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A Tour of Quarters One on the Rock Island Arsenal

I recently had a the rare pleasure of a private tour of Quarters One on the Rock Island Arsenal. A friend of mine is one of the few people who have keys to it, often giving tours as part of his job as archivist, historian, and educator.

Now, as some of you may know, I am madly in the love with giant, old houses. I currently live in the one I grew up, and take the opportunity to tour them when I can. Quarters One was completed in 1871.

First Floor Hallway

There is ornate plaster work all throughout the house.

I toured the LeClaire House over in Davenport earlier this summer for the River Action Educational series. If you’re curious, here’s my article about it. I look forward to doing more local historic homes in the area soon. While some of you may accuse my interest in this as growing old, but it’s more continued curiosity and love for the Quad Cities Area.

 

I do not understand why our educational programs don’t include more local history. One of my favorite things about both of these tours was connecting history that I learned in school to on-goings of my community. I believe is this experience would have happened to me while growing up, I would have taken a more vested interested in my history classes. And then, perhaps, my community….at an earlier age, that is.

On this tour, I learned a lot and tried to retain/write down as much as possible. Here were my favorite tidbits I walked away with.

Brig. General Thomas Rodman built the 20,000 square foot home for future leaders to live in, to entertain visiting dignitaries, and host traveling soldiers. He was sent here as a form of punishment; his past post  that also involved building a lavish home for the same purpose. His first one was 10,000 square feet, but he was accused of improper allocation of funds and sent to Rock Island.

Soldiers’ Room.

What I loved about this place, and many homes built in the late 1800’s, is that things were thought out and had a purpose. For example, below is a leather-lined door that goes between the dining room and the kitchen. It is so pad the noise coming from the bustling of servants in the pantry behind it.

There was also information given during the tour that was a clear indicator of the times. Below are pictures of the Mirror Parlor. Two identical parlors side by side, but could be separated by a hidden door, when it came time to separate the genders; women going into one room, the gentlemen into another.

The parlors, dining room, and library are all on the first floor. This is where the business and entertaining of guests would take place.

The second floor is where the family would stay. Because one is often further along in their military career, and many of the Commanders who resided here was not amongst many. It was often the Commander, his wife, servants, and maybe a teenager or two, younger children didn’t really live here.

The third floor is where the soldiers’ quarters were. The layout of the house, separation of floors as well as from front to back, is also a tell tale of the times.

The front half of the house the ceilings are higher, the stairways are wider, and the types of materials used are much more lavish, than the back half, where the servants’ quarters were located.

Second Floor Landing

As the house was so big, there was a communication system set up, connecting the servants with the most important rooms of the home. The below picture contains the timeline of technology is how its’ inhabitants reached out to one another from room-to-room throughout the years.

It is hard to pick a favorite part of the tour, because it was all so beautiful and fascinating. However, the look out tower and the rooms leading up to it were so cool!

Then we went all the way down to the basement which was obviously creepy. One interesting thing, though, is that the kitchen of the house was in the limestone basement, to keep the heat out from the upstairs of the home.

There was also a courtroom and a couple of cement rooms off to the side, presumably, jail cells.

 

Court Room.

Now, I’m certain that there have been many an article written about this house and the amazing history it contains. General Taft, General Pershing, and Charles Lindberg all were guests at one time. Commanders stopped staying in the house in 2008 because it becomes too expensive. The metal posts leading up to the house were made out of melted cannonballs.

However, I took so much more away from it then the nitty gritty details of what went on inside. Did you know that a Visitor’s Pass to Arsenal Island is free? And good for a year? It gets you access to the Confederate Cemetery, the Rock Island National Cemetery, and the Rock Island Arsenal Museum as well as few other cool places.

This beautiful place is available for us to enjoy, to appreciate our area’s history and it’s role in the development of our nation of yesterday and today. I encourage you all to take a day to go check it out!

QC Craft Breweries – My Version

VisitQuadCities.com recently asked me to write up a story about the QC Breweries and I happily obliged.

Story here.

However, I believe I’m going to take this idea and expand upon it, work on the history of the area, post 1992, and grow this document into something bigger than what it is now. Check back for updates and let me know if there’s anything I should include or anyone I should talk to, as I take on this new endeavor.

 

The Quad Cities’ Craft Breweries

 

The Quad Cities has had a vibrant craft-brewing scene since the 1990’s. There are several to visit on both sides of the river, each offering a unique experience for visitors.

Front Street Brewery – 208 E. River Drive – Davenport, Iowa

Front Street is the oldest brewery in the Quad Cities as well as the whole state of Iowa. Known for it’s Old Davenport Golden Ale and their Vanilla Porter; Front Street always has a nice line-up of delicious brews on tap and a kitchen that serves fantastic food.

Because of it’s popularity and growth, Front Street has expanded to a second location at 421 W. River Drive, just down the bike path from the original spot. Both are on the river, with outdoor seating, and are family friendly.

 

Blue Cat Brew Pub – 113 18th Street – Rock Island, Illinois

 Blue Cat Brew Pub is the second oldest brewery in the Quad Cities as well as the state of Illinois. Their brews have a more traditional, European-style flair, known for their Off the Rail Pale Ale and the Big Bad Dog Olde English Ale.

Blue Cat also has a great kitchen that puts out homemade soups, hand-pressed hamburgers and house-cured bacon. It is a nice balance between well-crafted and homemade, a perfect place for lunch or dinner. It is a beautiful location on the river, also just off the bicycle path.

Bent River Brewing Company – 1413 5th Ave – Moline, Illinois

Bent River Brewing Company is the QCA’s largest brewing company, as far as amount produced per year and the width of their distribution network. Bent River is known for it’s Mississippi Blonde and the Uncommon Coffee Stout, the Quad Cities most popular, locally brewed beer.

This inspired the opening of their second location, at 512 24th Street in Rock Island, Illinois, where their bottling line and distribution center is located. There is a tap room and special events hall there as well. Both locations have outdoor seating and are a close-distance from the bike path, but Moline is the only one that serves food.

Great River Brewery – 332 E. Second Street – Davenport, Iowa

 Great River is the second largest brewing operation in the QCA. It is located in downtown, Davenport, at the foot of the Arsenal Bridge on the river. Great River is known for its’ Roller Dam Red Ale and the 483 Pale Ale.

Great River has a great outdoor seating area and is dog, family, and bicycle-friendly, as it too is just off of the bicycle path. Though they do not have a kitchen of their own, they often have food trucks serving fare during the warmer months.

Radicle Effect Brewerks – 1340 31st Street – Rock Island, Illinois

 Radicle Effect is the Quad Cities’ first nano brewery, meaning they make small batches of beer. Their operation uses their 4-barrel system as a way to be a bit more creative with their brews, such as their most popular release: the Roasted Garlic Stout.

As they make smaller batches of beer, Radicle Effect typically has 2-3 beers of their own on tap then a variety of well-crafted, often hard-to-find brews and also the constant staple of Schlitz. They offer a nice selection of spirits, a variety of bottled and canned craft brews, and make one of the best Bloody Mary’s you’ll have.

Rebellion Brew Haus – 1529 3rd Avenue A – Moline, Illinois

 Rebellion Brew Haus is the newest addition to the Quad Cities craft beer community. They, too, are a nano brewery operation on a one-barrel system; they typically have 3 beers of theirs to taste and offer craft brews on tap as well as in bottles.

Rebellion also has a nice selection of bourbons and tequilas. To pair with all their fare, they offer street tacos with a few other items to snack on.

Baked Beer & Bread Co. – 1113 Mound St. Davenport, Iowa

Baked Beer & Bread Co. is located in the Village of East Davenport and the newest to the Quad Cities craft beer scene. They have a brewery nestled in the middle of a bakery, as well as a bar and a live entertainment space.

They just hired on a full-time brewer and their kitchen is open and serving some delicious food.

Coming Soon….

Wake Brewing Co. is set to open up in July 2017 in Rock Island, Illinois.

If you have time to step outside of the Quad Cities both Le Claire, Iowa, and Geneseo, Illinois, have great places to visit.

Green Tree Brewery – 309 N. Cody Road – Le Claire, Iowa

 

Green Tree Brewery is located right on the Mississippi River at the end of the main street that runs right through Le Claire, Iowa. Green Tree has caught the local beer lovers’ attention with their Mintery Knight, a coffee mint stout, and their Mango Me Hoppy IPA.

 

The taproom overlooks the river and has outdoor seating. Though the brewery doesn’t have a kitchen, one can bring food in from other surrounding businesses.

 

Geneseo Brewing Co. – 102 S. State Street – Geneseo, Illinois

 

Geneseo Brewing Co. is one of two breweries located in the town of Geneseo, just outside of the QCA. It is has comforting atmosphere, cozy and warm, with welcoming staff, a nice kitchen, and great brews on tap.

 

The Squirrel’s Nuts Peanut Butter Porter is a local favorite as well as the Yep Yep IPA. Their brewer turned his long time hobby into a career and always has something new and creative available.

 

Lionstone Brewing Company – 1225 S. Oakwood Ave – Geneseo, Illinois

 

Lionstone Brewing is located just off the Interstate and is a great place to visit whether as a destination or as a stop off the beaten path. They offer a wide range of their brews on tap, as well as packaged goods to go, and have a great big wood fired oven in the corner. And while they do serve pizza, they have a wide selection of other food items as well.

 

 

Whether you want to have a beer in the afternoon or plan a weekend trip visiting several different breweries, the Quad Cities Area has something for all types of craft brew enthusiasts!

QC Beer Week Love

As I’m putting together my final thoughts for QCBW 2017, notes for next year, and such, I’m feeling so grateful for everyone who helped me this year. From my personal friends and business contacts to and different establishment and media outlets, I felt a lot of love this year. I’m proud to be a member of this community and look forward to contributing to its’ growth.

This year, here, I’m collectively putting together all my thanks and mentions in one place in order to fully highlight everyone involved.

Thank you to:

The MUGZ Home Brew Club with special mention to Curt Johnson and Eric Goodyear. The QCBW idea came from MUGZ the first year, it was in the second that I took over at Event Organizer. Without the club, it wouldn’t exist, and without those two guys mentioned above, I don’t think I’d have my mind.

Amber and Scott Hancock at O’Keefe’s. Thanks for saying we could have an event there even though the weather said otherwise.

Frank and Jackie, owners of SIPPIS, and a special mention to their server, Caesar. Though the weather was chilly, so few showed up for the meal, it was so much fun and the food was amazing. Thank you for taking a chance on me.

Tim Kavanaugh and the Hilltop gang. Thanks for letting me have a tapping there and working with me at the last minute.

Thank you Pat Martinez at Bent River, for everything and then some.

Thank you Rich Nunez and Radicle Effect Brewerks for putting on the QC Tap Takeover every year. You know how much I love you.

Thanks for Baked Beer & Bread Co. for jointing QCBW this year, I look forward to working with you again in the future.

Thank you to Jason Parris at RIBCO for having Stout Wars in conjunction with QCBW. I thought that was such a badass combination and a great way to end the week.

Thank you to the support from the local media!

Amanda Hancock at the QC Times

Paula Sands Live

Great Beer Now

Downtown Davenport

And Visit Quad Cities.com for letting me run this article.

Those Two Times I went to Chicago

I’ve been to Chicago twice this year so far and had the opportunity to visit several different breweries and go to a Black Hawks game.

First and favorite visited this year was Half Acre Brewing Co.

I got a spot at the bar. 

Obviously ordered a Daisy Cutter. If anyone knows me at all knows that is one of my favorite beers of all of the times. The bartender was badass. He gave us his business card, inviting us to meet up with him after the Black Hawks game tomorrow, which he was also going to attend.

I had their Berliner Weiss and the Animal Law IPA. Both only further lead me to believe this is one of the best around.

Next stop was Dovetail, on recommendation for the badass brewer I work for.

A beautiful facility – huge – serving beautifully crafted, traditional style beers.

And then that Black Hawks game. I want to go to another one. I was out of sorts that evening and know I didn’t get all out of it that I could have. But I did enjoy myself and look forward to going again.

Fast forward two months and I take a day trip up to Chicago, the number one reason is to attend a Sours class at Skeleton Key Brewery & Incubator, that also has a classroom on site for beer education. It’s a very cool business concept.

The class was at 10:30am on a Sunday. I got a total of 3 hours of sleep, having closed the bar the night before, but I’m a trooper. The class was enjoyable, though I think I knew most of what we discussed. I learned a couple of things, mostly how to think about sour styles, how to categorize them based on ingredients used and vessel type.

It was taught by Marty Nachel, the guy who wrote Homebrewing Beer for Dummies and Beer for Dummies, so just getting to converse with him for a couple of hours was worth the trip. And I always love visiting new breweries.

 

Afterwards we headed over to the Two Brothers Roundhouse for food before heading home. I was in awe of that damn place, it is so huge. They need the same amount of employees to run their hostess stand as we need TOTAL at REB. Amazing.

I didn’t take too many pictures because my phone wasn’t really doing the place justice. Ya just gotta go. They have a whole outdoor area where they have live music, I want to come back once it gets warmer.

I also got the opportunity to have Sidekick Pale Ale once more as they’re discontinuing the brew. A shame, as we need more balanced hoppy beers in our lives. Thank Goodness for Call Me Ish-Pale.

The First Quarter of 2017

I have solidified my love of bourbon barrel aged red wine & cave aged cheddar cheese.

So far this year, I’ve done a fair amount of cool things. What’s not cool, though, is that I’ve been unmotivated to work on my own writing. Or writing at all. It’s felt like pulling teeth for me to reach my actual deadlines, let alone do anything fun for me.

When in doubt, turn back to craft beer. A great brewery in Deland, Florida

But VisitQuadCities.com asked me to update their article about the breweries of the QCA and it sort of revitalized me, in a way. It got me thinking about some long-term writing goals, like perhaps crafting a History of Quad Cities Brewing from 1992 to present. Maybe that will lead me to joining forces with a local beer historian who knows all about the area, Pre-Prohibition. Add in how the home brew club connected the two, we may have quite the book, certainly a way to attract people to the area.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is, as the sun is finally peaking out, so is my overall drive. The both written and typed word are flowing more easily. Pictures taken are given a bit more thought and care. And I’m sleeping soundly again.

But I can’t not share a few badass things I’ve been up to…and no worries, there will be more to come soon.

In January this year, I traveled down to Florida with the moms for a wedding. I spent in a day in St. Augustine, helped waxed wedding beers, visited a distillery and brewery, put my toes in the ocean and a did a headstand on the shore, had a great time with my family and was lucky enough to see my beautiful cousin marry a kickass brewer, then dance the night away.

Me Womaning a Cannon at the fort in St. Augustine

One of the best meals of my life

America’s Original Cuban sandwich and the best salad of my life, table side tossed & served.

I also took two trips to Chicago, where I’ll document that in more detail, here.

I saw Belinda Carlyle LIVE! AT Riverside Casino in Riverside, Iowa. Front Row Baby.

I found a place in town that serves a great Plantation salad. I was thinking about writing a history of the restaurant, through interviews with locals, then getting a basic recipe for the dressing down….

I tried bone marrow. It was gross.

Those are pretty much the highlights of 2017 so far. Most of my free time is now spent working on my house or on beer things, bar tending and event promotion. I’m getting my writing stride back, though, and it feels good.

Renovation of 1921 Apt. #1

For damn near 30 years a crazy hoarder lady rented one of my upstairs apartments. She always drove me nuts but my dad made me nice to her because she had a mental disability. It’s also why I allowed her to live there for far too long despite her being a hoarder who never cleaned her apartment or after her cats.

She became belligerent with me one day, so I called her sister and said I had reached my limit. Her family came in, cleaned out her apartment, and helped her seek medical attention. It was determined she could no longer live on her own and now she’s gone. It was actually much simpler to have her outed than I had nightmared over.

Now, however, I have another apartment in need of serious work. I’m in the process of cleaning the walls. Then I’ll have the electrical updated, fix the ceilings and paint the living room and bedroom.

The kitchen and bathtub are gutted. I’ll need a new stove, toilet, sink and vanity, as well as cupboards and a countertop.  All the floors are to be replaced.  From her filth, smoke, and cat neglect, near nothing can be salvaged. If you can look at it just right, the apartment itself is quite charming.

I’ll keep updating this as work progresses. As of right now, it’s April 8th. I’d hope to have this apartment completely done and rented by August 1st at the latest. 
















 

 

 

 

 

My Bathroom Demo

About two years ago while in my bathroom, doing my makeup, water began to drip onto my head. Unbeknownst to me, there was a leak in-between the first and second floors, that slowly dripped its way through the second floor and subfloor, lots of insulation, then my ceiling. Just like in the Grand Canyon. But above my head. Original leak was fixed. A new leak emerged recently.

So far, water damage has been my number one enemy with this house. It’s why I had to get all new gutters and have part of my facia replaced. It’s why I have to have a set of stairs rebuilt. It’s why I can see parts of my downstairs from my bathroom. As we got further and further into locating the leak, it became more and more clear to me that I had to gut this room. So we did.

My sister said this is the most “adult” thing I’ve ever done. She may be right. I’m selling it to myself as my birthday present. No vacations for awhile. Insert frown face. But my 1921 is a huge part of my livelihood. It’s important to me to treat her right and take proper care of her, allowing leaks to continue can cause permanent damage. So here we go, I’m trying not to freak.

Forbidden Root Restaurant & Brewery

forbidden-root-logoOkay guys and gals, for serious….if you haven’t tried anything from this Chicago brewing company, I strongly suggest you do so.

A few months ago a sales rep came into REB and gave us some samples of their products, including their Forbidden Root Beer. The idea blew my mind, a root beer made with actual roots. Perhaps that’s a stupid statement, given the origin of the beverage… from Sassafras root beverages being concocted on both sides of the pond as early at the 16th century.

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Herbs & Spices on display at the Forbidden Root tap room in Chicago

Forbidden Root uses botanicals of all kinds, fruits, herbs and spices to produce beverages unlike any I’ve had before. As I started looking into this company, I discovered that Randy Mosher, author of the book below, is the “Alchemist” on staff.

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I’ve read this book several times. It is a great introduction to the history of beer, how it’s brewed and many different styles. Mr. Mosher has been a fantastic resource for me and the craft beer world with the written work he has produced and now is having an influence on the beers being brewed. Hallelujah.

The history portion of his book is what came to mind while I was tasting Forbidden Root beers on a recent day trip into the City:

On Page 11, Mr. Mosher begins the discussion of what gruit is, “Prior to 1000 CE, almost all beer sold in Eurose was brewed without hops, seasoned with a pricey mixture called, ‘gruit’.” Later on he discussed what was often included in the gruit seasonings…bog myrtle, yarrow, and wild rosemary were the base of the concoction and, “The witches’ brew was supplemented by whatever culinary seasonings were available: juniper, caraway, aniseed, and possible more exotic spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.”

This is what Forbidden Root means to me. They do indeed use barley and hops in their brews, but they’re using these beautiful agricultural products to take what we know as “beer” to a whole different place. On a new a path but inspired by those of the past.

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I took my travel partner in crime to this brewery intentionally. I wanted to see it for myself, to check out their draft selection and drink the brews crafted on site at their point of origin.

The place is pristine. Beautiful, big, clean, and open.

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Their brewery was visible but inaccessible.

img_4852 img_4853Their beer and food was amazing.

img_4849We split a flight of :

  • Hicktoberfest – Oktoberfest brewed with hickory nuts and tasted hickory bark
  • Paragon – Golden Ale breed with Bosc Pears and Tarragon
  • Strawberry Basil Hefewizen
  • Purple Pil brewed with Lavender and Violet
  • Jacob IPA

Each one of them wonderfully crafted, drinkable, accessible, and sessionable. All of them. Afterwards I ordered a full pour of their Gose, amazing, and my friend has their Basque in the Sun, a Saison aged on Spanish Cedar, delightfully complex yet well-blended and oh so subtle.

We had their meat and cheese platter, bought some t-shirts, and stayed there way too long. Their staff was incredibly hospitable and very patient with all of our questions. They also had house speciality cocktails in addition to their brews.

img_4847I’ve been talking nonstop about this place since I visited last month, and the one consistent comment I’ve been hearing from beer fanatics is that it sounds gimmicky. Flavoring beers with strawberries and jasmine? Come on.

This place is something different. This is well-thought out craftiness with the involvement of a man who knows a lot about beer and brewing it. It’s causes one to consider what craft brewing can look like while giving a nod to where it began.

1921 Apt. #2

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I have this big old house, as many of you may know, however, I do not occupy the entire thing. The bottom floor and basement are all mine. The top floor contains two, one-bedroom apartments that I rent out. One currently houses a woman who has lived there for over 20 years and will probably stay there until the end of her life. The other was vacated in June of 2016 and I spent the summer, instead lying poolside, slaving away over my first major renovation project since becoming a landlord two years ago.

The Kitchen.

The first room I tackled was the kitchen. It was disgusting. The tenant who moved out loved to cook but didn’t love to clean, so there was like a week’s worth of just removing grease and grime off of the cabinets.

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The Kitchen – Before

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The Kitchen – Before

The next step was repairing cracks in the walls, removing the blinds, and working on the cabinets, followed by two coats of paint on the ceiling and walls.

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We decided to remove this countertop thing, it was very heavy and sagging already. It looks a lot better without it.

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With Counter

 

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Without Counter

 

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The Kitchen – After

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The Kitchen – After

Everything now looks so much more clean and refreshed. I’m happy with the way it turned out.

The Closet.

My second project was the walk-in closet. This apartment has amazing closet spaces, with one in each room. I removed carpet, patched up cracks and holes, scraped shelf liner off the shelves and painted the ceiling and the walls. It’s a killer closet.

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The Walk-In

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The Walk-In

The Living Room and Bedroom.

These were the easiest to tackle because they needed the least amount of work. In the living room we removed paneling from one wall, patched up a huge hole with dry wall, and scraped and painted it. I also painted the ceiling.

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Living Room – Before

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Living Room – After

I had the drapes dry cleaned, wiped down the doors and baseboards, and cleaned the carpets. 

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Living Room – After

In the bedroom I replaced a window shade and curtain on one window, dry cleaned the other two. I cleaned up the doors and baseboards and cleaned the carpets. Easy.

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The Bedroom

 

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The Bedroom

The Bathroom.

The bathroom project was my biggest cause of stress in this whole process. It was the most difficult, it involved things I physically could not do myself or I did not know how, and it was the most expensive.

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The Bathroom – Before

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The Bathroom – Before

First up, we had to deal with the “Mickey Mouse Pipe Job” done on the shower. It’s hard to see in the first picture but the pipe came out and up over the shower and was steadied by a broken shaving handle. So I hired my buddies Vino and Andy, regular customers of mine, and they tore out the wall, the old pipe, replaced the shower and the wall. It looks great now.

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In this process I learned that the tile had to come up and a portion of the subfloor around the toilet, as well as the toilet itself, all had to be replaced. So I removed the tile with a heat gun and scraper, my least favorite part out of all of this. So sticky.

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Then I hired my friend, Eric, to come in and remove the toilet, tear up and replace the subfloor, lay down tile, and install a new toilet.

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He did a lot of other little odds and ends to help me out. He built this wooden box to sit between the toilet and the wall because there was a noticeable gap between the two. He hung some blinds and lights and provided some much needed comedic relief at the end of this long journey.

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The Bathroom – After

Overall I’m very happy with the way everything turned out. It was very hard. And trying. I cried several times out of feelings of frustration, exhaustion, and hopelessness. However, thanks to the support of so many people  I conquered the task at hand and know I’m stronger, and better for it.

Up next….painting my kitchen. The fun never stops at 1921.

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The Hallway

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The Hallway

My 2016 Summer Favorite – Berliner Weisse

A few years ago, early on in my beer studies, when I first came across the definition of a Berliner Weisse, I became somewhat fascinated with the idea. It was something I’d never had before. It’s a German sour brewed with up to 50% wheat, mostly pale malt, and Lactobacillus in the secondary fermentation stage. (Side note – Lactobacillus is a form of lactic acid bacteria. You may be familiar with it from the world of yogurt.)

Anyways, for a Berliner Weisse, the combo of the ingredients results in a very sour ale with a low ABV, around 3%, light in color and body, with a nice spritzy quality to it. A refreshing beverage for this time of year. Traditionally in the German pubs, a Berliner Weisse was served, “mit schuss” or with one shot of fruit syrup (Raspberry or Woodruff are the traditional offerings) to cut through the sourness.

Last October was the one and only time I found a Berliner Weisse on tap, brewed locally, and served with the option of both traditional syrup flavors. This was at Geneseo Brewing Company. Delicious. Last summer Destihl popped up with Lynnbrook, a Berliner Weisse brewed with Raspberries. My first canned Berliner Weisse, and while I did enjoy it, it was a bit too sour for me to consider it sessionable.IMG_3648

Now, in this 2016 summer season, the style with fruit added into the brew has blown up in popularity and I couldn’t be happier. American brewers are kicking it up a notch (shockingly enough) and they are a bit higher in ABV than tradition dictates but delicious none-the-less.

Listed below are my top 3 favorite Berliner Weisses, with fruit added, so far this year:

  1. Tallgrass – Raspberry Jam – 4.3% ABV

Now this is a fantastic beer. It has everything I want from a Berliner Weisse, the color is beautiful, the carbonation is spot on with an effervescent quality and a nice, thick white foamy head that lasts for days. The Raspberry isn’t too overpowering, its nicely balanced with the hint of sour you get on the back end from the Lactobacillus. I would definitely call this sessionable. It is a great way to introduce people to sour beers as its accessible and palatable. IMG_3649 2. Smuttynose – Blueberry Shortweisse – 5.1% ABV

I am always blown away at what some brewers come up with as far as blending different flavors together to make something amazing. The tart of the blueberry combined with the sourness of the lactic acid combine to make a nice little beverage here. This is definitely the most sour of the 3 listed but I think it’s very well balanced. 
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3. Dogfish Head – Festina Peche – 4.5%

Dogfish’s Festina Peche, brewed with peach juice, is the breadiest of the three. The fruit flavor is so very delicate that the grain bill is more of a highlight here. The sour is present at the end, but no one thing dominates over anything else in this brew. It’s pretty impressive, really, and another great way to introduce hesitant beer drinkers to a sour.

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Oftentimes I meet people that are just absolutely turned off by the idea of a sour beer, depending on any number of things from bad experience to bad information. Many times it just takes a little bit of knowledge and curiosity to expel these past, often false, impressions. The sour beer spectrum is just that, a spectrum. There is no one style, not all sour beers are super puckery, these 3 beers prove that. I always encourage to try something new, push the boundaries of your tastebuds, and keep growing that palate. You never know what you may discover.