The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

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!

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

Dovetail Brewery, Chicago

Welcome to stop #53 on the Brews and Choos project.

Brewery: Dovetail Brewery, 1800 W. Belle Plaine Ave., Chicago
Train line: UP North, Ravenswood (also CTA Brown Line, Irving Park)
Time from Chicago: 13 minutes (Zone B)
Distance from station: 1.3 km (Metra), 300 m (CTA)

I know, I know, I should have posted about Dovetail months ago. I mean, Dovetail and Begyle (stop #15) are less than 100 meters apart, and until recently both had dog-friendly policies. But on the day I visited Begyle for the Brews and Choos Project, Begyle had room for Parker and me, but Dovetail was jammed wall to wall. So I went up to Ravinia (sans dog) instead. That was 22 February 2020. Both Begyle and Dovetail shut down shortly after because of the pandemic.

So finally last Sunday, a friend and I wanted to take our dogs to a place where we could get a pint, and Dovetail fit the bill for both location and dog-friendliness. So finally last Sunday, I got a pint at Dovetail.

I need to point out two things about Dovetail's beers: first, they are really well made and delicious, my friends assure me. Let me repeat: these are great beers. They really do "produce beer of the highest quality similar to the level of craftsmanship found in fine woodworking" while "merging continental European styles and techniques with American creativity to produce the kind of beers found in small, family-run breweries in Europe," as their website says.

Exhibit: on tap as of this writing they offer an oak-smoked wheat beer, a Hefeweizen, a Kölsch, a Maibock, a Rauchweizen, a Cab Franc, a Fraise, a Framboise, a Kriek, etc.

But, you see, to my second point: they don't brew the Anglo-American styles that I like at all.

So when friends visit me from Europe, I take them to Dovetail. If I want to impress someone who likes Belgian beer with the best examples brewed in the U.S., I will give them Dovetail. But if I want to read a book while sipping a pale ale while Cassie watches the world go past, I'll go to Spiteful, Half Acre, Urban Brew Labs, or Empirical. (Also, Dovetail's beer garden is right next to the El, so conversation has to stop every few minutes while the El goes past and Cassie goes boyang.)

And that's OK. I like that Dovetail does really difficult beers really well. I appreciate them. I just prefer different beers.

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

Dry City Brew Works, Wheaton

Welcome to stop #52 on the Brews and Choos project.

Brewery: Dry City Brew Works, 120 N. Main St., Wheaton
Train line: UP West, Wheaton
Time from Chicago: 51 minutes (Zone E)
Distance from station: 500 m

Just as Methodist-founded Northwestern University in Evanston kept that city dry from the 1850s until 1972, Wheaton College had the same effect on the DuPage County Seat until 1984. Dry City Brew Works celebrates (?) this history with their quirky taproom (and live music!) right on Main Street.

I planned to meet a local friend for dinner in Wheaton, and Dry City doesn't have sample sizes, so I only had one beer: the Cosmic Cryo DIPA (7.5%). It had bang-on Citra hops right away, with all their grapefruit and mango notes, good malt balance, and a crisp finish I really enjoyed. I also had a couple sips of my friend's Pollinator Saison/Farmhouse Ale (5.8%), a well-made specimen of the type, which I liked even though I typically don't like Saisons.

Next time Cassie and I visit my friend and her dog, we might stop for a pint at Dry City.

Beer garden? Yes
Dogs OK? Yes
Televisions? No
Serves food? No; BYOF
Would hang out with a book? Yes
Would hang out with friends? Yes
Would go back? Yes

Two Hound Red, Glen Ellyn

Welcome to stop #51 on the Brews and Choos project.

Brewery: Two Hound Red, 486 Pennsylvania Ave., Glen Ellyn
Train line: UP West, Glen Ellyn
Time from Chicago: 45 minutes (Zone E)
Distance from station: 500 m

You know? Downtown Glen Ellyn is a lot cuter than I expected. And Two Hound Red, which opened in June 2019, is worth the trip. If only they had fewer TVs...

They don't have flights, but they will give you pairs of 5-ounce samples, so I had two. Meaning four. And they were pretty good—though it turned out one of them was a guest tap.

Their Lost Grimoire Pils (5.3%, 24 IBU) started very malty, almost too sweet, with a long finish. I really liked their NEWest Coast IPA (6.3%, 46 IBU) had Citra on the nose and lots of flavor with a good hop balance. And their hop-forward Red War Era IPA (5.8%) had some unexpected malt and a really nice bitterness to round out the complex flavors at the end.

I also had their current guest tap, Miskatonik's Nazgul Porter (5.7%), which had excellent chocolate and coffee notes. (I would love to visit their taproom in Darien, but as it would require a 7.4 km walk from Westmont, it won't appear on the Brews and Choos list.)

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

Elmhurst Brewing Co., Elmhurst

Welcome to stop #50 on the Brews and Choos project.

Brewery: Elmhurst Brewing Co., 171 N Addison Ave., Elmhurst
Train line: UP West, Elmhurst
Time from Chicago: 32 minutes (Zone D)
Distance from station: 300 m

Elmhurst Brewing opened in February 2018 and got through the pandemic with take-out and delivery. I can understand how: they have good beer. They brew in the back, then send the beer up to giant steel containers behind the bar, which creates a cool aesthetic in the bar area:

Marissa set out a flight of four 5-ounce pours. I started with the Go To Helles (4.7%, 23 IBU), a clean, malty lager with good length and complexity. Next, the Sabro Paradise APA (5.4%, 40 IBU) also had a clean feel with more malt than hops in an unexpectedly hazy pour. The Julius Squeezer Hazy IPA (6.7%, 21 IBU) had a great hop-malt balance with prominent Citra hops and a long, pleasant finish. Finally, the PrHopaganda West Coast IPA (7.1%, 71 IBU) had a big hop flavor without being "hop porn." All four really showed off the craft.

We have a concert in Elmhurst next March. I'll bring the crew to EBC for post-concert drinks.

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