. This would be a good summer beer.  
The Montejo- well, I just love a good Mexican beer.  Can't help it.   It was also light with an alcohol content of only 4.5%.  I'm a lightweight so I appreciate a lighter beer with flavor.

Still sampling. 
And still upright. 
A good sign.

As we toddled out to the car, guess who we ran into again?  Clyde! And this time he posed with us.
Budweiser has lots of Dalmatians and no, all of them are not named Clyde. There are some Buds, too.

Clyde begrudgingly posed with the two of us. 

It was a great morning and I enjoyed the horses so much I went back to the brewery on Saturday just so I could see the whole team hitched up.   What a fabulous advertising tool the Anheuser-Busch company has in these gentle giants.

The whole crew, including Clyde on the wagon.
This team is from St. Louis.

These silly boys were shaking their heads like crazy.

 Each leather and brass harness weighs about 130 pounds. 

A great way to spend the day: hugging on animals and drinking beer.

Another fun fact: Martha LOVES to help me with my challenges and is always up for a spontaneous trip ANYWHERE but guess what? She has NEVER read my blog. Ever. I've told her she has been featured many times, but nope...she has never read it. Maybe this time.....

If you want to read about more adventures with Martha click  here and here and here and here.

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