BrewDog Opens First U.S. Location in Columbus, OH

There’s always room for more beer in America, even in Columbus, OH.

The Scotland-based brewery BrewDog is best known in America for their owners, James Watt and Martin Dickie, self-titled Esquire Network show that aired for two seasons. Their beers like Punk IPA, Hardcore IPA and 5am Saint could be find sporadically in the U.S.

That’s all changing with this week’s opening of their first production facility and bar in Columbus. The BrewDog bars can be found all across the United Kingdom (30 bars) and internationally in Hong Kong, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Poland, Norway, Germany, Finland, Brazil and Japan. The BrewDogs at Clapham Common and Shoreditch were my mobile office when I was staying there.

The first U.S. location gained a bit of press when Watt and Dickie offered employees a week of “paw”-ternity leave for new pet owners to “help settle a new furry family member into their home.”

Like most of the BrewDog bars, the Columbus location will have a full-service restaurant serving burgers, salads, pizzas, bar bites and sharing boards, retro arcade games and shuffleboard. The taps will have their own beers alongside other local offerings. Also, be prepared to get blotto with some of their high APV beers that go to 16.5%. I had their Tactical Nuclear Penguin which was 32% and almost made me hurl.

This gives travelers more of a reason to travel beyond Cleveland and Cincinatti to see what else Ohio has to offer. In fact, Columbus already touts 20 breweries in the city limits.


United Pilot Has Meltdown Over Intercom; Might Not Have Happy Valentine’s Day

There seems to be a story everyday about a passenger doing something crazy. The “Cash Me Outside” chick used 5 of her 15 minutes for an in-flight rant. For this story, it’s the pilot going off the rails.

Many outlets are reporting about a United Airlines pilot showed up late for a Austin-San Francisco run late and in street clothes. The unnamed captain grabbed the intercom to rant about her divorce, the past election and her “cute little uniform.” Many passengers chronicled it on social media. After watching the video, it’s more disturbing than ha ha funny.

My reaction would be to find a flight attendant and ask, “Pardon me. I’m going to open the emergency doors and deploy the slide.”

About a dozen did get off, but the police arrived and escorted the pilot off the plane. She’s been suspended pending investigation.

While there are plenty of jokes to be made, this incident is not good for anyone. A Germanwings pilot had undisclosed mental problems and downed an entire plane in 2015. In 2012, a JetBlue pilot freaked out mid-flight yelling about a bomb on the plane, had to be locked out of the cockpit and restrained.

Pilots have one of the most stressful jobs out there with the pressure to be on-time, the hours of being away from home and the burden of having 180 souls trusting your skills. I hope this is a rare incident because they are the lifeblood of a whole industry.


The Cats of Istanbul Have Their Own Documentary, Kedi

There are a lot of cats wondering Istanbul. Not just a few randomly, I’m talking everywhere (in the hundreds of thousands). These aren’t the singing, dancing or talking cats you see in musicals or the movies. They are feral — sometimes cute, sometimes dangerous, but they give an added layer of character to the city.

They will also scare the crap out of you. I was having a rest outside of the Grand Bazaar to look at my guidebook and one brushed up against my leg and I friggin flipped out.

Now they have their own documentary, Kedi (Nine Lives: The Cats of Istanbul), in selected theaters and soon available for download. Film-maker Ceyda Torun follows seven cats through the city and chronicles their daily lives. The cats are adopted by local neighborhoods as a communal cat to make sure their are taken care of and fed.

As you’ll see in the trailer, it’s much more than slow motion footage of cute cats doing cat things. It delves into the symbiotic connection between the animals and the ancient city. It looks like the perfect film to introduce young kids to documentaries and Istanbul.


Buffalo’s Public Espresso + Coffee in The Hotel Lafayette Is a Trip Back in Time

Beyond the chicken wings, Frank Lloyd Wright house and the tailgating scene at a Bills home game (look it up … at home, not work), there’s a nothing much that’s a “must-see”. Once you get through the big draws, you can check out some early 20th century interiors while sipping a fine cup of coffee.

Buffalo was once a major industrial hub in the early 1900s. If you saw Crimson Peak, you learned this. A quick drive around the nice neighborhoods and you’ll see some perfectly preserved houses from that era.

The Hotel Lafayette was built for the Pan-American Exposition, where President McKinnley was assassinated. It went through a major facelift in 2012 to make the building a hotel, office, spa, brew pub and  Public Espresso + Coffee. Getting a cappuccino gives you an excuse to wonder around and look at the retro interiors.

Behind the coffee counter, you can see the old mail room. Above the main desk is a painting of vintage air travel. Around the corner is the elevator hallway where you can picture what the joint was like back in the day. I poked my head into the Pan-American Grill & Brewery and saw all the wood fixtures and old timey hunting memorabilia.




Notice A Theme With Travel-Related Super Bowl Ads?

While the immigrant story of Adolphus Busch is grabbing headlines at juuuuuuust the right time during the Super Bowl,  there was  a theme to several travel-related Super Bowl ads.

There’s the AirBnb ad featuring people of many nationalities using the popular LL Brown/Circular font the company uses to showcase their desire for inclusion. Not included is when you find out your AirBnb host is creepy.

I enjoyed the Expedia advert of the red head traveling at every stage of her life — hitchhiking, making out with a guy in Japan, saving refugees, being a humanitarian and getting stopped by a soldier at a checkpoint. It’s pretty bold.

Last year, Turkish Airlines had Ben Affleck and Jesse Eisenberg from Batman v. Super: Dawn of Boredom. This year, they had the voice of God Morgan Freeman taking his first class seat to an open field.

The theme — travel is awesome because it gets you out of your bubble … and a little trolling of the new U.S. President doesn’t hurt.


There’s a Crisps Only Cafe in London Because We’ve Given Up On Life

The world likes potatoes. We like them fried, baked, mashed, sauted and boiled. In it’s most convenient form — the fried, salted, artificially flavored — is a wonderful snack or a side dish to a sandwich. Hopefully, we’re all on the same page.

That’s why we don’t consider potato crisps as a main dish. It’s not filling, satisfying and not healthy. Not a part of a nutritious meal by any stretch of the imagination.

That didn’t stop some London entrepreneurs from opening up an all crisps and dips cafe on Old Compton Street in Soho called Hipchips. That’s right, you can spend £12 for a big pile of artisans crisps and some dipping sauces. You’ll have to excuse me while I scream into a pillow.

Now that’s done,  let’s look at the menu. You can pick from seven varieties of potatoes like Shetland Black, Highland Burgundy or Salad Blue. These all seem like colors you’d find in the J.Crew catalog. Then you can either go savory or sweet. The savory are veggie ceviche, cheese fondue or katsu curry. The sweet are chocolate, peanut butter & jelly or caramel. Wash it down with a fizzy soda and you can hate yourself for spending a lot of money on upscale, hipster chips.

Now, I need to open a nachos only cafe.