Another Blog Post by Heidi Geist

Sometimes I don’t blog, because I feel like writing about myself on the regular can feel a bit self absorbed or whatever…especially when I should be keeping up with the stories of my collaborating breweries. It’s challenging to balance a sort of project diary here, without divulging all the details, that I’d prefer save for the book. After all, who wants to read the same book twice?

In all honestly, I feel a bit overwhelmed by this aspect of things-the writing and the vlogging….that never was. In the beginning, I wanted to share my experience after each brewery visit, but fell behind, and now, to go back and fill in the cracks… ayayay. Be patient with me, because this is something that I find to be absolutely necessary to the success of this trip, but they will be strung together, out of order and somewhat chaotically!

Presently, I’m sitting, laptop on my…lap…on the bed in Fearless, Churro napping by my side…windows down, in the Arizona desert. It is still early and the sun has yet to wake the earth with its scorching rays. For now, she is still sleepy and her gentle morning light has partnered with this slow spring breeze, to give me the ideal writing conditions. This land is my brother’s, eighty acres of mesquite brush and red earth, hugged by a 360 degree mountain view. We are in the southwest of Arizona, not far from the border, and the artsy little mining town of Bisbee.

Bisbee was a destination for our family back when I was a kid. We lived in Tucson, and liked to take the hour and a half drive down here to sup on Thanksgiving dinner, provided by the historic, and certainly haunted, Copper Queen Hotel. A hotspot for retired folks with a thirst for the slow life, artists, aging hippies and the hiking culture. It has, in recent years, become a bit of a tourist destination, but that hasn’t dulled the scene.

If you’ve never been to states like Arizona, or Nevada, you’ve probably never experienced the extreme contrast in nature versus village/city…in the way that each community is like an isolated island…which may be redundant, but to grasp the full scope. It isn’t for everyone. I happen to thrive in this landscape-to have the best of both worlds, right at your fingertips….endless options for outdoor exploration, while that rich culture of cuisine, nightlife, the arts….lies only a short drive away.

You can choose your own adventure out here.

My brother and his long time best friend and girlfriend (same person) are modern day pioneers. They have built a life from nothing, from the desert floor, with patience and pain, with love and passion. The homesteading life isn’t the easy one. There are no easily attainable creature comforts, nothing comes without a little extra work. But this is who we are…our family. The reward of seeing your garden begin to sprout in a dry, dusty land…sitting down for a meal, after having to walk a quarter mile to the well for water to boil, sitting by a juniper fire, in the full moon light, and still able to see the stars at night. The rewards are as plentiful as the work, if you are willing to see what it is to be human. Thats not to say there is only one respectable way to live in this world, or that many people these days would ever enjoy anything about this lifestyle.

It is in the balance of these things, however, that honest happiness springs.

NahNahNahNovare Rezzzs by Heidi Geist

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I’ve been meaning to (for the past 6 months) introduce you all to my Portland, Maine fam. By “fam”, I refer to all my friends and connections back home. Portland is unique in this way, all it’s year-round residents are very connected, perhaps leaning toward incestuous at times, but mostly, it’s like having a massive network of extended family. Many of us intersect at creative ventures, whether it be playing music, writing, theater, visual art, etc., and most of us do or have worked in the local service industry. I may not be a “Mainer”, but I love these people!

One of my favorite, and much missed (because I’m on the road…they still exist :)) Portland haunts is Novare Res Bier Cafe. Novare has been nurturing the Maine beer scene for well over a decade now, and is known for their superior selection of beer from around the world. While the original focus was a bit more Belgian-forward, they have now become the hotspot for a wide array of styles in top craft beers from around our country.

Perhaps the most loved facet of the culture of this bar, is the aesthetics, the design and location of the physical space. Being tucked under a tall city building, accessible via an alley, it has the appeal of some amazing European club, known only to the locals. Tourism is not foreign to Novare Res, though…word has been out, and people flock to this beer bar all year long…whether we find this good, or annoying, doesn't change the awesome vibe inside. <3

Owner/Founder of Novare, Eric Michaud, brought to the scene a much different concept a few years back, brewery/distillery/restaurant/bar, Liquid Riot Bottling Company. Perched right over the waterfront on Portland’s Commercial Street, Liquid Riot is right in the thick of the cruise shippers and ocean-loving visitors. This place isn’t a “Jack of all trades”…everything they do, they do well. My first introduction to Liquid Riot (formerly named Infinity), was 5 or 6 years back, and has since become a favorite source for some of Maine’s best beer and spirits.


Hey America! I'm skating across ya like 1989 and a disco ball! by Heidi Geist

NOLA. That’s N e w O r l e a n s L o u i s i a n a for you homebodies. Louisiana makes the 18th state visit for Fearless the limping, but amazing skoolie! Just so happens, too, that we will be here for Mardi Gras…full of King Cake, and adorned in beads.

I think we’re coming up on 7,000 miles on the bus already! It’s pretty nuts, how small the route traveled thus far looks, in comparison to what is ahead. It’s mind blowing to me to think it has been nearly a year since that fateful fast and hot bath led me to this concept for the 48 Beer Project. What has unfolded in this past year…all the hard work, the struggles and surviving a relationship with a psychopath. I’ve watched my oldest graduate high school. My mom endured and recovered from double knee replacements. I can’t help but feel like I’m at moving at full speed across that smelly rink, showing off all my best moves, faking confidence and crossing my fingers not to fall…and somehow continuing to, well, continue.

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My partner in crime is jetting back to Maine next Wednesday, leaving me to my own shenanigans, back to babbling to myself (and Churro, the Mountain Cur) and abandoning the Chinese Checkers and Uno for Solitaire and possibly even reading….books.

Admittedly, I’m looking forward to getting a little more work done… hurtling into the project with all the momentum of a fat guy off the high dive. Parents, you know… the tug of war between work and entertaining the kids. I’ve enjoyed dedicating most of my time lately to playing games and marathoning the hit tv show “Supernatural”, eating way too much to keep that warm fat padding on…playing with the dog, and doing silly impromptu bus dance parties. Ashley has been incredibly welcomed company, and considering the circumstances in which she ended up coming along with me, I think things are pretty damned great.

Anyhoo…

I’ve skipped over so many stories and opportunities to share with you all my experiences with my collaborating breweries and beyond. But I will be circling back to all of this. The winter has hit with a heavy fist to the gut, and I’ve pretty much just been in a state of hibernation/survival these past two months. The light can be seen though… once I make it through MO, KS, and OK… should be relatively clear of the worst weather, and ready to spread my golden project love all over this country. (note, I said “spread”, not “spray” or “sprinkle”, which would infer a very different meaning).

For now, I will say this, of ALL my partners in this journey… They have all been nothing less than incredible hospitable, gracious, kind, and inspiring.


Last time I was in NOLA, was in 2010, five years post-Katrina, whose destruction was still very evident and quite haunting, in all the abandoned spaces that had been overtaken by the earth, marked with a BIG RED X and stapled notices. But you couldn’t see it on the faces of all the creative people who make up this one of a kind city.

I was with Justin, my boyfriend at the time, and we were on our way back to Maine after having driven across the northern part of the country, down into AZ and east. We were a musician and an artist, broke and trapped in the south with no gas money to return home. I can’t remember where we scrounged up the money to get back, but we first tried with a setup in Jackson Square…him on the accordion, me with a handful of mediocre paintings, busking.

As it turns out, street vendors are damned territorial, and we had encroached on the wrong corner.

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Aside from that, I remember very little….starting with beignets and a gator po’boy, later a hurricane or hand grenade or both or more,….then it gets a bit hazy.

I do remember making eye contact with Jack White on Bourbon Street…which, while I’ve never been one to get starstruck, was kind of an amazing moment… not because it was Jack White.. but because it felt very supernatural.

I remember dipping our toes into the dirty Mississippi, and a man with a boa constrictor.

Bumpy, twisting roads, and, projectile vomiting suddenly and unexpectedly, while walking.

GOOD. TIMES.


Wow. Detour. So, a week left with the teenager. I’m going to miss the hell out of her. I miss her sister too… they are so polar opposite each other, but each so fucking awesome and inspiring to me. Nothing like watching your kids become their own adults.. bittersweet.

Speaking of… I must get back to the next episode of Supernatural…

In Response to Inquiries for Support! by Heidi Geist

To those who have helped to support the project, and my incorporating my daughter, Ashley into the journey, your love is greatly appreciated, and will certainly be payed forward!

To those who have asked how to help or where to send money, read the note below. Follow this link to the button to donate toward the project!

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