Podcast #196 — Cheers to Beer Tourism and Travel!

robot in a microbrewery taproom drinking a beer

What Prompt Will Get Me a Pilsner?

In this beer-focused episode, John Holl, editor of All About Beer, gives us his take on beer tourism and tips on how to beer travels. I talk about my experience planning my Asheville, NC taproom visits with ChatGPT. We also dive deep into the new JD Power Airport Satisfaction Survey and do a quick update about the EU’s delayed ETIAS system. All this and more – click here to download the podcast file, go up to the Subscribe section in the top menu bar to subscribe on your favorite site, or listen right here by clicking on the arrow on the player.

Here is the transcript of TravelCommons podcast #196:

Since The Last Episode

  • Intro music — Warmth by Makkina
  • Coming to you from the TravelCommons studios in Nashville, TN after trips to Portland, ME and Asheville, NC. We flew up to Portland International Jetport; I love that — jetport — it’s like a throwback to the ‘50’s and ‘60’s when jet airplanes weren’t assumed. Going down that clickhole, apparently Orlando International was originally called Orlando Jetport. Feels like they shouldn’t have changed; would’ve had a very EPCOT-y vibe. But anyhow, I think Portland Jetport missed a trick by not playing Steve Miller’s Jet Airliner on a continuous loop in baggage claim. But they do have a big stuffed moose there, which is probably more on-brand.
  • More… interesting were the 7-foot signs we passed walking up to the TSA lines for our flight back. I posted a picture on Twitter. The one to the left said “Are you packing? Guns of any kind are not permitted in carry-on bags”. The one on the right, “Have you checked your firearms?” The small one in between reminded people to dump their oversized liquids. I mean, Really!? We’re now 22 years on from the Sept 11th attacks and people still can’t figure this out; that you can’t take a gun on a plane — nor a sword, nor a knife. Long-time listeners will know that I am in no way an apologist for the TSA, but when I see pictures they post of some of the stuff people try to bring on — a hatchet at O’Hare, throwing knives at Milwaukee — I’m not sure how patient I’d be if I had to deal with that level of obliviousness day-in and day-out.
  • On the upside, though, I did see that the TSA would allow me to carry-on a live lobster if I wanted to take a bit of Maine back home with me. According to the TSA website “A live lobster is allowed through security and must be transported in a clear, plastic, spill proof container. A TSA officer will visually inspect your lobster at the checkpoint.” I wonder if that visual inspection includes checking that the rubber bands around the lobster claws are intact. I’d think a traveler wielding “un-holstered” lobster claws might not be armed, but certainly could be dangerous.
  • Bridge Music — Hula Hoop Party by Stefan Kartenberg (c) copyright 2016 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial (3.0) license.  Ft: Martijn de Boer, Blue Wave Theory

Following Up

  • I would’ve loved to play 15 seconds of Jet Airliner just now for the bridge music if I wasn’t about 99% positive I’d get slapped with some copyright fine.
  • Thelma Smith stopped by the TravelCommons Facebook page to leave a comment about last episode’s discussion of renting a Hertz EV for my Portland trip, which I backed away from as I looked at charging options in the city and up in Bar Harbor. Thelma wrote
    •  Wanted to chime in on EVs. We have a Tesla Model 3. When planning out a trip of any length we use PlugShare. It helps in finding all sorts of chargers and not just Tesla fast chargers. Might help in seeing what’s out there.
    • Thelma, thanks for that. First I’ve heard of it; looks like a nice crowdsourced status map for chargers. If Hertz had referenced it, it might’ve tipped me to an EV. While it didn’t show many more Bar Harbor options, it showed a lot more chargers in Portland. Hertz continues to send me EV offers, so with this, maybe I give it a go on my next trip.
  • JD Power released their 2023 North American Airport Satisfaction Survey last week. We talked in the last episode that, according to TSA counts, we’ve gotten back to pre-COVID passenger volumes. And so it kinda makes sense then to compare JD Power’s 2023 numbers to their pre-COVID 2019 scores. And, conveniently enough, in episode #156, we talked to the survey’s author, Michael Taylor, after the release of the 2019 survey. Back then, Michael predicted:
    • Michael: Everybody’s phasing in and out of construction. They’ve got all these various plans that are revolving on the inside and the outside of the airport. And so we’re going to see this churn in the rankings quite a bit in the next few years as these projects phase in and out.
  • Well, yes and no. The top of the Mega category was pretty stable — Detroit, Minneapolis/St Paul, and Las Vegas kept their top 3 positions. But there was a bit of churn under that. San Francisco jumped 7 spots from 13th to 6th, in large part, no doubt to their huge renovations while Orlando dropped 5 spots, from 4th to 9th, and Phoenix dropped 6, from 7th to 13th; neither of which surprised me given my most recent experiences at each.
  • The benefits of finally finishing big renovations really showed up in the next category, the Large Airports. LaGuardia and New Orleans, airports that I’ve spent way too much time in, finished multi-billion dollar renovations between the 2019 and 2023 survey and the results showed. LaGuardia jumped 13 places from 27th, the last spot on the 2019 survey to 14th, which given all the inherent problems with LaGuardia’s location and the mess that is the tri-state air traffic control, I’m not sure they could’ve gotten much better. New Orleans, though, went from not much better 23rd spot in 2019 to 8th, a 15-place move. Portland, Oregon, 2019’s top Large airport plummeted 11 spots to 12th, while San Diego and Oakland each dropped 10 spots, to 23rd and 24th respectively.
  • More interesting than this, to me, was the increase in the average scores in what has been a difficult year for air travel — on a thousand-point scale, the Mega average increased 16 points, from 756 to 772, while the Large average grew 24 points, from 765 to 789. So if an airport didn’t improve its score, like Orlando or Oakland, its ranking tumbled.
  • In the last episode, I talked about the rolling delays for implementation of ETIAS, the EU’s impending version of the US’s ESTA, a pre-travel authorization system. What originally was supposed to go-live in 2021 got pushed to May 2023, which given COVID made sense, when then slipped 6 months to November 2023. Well, OK, maybe a little more testing is for the best. But then, to a more nebulous “sometime in 2024.” That’s never a good sign. And now, a month later, they’re saying May 2025. It feels like this is becoming the EU’s Real ID. Really! Because the new US Real ID deadline is also May 2025 — until they change it again.
  • And if you have any travel stories, questions, comments, tips, rants – the voice of the traveler, send ’em along to comments@travelcommons.com — you can send a Twitter (X?) message to mpeacock, post your thoughts on the TravelCommons’ Facebook page like Thelma did, or on the Instagram account at travelcommons — or you can skip all that social media stuff and post your comments on the web site at TravelCommons.com.
  • Bridge Music — Fistful of Dub (Feat. Snowflake and DJ Vadim) by spinningmerkaba (c) copyright 2016 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial (3.0) license.  Ft: snowflake and DJ Vadim

Beer Tourism and Travel

  • Scrolling through the Episodes section of the TravelCommons website, I saw that it’s been over a year since I’ve done any beer content, and immediately began working on rectifying it. I asked John Holl, long-time beer journalist, editor of All About Beer, host of the Drink Beer, Think Beer podcast, to give us his thoughts about Beer Tourism…
    • Mark: John, thanks for coming on the podcast. We want to talk about beer tourism and travel. I’m an old guy and for the longest time the idea of beer tourism seemed to start and end with renting lederhosen and heading to Munich for Oktoberfest. And then, in the early/mid-00’s, we got specialty beer releases that morphed into festivals like 3 Floyds’ Dark Lord Day. I was living in Chicago at the time and that went from a couple hundred people queuing for a bottle release to, in 2019, 13,000-15,000 people traveling around the country to see it.
    • John: Gave people a lot of excuses to cross that Indiana border.
    • Mark: I’ve been to Munster Indiana and there’s not a lot of other reason to go there other than 3 Floyds. And then they shut the brew pub down during COVID and now there’s absolutely no reason to go there. And now, every town/region/state seems to have some sort of a beer trail. Last month, in August, I was in Portland Maine and it was the Maine Beer Trail. And then I was in Asheville, North Carolina at Asheville Ale Trail as well as their brewing district. It seems to be an area that’s really grown. What are your thoughts on that? How significant is beer tourism for local economies now?
    • John: I think it depends on the location. Where there’s a concentration of breweries, it makes sense to have a beer trail. It makes sense for a guild or an organization to get together to try to convince not only the tourists but the locals to come out as well. There’s 10,000 breweries thereabouts, maybe a little less, in the US these days and a lot of them are concentrated together. There’s strength in numbers and hopefully they’re all doing something that is diverse enough that can get folks to go from one place to the next, to the next without getting Hazy IPA fatigue. And I think Portland Maine is a great example of the breweries that are there. You have some of the old stalwarts, Geary’s and Allagash. And some of the older, newer ones like Bissel Brothers. And then, there’s some really cool ones like Belleflower that are there. So you get breweries of different sizes, of different scopes and I think it’s important for the bottom line of these places so long as they’re delivering good quality beer. But what’s cool for me is being a tourist in a new city. I get to go to different areas. I get to go see a place that is not just the picturesque downtown, it’s not just what’s on the postcards for sale at the local travel kiosk. So you get to go into neighborhoods where people live and work. And for me, that’s always a better sense of getting to know a city, of getting to know people, of getting to know a place because neighborhoods can change, especially some place like Chicago, from block to block. You’re walking into neighborhoods that have different vibes, that have different histories to them, and that feel different. And so when I’m traveling for beer, it’s fun for me to not only go and set up at a tap room and spend some time there, but also to walk the neighborhoods as well. And I think that location informs a lot of what beer makers do. I’ll keep going back to Dovetail; I’ve spent more time there than I’ll actually admit, and it’s right up against the Brown Line and they use that to their advantage. They talk about their coolship; they talk about how their windows open up to the brown line and that the beer is inoculated with whatever the transit line brings them. And I think that’s a fun thing. You’re not necessarily tasting a sense of place, but you get the idea that it might be there.
    • Mark: God only knows I’ve written the Brown Line enough times. So maybe I’ve helped Dovetail inoculate some of their coolship beers.
    • John: And go to the Pacific Northwest at this time of year, in mid-September/late October when in Yakima and in parts of Oregon, they are harvesting the hops right now. You can bounce from brewery to brewery and the air is aromatic with fresh hops. The brewers are making fresh and wet hot beers. People are coming in from around the country, from around the world. There’s an excitement and an energy that exists because of the agricultural product that is going into these beers and because of the harvest window as well. So, it doesn’t always have to be a festival; it can be for a harvest season. And I think that that’s another cool way that folks who aren’t even in the beer industry can experience a different aspect of their pints.
    • Mark: What’s the best way to find out what’s going on in a location? How do you think about where you’re gonna go?
    • John: I like not having firm plans when I’m traveling because the other thing about beer tourism — we’re talking about beer trails — is you start at one place and you say, “OK, we got five places on our list today.” So we say you’re just having a pint at each. It’s still five pints at the end of the day and even for a serious drinker like me, that’s a lot. But if you’re having a good time, I think it’s great to not have structure because if you say, “OK, we’re at stop number two and, and we have three more stops in front of us,” but we’re really liking this, and they have this other beer that I want to try, and we’re comfortable, and we’re in good seats, and the food truck is awesome and all that — just stay there, live in that moment. I feel I’ve seen too many people get caught up in this sort of ticking culture where we have to hit all of these spots for whatever sort of weird list and you miss out on the fun experiences. Beer is about camaraderie. It’s about being in the place. It’s about experiencing flavor. And if you’re rushing through it, it’s not that much fun. I think beer in the way that it’s grown over the last couple of decades — it’s not doing super-well volume-wise or sales-wise comparatively; it’s like 12-13% of the overall marketplace — but I think it has helped people appreciate flavors better. And to be a little bit more curious and to be a little bit more experimental.
    • Mark: I think there’s also a learning component too that I think you brought up, which is, you’re going to push yourself outside your normal boundaries, outside of what I’ve called a travel bubble…
    • John: That’s the cool thing about travel, right? You talk to folks all the time about when they go to a new place and they want to have the local drink or they want to have the local food because they want to immerse themselves in that culture. You can do that with beer no matter where you go. So much of what brewers are doing these days too. When you travel, if you only drink American Light Lager, or you only drink Irish Stout. So you only drink something, you know, particular. If you’re traveling, you might try the göse, you might try a lambic, you might try a barley wine or something like that because you’re feeling a little bit more loose and unencumbered from the constraints of your daily life. And that, for me, is sort of the fun thing about beer. Usually it’ll taste better from that place because you’re surrounded by the people who made it, and the people who also were excited to be there. It’s like folks who go on vacation to a tropical island and they’re drinking mai tais, and it’s the best mai tai they’ve ever had. They learn how to make the mai tai, and they come home and they do it on their back patio and they think “This doesn’t taste as good.” And it’s because you’ve lost that sense of place. And so for me, I’m always just trying to experience not just what’s in my glass, but what’s around me as well.
    • Mark: John, I appreciate you coming on and talking to us about beer tourism and beer travel. It’s something we’ve talked a lot about on this podcast only just because I really like beer. It’s been great talking to you. Thanks very much, John Hall, editor of All About Beer. Both your podcast and your website — check it out. Thank you very much.
    • John: Mark, thank you.
  • And, as always, check out the show notes on the TravelCommons podcast for links to read and listen to John.
  • Bridge Music — Misunderstood by 3lb3r3th (c) copyright 2013 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial (3.0) license.  Ft: Alchemistry

How To Plan a Beer Trip and Beer Tourism?

  • If John Holl has you thinking about beer tourism, the next logical question — how do you plan it? Here’s John’s approach…
    • John: I plan out travel, especially for specific events like hop harvest or Oktoberfest, which I’m going to for the first time this year. I plan that out at least a year in advance because I want to make sure that when I can get hotels and transportation, and to budget out all of that. Social media is terrible in a lot of ways, but it can also be helpful in certain ways, getting you excited about traveling to new places. When I hear about annual beer festivals in Belgium or see folks who are out at hop harvest, picking hops, it gets me in a certain sort of way, if I’m sitting at my desk at home. saying “Gosh, I wish I was there.”  So then I put stuff on the calendar and start to say, “OK, well, think about this” and then go from there. When I’m traveling to a city for work, I’m usually going to visit specific breweries or specific people. But nine times out of 10, I will also call friends of mine and say, “Where are you drinking these days?” or “What’s exciting you these days?” There’s always going to be the one place that the serious beer nerd should go to,  but then you peel that onion back just a little bit and all of a sudden, it’s “Well, you know, I actually had a really fun experience at such and such place” or “I had this one beer” or “They’re doing some cool stuff” and I start to say, “All right… Well, I trust them, so what do I have to lose?” It’s either gonna be a great pint or it’s not…
  • So there you go, advanced planning for the big stuff and have beer nerd friends in every city who can point you to the out-of-the-way nuggets. The latter is probably a bit easier for John, a well-known beer journalist, than for the rest of us.
  • Back in episode #174, I talked about this with Rob Cheshire, a long time TravelCommons listener and, for the last 3+ years, a UK craft beer podcaster with his This Week in Craft Beer podcast
    • Mark: How do you plan your taproom visits?
    • Rob: It’s all driven through Google for me. I might have some idea based on previous reading about some big-name places that I want to visit in a particular city. But beyond that, I’m just going to Google. First of all, I’ll plot a Google map for the city. I’ll end up with 50-60, maybe even 100 pins on the map. Pretty quickly, I’ll go to Untappd and look at the average brewery rating. And this really makes brewers cross how much I rely on Untappd for this type of thing because I had this conversation a load of times on the podcast with them. But I do rely on brewery ratings on Untappd, and I find it very reliable. Quite frankly, if a brewery has an average rating of anything close to 4, then, obviously it’s a massive generalization to say whatever they brew, but most of their beers are gonna be great. If the brewery rating is anywhere close to 3.5, it’s going to be very mediocre at best. And somewhere in between is where most people land. So 3.6, eh…;  3.8, it’s a good brewery; 3.9 is a terrific brewery; 4 is a great brewery. And so I’m looking for those 3.8 and 3.9 average brewery ratings. But what I’m looking for, really, is that district where I can walk from one to another and really make an afternoon of it.
  • Me? I kinda mash the two up. Like Rob, I’m a pretty solid Untappd user. Rob often says it’s his “beer diary” and that’s pretty much what it is for me too. When people ask me for recommendations for a city — Budapest was the most recent ask — I can quickly pop open the app and give people a list. And when I’m in a new city trying to find a good place for a beer, I’ll open it up and look at the Nearby Activity tab to see where (and what) folks are drinking. And back to episode #194’s discussion of flâneuring, or “roaming entropy” as I like to call it, some of my best “wanders” had, as their eventual end-point, a bar or taproom that I found that way.
  • But, as John says, if you let your friends know you’re deep into beer, they’ll be looking out for you. Visiting Savannah, GA back in May, our friends couldn’t wait to take me downtown to Two Tides Brewing, a microbrewery in a 100-year-old house with great beers but no door onto the balcony because of a “door tax” way back when, where houses were taxed on the number of doors they had. So we ducked down and walked through a big window with our glasses… multiple times. Great beer and a history lesson; not sure I would’ve found that without a little help. Coming up in a couple of weeks, we’re heading back to New York City and our daughter already has an ambitious list for us.
  • Rob Cheshire and I have traded beer touring tips for our home towns. Rob took me to his favorite places in the railway arches of London’s Bermondsey Beer Mile. But when Rob hit Chicago three weeks after we’d moved to Nashville, I couldn’t reciprocate the personal tour, and so instead emailed him the couple of taproom circuits I would’ve taken him on if he’d showed up a month sooner. And actually, for all of you — my friends and listeners — since I can’t email it to you, I’ll put my Chicago taproom circuits in this episode’s show notes on travelcommons.com. Or check out my list of  “Yeah, I’d like to go back there” taprooms in the episode #187 show notes. Maybe these can help you with your beer tourism planning. 
  • The two tent poles for our Asheville trip were hiking and beer tourism. But we were the Asheville pioneers among our friend group, so I didn’t have anyone to build taproom circuits for me. So I started down Rob’s path, firing up Google Maps and Untappd, but then… wait a minute. Let’s see what AI can do. So I fired up ChatGPT and typed in “Develop a taproom circuit of microbrewery taprooms in Asheville, NC starting at the Aloft Hotel in Asheville and optimized to minimize walking distance and maximize Untappd ratings. Present it in a table with the brewery name in the first column, the distance from the previous taproom in the second column, the Untappd rating in the third column, and the type of beers served in the fourth column.” The response started with a caveat that it can’t access real-time data and so the Untappd ratings and distances are based on its last update in 2022. After that throat-clearing, ChatGPT spit out a table with 8 taprooms. Eyeballing the list, the names didn’t seem too out of whack, so then I checked the Untappd ratings. None of them were right, and indeed, so far out of whack (all on the high side) that eight months of additional check-in couldn’t have moved the ratings that much. Chalk that up to GPT hallucination, or being a people pleaser and not wanting to say “I don’t know”. Then I plotted the circuit on a map, and it wasn’t — a circuit, that is. It was a bit more of a random walk, doubling back a couple of times. And, rather than working us back to the Aloft, it ended at the farthest away brewery. So with no friend recommendations and not much help from ChatGPT, I fell back to my old ways —  flâneuring. I figured with the beer density in Asheville, a random walk was more likely than not to land me in front of a beer tap. Which pretty much proved to be the case. We did what long-time listener Aaron Woodin called it in the last episode a “walk and gawk”, or maybe  a “walk and gulp.”

My Chicago Taproom Circuits

  • Here are the two Chicago taproom circuits I built for Rob Cheshire in the summer of 2022
  • Logan Square/Palmer Circuit — a kinda triangular circuit through 3-4 taprooms in Chicago’s “Hipster Ground Zero” neighborhood with some good food options along the way.
    • Take the Blue Line toward O’Hare to the California St stop. Walk east on Adams to Monroe and then north a half-block. It’s a $2.50 fare; like the Tube, you can tap on with a contactless credit card. It’s way cheaper than an Uber and lets you bypass a load of traffic. Follow Google Maps walking directions; you’re basically walking south on California (or one of the less-crowded neighborhood streets running parallel) down to Armitage and then west to…
    • Solemn Oath Still Life — This is kinda cheating. This is the Chicago outpost of one of my favorite suburban breweries. They have a good range of styles. They recently started up a second label, Hidden Hand, that goes deep into hazies. When you’re done, walk out the door, turn right on Armitage (going back east), cross the street at some point, and end up at
    • Middle Brow Beer — The vibe here is a bit of a crunchy granola with Democratic Socialist/Labour Momentum sprinkles (or hundreds-and-thousands if you will), but they do some interesting wild beers fermented from yeast cultured from their garden. Good for one, maybe two beers.
    • Food -if you’re getting peckish, there are some good options on Armitage on the way to the next stop.
      • Middle Brow – While you’re there, their bread and pizzas are great.
      • 90 Miles Cuban Cafe – Very good Cuban food
      • Redhot Ranch – Chicago street food; I get either a polish or a burger Chicago style
      • When you’re done, continue walking east to Western, turn right (south), pass Margie’s Candies and find the entrance to
    • Life On Marz – Another cheat, the north side outpost of the south side Marz Brewing. It’s a small place, but they do a nice selection of styles. When you’re done, head left out the door and then over to the diagonal street, Milwaukee, not the north-south street (Western). The intersection is a bit tricky. Head northwest up Milwaukee to…
    • Pilot Project Brewing – This is a brewing incubator, so there’s usually some interesting stuff on offer. The last time I was in, they were serving Indian-inspired beers from Azadi Brewing. Brewer’s Kitchen also does good stuff. Not everything works, but I’ve had a surprisingly good hit rate. Take a left out the door, cross the street (watch out for the bicyclists; this is the most Amsterdam-ish street in Chicago) and head up a block to…
    • Navigator Taproom – This is a pour-your-own, priced-by-the-ounce beer bar with a good selection of Chicago (they seem to have a lot from Pipeworks) and Midwest beers. Check out their beer menu on Untappd to see if there’s anything that interests you. Continue up Milwaukee to the last stop
    • Revolution Brewing Brewpub – This is the original Rev Brew joint; it opened before the brewery taproom a couple of miles north. If you’re IPA’d out and the temperatures aren’t in the 90’s, go for their Deep Woods offerings — the variations on their Deth’s Tar imperial stout (Josh Deth owns Rev Brew) or their Straight Jacket barleywine. If it’s too hot (or you’re too baked for those double-digit abv’s), their Hero IPA series is good; lots of variants based on different hop combos.
    • And that’s it. If you want to head straight back, you’re a couple of blocks from the California Blue Line L stop. Get on the Forest Park Blue Line to Monroe stop in the Loop. If you’re still walking straight, you can keep walking up Milwaukee through the neighborhood. It’s an interesting neighborhood. The Blue Line runs parallel to Milwaukee. The next stop is the Logan Square stop, about a 15-20 minute walk. Or you can always just call an Uber.
  • Maplewood-Based Circuit — this is less concentrated/less obvious, so I’ll put in a few branches so you can choose your own adventure
    • Maplewood — Part of its charm (a little corner tavern at the end of a neighborhood street) makes it inconvenient to get there via public transportation. So to start here, it’s probably best to Uber up.
    • Option – A bit of a walking circuit from Maplewood
      • Ravinia Brewing — Very optional. Not a bad place; I’ve had a couple of good beers sitting out on their patio after a bike ride. I wouldn’t go out of my way to go there, but it’s two blocks from Maplewood
      • Metropolitan Brewing — This is ~10 min walk north from Maplewood through a little neighborhood. It’s one of the original Chicago microbreweries, though a lager specialist which I know is not exactly on point for you. However, their patio looks down on the north branch of the Chicago River. So, if it’s a nice day, this is worth a stop for the view — and maybe a crisp palate cleanser.
      • The Beer Temple — One of our favorite beer bars. It’s what in Chicago is termed a “slashie” — a bar and a liquor store. They always have a good beer selection and they’re a verified venue on Untappd, so you can check out the menu to see if it’s worth the 7-min walk from Metropolitan.
      • Food
        • Kuma’s Corner is about a 5-min walk west on Belmont from Beer Temple. Kuma’s is a great burger place with a solid beer menu (an Untappd verified venue) and a heavy metal soundtrack.
        • Honey Butter Fried Chicken – Convenient if you’re walking up to the Rev Brew Taproom
      • Revolution Brewing Taproom — If you didn’t hit their brewpub on the Logan Square circuit, the brewery taproom is a 12-15-min walk from Beer Temple or Kuma’s.
    • Option – Uber up to the Ravenswood neighborhood’s Malt Row
      • Begyle Brewing — First brewery on Malt Row. Nice IPAs and a good barrel-aged imperial stout
      • Dovetail Brewing — The guys on the Steal This Beer podcast obsess over this brewery. Cool space; German lager-and-spontaneous ferm-focused. Walk down (south) Ravenswood Ave to the Irving Park Brown Line. Take it to two stops to the Paulina exit, walk south on Paulina St one block to…
      • Bitter Pops — Another great slashie and also an Untappd verified venue if you want to check out the tap list. Also a good place to buy a cold 4-pack to take back to your hotel room. Or cross Lincoln Ave and walk down a half block to…
      • The Green Lady — Old-time Chicago bar vibe with a great tap list.
      • Get back on the Brown Line and head down to the Loop, to the Quincy Stop which is ~1 block from the JW Marriott
    • Option – Uber up to Half Acre Beer
      • Half Acre Beer – Another original Chicago microbrewery. Augie Carton on Steal This Beer is a big fan of their Daisy Cutter pale ale, but I like their range of IPAs.
      • Spiteful Brewing – Next door to Half Acre. Good place; wouldn’t make a special trip for it, but is worth the block walk if you’re at Half Acre.
      • Probably best just to Uber back down to the JW from here.


  • Closing music — Pictures of You by Evangeline
  • OK, that’s it, that’s the end of TravelCommons podcast #196
  • I hope you enjoyed it and I hope you decide to stay subscribed.
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