The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Kings & Convicts Brewing Co., Highwood

Welcome to stop #6 on the Brews and Choos project.

Brewery: Kings & Convicts Brewing Co., 523 Banks Ln., Highwood, Ill.
Train line: Metra Union Pacific North, Highwood station.
Time from Chicago (Ogilvie): 52 minutes, zone E
Distance from station: 300 m

A Brit and an Aussie walked into a bar and decided to open a brewery. Then a couple of years later they acquired a distressed but well-respected brand, which they will soon add to their lineup.

And what a cool place they opened, with really tasty beers.

I got three tastes: Queenie, an American IPA (5.5%, 56 IBUs); King's Bitch, another American IPA (6.8%, 70 IBUs); and Vanilla Rum Old Nosey Russian Imperial Stout (8%, 57 IBUs). What good beers! The Queenie had a fruity nose with grapefruit notes throughout but finished clean. A sixpack of King's Bitch will go into my fridge as soon as I find some. And the Old Nosey? Wow. Complex, deep malt flavors, vanilla, chocolate, coffee...best drunk sparingly.

And I liked the vibe. A couple of foursomes played Golf Simulator (real balls and clubs, projected courses) in the next room, but in the main taproom, you couldn't hear them, nor did the TV bother me. I would up staying longer than planned, so I didn't walk to the next pub on my itinerary. That was probably for the best.

Beer garden? Yes
Dogs OK? Yes
Televisions? 1, avoidable
Serves food? No
Would hang out with a book? Yes
Would hang out with friends? Yes
Would go back? Yes

28 Mile Vodka, Highwood

Welcome to stop #5 on the Brews and Choos project.

Distillery: 28 Mile Vodka, 454 Sheridan Rd., Highwood, Ill.
Train line: Metra Union Pacific North, Highwood station.
Time from Chicago (Ogilvie): 52 minutes, zone E
Distance from station: 300 m

Chicago has far more breweries than distilleries, even though the foundation of all spirits is beer. Also, Chicago's distilleries often congregate in far-out industrial parks away from train lines.

Fortunately, 28 Mile Vodka is exactly what it says on the sign, and only a 3-minute walk from the Highwood station (mile post 28).

Highwood has a colorful history, to say the least. It abuts formerly-dry Highland Park to the south and Fort Sheridan to the north, so for decades the wealthy elite from HP rubbed shoulders with the soldiers from the army base. Now that Fort Sheridan has scaled back to a few Army and government offices, and Highland Park allows booze, Highwood has gotten a better reputation.

Enter a brand-new distillery that produces really good spirits. I had 1-ounce pours of their flagship vodka and their new gin. They also have white whiskey, which I'm happy to pass on until it becomes Bourbon in a couple of years. The vodka had a lovely sweetness and smoothness that would make it great on the rocks or as a top-shelf mixer. The gin had floral and citrus notes and a clean finish, which I wouldn't want to sully with tonic but I would put a drop of dry Vermouth in and take it up with a twist.

I'd like to see the place on a weekend night. I'd bet it's fun.

Beer garden? Yes
Dogs OK? No
Televisions? None
Serves food? Small bites, including caviar
Would hang out with a book? Maybe
Would hang out with friends? Yes
Would go back? Yes

Working from home is still working

While I do get to sign off a bit earlier today, I might not read all of these articles until tomorrow:

Finally, despite today's near-record low temperatures in Chicago, we expect a 12°C increase from earlier this morning until tomorrow afternoon. Hey, if this is the only day all winter that even flirts with -18°C, I'm happy.

Lake Bluff Brewing Co., Lake Bluff

Welcome to stop #4 on the Brews and Choos project.

Brewery: Lake Bluff Brewing Co., 16 E. Scranton St., Lake Bluff, Ill.
Train line: Metra Union Pacific North, Lake Bluff station.
Time from Chicago (Ogilvie): 61 minutes, zone G
Distance from station: 100 m

I liked this taproom a lot. I only had 35 minutes between trains, but that was enough time to enjoy the chill atmosphere and to try a beer.

The pint of Inspiration IPA (6.2%, 66 IBU) went down cleanly and easily. It's a straightforward IPA that doesn't have as much bitterness as you'd expect from its IBU rating. The bartender also gave me a sip of the Velvet Hammer Imperial Vanilla Porter (9.4%, 26 IBU) that would have started the afternoon a little on the wobbly side had I gotten a full tulip glass. But wow, it was yummy.

The place felt comfortable and the patrons seemed laid back listening to vinyl and chatting quietly. But at 2pm on a Saturday, why wouldn't they be? The bar also had events that, if I lived all the way up there, I might attend, such as monthly trivia nights hosted by the Lake Bluff Public Library.

Beer garden? No
Dogs OK? No
Televisions? 2, avoidable
Serves food? Supplied from pub next door
Would hang out with a book? Yes
Would hang out with friends? Yes
Would go back? Yes

Old Irving Brewing Co., Chicago

Welcome to stop #3 on the Brews and Choos project.

Brewery: Old Irving Brewing Co., 4419 W. Montrose Ave., Chicago
Train line: Metra Milwaukee District North, Mayfair station. (Also CTA Blue Line, Montrose station)
Time from Chicago (Union Station): 20 minutes, zone B
Distance from station: 600 m (300 m from CTA)

I think I should have come during the day and not on a Friday night. Old Irving, which opened in 2016 to good press, wants to be a neighborhood bar that brews beer. I think it succeeds on that front. But when I visited, it seemed the entire neighborhood had come out for dinner.

I wound up having a 300 mL pour of their Double Beezer double dry hopped double IPA (8.5%, 52 IBUs). Not bad. I'd have it again. But they didn't have a regular IPA or APA on the menu, so I felt a bit hopped out when I left. 

Beer garden? No
Dogs OK? No
Televisions? Everywhere
Serves food? Full kitchen
Would hang out with a book? No
Would hang out with friends? Maybe
Would go back? Maybe

Boy, he sure learned his lesson

In just one more example of the president slipping his leash, thanks to the Republican trolls in the Senate giving him permission to do so, the Justice Department said it found prosecutors recommendations for Roger Stone's sentence "shocking." Three Assistant US Attorneys immediately quit the case:

Jonathan Kravis, one of the prosecutors, wrote in a court filing he had resigned as an assistant U.S. attorney, leaving government entirely. Aaron S.J. Zelinsky, a former member of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s team, said he was quitting his special assignment to the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office to prosecute Stone, though a spokeswoman said he will remain an assistant U.S. attorney in Baltimore.

Adam Jed, also a former member of Mueller’s team, asked a judge’s permission to leave the case like the others, though gave no indication of resigning his job.

None provided a reason for their decisions.

Uh huh. Thanks, WaPo. ("Three people left their office in haste this afternoon after their work area became engulfed in flames. None provided a reason for their decisions.")

Greg Sargent says the president's strategy is "designed to get you to surrender:"

In the end, many of President Trump’s ugliest degradations — the nonstop lying, the constant efforts to undermine faith in our political system, the relentless delegitimization of the opposition — often seem to converge in some sense on a single, overarching goal:

To get you to give up.

To give up on what, exactly? On the prospects for accountability for Trump, via mediating institutions such as the media, or via other branches of government, or even via the next election, and more broadly, on the very notion that our political system is capable of rendering outcomes that have not been thoroughly corrupted to their core.

Meanwhile:

Fun times. Fun times. At least we can take some comfort in Japanese railway station psychology.

Who should have won?

Last week, the Washington Post's Dan Zak and Amy Argetsinger opined on the Best Picture winners from 1976 through last year, and suggested...corrections:

1979

Nominees: All That Jazz, Apocalypse Now, Breaking Away, Kramer vs. Kramer, Norma Rae

Best Picture winner: Kramer vs. Kramer

The actual best picture: Apocalypse Now

What a bonkers roster. “Kramer vs. Kramer” is a gorgeously spare, simple movie about divorce and parenting — can you believe that 105 minutes of talking without CGI or explosions was not only the Oscar winner but the box-office champ for 1979? But it’s hard not to love every shot of “Apocalypse Now,” which routinely makes Top-10 lists of the best films ever. If this lineup were voted on today, “Apocalypse” would win in a landslide.

I'll be interested to see if they update the article after yesterday's win by Parasite.

Ten Ninety Brewing Co., Glenview

Welcome to stop #2 on the Brews and Choos project.

Brewery: Ten Ninety Brewing Co., 1025 Waukegan Rd., Glenview, Ill.
Train line: Metra Milwaukee District North, Glenview station.
Time from Chicago (Union Station): 38 minutes, zone D
Distance from station: 700 m

A trio of bros formed Ten Ninety in 2012 and moved to Glenview in 2016. They specialize in Imperial-style beers, but they have a full line to go with their full kitchen.

From left to right, I tried the Jackman Bear, 4.7%, brown ale; Masshole, 6.7%, New England IPA; Angry Dragon, 6.1%, American pale; and Brut, 5.5%, IPA.

I liked the Angry Dragon best. It had grapefruit and caramel notes with a long finish. The Jackman Bear tasted like what Newcastle Brown Ale wishes it were. The Masshole was a solid New England IPA with orange and treacle notes and a long finish. I'm not sure I liked the Brut IPA at all; it had a bitterness that tasted more like lemon peel than citra hops.

As for the vibe, it's a suburban restaurant-brewpub. If I lived in Glenview, I might stop in once in a while...but Glenview House is just three blocks away.

Beer garden? Yes
Dogs OK? No
Televisions? Many, unavoidable
Serves food? Full kitchen
Would hang out with a book? No
Would hang out with friends? Maybe
Would go back? No

Macushla Brewing, Glenview

Welcome to my new project: Brews and Choos. Off and on over the next year, I'm going to visit 98 breweries and distilleries that are within about 1.5 km of rail lines around Chicago. Some of them are right downtown; others require a 100-minute schlep to a neighboring state.

I'll post reviews and visit notes in chronological order. For a list organized by train line, check out the explanation page.

Here's the first stop.

Brewery: Macushla Brewing, 1516 E. Lake Ave., Glenview, Ill.
Train line: Metra Milwaukee District North, Glenview station.
Time from Chicago (Union Station): 38 minutes, zone D
Distance from station: 1.3 km

"Macushla" means "my pulse, my lifeblood, my darling" in Gaelic. Mike and Megan Welch founded the brewpub in 2015 in Mike's home town of Glenview, Ill. Unfortunately, Mike died in 2016, and Megan now runs the brewery on her own.

I had a 4-beer sampler from their current line-up: Easy Sipsa, a 4.1% 20 IBU session IPA; Ring of Fire, 5.2%, 41 IBUs, Scottish IPA; Chalk Eater, 7.2%, 55 IBUs, IPA; and The Hammer, 9.75%, 20 IBUs, Scotch ale.

They were all pretty good. The Easy Sipsa lived up to its name; the Chalk Eater hit me with a full dose of hops and alcohol. The Hammer, despite its strength, tasted sweet and malty, with notes of pear and maple. They don't serve pints of that one; sip it slowly.

I also liked the vibe. The place is small and cozy, with a modest patio (complete with igloo). They have pretzels and small pizzas in the bar, and an arrangement with Hackney's next door if you want something more substantial.

Beer garden? Yes
Dogs OK? No
Televisions? 2, unavoidable
Serves food? Snacks; full kitchen next door
Would hang out with a book? Maybe
Would hang out with friends? Maybe
Would go back? Yes