Last week was an interesting one. And challenging, fitting in as it did two foreign trips.
First was Chicago*, where I was in town to help launch my collaboration beer with Goose Island: Brewery Yard. A Stock Pale Ale brewed the 19th-century way. A project I’ve been trying to get off the ground for several years. It was a great feeling to finally have it in the hands of the drinking public.
I finally got a glimpse of downtown Chicago, something I missed on my last visit. Then I just had two days in town. Less than 48 hours after my flight in from Toronto was delayed. I’m a big fan of early skyscrapers and Chicago has some crackers. There’s something about a gothic tower I just love. The Woolworth Building on Manhattan has always been a favourite and Chicago has a few that match it.
The beer launch went pretty well. The audience listened attentively and laughed when they were supposed to. And there were some sensible questions at the end.
Mike Siegel, the brewer I’ve been working with at Goose Island took some time to show me more of the city. Mostly breweries and pubs. Plus feed me some BBQ. All very much appreciated.
I arrived back in Amsterdam on Thursday morning. Dumped my bags, showered, changed my clothes and after a few hours jumped into Mikey’s car. Bound for the chunnel and Margate. It was all rather surreal.
Margate was mostly just a beer, bacon and pie trip. With some shopping. Nothing even vaguely geeky, for the most part. Just trailing around ordinary boozers drinking standard cask fare. And the occasional evil keg. Not even the “good” evil keg, but the old-fashioned “bad” evil keg. There are times to replace my geek head with my drinking head. This was one.
I did have a few nerdy hours. In nearby Faversham at Shepherd Neame. Who said I could come and look in their archive. Not the sort of chance I’m going to pass up. I snapped 23 of their brewing books, all 20th century except for one. The oldest brewing record I’ve yet had in my hands, dating to 1798.
Sunday morning we headed back. Not that I’ve long in Amsterdam. Thursday I’m off to London for another Goose Island launch. What a jetsetter I am. Or an idiot who’s killing himself as Dolores describes me.
* Goose Island paid for my trip as part of their contractual obligations for my consultancy work.