The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Hop Butcher for the World

Welcome to stop #88 on the Brews and Choos project.

Brewery: Hop Butcher for the World, 4257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago
Train line: CTA Brown Line, Montrose
Time from Chicago: 33 minutes
Distance from station: 1.1 km

Named after the opening line in Carl Sandburg's "Chicago," Hop Butcher for the World took over Half Acre's Lincoln Ave. facility last January. It took me a while to visit because they're so close to my house that I wanted to walk over, but they don't allow dogs. Boo.

So Friday evening, a friend and I had dinner a couple blocks away on Lincoln Ave., and decided to get a beer after. My friend had two 5 oz. pours and I had a single 10 oz. pour, so we got to try three.

The brand-spanking-new barrel-aged Lincoln Anniversary Stout (12.5%) hit pretty hard, with a sweet and malty body and a strong alcohol feel. My friend, who knows more about beer than I do, said the alcohol covered up some "technical issues," and didn't recommend the beer; I thought it was OK. The Dees, Dem & Dose IPA (6.75%) had a nice, hoppy, clean flavor, with a good finish, but also a slightly sweeter palate than I would expect. I had the Grid APA (5.75%), with good Citra flavors and a very drinkable balance.

(My friend later clarified her opinion of the Anniversary Stout: "I don't remember saying I wouldn't recommend the stout. I wouldn't give it 5 stars, since that alcohol heat can cover up technical issues and isn't my preference, but the alcohol heat is also somewhat inevitable in beers with ABVs over 12%. A lot of people like the alcohol flavor, but I don't. I also don't like it when breweries use sugary add-ins to cover it up, which Hop Butcher didn't do in this one.")

Unfortunately, I can't fully recommend the taproom. It's loud, as it was when Half Acre lived there, with hard cement walls and nothing on the floor or ceiling to mitigate the sound. The Atlantic complained about this phenomenon five years ago. And since they don't allow dogs, I wouldn't just walk over there with Cassie on a weekend afternoon.

Beer garden? No
Dogs OK? No
Televisions? None
Serves food? No, BYOF
Would hang out with a book? Maybe
Would hang out with friends? Maybe
Would go back? Maybe

Evening reading

I actually had a lot to do today at my real job, so I pushed these stories to later:

Finally, The Economist calls out "six books you didn't know were propaganda," including Doctor Zhivago and One Hundred Years of Solitude.

Grey Sunday afternoon

We have a typical cloudy autumn day, good for reading and not so good for long walks with the dog. So I'll read and Cassie can wait for a bit:

  • Turns out, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) is even more of a scary, right-wing Christian nationalist nutter than most people knew. Paul Krugman concurs, warning that Johnson wants to eliminate the social safety net entirely.
  • Actor Matthew Perry drowned in his California home yesterday. He was 54.
  • New DNA evidence confirms that the Assateague horses on Delmarva's barrier islands arrived in North America when a Spanish galleon wrecked there 400 years ago.
  • Data from Tallinn, Estonia, suggests that even free public transit doesn't keep people from wanting to drive.
  • Chicago's first railroad line turned 175 this week. Happy birthday.

Finally, new research shows elucidates the complex relationship between alcohol and orgasms. Apparently there's a sweet spot somewhere in the "moderate drinking" zone. I will leave the details as an exercise for the reader.

Chicken soup with rice

Last weekend I made approximately 5 liters of chicken soup due to an unfortunate decision midway through the process to add more salt. Given the saltiness of the soup I put in mason jars, I recommend a 3:2 ratio of soup to water, meaning I effectively made 8 liters of soup. Most of it is in my freezer now, in convenient 250 mL jars, one serving apiece.

Suffice it to say I have had chicken soup for lunch 3 times this week. It is, however, very delicious. Except for over-salting it (which is easily corrected and preventable in future), I know what I'm doing.

Elsewhere in the world, things are not so delicious:

Finally, today is the 50th anniversary of both the Sydney Opera House opening and Nixon's (and Bork's) Saturday Night Massacre. One of those things endures. The other does too, but not in a good way.

Sure Happy It's Thursday

I'm iterating on a UI feature that wasn't 100% defined, so I'm also iterating on the API that the feature needs. Sometimes software is like that: you discover that your first design didn't quite solve the problem, so you iterate. it's just that the iteration is a bit of a context shift, so I'm going to read for about 15 minutes to clear my head:

  • Kevin Philips, whose 1969 book The Emerging Republican Majority laid out Richard Nixon's "southern strategy" and led to the GOP's subsequent slide into authoritarianism and ethnic entrepreneurialism has died, but unfortunately his ideas haven't.
  • The US and Qatar have agreed not to release any of the $6 billion of Iran's money that Qatar currently has in escrow for them, which will no doubt make Iran yet another country demanding to know why Hamas attacked Israel just now.
  • The Chicago Tribune digs into Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson's $16.6 billion budget.
  • In the wake of huge class-action settlements, two major Chicago real-estate brokers have changed their commission policies, but we still have to see if they'll change their actions.
  • The History Channel blurbs the origins of Oktoberfest, which started in 1810 and ends for this year today. Und nächstes Jahr, ich möchte nach München zum Oktoberfest gehen!
  • Jacob Bacharach says the core problem with Michael Lewis's recent biography of Sam Bankman-Fried is that SBF is just too boring to be the subject of a biography.

Finally, Chicago's heavy-rail operator Metra formally proposed simplifying its fare structure. This will cut my commuting costs by about 11%, assuming I use the day passes and individual tickets correctly. It will have the biggest impacts on suburban riders who commute into the city, and riders whose travel doesn't include the downtown terminals.

Cough, cough, cough

I could have worked from home today, and probably should have, but I felt well enough to come in (wearing an N95 mask, of course). It turned that I had a very helpful meeting, which would not have worked as well remotely, but given tomorrow's forecast and the likelihood I'll still have this cold, Cassie will just have to miss a day of school.

I have to jam on a presentation for the next three hours, so I'll come back to these later:

Finally, no sooner did it open than the new Guinness brewery in Chicago is for sale. It will stay a Guinness brewery, just under different ownership. The Brews and Choos Project will get there soon.

The Republican Clown Car isn't the only thing in the news

Other things actually happened recently:

  • Slate's Sarah Lipton-Lubet explains how the US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and the US Supreme Court keep allowing straw plaintiffs to raise bullshit cases so they can overturn laws they don't like.
  • Julia Ioffe, who has a new podcast explaining how Russian dictator Vladimir Putin's upbringing as a street thug informs his foreign policy today, doesn't think the West or Ukraine really need to worry about Robert Fico's election win in Slovakia.
  • Chicago Transit Authority president Dorval Carter Jr. has a $376,000 salary and apparently no accountability, which may explain why we have some transit, uh, challenges in the city.
  • The Bluewalker 3 satellite is the now 10th brightest thing in the sky, frustrating astronomers every time it passes overhead.
  • An Arkansas couple plan to open an "indoor dog park with a bar" that has a daily or monthly fee and requires the dogs to be leashed, which makes very little sense to me. The location they've chosen is 900 meters from a dog park and about that distance from a dog-friendly brewery.
  • Conde Nast Traveler has declared Chicago the Best Big City in the US.

Finally, as I write this, the temperature outside is 28°C, making today the fourth day in a row of July-like temperatures in October. Some parts of the area hit 32°C yesterday, though a cold front marching through the western part of the state promises to get us to more autumnal weather tomorrow. And this is before El Niño gets into full swing. Should be a weird winter...

Too nice to do computer things

Happy fin de Septembre, the last day of the 3rd quarter and possibly the last really summer-like weekend of 2023. At the moment it's a perfectly sunny 21.4°C at Inner Drive WHQ with a perfect forecast of 24°C.

The plan today: walk 4 km to a friend's house because her kids want to see Cassie, then walk 3 km to the Horner Park DFA, then another 5 km to Spiteful Brewing's Oktoberfest, then walk the last kilometer home and plotz. I am confident both Cassie and I will succeed in all aspects of this plan.

Enjoy the last few hours of September 2023. See you in October, after the Republican Party once again shuts down the US Government, something the USSR could never accomplish.

With 33 hours to go in the 3rd Quarter...

Somehow, it's already the end of September. I realize this happens with some predictability right around this time of year, but it still seems odd to me.

Of course, most of the world seems odd these days:

Finally, just look at this happy dog and all his new human friends playing a fun game of keep-away...during a professional football game in Mexico. I've watched it about five times now. The goodest boi was having such a great time. I hope one of the players or refs adopted him.

Lock & Mule by Tangled Roots, Lockport

Welcome to stop #86 on the Brews and Choos project.

Brewery: Lock & Mule by Tangled Roots, 1025 S. State St., Lockport
Train line: Heritage Corridor, Lockport
Time from Chicago: 47 minutes
Distance from station: 400 m

Metra has special brewery trains on Saturdays this fall, making a quick trip to Lockport a lot easier than it would be during the week. (Just go back to my review of Imperial Oak in Willow Springs for a longer explanation of that pain.) So yesterday, as promised, I visited the two breweries right by the Lockport Metra station. I started at Lock & Mule because they have brunch.

Nothing like a chicken waffle to start a Brews & Choos review. NB: I did not finish it. There's a waffle under the chicken, bacon, and egg there, which was just too much food.

I had a flight after the food. First, the 108 Double Stitch Lager (4.5%), a clean, crisp, malty summer beer with a nice finish. Next, the Honest Haze IPA (7%) gave me some banana and mango notes with a nice, not-too-hoppy balance; delicious. The Devil's Paint Box IPA (6.66%) started nicely bitter with, again, a great balance of malt flavors and a little citrus; nice. Finally, the Dobroy Nochi Stout (10%) started with a lovely nose, continued with coffee and chocolate notes, and ended with a silky, long finish; very nice.

Overall, it was worth the trip. And next time I hope to explore the historic city of Lockport a little more.

Beer garden? Yes
Dogs OK? Outside only
Televisions? Yes, avoidable
Serves food? Yes
Would hang out with a book? Yes
Would hang out with friends? Yes
Would go back? Yes