When Todd Robert refers to a “high-gravity” brew, the 42-year-old isn’t just noting its elevated alcohol content.
“That’s just beer-speak,” he shrugged off, as we tasted a Double IPA brewed in his native Pennsylvania. But Robert didn’t just throw out the term to sound cool or hip.
Nope. The veteran home brewer subsequently explained the science behind gravity — or the density of the beverage in relation to water. Brewers measure the gravity of their batches before and after the fermentation process with a hydrometer to test the beer’s booziness. The greater the difference between those two numbers, he said, the higher percentage of alcohol there is in the beer.
Robert may know as much or more about beer than anyone else in the area. He recently became the only Certified Cicerone — the brewing equivalent of the wine world’s sommelier — in the Quad-Cities. Just 11 other Iowans have secured the same status by passing an exam, which touts a less than 50 percent pass rate.
The Quad-City transplant, who moved here from Raleigh, N.C., to live with his fiancé and business partner, Gwendolyn Lee, in a downtown Davenport condo, now wants to put his certification to good use.
By the end of February, the techie couple who first bonded over craft beer-speak at a digital marketing convention in Seattle, will open Endless Brews, a new bottle shop and tap room at 310 Main St., Davenport.
“I know how to taste beer and I know what to look for, but I want to be around people that are hungry to taste new things,” said Robert, who works as a professional graphic designer on the side.
Lee, a 35-year-old Davenport native, said she’s just as eager to hunt down hard-to-find domestic beers for their establishment.
“There’s such a thirst for this kind of business in the Quad-Cities,” said Lee, who operates her own digital startup, RubberStamps.net, out of an office in Bettendorf. “We’re going to feature things you can’t find anywhere else here.”
The couple, who said they both like to act fast, met in July, 2014, and got engaged in Dec. 2014, at a brewery. Lee made it clear that they plan to hold off on the wedding, however, until after they have their "beer baby,” and get their business up and running.
Although they may stock a few Coors Light bottles in their fridge at home, which debunks any lingering beer snob accusations, don’t expect to find that or any other mega-brewery beers at their shop.
“Every beer has its time and place,” Robert said. “The alcohol is just the awesome side effect from drinking it."
Keys falls in Melbourne
Quad-City native Madison Keys battled a leg injury on Monday before losing in the fourth round of the Australian Open to unseeded Zhang Shuai.
Shuai, the 133rd-ranked player in the world, defeated the 20-year-old Keys 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 to advance to the quarterfinals.
Keys, who's ranked 17th in the world, made it to the semifinals last year before losing to Serena Williams.
RAGBRAI to end in Muscatine
The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa will begin July 24 in Glenwood and end on July 30, organizers announced on Saturday.
Cyclists will start the annual week-long trek, which will stretch 420 miles this year, at the Missouri River and end by dipping their tires in the Mississippi River. Last year’s ride ended in Davenport.
Milan pot shop to open soon
Medical marijuana patients in the Illinois Quad-Cities may soon be able to purchase the drug legally here for the first time when one of the state’s newest dispensaries opens in Milan.
Beer distributor Matt Stern, co-owner of Stern Beverage Inc., hopes to open his bulletproof shop, located next to his Budweiser distribution facility, in early February.
State officials inspected Stern’s new business, Nature’s Treatment of Illinois, earlier this month, he said. So far, 23 dispensaries in Illinois are licensed to sell the plant to the 4,000 or so approved patients.
GO & DO
Relax and explore your creative side at tonight’s "Adult Coloring" event at the Rock Island Public Library, 401 19th Street. The free event, which will provide art supplies, coloring pages and refreshments, begins at 6:00 p.m.