Saturday, February 12, 2011

Week One Done!

I apologize for taking so long to update the blog. Its been a hectic week and we had our first test on Friday. The tests haven't been graded yet but I know I did well. Studying has taken up most of my non-class time which isn't bad because the content is so interesting. Friday marked the last day of "raw materials" in which we covered the processes that barley undergoes from the farm to the mash, water chemistry, and hops! While malting and kilning aren't directly involved in brewing, like anything, good quality raw materials are a necessity for a quality finished product. The major takeaway that I have from this week is that I am now an informed consumer!

Some of the guys and I have been doing most of our studying at the Goose Island Brewpub which is conveniently located right across the street from Siebel. A normal afternoon involves getting out of class, heading to the bier stube. (below)

That is where we eat lunch every day and gather after classes are finished for "R&D" / "product analysis". So far we have gone through a keg of Victory Prima Pils, Goose Island Honkers Ale, and we are currently working on a keg of Half Acre Daisy Cutter and a Kolsch (Don't know the brewery but it's delicious).

Classes are in a room about the same side as the lunch area, directly below the bier stube. It is all lectures by industry specialists and we have had one sensory training class so far. School is everything I expected it to be and more. All of the faculty are amazing and most of them have a beer with us after the day is over!

My gastronomic experiences have been predominately mexican and brewpub food. Mexican is amazing in Chicago because it is made with high quality ingredients in an authentic way. Abuelo's is a great neighborhood mexican restaurant which I frequent and is right next to my L stop! A picture sits on the wall stating: "Some people say football is a matter of life and death. I can assure you it is much more serious than that." I am right at home!

The L has been my main mode of transportation and I have also been taking the busses. Reliable public transportation is one of my favorite things in the world. I do walk on average about 2 to 3 miles a day, to the train stations and back which, combined with studying, builds my appetite! It's just a great way to live.

The United States lost one of its great portraitists this past week and I send my deepest condolences to Peter and Jas Gentling and their family. Scott Gentling is a man I never met, but the stories about him and his paintings are things I will never forget. There is a great article written about him after an art show in 2008

I will post an update tomorrow with pictures of my room and my apartment. I hope everyone is doing well! Thanks for posting comments! Keep 'em coming.

Location:Chicago, IL

Monday, February 7, 2011

First Chicago Snow

I arrived safely on Thursday at O'Hare! One thing I must comment on is that Chicago knows how to handle snow (see picture). Coming from the south, where the mere mention of snow means everyone is running to the grocery store to prepare for the armageddon, it is impressive to see how quickly everything was back up and running.

I am living in Pilsen which is a great little part of town with two amazing people Jessica and Justin and their two cats Callie and Freedom (I still miss Dave!). They have a great apartment with a nice little private room that I rent from them. Full kitchen, bath, living space and NO TV! Great for studying and exploring. While it would be nice to wake up and be able to watch soccer in the comfort of my apartment, I am forced to go to a bar and interact with the people of Chicago! Luckily I have a really good friend who works at one. Small Bar is certainly going to be my weekend soccer destination!

Rob, Paul and I decided to take a trip down to Indiana (my first time) to visit the Three Floyds Brewing Company on Saturday night. It was a great place with amazing beer, delicious food, and awesome service (don't remember the hosts name but he treated us like kings because Rob and Paul knew him from working at Small Bar). Dreadnaught IPA is probably the best imperial/double IPA I've ever had.

Sunday we had our meet and greet at Siebel followed by watching the Super Bowl at Goose Island Brewpub which is conveniently less than one hundred yards away from Siebel. The class is a great bunch of guys from all over the US and the world (England, Egypt etc) and one brave girl! It takes a certain type of person to throw caution to the wind and go for your dream. The Siebel class is full of those people. I encourage everyone to do whatever possible to take that leap. You will never be happier!

First day of class played out like Christmas morning with the lectures being received like a sought after toy. Never have I, in my life, been disappointed that it was the end of the school day, until today. The enthusiasm for learning resonates throughout the class. Ohh ya, we have free beer in our bierstube. More on that later!

Now that I am settled I will keep everyone updated on a much more regular basis. Please feel free to leave comments at the bottom. I will be reading them! Make sure you click on the comment link, type your message, and then hit "post comment". If you guys have trouble email me and I will see if we can't get it figured out! I leave you with a picture taken from a bridge Matt G told me to visit (I think its the one!)

Location:Chicago IL