Drinks with Pat: Going down to Indy

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Last weekend, I went to the Indianapolis 500.

Wow, that was an experience. Like many Americans, I’ve become a pretty big fan of Formula 1 in the past few years — you should give Netflix’s “Drive to Survive” a try if you haven’t — but I have not paid attention to IndyCar. Nor have I ever thought the oval racing of IndyCar and NASCAR had much appeal.

Regardless of how you feel about racing, a trip to Indianapolis and the Indy 500 is well worth it. First of all, and I’ll get to this in a travel issue soon, Indianapolis — and plenty of other large, overlooked Midwest cities — is really cool. Second, the race and its festivities are an incredible experience.

The cars are fast and loud, yes, but it is an event that is about as Middle-American as you can get. While there, my brother and I took in plenty of great food and beverages, including the incredible, sinus-clearing shrimp cocktail and juicy steaks at St. Elmo’s Steakhouse and beers from great breweries such as Sun King Brewery, Metazoa Brewing, Daredevil Brewing and Guggman Haus.

Whether it is for the big race, which drew a crowd of about 400,000 people this year, or simply to visit a cool city, I suggest an Indy trip soon.

Big news in basketball

Since the Grand Rapids Drive first started playing basketball in West Michigan, it always felt odd to me the team was hooping out at the DeltaPlex. While the Drive, and now Gold, have put together a solid history and developed a good fanbase, I can only imagine the Grand Rapids Gold’s announcement this week will help to further the city’s basketball fervor.

The Grand Rapids Gold will play at least the next five seasons at Van Andel Arena. So many Detroit Red Wings have played in the arena with the Griffins, so now we can see the Denver Nuggets prospects hitting the hardwood in the building.

What Pat’s drinking

I’ve been trying to watch more baseball to really celebrate my first summer back in Michigan — which is much more pleasant than the summers I was dealing with in Las Vegas. With that, there were two things I was sipping on while watching the Chicago Cubs this week: the Mitten Brewing’s Peanuts and Crackerjack and Paulaner Grapefruit Radler.

Peanuts and Crackerjack was made for drinking with baseball — check out my convo with the Mitten’s Chris Andrus from earlier this spring — and the Paulaner is a light (2.5% ABV), refreshing beer and grapefruit juice mix that quenches thirst.

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