So this will be my last dispatch from the East Coast for a couple of weeks as I head back to Illinois/Wisconsin/Minnesota for holidays, old friends and good times (I’m originally from Illinois, and will be spending the majority of my time there). I’ve noticed more and more that when people ask where I’m from I respond “Illinois” rather than “a suburb of Chicago.” I honestly don’t know what prompts it because I’m rather unfamiliar with the rest of the state. I’ve only driven south through it a couple of times on my way to St. Louis and Champaign-Urbana, and I can’t say I really identify with the terrain. Still, it feels like home.
What amazes me about the state of Illinois are the boundaries. To the west, you have an unheralded amount of the Mississippi River. The mighty river draws the boundaries of many other states (including Iowa, Missouri and a part of Wisconsin), and accounts for a great portion of America’s history. Especially the satirized/idealized histories contained in the stories of Mark Twain, a native of the area.
To the east, the Wabash river makes a quieter boundary, culling water all the way from the Ohio river (which isn’t that far, but unfortunately you have to go through Indiana). And of course, we can’t ignore Lake Michigan and it’s oceanic vistas. It makes the Chicago summer fun and the winters hopelessly endless, as parts of the lake freeze and the breeze chills the bones.
Through all that, it’s home, and a good one. Grab a Daisy Cutter, and let’s get to Suds.
-That being said about Illinois, Midwesterners are a well-traveled bunch, especially when it comes to drinking good beer. A nice little write-up on visiting New Glarus, Wisconsin on the way to Madison. Tell me those pictures of the town don’t warm your heart a bit.
-More reason to never drink beer from the big guys ever again. Illinois beer appreciators unite!
-Sorry, I just discovered this site so here’s a second link: A Goose Island Bourbon County Stout Five Year Vertical Taste Test (great band name!).
-A stranger in a strange land: Finding good beer in Manhattan.
-Wow, everything about this feels right. Great exploration of Michigan and the beer scene Definitely up there on my places to visit.
-More from Michigan: Festivus Ale.
-As always, great stuff from Brewing TV on making some homebrew.
-Finally, the only hockey coverage worth reading on Grantland. Ken Dryden is one of the more colorful and historical players to have ever played, and his perspective is always worth considering.
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