Kurt Belke's road trip, which he calls an adventure of a lifetime, began in 2019. He finished less than one week ago and was left loving Wisconsin taverns and the Brewers even more than when he started.
Every "X" marks a special spot in Belke's heart. A map lays out his unforgettable statewide adventure.
Map marks Kurt Belke's Brewers "Tavern of the Game" road trip.
"We just started going to places," Belke said. "111 taverns we made it to. We did roughly 5,500 miles. 18 different trips we took basically."
The trips were part of Belke's mission to visit every bar, pub or tavern listed by the Tavern League of Wisconsin as a "Tavern of the Game" in 2019. During Brewers telecasts, a Wisconsin establishment is named the "Tavern of the Game" and can win tickets to future games if they respond within 24 hours.
"We started off in 2019 in October. After the season I was going to try to do them all in one year," said Belke.
The pandemic kept them in the dugout for a year, but Belke and his girlfriend, Patty, were able to pick things back up – making 84 stops from May through last week.
Kurt Belke on his "Tavern of the Game" road trip
From Island City Lanes in Minocqua to Smugglers in Eagle River to Partners Pub in Steven's Point, Belke rounded the bases – taking pictures and writing down the bar and bartenders' names in a folder.
"The people were really welcoming at every place we were at," said Belke. "It was a really special time I’ll never forget. It was a blast."
Fueling his goal was a lifelong love of the Brewers – a journey filled with Miller Lites.
"I’m a retired brewery worker, so you have to promote your company," Belke said.
Belke would sometimes make three or four stops in one day. He said another joy of the trip was seeing the beauty of the state.