09/12/2012 07:13 pm ET Updated Nov 12, 2012

Fall Aboard! Riding the Lagunitas Skunk-Beer-Train (PHOTOS)

Never heard of the Skunk-Beer-Train?!

Imagine you're a kid again... Christmas is approaching ever so slowly and days are feeling like weeeeeeeeks. Maybe you even created one of those paper chains to count down the days remaining, and you look at it daily in disbelief that it is still so long. To help pass the time, your parents read to you from the Polar Express. That night you dream the train stops by your house and takes you on an adventure to the North Pole to meet Santa and his elves...

Now disregard all of that and picture a roofless train packed full of adults drinking beer. Well, if you want you can still imagine the elves, because I am sure some of these people were seeing things by the nights end.

Do you get it now? Here's how it happened...

In 1885, the Skunk Line railroad was built along the Mendocino Coast for hauling massive redwood trees through the rugged back country. Soon afterwards, population increased and passenger service began moving people in yellow rail cars. Being gas propelled, they quickly were given the nickname "Skunk" cars, as you can "smell them before you see them." Today, the nickname remains, and trains chug along the same route attracting all different crowds for an afternoon in the wilderness.

Lagunitas Brewery lovingly highjacks the train for an annual gathering celebrating beer and everything wonderful that goes into its creation. They invite family and friends and welcome other notable brewers aboard with open mugs (Pliney the Elder, Clover Dale, Ace, Marin Brewing Co). Rarely do I run into such passion... These guys and gals enjoy what they do and are excited to share.

Lagunitas, you've made a lifer out of me! See you next year!

Sad you missed the Skunk-Beer-Train? (You should be!) Take advantage of the next best thing and visit them at their headquarters in Petaluma. Lagunitas offers a killer brewery tour most weekdays at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. and always finishes at their indoor/outdoor taproom. In 2013, keep a lookout for their new location in Chicago.

Fall Aboard! Riding the Lagunitas Skunk-Beer-Train