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 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.