My husband, Dan, turned 30 this year. So what’s the best way to celebrate? With recruitment weekend for Stanford’s 2014-15 entering PhD students and massive final academic assignments. Granted that the recruitment weekend included a dessert tour, kayaking in Monterrey Bay, and several department-sponsored meals, it wasn’t exactly how we had planned to celebrate this milestone.
Because we couldn’t celebrate on his actual birthday, I planned a surprise party two weeks after the day with sneaky help from friends. Shout out to Katie & Leo for the brewery suggestions!
Speakeasy Brewery offers free brewery tours (book ahead!) and a tasting menu to compliment its standard beer menu. I arranged the tour about a month in advance and coordinated with friends to get the group together. The week of the surprise party, though, I had no idea how I was actually going to lure Dan to the brewery without his knowledge. I considered just flat out telling him because I couldn’t come up with a good idea.
That’s when I started crowdsourcing for ideas. My brother’s won…and made me a bit unsettled in his complex and very well planned decietfulness that covers all possible bases. His idea even psychologically planted the idea of “beer” in the pitch. It’s a good thing he uses his powers for good and not evil! My brother sent Dan and me an e-mail that said:
“I was going to see if I could ask you guys a favor: I found an incredible bookshelf+curio thing on craigslist, but I need help getting it home — the seller has a narrow window of availability on Saturday afternoon before leaving for a long trip, and everyone I know in SF with a car is unavailable for different reasons. (I guess there are some regulations for zipcar in CA that I have to work though before I can transfer my membership out here, huh.) It’ll disassemble into units (part of why it’s cool), so it shouldn’t take too long. I’d make it up to you with a few solid beers and some chill time before y’all pick up our cousins at SFO. Andrea, I can text you with the time and address.”
And he DID even send a text with the time and an address near the brewery, but not actually at the brewery so that if Dan had looked up the address it would have looked like we were going to a neighborhood.
When we got to Speakeasy that Saturday afternoon and Dan saw his friends, it took him several minutes to figure out what was going on. The theme of the day became, “I can’t believe you all did this! This is fantastic!”
We had about a half hour to enjoy our first Speakeasy beers before going on the tour into the production facilities. The weekday tours show the brewery in action, but even with the machines quiet, it was an impressive tour.
About 45 minutes later (because our group had so many questions), we were on to the beer tasting.
Speakeasy doesn’t have a kitchen, so when the Mexican “food truck” set up shop outside, we took full advantage of the opportunity. If you’re wondering, the quotation marks express the idea that the vendors were licensed to sell food, but it was not the typical food truck model. More of a packed the supplies in a van and set up a folding table model. The somewhat questionable aspect of the food delivery may have made it just that much more delicious.
Beer and tacos and celebrating a 30th birthday. What a great Saturday!