Beer Me in the Biggest Little City

Reno’s beer scene has grown up pretty significantly in the last few years.  There used to be essentially two local brewers, Great Basin and Silver Peak. I always usually preferred Silver Peak over Great Basin primarily because of Silver Peak’s tasty and potent Red Roadster and a better food menu. The two old guards have some new kids to keep up with.

Folks in Reno wanting to find craft beers to buy and take home would primarily have to rely on Rogue from Oregon  or outfits like Lagunitas out of California.  Today, there are more local breweries than I can keep track of at times.  The closest to my apartment is St. James (housed in an old bottled water distribution building) which along with their amazing rustic food selection has become one of my favorites.  Some of their more popular beers (Red Headed Stranger and Daily Wages) can now be found in grocery stores around town and on taps all over the city.

Along Reno’s old industrial 4th Street, a trio of breweries have popped up.  Pigeon Head, Under the Rose, and The Depot make for a kind of a “brewery row” along a street more famous for shady prostitution than anything else.  Throw in the tasty local brews at Brewer’s Cabinet (in what was an awesome local florist’s shop back in the day) and Reno now has a full line up of local brewing talent and tastes.

The local brews and explosion of popularity of microbrews in general has also allowed created a boom of beer related businesses pumping delicious beer and creating jobs in Reno.  Craft is a liquor store / bar that focuses on craft beers.  Most of the bars that line Midtown and Downtown (excluding the casinos) feature lots of local brew selection.  Just in the last month or so Reno’s first beer bike tour business has popped up.  Just down the street from me a growler filling station has opened its doors to those who prefer to get beer 64 ounces at a time instead of a pint.  Just last night I went out to a local bar that caters mostly to the older college / young professional crowd and the happy hour includes local brews only.

With summer coming and with most expecting it to be a long dry hot one, the readiness of frosty pints dotting the city with locally crafted flavors is certainly a welcome development.

Some Spring Cleaning

I’m in the middle of doing some serious spring cleaning and organizing in my apartment. Life since graduation from law school has been less than really stable.  Jobs and living arrangements have been fluid with Pahrump being the longest place I’d stayed in one spot since law school and that was only 19 months long.  Upon returning from Oregon, I lived back at my parents home (while they lived in California) for about a year or so then to Pahrump then back up to Reno in 2013.  I stayed at one house in Reno for about six months before moving into my current apartment.  While some items were left behind each move, I haven’t had a real chance to sort through boxes of stuff in quite some time.  Now that I’m quite settled into my current place with no intention to move for another year or more, it was time to clean up a bit.  I was finally in a mindset where I could figure out what I still needed and what I didn’t as opposed to just moving and living from boxes.

My guest room had become the storage place for all sorts of boxes of memories, junk, and just about anything I didn’t want to deal with at time or immediately need.  Cleaning it out was a two weekend project.  Papers, trinkets, packages, and other items filled boxes and the closet itself.  A large amount was Scout stuff that five years ago seemed important to keep but now was simply junk ready to toss.  There were notes from undergrad classes at Nevada, newsletters, wristbands, travel documents, and more that filled bags and bags of checks.  Hundreds of checks with various addresses and different banks needed to be destroyed; cords for technology long past obsolete were bagged up for recycling.

It was not all junk.  With each box there was  rush of nostalgia…photos and paperwork from my Eagle Project including letters for congratulation from Senators Reid and Bryan, a journal of my travels at Northern Tier, gifts from friends, patches and patches and patches from Scouting, framed certificates and photos that someday may have a place on walls again but for now should be put out of the way, political posters not limited to Kerry/Edwards, Obama’s Texas Two Step, and Titus’s run for governor, political pins, a drum, hiking gear, etc.

After sorting through items that could go and those that should remain, I made great progress is emptying the guest closet (now guests can actually hang stuff up in their rather than in the laundry closet).  It is amazing how good it felt just to go through it and get rid of all that clutter.  I still have quite a bit to do.  I need to go through my clothes and see which ones can be passed on to someone else and which should remain.  Some work shirts are ready to be retired.  I would like to get a better handle on some of my important documents (both paper and digital) and tackle my kitchen tools. But for now, I feel settled, sorted and halfway spring cleaned.

The Appearance List Grows

There are currently ten Judicial Districts in the State of Nevada (although there is a bill this Legislative Session to add one more) .  Within some of the Districts there multiple counties.  Over the last six months or so my appearance list has grown to include almost every Nevada Judicial District and almost all the District Courthouses.

Rarity for me… Washoe County District Court

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1st JD: Carson City, 2nd JD: Reno, 3rd JD: Yerington, 4th JD: Elko, 5th JD: Pahrump, Goldfield, Tonopah, and Hawthorne, 6th JD: Lovelock, Winnemucca, and Battle Mountain, 9th JD: Minden, 10th JD: Fallon

Still Missing:

1st JD: Virginia City, 7th JD: Ely, Eureka, Pioche, 8th JD: Las Vegas

Each Courthouse has a different way of operating so the first appearance in each town and especially in front of each different judge is always a little rocky.  Beyond just the judges and court staff, the cast of characters in each town can give the whole experience a different flavor (although in the rurals, you’ll get the same defense attorneys roaming the halls of different courts within the same judicial district. As I’ve written before, there are three categories of courthouse style in the State.

The nearly empty courthouses in Lovelock and Goldfield provide great contrast to the hustle and bustle of the larger ones like Reno or even Elko but on the day of actual court even those most remote houses of justice fill up with those with business before the traveling judge.  All day trial in Minden?  It is likely the judge you were just before and opposing counsel are all eating at the restaurant just across the street, tucked away in different corners so as to maintain the adversarial mood in the courtroom. Quick single case in Reno? No one is likely to remember you unless you are complete disaster (hasn’t happened yet – knock on wood).

It would be wonderful at some point to be able to check off each and every single District Court house in the state but a complete list is unlikely due to the nature of the isolation of Clark County and the pure distance of the 7th JD.  However, the to-do list is short and there is plenty of time ahead of me.

Perhaps Back

It’s been a bit since I’ve written and I last promised I’d write about the house I lived in my last year of undergrad.  Those posts will come but I need some extra time to think about exactly how I want to frame that story.  In the meantime, I’m going to try to commit to get back into regularly writing.  The struggle for me is not necessarily having nothing to write but rather that the topic I like to write about the most (politics) is not quite compatible with working in a political office.  Oh boy would have tons to write about…2016 starting, the Legislature, concerning state of the Democratic machine in Nevada, and Hillary’s terrible logo.  But alas, my writing must focus on other topics and so please be patient I experiment with what topics flow best, inspire me to write, and end up being readable.  Suggestions always welcome…

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My Special Lady

It’s a big day for my special lady.  I can see her as I walk through the doorway of a dimly lit saloon on this surprisingly chilly October evening.  The saloon itself is a little dusty and not all that busy given its size. The company she keeps will fluctuate throughout the night with dead moments and moments where she seems crowded.  She’s in comfortable clothing.  I pull up the stool next her and order a whiskey cause that’s what she’s sipping on, she wouldn’t be sipping on anything else.  The bartender obliges with a healthy pour.

She’s looked a little ragged lately but things are coming around for her recently; her skin is dry and worn. She’s gritty, she always been and probably will never soften. It’s part of her charm, at least to me.  Her best light is at dusk or dawn, or under the moon or neon lights; don’t ever judge her based on her appearance in the full desert sun.  If you think you are going to be able to pull one over on her, think again.  Don’t try to beat her down a Tahoe ski slope or pass her on the 95, you can’t win.  She’s been around for as long as I can remember and plenty long before that.  As the whiskey flows so do the memories.  The common thread in all our times together is certainly adventure, or at least a sense of it and she has no problem making me remember that.

We were just as comfortable together in the Alta Toquima wilderness with nothing but that which could be carried on our backs as we were in the hustle and bustle of the Las Vegas Strip, trying to beat the house just this once.  Hours and hours of highway we traveled together through the world’s ninth largest desert.  Summit. Valley. Summit. Valley. Town. Summit. Valley.  There was no better reminder for us of continuous renewal than a gushing creek through Lamoille Canyon in the spring and we were reminded of everyone’s mortality in the ruins of one ghost town or another.

The bartender pours another and I’m kind of surprised she’s still going.  I shouldn’t be.  Each time I think I’ve got her figured out, she finds a way to remind me I’ve only scratched the surface.    It’s time for me mosey on out out the saloon, so I say my goodbye, knowing full well I’ll see her tomorrow but I wanted to make sure to catch her today.  As I head toward the door, the light catches her just right and I’m reminded all over again why I love her so.  Happy birthday gal, you look great for 150.