The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Greenstar Brewing, Chicago

Welcome to stop #55 on the Brews and Choos project.

Brewery: Greenstar Brewing, 3800 N. Clark St., Chicago
Train line: CTA Red Line, Addison
Time from Chicago: 18 minutes
Distance from station: 800 m

The local organic restaurant pair Uncommon Ground brews organic beer at its Wrigleyville location just a block from Wrigley Field. Since 2011 they've brewed good beer and served it alongside decent food, offering a grown-up alternative to the Kindergarten bars around the ball park.

A couple of friends joined Cassie and me on Friday. They don't usually drink beer, but the server brought us tastes of the Oktoberfest (5.5%) they just tapped. I also had a flight while they had cocktails. We all had food.

I started with the ZCF ("Zero Carbon Footprint") Pilsner (second from right, 5.1%), a flavorful, complex, and malty expression of the style. Next I tried the Certifiable American Pale Ale (right, 4.6%), a light and not-too-hoppy, not-too-fruity malt I'd give to someone just learning to like good beers. Third from right was the Gabba Gabba Haze pale ale (5.5%), bursting with Citra hop fruitiness and a lot of malt, with the wheat and oats providing even more sweetness. I finished on the left with the Spaceship IPA (6.9%), a very fruity Citra bomb that still had a lot of malt in it.

Altogether, I found Head Brewer Brandon Stern's palate a bit too sweet for my taste. All the beers tasted good, and solidly demonstrated their styles, but all of them had more malt than hop in the balance. I would like to have seen a dryer pale or India pale in the mix.

They have an airy and comfortable sidewalk area that extends out into Grace Street just far enough from the children returning from the afternoon's Cubs game.

And while we had dinner, Cassie made a new friend (11-month-old Bluebottle), playing with her for about 90 minutes until we had to leave.

Beer garden? Sidewalk
Dogs OK? Outside
Televisions? None
Serves food? Yes, full menu
Would hang out with a book? Yes
Would hang out with friends? Yes
Would go back? Yes

Lunchtime lineup

It's another beautiful September afternoon, upon which I will capitalize when Cassie and I go to a new stop on the Brews & Choos Project after work. At the moment, however, I am refactoring a large collection of classes that for unfortunate reasons don't support automated testing, and looking forward to a day of debugging my refactoring Monday.

Meanwhile:

And now, more refactoring.

History in Wilmette

From 1916 until 1956, the Chicago, North Shore, and Milwaukee Railroad ran trolleys from the Roosevelt Road in Chicago up to Milwaukee. Trains traveled along what is now the CTA Purple Line to Linden Street, where the Purple Line now ends. From that point, they went another block up 4th Street, then west on Greenleaf to the Chicago & Northwestern tracks, then ran parallel to those clear on up to Wisconsin.

On Friday, I walked along the North Shore Line's right-of-way for most of the way. (It's now the Green Bay and McClory Trails.) About a month ago, I found a photo on the Trolley Dodger blog of the point where the North Shore Line met the C&NW line, taken in 1950:

Here's the same location Friday:

These days the Wilmette station on the North Shore line is a parking lot. I can only imagine what it must have been like to take a trolley through the streets of Wilmette. I imagine it looked a lot like this:

Those PRs only lasted 364 days

I once again walked from Uptown to Lake Bluff, as planned. And I broke all kinds of personal records.

Unfortunately, I discovered a usability bug in Garmin's Venu software that led to me accidentally deleting the first 9.47 km of the walk. I re-started the trace after covering another 530 meters, so the official record starts at 10.0 km:

Add 10 km and 1:27:02 to that data and you get 43.55 km in 6:30:08. My marathon time (42.2 km) was 6:16:55, a 2½-minute improvement over last year. But my marathon course time (including all rests) was 6:50:43, a 20-minute improvement. I completed my second marathon walk on the McCrory Trail in Lake Bluff:

Unlike last year, though, I had to get Cassie to and from day camp. That added about 4,000 steps to the day, leading to a blowout total step count and total distance:

Speaking of Cassie, she decided to reward me for the walk in her own, adorable way:

I should point out that I kind of hurt right now.

Another birthday, another long walk

Just as I did a year ago, I'm planning to walk up to Lake Bluff today, and once again the weather has cooperated. I'll take cloudy skies and 25°C for a 43-kilometer hike. (I would prefer 20°C and cloudy, but I'll take 25°C anyway.)

As I enjoy my breakfast in my sunny, airy office right now, mentally preparing for a (literal) marathon hike, life feels good. Well, until I read these things:

And hey, all you other Chicago athletes, good news! The City now has a website where you can find out the likelihood of the Chicago River giving you explosive diarrhea!

Welcome to autumn

The first day of autumn has brought us lovely cool weather with even lovelier cool dewpoints. We expect similar weather through the weekend. I hope so; Friday I plan another marathon walk, and Saturday I'm throwing a small party.

Meanwhile, we have a major deliverable tomorrow at my real job, and Cassie has a routine vet check-up this afternoon. But with this weather, I'm extra happy that I moved my office to the sunroom.

Sketchbook Brewery, Evanston (revisit)

I have stopped at Sketchbook's Evanston taproom about half a dozen times since it became stop #8 on the Brews and Choos project. This past Sunday, I mis-timed a trip to Temperance Beer Co., so why not try stop at one of my favorite taprooms? I mean, I suppose I could have walked 25 minutes through this:

Instead, I tried two of Sketchbook's beers that I hadn't had before, recommended by the ever-helpful Beesy. Knowing my palate, she suggested the Day Game American IPA (6%, 67 IBU), the lower-alcohol version of their stalwart Night Game DIPA. The big ol' Mosaic hop flavor gets a smoothing finish from a drop of honey. I loved it.

I also had a taste of the Orange Door Double Dry-Hopped IPA (7.2%, 76 IBU), a big, Citra-forward explosion of orange, lemon, and grapefruit, that I found completely refreshing on such a hot day.

I will probably revisit a few breweries now and then, starting with Lake Bluff Brewing Co., which I plan to visit next weekend. That said, I have 56 more new places to visit. I'll get there.

Temperance Beer Co., Evanston

Welcome to stop #54 on the Brews and Choos project.

Brewery: Temperance Beer Co., 2000 Dempster St., Evanston
Train line: CTA Purple Line, Dempster
Time from Chicago: 34 minutes (longer on weekends)
Distance from station: 1.8 km

I've made an exception to the "within 1500 meters" rule for Temperance. I almost always have some Gatecrasher IPA in my fridge, so I couldn't simply ignore one of my favorite breweries just because it takes an extra three minutes to get there.

I finally visited yesterday despite the 34°C temperatures and mis-timing these two small thunderstorms:

The blue dot shows me at Howard Street, waiting to change to the Purple Line, looking off to the west and wondering how long it would take for them to pass. I decided to stop in Evanston before continuing on to Temperance; more on that in a subsequent post.

Once I got to Temperance, I settled in with a brisket sandwich from the Goodstuff Eats food truck parked outside and a flight of four beers.

From left to right: first, the Gatecrasher English-Style IPA (6.6%), my go-to Temperance beer, with a lovely malty-hoppy combination that reminds me of English pubs. Next, the All the World is Here Double-Hopped Cream Ale (5%), which I found malty and refreshing, but not too sweet. The Oktoberfest Marzen-style lager (5.7%) was an excellent example of the style, with a lot of complex flavor for a lager. Finally, the Escapist American IPA (6.7%) had big hops, big flavor, and a malty finish. I'll supplement my next Gatecrasher purchase with some of that.

The only downside: the City of Evanston doesn't allow dogs in beer gardens, even when the establishment doesn't serve food. So while I would happily go back to Temperance, especially if they have a concert night, I'll take Cassie to Sketchbook in Skokie when I'm meeting friends in the suburbs.

Beer garden? Yes
Dogs OK? No (city rule)
Televisions? No
Serves food? No, but watch for food trucks
Would hang out with a book? Yes
Would hang out with friends? Yes
Would go back? Yes

It's only a threat if we're afraid of it

Jonathan Chait points out that the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police and other police unions might want to reconsider their threats to resign en masse if the cities enforce mask and vaccine mandates on them:

Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot has mandated vaccination for all city employees, and Fraternal Order of Police president John Catanzara is not taking it well. “This has literally lit a bomb underneath the membership,” he told the Chicago Sun-Times. “We’re in America, goddamn it. We don’t want to be forced to do anything. Period. This ain’t Nazi fucking Germany.”

Making vaccination a condition of municipal employment was not in fact one of the tenets of National Socialism. (Nor, for that matter, is it “literally” a bomb.) What is at least slightly reminiscent of Nazi Germany, however, is detaining people at an off-the-books warehouse and denying them legal counsel, which was both a real practice of Chicago police and one of the first steps taken by the Nazis after Adolf Hitler took power.

It’s usually easy for police to scare a mayor by threatening to leave the streets undefended. But in this instance, vaccine mandates present a rare opportunity for a double win. Cities can simultaneously defend an important anti-pandemic measure, and induce at least some of the most dangerous police officers to leave their jobs.

The public-health benefits of a vaccine mandate are obvious enough. The subtler, but longer-lasting, effect of the mandate would be to push out police officers who refuse vaccines.

I'm all for it. Most Chicago police officers are decent, hard-working people who really want to keep the people of the city safe. Yet they elected this guy their union chief—though I should point out, in Chicago, retired (i.e., older, whiter, more conservative) police officers can vote on union matters.

Catanarza, I should point out, got suspended for misconduct after he supported the January 6th insurrection. His supporters are welcome to leave the police force any time they wish.

How is it already 4pm?

I have opened these on my Surface at work, but I'll have to read them at home:

Finally, Empirical Brewery has a new line of beer that supports Tree House Cats at Work. I'll try some and let you know.