Character & characters
“I didn’t know it was possible to have a good experience in a post office!” a satisfied Jen announced the next day. We’d just had dinner, and an epic shuffleboard showdown, at Gillette Brewing Co. & Gone Postal Pizzeria, housed in the city’s former post office. What was once a bustling place of business in the 1930s is now a brewery meets pizzeria meets game room. Since the kids spent most of the meal playing, despite being “stoked to have pizza two days in a row,” our table looked like a successful date between a carnivore and a vegetarian. We split a Bad Hunter—mushrooms, olives, green peppers, onion and tomato, and a Good Hunter—beef, ham, Italian sausage and pepperoni. And because Gillette Brewing Co. is Gillette’s first microbrewery, it seemed sacrilegious to not try a pint. I opted for the Monument Ale, inspired, of course, by Devils Tower.
“Welcome to Big Lost Meadery and Brewery!” bellowed the Norseman who introduced himself as Sam, the “mead slinger” and owner of the joint. After dinner, we’d walked two blocks to Wyoming’s only meadery—an unassuming bar specializing in the world’s oldest fermented beverage. First, we learned about the ancient tradition of turning honey into a hybrid of wine and liquor. Apparently, the word “honeymoon” comes from the medieval tradition of newly married couples drinking mead for a full cycle of the moon. Then, the kids joined some competitive locals (dressed like Vikings) in a game of giant Jenga. Jen and I settled into two Adirondack chairs near the fireplace.
As Celtic folk music played in the background, we raised our cow horns (coated with epoxy for easy cleaning), and introduced our taste buds (newbies when it came to mead) to Nordic Pilgrim and Crazy Woman. Both meads, one spiced and aged in a Honey Schnapps barrel and the other flavored with hibiscus, were as smooth as they were strong. “I wasn’t planning on doing souvenir shopping in a bar,” Jen said, “but I think we need to buy a bottle.” I nodded. Then I told the kids—too young for mead but not too old to play 8th Century pillagers—to go pick out their new cow-horn cups.