I awake to the noisy whir of a helicopter. Sounds as if it’s about to wreak rotor wrath on my window.
Minutes of chopping chunder later, I take a look.
A helicopter is right outside my window. Well, above the building on the other side of the street. Dropping some ventilation gear onto the roof.
A relatively late start allows me to take advantage of the downstairs egg and bacon opportunities. And have a decent lie in. I feel like a new man. A much older, sicker man. No, honestly, I don't feel that bad. Considering I was up for 24 hours yesterday. Or was that tomorrow? I'm feeling a bit confused day-wise.
A fried breakfast always perks me up. Almost as much as a quickly downed double whisky. When I jump in a taxi, I'm totally sure it's daytime, even if I'm not totally certain which day of the week it is. Saturday? Monday? Sunday. Must be Sunday. Because Mike Siegel told me Sunday was media day. That's why I'm on the way to the studio of Good Beer Hunting.
It's quite warm and I'm quite early. Standing on the sun-scorched pavement outside the studio waiting for the others to turn up, isn't my idea of a funny, fun, fun time. I shift to the street's shady side to snap some snaps.
Michael Kaiser turns up first. Just about on time. The realisation that there’s draught beer soon soothes any sores of annoyance. I’m impressed. And have a beer in my hand.
Mike, topped by an impressive cowboy hat, arrives when I’m about ready for a refill.
We adjourn to a mike-topped table, crack the Brewery Yard we’re pimping and start to chat about beer. About five minutes in, I realise the crafty bastard has already started recording. I’m tempted to spew a stinking stew of swearing, but I’m too busy talking.
It seems to go well. The quality really upping when I manage to shout the others down. At least that’s my recollection. Thankfully, there’s no documentary evidence. Oh, shit. It was a podcast.
No time to rest. But enough to finish our beers. A cab takes us to our next gig. At the Goose Island brewery. A Jeff Alworth podcast
We seek an empty office after seeking something more soothing at the bar. I speak better with a beer in hand. Especially when there’s video. Stops me fiddling with other things.
No video here: it’s a speaker phone job. But a beer in hand is obviously better than no beer.
We don’t repeat ourselves too much. I think. I struggle to remember what I’ve said anytime I speak. Even when it’s whether Alexei is or isn’t allowed to drink vodka.
“Daaad, you said I could.”
“Did I? When did I say that?”
“When you were drunk, Dad.”
“I can’t remember that.”
“Exactly, Dad, you were drunk.”
I’ve not seen the Goose Island taproom before. They didn’t have one last time around. Given the location – industrial estate with no nearby housing – I’m surprised they have enough custom. Then I remember the location of Weihenstephaner: industrial estate with no nearby housing. They seem to do OK.
Our final media date, with Christopher Quinn of The Beer Temple (a specialist beer shop), awaits. It’s taking place in Owen & Engine, an English-themed pub. With lots of dark wood, it’s sort of like a pub. But not quite. Just as attempts at pubs outside the UK never are. I don’t know why, but no matter how accurately the fixtures are mimicked, the atmosphere is never right.
The recording takes place in the upstairs, which isn’t open at the moment. Obviously. Otherwise it would be way too noisy. A pint in front of me is all I need. And that’s what I have. Should be enough to see me through. We chat some more about Brewery Yard and about historic brewing. I could do that all day. Which I sort of have.
Interview over, we adjourn to Fat Willy's Rib Shack for some barbecue. Pulled pork, collared greens and baked beans is what I have. It’s rather nice, but I can’t manage to finish it all off. I’m not as big an eater as I look. Not anymore. I used to eat a whole loaf of bread a day when I was a student.
Even though it’s not that late, I‘m as knackered as ten knackered sticks when my taxi drops me back at my hotel. I watch a little crap TV. Then Laphroaig waves me off as I board the sleepline train.
Good Beer Hunting Studio
3624 W Wrightwood Ave,
Chicago, IL 60647.
Tel: +1 773-627-7709
Goose Island Taproom
1800 W Fulton St,
Chicago, IL 60612.
Owen & Engine
2700 N Western Ave,
Chicago, IL 60647.
The Beer Temple
3185 N Elston Ave,
Chicago, IL 6061.
Fat Willy's Rib Shack
2416 W Schubert Ave,
Chicago, IL 60647.
Disclaimer: my trip was paid for by Goose Island as part of my consultancy fee.