Welcome to stop #76 on the Brews and Choos project.
Brewery: Soundgrowler Brewing, 8201 W. 183rd St., Tinley Park
Train line: Rock Island District, Tinley/80th
Time from Chicago: 37 minutes (Zone E)
Distance from station: 1.4 km
When I visited Hailstorm Brewing in March 2021, I really should have gone to Soundgrowler next, as they're just a short walk from each other and I'd never have to go to their industrial park in Tinley Park again. They're both great in their own ways, don't get me wrong; but now that I've visited and walked through the west part of Tinley Park twice, I'm in no hurry to return. More on that in a future post (or if you prefer, one from 18 months ago).
Soundgrowler bills itself as "Beer, Tacos, Metal," which I can confirm from my visit. To the mellifluous strains of Thou's "Inward" and other much-beloved death-metal ditties, I had a flight of excellent beer and two satisfying tacos.
I started with the Small Poems Vienna lager (5%): smooth, malty, with a clean finish; well-done. The Jaguar Elixir APA (5%) had a hazy, light-straw color, lots of hop but not overwhelming amounts, and a refreshing finish. I'd drink that one on a hot day. The excellent Orange Haze West Coast IPA (7%), their flagship beer, burst out with fruity hops, and lingered with a long, malty, citrusy finish. I ended with their limited-release Bending Blades West Coast Imperial IPA (8%) and its big-ass hops and a citrus-without-Citra flavor. I'd get any of them again.
I'll go back at some point, possibly if I ever need to visit the south suburbs for some other reason, and I'll get more delicious $3 tacos.
Beer garden? Seasonal
Dogs OK? Outside
Serves food? Tacos and other Mexican food
Would hang out with a book? Yes
Would hang out with friends? Yes
Would go back? Yes
One of my favorite local breweries, Urban Brew Labs, will close when it runs out of beer in the next week or so:
Owner James Moriarty announced on Instagram the brewery and taproom, 5121 N. Ravenswood Ave., will close by the end of the summer. Moriarty did not give a specific end date for the business, but thanked fans, neighbors and employees for keeping the business going for so long.
“We’ll keep the lights on as long as we have beer to serve, but this will be our final summer season,” Moriarty wrote.
Moriarty told Block Club in an email the closure is due to a lack of sales.
“It’s unfortunate, but we just didn’t have enough traction [through] distribution,” he said, in the email.
I tried to help, Jim. I really did. And I'll miss y'all.
Meanwhile, I'm taking advantage of some beautiful weather on the last Friday of summer to add two more entries to the Brews & Choos list. Stay tuned.
So I'm going to have to postpone reading all of these:
And Cassie, who has not actually had much patience the last few minutes, will now get a walk.
If Cassie could (a) speak English and (b) understand the concept of "future" she would be quivering with anticipation about going to Ribfest tonight after school. Since she can't anticipate it, I'll do double-duty and drool on her behalf. It helps that the weather today looks perfect: sunny, not too hot, with a strong chance of delicious pork ribs.
Meanwhile, I have a few things to read on my commute that I didn't get to yesterday:
Finally, as I ride on the UP-N commuter line in an hour or so, I can imagine what it will be like when the train gets a battery-powered locomotive in a few years.
This is a bit of good news for my weekend getaway:
Long-running weekend strikes on London's Night Tube have been suspended after the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union accepted a concession from London Underground about rotas.
The bodies have agreed to have a minimum number of drivers who prefer to work overnight on each line.
The RMT stressed the dispute was not resolved, and the situation would be reviewed in three months at the latest.
Ongoing weekend strike action began in January and was planned until December.
The union said the industrial action had been taken to "prevent the ripping up of staffing arrangements that would wreck the work-life balance of drivers".
The strikes have affected the Central, Jubilee, Northern, and Victoria lines, two of which figure prominently in my plans this week as I'm staying in Holborn and spending time in Gospel Oak/Camden Town.
So I have queued up stuff to read later:
About the Rogers outage: the CBC published a chart showing that network usage hit 100% of its capacity immediately before it started to fall steadily before collapsing entirely around 4am ET. I wonder if the sequence will turn out to resemble the 1965 northeast blackout?
In case you needed more things to read today:
There are others, but I've still got a lot to do today.
A lot has happened in the past day or so:
- The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 down partisan lines that everyone can carry a gun anywhere they want to, because they had guns in 1791 and so we have to live by 230-year-old rules. (Fun fact: a well-trained militiaman in 1791 could fire four aimed musket shots in a minute! Another fun fact: in 1791, bullets didn't yet exist!)
- That will surely comfort the parents of Uvalde, Texas, about as much as the news that the school police chief finally got suspended in light of the abject incompetence of everyone he supervised.
- Josh Marshall thinks the Justice Department may, actually, prosecute some of the January 6th insurrection leaders—including, perhaps, the XPOTUS.
- Microsoft's president and vice chair Brad Smith explains how Microsoft has fought the cyberwar in Ukraine.
- Robert Wright (sub.req.) argues in favor of a negotiated peace in Ukraine, and that American foreign policy over the past 25 years has made the benefit of standing on principle less than it could have been.
- Philosopher Slavoj Žižek responds that pacifism is the wrong response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
- Walter Shapiro shakes his head at how badly we (the West) squandered the "lost weekend" of 1989 to 2001.
- After investing $50m in the Republican primary election Illinois has next Tuesday, Ken Griffin has decided to up sticks to Florida. He will not be missed.
- Just four weeks before I visit my ancestral homeland, three transit-related industrial actions (strikes) have either started or will start soon, affecting the national railways, the London Underground, and Heathrow's ground staff. It's a good thing that the only modes of transit I typically use in the UK are planes, trains, and the Tube!
- The US Food and Drug Administration has halted sales of Juul e-cigarette products.
Finally, let's all congratulate Trumpet, the bloodhound who won the Westminster Kennel Club's dog show last night. Who's a good boy!
In what one Daily Parker reader describes as "a Twitter fight come to life," the city of Santa Cruz, Calif., voted to keep an abandoned, unusable railway through its downtown because of the possibility that, in some possible future, trains might once again take passengers to Watsonville:
On June 7, about 70% of Santa Cruz County voters chose to reject a measure called the Greenway Initiative, which would have supported ripping out a portion of the tracks and replacing them with a bike path and pedestrian trail along the old train corridor. Instead, voters affirmed a plan to cling to the rails and to the possibility of introducing regular passenger train travel, along with building some form of adjacent walkway.
The decisive vote was less of a mandate and more of a symbolic gesture, according to the Santa Cruz County counsel, because what comes next will be decided by the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission, which owns the rail line and has already been developing plans to create a combined rail-and-trail route to connect the beach city of Santa Cruz with Watsonville, a working-class, predominately Latino city about 20 miles down the coast.
“A train in 25 to 30 years does nothing in the next 25 to 30 years,” said Bud Colligan, a venture capitalist and local philanthropist who donated $20,000 to the measure and was one of its leading backers. “The train is completely unfunded; there’s no plan, we don’t have the population or the tax base to support it, and the likelihood of that happening is next to zero.”
But the fight over the measure was not just a battle of the train-lovers versus the bike-lovers, both of whom profess to have environmental sustainability as their goal. Backers of the Greenway Initiative, which raised more than $450,000, included tech founders and philanthropists like Colligan and leaders of the area’s agriculture industry, fueling suspicions from some locals about their motivations. One of the clearest could have been rail NIMBYism — a desire to keep Watsonville residents from easily accessing more-affluent coastal Santa Cruz neighborhoods. Another was the potential of legal settlements for landowners whose property neighbored the train.
The Daily Parker reader quoted above described the fracas as "fighting about style and culture:"
It was the techies/business money vs the hippies. Trail or no trail, if they want to restore that train line, the tracks need to be replaced. And now we just have an eyesore through town, no money and no cross town path for car alternatives at all. It is the most asinine fight I’ve ever witnessed.
Fortunately, Santa Cruz has no other problems that require practical government intervention, so the energy expended over this vote was well-spent.
Meanwhile, former Chicago mayor, neighbor of mine, and current US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel absolutely loves Japanese trains and takes them everywhere. Because when the population density is high enough, trains make a lot of sense.
Welcome to stop #75 on the Brews and Choos project.
Brewery: Maplewood Brewery, 2717 N Maplewood Ave., Chicago
Train line: CTA Blue Line, Logan Square
Time from Chicago: 16 minutes
Distance from station: 1.7 km
I've actually visited Maplewood many times in the past, but not since starting the Brews & Choos project. The pandemic got in the way, especially after it killed Fat Willy's Rib Shack and nearly killed the movie theater around the corner.
I finally returned to the movie theater on Wednesday to see the director's cut of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Since we did not, in fact, take public transit to get to the movie, we did not take shrooms before watching it as several friends advised. Instead we got beers. I decided on this flight:
I didn't take notes, but I do remember liking all of them. The one second from the right (Son of Juice) and the stout (Fat Pug) were especially tasty. (Note the embankment just across the alley: that's the Union Pacific Northwest Line, so the window seats provide the true railfan with entertainment during rush hour.)
The taproom doesn't have a lot of room but it does have a lot of taps. Plus, Maplewood distills spirits, which (again because I drove) I didn't sample this time.
Beer garden? Sidewalk
Dogs OK? Outside only
Serves food? Snacks; BYOF while the kitchen is closed
Would hang out with a book? Yes
Would hang out with friends? Yes
Would go back? Yes