Tag Archives: beer

“Land of Sky Blue Waters”


Hemingway House

Hemingway-House
Hemingways’ House, circa 1934

In the heart of Old Town Key West is the home that Ernest Hemingway owned with his second wife, Pauline. I was overwhelmed by the mass of humanity in Key West, so after Fort Taylor, I parked the car, swung in to the Waterfront Brewery for a pint or two of encouragement, and walked over to Hemingway’s old home.

Hemingway's House today
Hemingway’s house today

Entry is $13, no credit cards, and there was an optional tour, which I joined.

Hemingway lived in the house from 1931 to 1939 with Pauline and second son, Patrick. In 1939, Ernest and Pauline separated, with Pauline staying in the house with the children, but Ernest apparently kept the title.
It was also the home to Snow White, the original six-toed cat.

When Ernest died in 1961, the museum bought the house directly from the estate, which is the reason much of the furnishings are original to the home.

Hemingway's writing studio
Hemingway’s writing studio

Hemingway wrote several of his best work while living at the Key West home, including: The Snows of Kilimanjaro, The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, To Have and Have Not and Green Hills of Africa. It should be noted that Hemingway, himself, thought To Have and Have Not was his worst. Film director Howard Hawks bet Hemingway that he could make a film out of his worst work. Howard Hughes paid Hemingway $10,000 for the rights to “To Have and Have Not”, then sold those rights to Hawks for $80,000. William Faulkner wrote the screenplay, which is loosely based on Hemingway’s work. It is the only time a Pulitzer winner wrote the screenplay based on the work from another Pulitzer winner.

Hemingway pool

The house was the first to have running water in Key West and the first home with a working second story bathroom in all of South Florida, this was due to a cistern on the roof.

It was also the first pool for over 100 miles in the late 1930’s. Pauline had the pool installed, when Ernest was a correspondent covering the Spanish Civil War in 1938. The pool cost $20,000 at that time; they had paid $8000 for the house and property originally. When Ernest returned from Spain, and found out the cost of the pool, he reportedly said, “Well, you might as well have my last cent.” Then promptly handed Pauline a penny. The penny is laid into the concrete near the pool. I did not take a photo of the penny, but I believe it is a 1934 edition.

Amusingly, there is a fountain for the cats installed by Hemingway. The jar is from Cuba, and the tank on the ground is a urinal from Sloppy Joe’s bar down the street, which was going through a renovation when Ernest was in the market for a cat fountain. Sloppy Joe’s is still right down the street.

The house was built in 1851 by Asa Tift. The structure’s walls are 18″ thick limestone, quarried from the property. That gave the house a basement, a very rare thing in the Keys. The house site was carefully chosen; it is the second highest site on Key West at 16′ above sea level. The average height of the Keys is only 5′ above sea level. The house has survived many hurricanes and the basement has yet to see water. 

I believe there are 53 cats on the property, all decedents of Snow White. A visitor to the museum in 2009 expressed concern for the welfare of the cats, and Federal litigation ensued. A vet now checks in on the cats once a week.

Hemingway with catch


Yoop-ing in the New Year

mackinac bridge
Mackinac Bridge

In order to avoid Chicago, I decided to take the scenic route towards the Twin Cities and ventured up into Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

It was a nice drive, and the UP is beautiful country. It was snowing lightly when I crossed the Mackinac Bridge. The “Mighty Mac” is a 26,372 foot long suspension bridge, completed in 1957, that connects the Upper and Lower sections of Michigan.

I stopped in St. Ignace and eventually wandered down to the Driftwood for a night of Mad Hatters and wondering what 2016 could possibly have in store.

It was a fun crowd, and offered a wonderful distraction.


Oldest State Breweries

Alaskan Brewing Co

Alaska:

Alaskan Brewing Company was the first Juneau brewery since prohibition, opening in 1986.  Surprisingly, after a quick glance through the list, only 13 states have a brewery older than Alaskan Brewing.

Anchor Brewing

California:

Anchor Brewing, San Francisco  (Est. 1896)

Millstream Brewing Co

Iowa:

Millstream Brewing Company, Amana  (Est. 1985)

Schell's Brewing Co

Minnesota:

Schell’s Brewing Company, New Ulm  (Est. 1860)

Genesee Brewing Company

New York:

Genesee Brewing Company, Rochester  (Est. 1878)

D. G. Yuengling & Son

Pennsylvania: 

D.G. Yuengling & Son, Pottsville  (Est. 1829)  The oldest brewery in the U.S.

Lone Star Brewing Co

Texas:

Lone Star Brewing Company, San Antonio (Est. 1883)

Minhas Craft Brewery

Wisconsin:

Minhas Craft Brewery, Monroe  (Est. 1845)


Harpoon Brewery

Harpoon Growler

While in Boston, the 2015 Frozen Foursome paid Harpoon Brewery a visit. They have quite the setup, and it is well worth visiting if in the city.

Love life. Harpoon.

The brew tour is also well worth it. The tour guides did a phenomenal job, and I really enjoyed getting a quasi-behind-the-scenes look at the brewery itself.

The Beer Line

Founded in 1986 as the Mass Bay Brewing Co, Harpoon Brewery was producing over 200,000 barrels of beer by 2013, and was the 12th largest craft brewery in the U.S.

The tasting room

The best room on the tour is, of course, the tasting room. Our guides highly suggested we taste-test as many different beers as possible, and I saw no point in arguing with the experts.

Harpoon Logo

The second best room in the brewery, for visitors, is the Beer Hall. A great place to sit back and drink a Leviathan or two, a don’t forget to order a pretzel.

A special thanks to Carolyn. We made very good use of the growlers…


Top Brew States

Wisconsin over Iowa?

My main interest in this post, besides the listing of craft brews, is that one friend will like the above picture, and another will probably stop watching the blog for a few days.

At any rate, Thrillist ranked each state based on their local beers. Mississippi came in dead last at #50. Iowa was #34, with Toppling Goliath coming in as their top beer. Alaska #25, with Midnight Sun Berserker & Anchorage Bitter Monk taking top honors. Texas was #20, with venerable Shiner getting mentioned as well as Jester King & Saint Arnold. Minnesota came in at #16, with Dangerous Man Brewing, Summit, and several others getting mentioned. Wisconsin #7 (which should surprise no one) with New Glarus’ Spotted Cow taking top honors. Oregon topped out the list.

Come on Iowa, you’re lagging behind.

Image Credit: Jennifer Bui

Check out Thrillist for the complete state listing.


Roughing It in Colorado

20140518-201615.jpg

It’s a tough life, but someone has to do it.