Happy 4th of July

On this hot yet fine July 4th, I decided to celebrate with a little wardriving and, while I was at it, visit a nice craft brewery or two.

First, I’d noticed that my percentage of the Wi-Fi AP database was at 54.9% (about 380k APs collected since February) could be improved and that the West Valley still has a lot of major arterials which haven’t been touched.

Today I decided to cover the rest of McDowell Rd from SR51 to the end in Verrado, and return via Indian School Rd. I discovered that McDowell actually ends just before Verrado at a (currently) dry wash, and there was no way to cross in the truck. But, nonetheless, I made it out to Verrado, drove through that artificial “America’s midwest (everyones’ home) town”, which reminded me of a Twilight Zone or two. The streets and houses are just like some backlot at Universal, and there’s no one on the streets. I mean no one. Sure, it was 103F out, but there’s plenty of trees and it was shady in spots, and there are 60-some-odd parks advertised there, but there was no one. Creepy. Did I also mention that Verrado is one of those neighborhood/communities that they built far in the middle of nowhere back in the last decade when commuting 30 miles to the city wasn’t considered an issue?

Anyway, you’d figure on the 4th of July, this “everyones’ home town” kind of place would be preparing for all sorts of festivities, with town fairs, barbecues, bunting, banners and flags. Instead, nothing. Even the downtown area was deserted. Wait, was that a tumbleweed blowing down the avenue?

On the way back east on Indian School, I realized that I wasn’t all that far from Peoria Artisan Brewery, and stopped in for a fresh pint. Jos poured up a Paul’s Pale Ale, and it was good. While I was sipping that, some thing in my mind reminded me of the fabled 8-Bit Brewing Company, to which I’d never been. I asked, and apparently it had opened at the beginning of May. Paid Jos for the beer and I was on my way to the world of pixelated animated characters.

After fording the mighty Agua Fria ditch, I turned into a generic industrial park and soon found a group of vehicles clustered in front of a non-descript industrial office suite. 8-Bit Brewery! Inside, Krystina was great, friendly, and very knowledgeable on their beers. Seems that she and her husband Ryan run the place, she manages the tap room, while Ryan cooks up the good stuff in back.

8-Bit is fun! It’s not a cozy tap room, just a high-ceiling’ed front of an otherwise industrial suite. However, to bring some warmth to the place, they have original paintings by a local artist who specializes in 8-bit art. Pretty cool. Famous characters back from the Mario days are immortalized here. And even cooler, they play only 8-bit music. While I didn’t hear any classics while trying a flight, Krystina says that there’s a local musician who takes popular songs and discretizes them, giving them that 1980’s 8-bit charm. She elaborated that he’d done this for a number of bands or artists; none interested me until she said that he’d discretized a Metallica song or two. Now, that I’ve got to hear.

The beers are tasty. I was able to sample all 6 beers currently on tap, and she also treated me to a white cocoa bean (which is one of the ingredients they use to make their White Mage white ale. Getting to try a white cocoa bean was ultra-cool. Like a peanut, except completely different. She also gave me and a number of other beer fans there a taste of the wort for their nice Black Mage stout, which was a fine stout. I’d never had a taste of wort, but it was sugary sweet, complex aroma, maybe a hint of anise, deep brown and cloudy. Got to thinking that it could be good as a glaze for roast pork!

Leaving Mario and Tanookis behind, I returned to my wardriving heading east on Indian School. Not much chance of rain today, but at least I collected another 10,000 or so APs.