Monday, January 25, 2010

Chicagoland Brewpub Shootout 2010

The 12th Annual Chicagoland Brewpub & Microbrewery Shootout was held on Saturday January 23, 2010 at the newly renovated Erin room at the Irish-American Heritage Center in Chicago, Illinois. Nobody ever seems to post the results, so I took the liberty. Personally I feel that while Rock Bottom North & South took away 1st place plaques for both food and pairing, they always win something, so really it's too expected. They have the resources to make the best beer and food possible, so it would be shocking if they didn't win something. On the other hand I think Flossmoor Station really came out well, earning two separate plaques for beer and pairing, meaning their beer (which is what the competition is really all about) was better than the Rock Bottom's, who didn't win any straight beer awards. Additionally, Gordon Biersch seemed to have gotten the shaft, going away with zero awards for what I thought was a very tasty pairing, especially their Marzen, which I love. New comers this year were Half Acre (yes, I know, they don't really have a brewpub, but we enjoyed having them regardless) as well as Revolution Brewing (again, no official brewpub location, yet) and Lucky Monk.


Best Food
1st: Rock Bottom North & South - Boneless short rib
2nd: Lucky Monk - Pork Shoulder Sandwich
3rd: Rock Bottom East & West - Thai Banh Boa Belly

Best Beer
1st: America's Brewery (Walter Payton's Roundhouse) - Bourbon Fass Bavarian Gerste Wein
2nd: Flossmoor Station - Dry-hopped Panama Limited Red Ale
3rd: Goose Island - Frankenporter

Best Pairing
1st: Rock Bottom North & South - Boneless short rib and Fallen Angel Belgian Dubbel
2nd: Flossmoor Station - bacon wrapped shrimp with slaw and Dry-hopped Panama Limited Red Ale
3rd: Brickstone Brewing - Mini Filet Mignon Sliders and Hop Injection IPA

Copy of the program with my notes.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Cuddl Duds

Alyssa borrowed Melissa's Cuddl Duds back before Christmas to try out and also wear while we were skiing in Switzerland. She loves them so much she had to get a set for herself. Why don't they make Cuddl Duds for guys?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Chicago Card Plus vs U-Pass

Back in April of 2009 I wrote about the crap system the CTA uses to "improve" payment/boarding of their trains and busses.

I have an addendum that I need to add:

If you are a student, and your college participates in the program, you can get a discounted unlimited ride pass called u-pass. However, the u-pass comes in the format of the "disposable plastic magnetic swipe card" instead of the "credit card style prox card." Signing up an average city college to this program effectively converts, to an older/slower technology, thousands of middle income riders that would probably be on mommy-daddy/financial aid financed chicago cards instead. This effectively slows the entire system of boarding on trains and busses and increases maintenance costs - which is really the opposite of the desired effect of the Chicago Card. These plastic magnetic cards are printed with your name and picture, presumable making them difficult to share with your friends or resell - but they could just as easily print up the "slightly" more expensive prox cards and speed transit through their system. They could also make the prox-cards work on an automated system as opposed to the current system where I have to go pickup a new u-pass each quarter/semester as the previous one expires. I guess the figure the cost of the fancier cards is more than the cost of added maintenance and slowness of their buses.

And really, CTA makes more revenue off the u-pass than they would if students paid full fare because ALL students at a participating school are charged the "discounted" fee for the pass and are unable to waive. So the CTA obviously knows that the percentage of people that don't use the pass but are charged for it outweighs the discounts they offer.

Technology and innovative programs are not always improvements!

Textbooks are expensive

I think I need to go into the textbook publishing business. For two classes it is going to run me about $300 and that is with used books and Amazon discounts. Ugh.

Here are my classes for Spring Quarter

Statistical Techniques in Business and Economics with Student CD

Service Management: Operations, Strategy, Information Technology w/Student CD

Also - I am stupid for not remembering to create these affiliate links more often when I order stuff from Amazon. Amazon even makes it SOOOOOOOO easy with their affiliate toolbar