Another day of travelling ahead. Though not that complicated. Just a single flight to Chicago.
The taxi queue outside the hotel is as weird as yesterday. This time it’s the turn of the rearmost taxi. I’m glad the drivers are keeping track. This time mine doesn’t get lost. Though I guess the airport is pretty easy to find.
Checking in and security are a breeze once more. Why isn’t it like this in European airports?
Sweets. I need to buy Alexei some sweets. Andrew gets bourbon, Alexei gets sweets. I see a spot selling just that. I get him two packets. What the fuck, $14! It shouldn’t really be more than $4, the robbing bastards. I must remember not to shop in airports.
I need some food. Ah, there’s a steakhouse. That’ll do. As usual my arse is parked adjacent to the bar. I order a Sun King Osiris. and a steakburger. That should see me through the next few hours. I have to say that the beer choice is usually pretty good in US airports. Unlike most countries. (Wetherspoons in the UK being an exception.)
The woman behind the bar is quite pushy. She keeps asking everyone if they want more drinks. No thanks, missus. I’m happy just nursing this pint, thank you.
As I walk to my gate I pass a Granite City brewpub bar. Damn. I remember now noticing it when I flew in. I blame my poor whatdoyoucallit, that thingy. What is it? Memory, that’s it.
Sadly, my United flight isn’t overbooked. Looks like I’m condemned to more years of working.
Once again, I have little time to rest after my arrival in Chicago. I only have an hour or so before I need to be on a train to Crystal Lake, which is about 75 km northwest of the city centre. Why did I agree to do this event? Because they asked me. It’s as simple as that.
It’s my final event of the trip. I realise that I’ve only really had one free day.
I take a double-decker commuter train. It’s pretty full, but I get a seat. Everyone but me is clearly on their way home after a day’s work. My work is just beginning.
I’m trying to take a photo of the outside of Duke’s Tavern, location of tonight’s event, when someone pops out and say “Ron, we’re in here.”
After a second or two, I recognise who it is: Les Howarth. We met in Chicago last September. He takes me inside to meet some other members of his home brew club.
We start the evening with some food. Just as well, as it’s hours since I last ate. Obviously accompanied by a beer or two. Once that’s all out of the way we repair upstairs, where the meeting will take place. It’s supposed to start at 19:00.
I have some equipment difficulties. There’s no projector, just a large TV. And I don’t have the right cable to connect by laptop up to it. They’ll just have to make do with my laptop screen. Fortunately, it’s not an enormous room.
There’s beer to accompany me droning on. That’s been the plan for most of my events. Me talking, home brewers serving historic Scottish beers. It’s worked out pretty well, really.
I get a few laughs, which is usually a sign of things going well. But I can’t linger too long afterwards. If I miss the 21:00 train I’ll have to wait until 00:30 for the next one. Which would have me getting to bed far too late.
Once I’ve dumped all my stuff back in the hotel, I realise that I’ve still got a bit of a thirst. The internet tells me that there’s a TGI Fridays a couple of blocks away. That’ll do for a quick eye-closer. On my last night in the USA.
It doesn’t have the greatest beer selection. I go for a Sam Adams Rebel. It does the job. I vaguely stare at the basketball on TV while I drink it. The trip is winding down. No more events, no more talking.
Just one place I need to drop by on my way to the airport tomorrow. Then I’m done. At least until the end of the month. When I’ll be back in the USA again. This time for Asheville Beer Week.
Duke's Alehouse and Kitchen
110 N Main St,
Tel: +1 815-356-9980
153 E Erie St,
Hours: Open today · 10:30AM–2AM
Tel: +1 312-664-9820
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