October 14, 2008

Beef & Beer in Chicago

It's late and I gotta wake up super early to take my Half Pint to O'Hare super early in the morning. It's been great having her with me the first third of the road trip, and that means it's one-third over. Who will I sing parodies about corn with on the road? Oh wait, there's probably no corn fields like there were through Nebraska, Iowa, and western Illinois.

Last night, we had dinner and then crashed at her aunt's house in "Chicago," meaning halfway between there and Wisconsin. If I had more leisure time, I would've popped up to Kenosha County and picked up a bottle of New Glarus's Belgian Cherry Red. It's phe-nom-en-al. Instead, today we headed into the city and I loved seeing how Barbara's Bookstore decked the place out RWB-style, inside and out. Dinner beforehand called for stumbling into Little Joe's by the Univ. of Ill.-Chicago campus, a third-generation owned bar and grub joint, where I inhaled a delectable Italian beef sandwich with hot and mild peppers, washed down with my first Point Amber on draft (from Stevens Point, 151 years old). Not only did I get to have dinner with my favorite Chicagoan, Krista, but check out these puppies we dined with.

After doing my first reading in a bookstore, ameliorated by the presence of some Chicago-brewed Goose Island Harvest Ale for the audience and myself, Half Pint, Special K (Krista) and I hit Lush across the street--a good wine store that doubles as an even better beer store/bar. With any luck, you'll be hearing about Erin from Lush again... Though they only had one beer cooler, it was perfectly stocked and I wished I could've tried one of everything. I settled on the Founder's Breakfast Stout (double chocolate-coffee-oatmeal stout, meaning it was the perfect dessert beer as well) and, since I haven't bought any bombers in a few days, picked up some great beers including a beauty: Bourbon Brown Goose, a bourbon barrel-aged brown ale, brewed by my new buddy Greg Hall whom I met at GABF. Somehow, I doubt the bourbon-aged Imperial Stout I got from Walter Payton's Roundhouse Brewing was actually brewed by "Sweetness," (1954-1999), the former Chicago Bear.

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