12 months of date nights: january

If you follow us over on The Broken Plow, you know that one of the gifts I gave Craig this year is a set of date night envelopes. Each month of 2013 has its own envelope, and inside each envelope is a planned out, just-for-us date night. We’re terrible (terrible!) about going out and doing things, but when we finally do put on some real pants and leave our comfy house, we always have so much fun. This gift was an attempt to guarantee we bust out of our comfort zone and go have some fun out in the scary world every now and again.

date nights

This past weekend, we did our January date night—Basketball, Beer and Bites! If you didn’t hear (which I’m sure you did) we’re both huge, massive, giant, obsessive, a-little-crazy Indiana Hoosiers basketball fans. Usually we catch the Hoosiers on TV in the comfort of our own home with a stocked fridge full of beer, but we decided to embrace this weekend’s early afternoon game and head out for some lunch at our favorite local brewery—New Albanian and watch the Hoosiers there.

new albanian logo

Our plan was to go to their Brewhouse location, which offers the same New Albanian beers, but with more upscale tapas style food (like duck wings tossed in a beer and bacon BBQ sauce or pork pineapple tacos), but as soon as we sat down, we knew something was up. In the heart of basketball country, with 10 minutes until tip-off, there wasn’t a single other person in the brewery. Uh oh! That’s not right.

new albanian

So we asked the bartender if they were going to play the game, and she let us know that they only play the IU games at their other location (a pizzeria). They actually don’t even subscribe to the Big Ten Network at that location, so she couldn’t even play it if she wanted to (which she did, she was very apologetic). Womp. Womp.

new albanian

So Craig slammed back his beer (which the bartender comped because we’d actually asked on Twitter if they’d be playing the game at this location and someone told us they would) and then I drove us in a hurry over to their other location.


We were a little bummed because we were really looking forward to the fun tapas menu, but we were happy to walk into the pizzeria and see a giant TV with the Hoosiers on and a bunch of folks all decked out in their cream and crimson. And we’d only manage to miss about five minutes of the game. Phew.

new albanian

Plus, the beer selection at the pizzeria is much more impressive.

new albanian

We’ve actually been hitting up the pizzeria at New Albanian a lot in recent weeks, so we decided to skip the pie (I know, who are we?) and instead ordered some appetizers. We ordered Spinach Käse and Pepperoni Cheese Bread. They were alright, but I think we were both so excited for fun, fancy food at the other location that any “pub food” just wasn’t going to cut it.



Plus, beer. Of course, beer!  We both started off with a small pour of their Tafelbier (one of my favorites). We were a little bummed that the pizzeria location was out of Hoosier Daddy, because, duh, that’d be appropriate for game day, but they had plenty of other selections to choose from.



At halftime, we ordered a sampler of some of their new beers. I taste-tested each one and then let Craig tackle the rest of them. I did have to drive home. And I’m a totally light weight, so a small pour + some sips was definitely my limit. I switched to water during the second half.

beer sampler

The pizzeria started to fill up as the game started to end, and we felt bad hogging a table for three hours (although, we definitely weren’t the only ones) so we ordered a round of hot pretzels and Craig got a St. Bernadus Abt 12, which was quite possibly one of the best beers we’ve ever had. One of the best things about New Albanian is that they have an insane number of guest taps as well as their own beers. If you ever get a chance to try Abt 12 on tap, I highly recommend it. And it’s way dangerous, too. 10.5% alcohol and incredibly smooth. Yum!



The game ended, we won (although it was way too close at the end) and we left an obnoxiously large tip and headed home! All-in-all a successful first date night day.

me craig

Craig hasn’t opened up February’s yet, so it’s still a surprise! In fact, I’m having a hard time remembering what’s in each envelope, so it’s kind a surprise for me, too. Fun!

Do you have a regular date night? What’s your favorite thing to do?


  1. says

    oh! I’ve totally seen this floating around Pinterest. Love it! :) I think I’d have a hard time coming up with 12 different ideas though. Maybe I’ll put one together for Valentine’s Day, if I can get creative! lol.

    Love that you turned a rocky start to date night, into a fun night! And glad it all worked out! Yay! Can’t wait to see what the next 11 months has in store for you!

  2. says

    i love that you did this for Christmas and can’t wait to see all fo the date nights unfold over the year. It seems we are CONSTANTLY on the look out for fun! new! exciting! date night ideas, and that we, too – always have a bunch of fun when we take the time for them, but find ourselves never going. [despite my making “date night jars” (much like your popsicle stick workout jars) to keep our ideas fresh.

    Glad you guys had a great time, even though things didnt go exactly as planned :)

  3. says

    We are the worst dater ever! With three small children and no family within a 2 hour drive we just don’t make it happen. We do family-date though. LOL. We did an DIY pizza bar, watched a movie (which is rare and fun) and then had ice cream. With a dad that works ALL of the time, this is super fun for us all!

  4. says

    I’m over here drooooling because I haven’t been to the pizzeria in a while! We’ve been going to bank street brew house a lot lately (especially for Sunday brunch)! Their bloody mary bar is awesome but it’s hard to order one with all the tasty beer (black and bluegrass is my faaavvoorite!). Our date nights ALWAYS revolve around beer and if I cook a big meal at home we like to do pairings! Cumberland brewery + their veggie burger which is a huge falafel patty is amazing! Four Pegs has lots of delicious beer and their chicken-wafflewich will put you in food coma heaven =) I know you weren’t asking for recommendations but I get REEAALLY excited about local beer – is it 4:30 yet?!

  5. Chelsea says

    Such a great idea! I think I’ll do this for Valentines day! My boyfriend and I don’t venture out of our apartment enough. We always think of things to do, but then we get lazy and decide to stay in and order food instead. And we live 30 minutes from the heart of manhattan, so I know there’s tons of creative date nights I can plan!

  6. says

    It’s great that you guys have something that you can watch together. Matt and I really only watch the Olympics together.

    For our date nights I did put a couple of sporting events in– a home tailgate party (Lions’) last month and an MLB game (Tigers) in the summer– to make sure that all the dates weren’t too arts/culture-y which would have been my style.

  7. says

    I didn’t read this on Broken Plow, but I have to say: you are AMAZING! What an amazing, thoughtful, incredible gift!! And the date night cards are the cutest thing ever!
    Our date nights usually involve renting a movie and making dinner together. Works for me!

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