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'Ques and Brews: Viva Antiques! (Tallmadge, OH)/Madcap Brewing (Kent, OH)

With our journey into the Kent area for the first time, we figured we had to throw in a little bit of our favorite pastimes in antique- and craft beer-seeking into our journey. With plenty of fuel for the journey provided by the fun and kitschy joint that is Mike's Place (the subject of my last blogpost), we first dropped by into nearby Tallmadge for a visit to Viva Vintage!

Recently relocated from Cuyahoga Falls, the listed address for Viva Vintage is slightly deceiving (while it may be post office correct, it's almost better if you plug in neighboring Wire Wizards into your GPS system if you drop by for a visit.) 

The vintage silver Christmas tree outside was a good sign for this place's potential, and really it didn't disappoint for the size.  In a way, the size and decor reminded me of some of the vintage shops lining High Street to either side of North Broadway: just a little of everything organized in a relatively neat manner.

X-Wings and Random Things: Mike's Place (Kent, OH)

First off, the weather in Ohio has rated as supremely comfortable right now for the last couple weeks. While mid-fifties temperatures may not threaten any high-temperature records for Columbus (the highest high temp for the month is a ridiculous 76 degrees back on December 3, 1982), they are more than enough reason for my spouse and I to venture out on a whim to undiscovered parts of the state.

It really didn't take all that long to figure out where to go either. With all things Star Wars creeping into our minds with the impending release of the sequel, a suggestion by my spouse to head up towards the Akron/Canton area rang a bell in my head about some kitschy diner up with a mock X-Wing guarding its front. After quickly searching for a picture of it on my mobile phone to show her, the decision had been made: lunch date at Mike's Place in Kent, Ohio.

Black Friday Libations Tour: Columbus Edition (Pt. 2)

An older bottle of Scarlet Solstice from Brothers Drake Meadery, which
has been plying its trade in Columbus for nearly a decade.
One of the more unique aspects of our family tours lies in the fact that one of our party members who sports a severe gluten allergy (in fact, we tried to make a quick trip over to Merion Village's Bake Me Happy, but alas they were closed for the entire Thanksgiving Day weekend.)  That very fact makes our touring that much more interesting, as that puts destinations focusing on ciders, meads and spirits on our radar for possible visits. This was definitely the case when it came to Central Ohio's original meadery in the Short North's Brothers Drake.

Black Friday Libations Tour: Columbus Edition (Pt. 1)

Starting in 2015, various members of my family decided to break with the shopping tradition on Black Friday and instead embark on a brewery and spirits tour. With the Detroit and Cleveland (on last year's tour) covered, it seemed only natural to turn our attentions south toward Columbus this year.

In a way, however, this particular tour was 25 years in the making. That’s when my one of my now many brothers-in-law landed a theater assignment in Columbus in the early 1990s. During that stint, he happened to wander into a shiny brand new downtown area brewpub named Barley’s Ale House (easy stumbling distance from his Victorian Village rental) and was almost immediately hooked. From there, he gained a growing appreciation of the still fledgling local beer scene, one which was still dominated by Budweiser but dotted with a blast from the past (Hoster) as well as a few small upstarts like Barley’s and Columbus Brewing.

Also born at this time was his love for homebrewing; in fact, he bought his first homebrewing kit from Barley’s head brewer himself, Angelo Signorino. It is a passion that continues strongly to this day, with a particular interest in the classic German styles of beer and brewing. He eventually moved with his family to parts farther west, but he never lost his love for where it all started.

vinyl cOHvers: Thanksgiving Triple Treat

The holidays can sometimes make you want to shout
Thanksgiving week can be considered something of an F-week: family, friends, (Black) Friday, and of course, food.  In some cases, it will be a bit too much, and stretchy pants will be appreciated by many after chowing down on the usual holiday eatings.

With that in mind, I figured I'd break a bit from the food posts and get back to a post on another favorite hobby of mine in vinyl record collecting. Ever since my spouse bought me a turntable for a present a few years back, it's been a slow but steady Katy-bar-the-door in collecting records for the both of us.

My previous focus had been on specific local albums and the history behind them (including my last post in April on The Dulcimer Alliance and Lima, Ohio's Great Black Swamp Dulcimer Festival.) With so many more records in hand since then, I'm going with a sampler platter approach for future posts, where you can have a gander of three albums with some local Ohio roots, including some of the liner notes (often the best things about older records) and some general impressions. I also jazzed up the linked videos containing the selected songs as well with visuals and historical factoids.