The Monthly Memo — February Edition


Raise a Glass to BuckleDown

I've written about all kinds of different topics, from politics to religion to higher education -- and beer. For this piece I had the pleasure of interviewing Sean Mahoney from BuckleDown brewing in suburban Chicago. 

BuckleDown is my favorite Chicagoland brewery for a reason: it's gritty, down to earth, and makes great beer. I interviewed Sean one other time for an in-depth look at the craft beer industry. You can read that article here, via The Federalist. 

Here are some highlights from my recent conversation with Sean. The link is after the jump:

The name BuckleDown, where does that come from? And that ethos, which I think is pretty fitting for this brewery: “Work hard, work with your hands, make great beer.”

It’s certainly just hard work. Anything worth doing you just buckle down and do it. But I think Ike’s a doer, I’m a doer — that’s not to say we’re not thoughtful guys, and I think that’s a common misconception, that just because you like to work with your hands you aren’t taking things into careful consideration. But it feels good when you work hard and something comes out great on the other end. So we put that into practice with building out the taproom and we just did a lot of the construction ourselves and some of the electrical.

I don’t know. I think it still continues to this day in the brewhouse or the canning line or anything that requires maintenance, which a lot does in a brewery. We rather know why and figure it out and hopefully fix it ourselves than just to leave it up to somebody else.

Did you settle on the name before you even leased the space?

Yeah. I should show you some of the other names. They were all along the same lines. Chicago’s just that way, too. It’s just the stockyards and all the guys that worked building all the infrastructure and all the skyscrapers, and just all this stuff that’s happened here by people with grit. I mean, the place was a swamp, and they built a thriving city on it. It’s kind of humbling to be in a city so big with so much going for it that started that way. It’s kind of nice to give that a nod.

You can read the rest at The Hop Review (and if you're into craft beer I recommend subscribing to them as well). 

Keep An Eye On Utah

If Orrin Hatch retires the Utah Senate race will be blown wide open. The Hill speculates that Mitt Romney, Evan McMullin, and Jon Huntsman could all jump in:

"And in Utah, the GOP field could be lush with ex-presidential candidates if GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch retires. Jon Huntsman, a 2012 GOP candidate, could run for the seat, as could 2016 independent candidate Evan McMullin. Even Mitt Romney, the GOP’s 2012 nominee, hasn’t ruled anything out...

Utah’s Senate race appears ripe for opportunity, even though Hatch, the longest-serving GOP senator in history, has kept his cards close to his chest about whether he’ll retire at the end of his term in 2018...

McMullin is viewed as another top contender in the state. His presidential candidacy emerged from the “Never Trump” movement, and he pitched himself as the alternative for voters who couldn’t bring themselves to support Trump or Hillary Clinton

While McMullin ended up coming in third in Utah, about 6 points behind Clinton, political observers say he is still viewed favorably in the state."

Around the Web

Former Aurora Cop Who Turned to Drugs is Fighting to Put Life Back Together from the Chicago Tribune

Atlanta by Michael Vick from The Player's Tribune

Confessions of a Catholic Convert to Capitalism from America Magazine

His Doctors Were Stumped. Then He Took Over. from the New York Times (Apologies for the clickbait-y headline, but this piece is well worth your time). 

Serial Killers Should Fear This Algorithm from Bloomberg 

How to Make Kickass Quesadillas from The Food Lab/Serious Eats 

Prime Cut
The best of the best

Before becoming famous, Bourdain spent more than two decades as a professional cook. In 2000, while working as the executive chef at Les Halles, a boisterous brasserie on Park Avenue South, he published a ribald memoir, “Kitchen Confidential.” It became a best-seller, heralding a new national fascination with the grubby secrets and “Upstairs Downstairs” drama of the hospitality industry. Bourdain, having established himself as a brash truth-teller, got into public spats with more famous figures; he once laid into Alice Waters for her pious hatred of junk food, saying that she reminded him of the Khmer Rouge. People who do not watch Bourdain’s show still tend to think of him as a savagely honest loudmouthed New York chef. But over the years he has transformed himself into a well-heeled nomad who wanders the planet meeting fascinating people and eating delicious food. He freely admits that his career is, for many people, a fantasy profession. A few years ago, in the voice-over to a sun-dappled episode in Sardinia, he asked, “What do you do after your dreams come true?” Bourdain would be easy to hate, in other words, if he weren’t so easy to like. “For a long time, Tony thought he was going to have nothing,” his publisher, Dan Halpern, told me. “He can’t believe his luck. He always seems happy that he actually is Anthony Bourdain.”

Anthony Bourdain's Moveable Feast from The New Yorker