Archive for the ‘Meet Chris’ Category

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An Irish Whiskey Tour

Last summer my wife and I took a trip to Northern Ireland to celebrate milestone birthdays and to explore our Irish family roots. On St. Patrick’s Day this year, we stayed home, recreated some of the traditional Irish dishes, and opened the Irish Whiskey we brought back in our luggage. The cuisine of Ireland is comfort food, drawing from the land and sea. Potatoes, salmon, sausage, cabbage, oats and cheese are the most popular ingredients.

Traditional Irish whiskey differs from Scottish and American whiskies because it is distilled three times instead of twice. The more a liquid is distilled, the lighter, smoother and more alcoholic it becomes.” Single pot still whiskey” is used to describe a particular style of whiskey made in Ireland at a single distillery in a pot still. It is made from a mixed mash of unmalted green barley and malted barley. We tried lots of different brands of whiskey on our trip (after all, we WERE celebrating). Slàinte (a toast meaning “health” and pronounced “slahn-cha”) #IrishWhiskey

1.Old Bushmills Distillery, based in Bushmills, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, is the world’s oldest licensed distillery. King James I granted the governor of Antrim a license to distill in 1608, giving the distillery bragging rights. We had a lovely lunch and tried their selection of blended whiskies. We also learned that this institution was purchased by Jose Cuervo in 2014.

2. Redbreast 12 is regarded by critics as one of the foremost examples of excellence in the single pot still Irish whiskey category. It tastes like Christmas with its fruitcake nose, full bodied spicy marzipan palate and custard finish. It has been named Irish Whiskey of the Year multiple times.

3. The Powers John’s Lane Release 12-year old single pot still Irish whiskey is one of the best balanced that we drank. Smooth and earthy with spice and honey.

4. No longer in operation, The Old Jameson Distillery in Dublin is now a tourist attraction. Jameson blended whiskey is our choice for Irish coffee, so we had to try the Dublin version. The bar also serves Jameson cocktails and single pot still Jameson whiskey.

5. Tulamore Dew. The Tullamore Dew Single Malt whiskies contain both malted and unmalted barley-based whiskeys, triple distilled and aged between 12 to 15 years in old bourbon or sherry casks. Some pot-still whiskey is included in the blend. This was my wife’s favorite because she loved the vanilla-caramel-toffee nose, palate and finish.

6. Teeling Whiskey was distilled for 300 years in Dublin until 1976 when economic times closed it down. With the recent craft of distilling making a comeback, Teeling is now producing incredible whiskey. Our favorite was the small batch blended single grain whiskey with a sweet nose and woody finish.

7. Green Spot. This single pot still whiskey does not carry an age statement . It matures for 7-10 years in a mix of bourbon and Sherry casks which creates the sweet, minty, malty experience.

8. Midleton Very Rare. Before leaving for Ireland we heard that Midleton Very Rare was THE best Irish whiskey, but also very expensive because it is released in limited quantities. It is triple distilled and aged 12-25 years. We found a pub in Dublin that sold a relatively well-priced glass of it and savored the taste from our single glass. We enjoyed the experience but wouldn’t call it our favorite.

9. The Tyrconnell. Tyrconnell was the name of a racehorse in the 19th century that won at 100-1 odds. We love single malt scotch, so it is only fitting that we would try the pot still single malt whiskies in Ireland. Flowers, citrus and vanilla… what’s not to like about this Irish whiskey!

10. We had a glass of the mass produced whiskey, not the reserved or 18-year-old Kilbeggan. The inconsistencies are the fact that is double not triple distilled and the finish is not long and sweet.



Back to the Future is My Family…

“Hey, Doc, we better back up. We don’t have enough road to get up to 88 (miles per hour)”  – Marty McFly, Back to the Future II

“Roads, where we’re going we don’t need roads,” – Doc Brown, Back to Future II

Back to the Future is my family’s favorite movie trilogy. The first movie premiered in 1985, the same year that Old Town Square opened in Fort Collins. Although Old Town Square is now under renovation, businesses are still open and they are celebrating Back to the Future with trivia nights, specials, and movie showings.

I served as State President for the Colorado Association of REALTORS® in 1994 and the movie, Back to the Future, was my inspiration for the year in which I served. Back then, we would set a theme to identify our goal for the year and it would be revealed at our state convention with a theatrical flair.

As State President in 1994, the world of real estate was changing dramatically. There was no road map to identify how we would navigate the industry of the future. The way people bought and sold homes had entered a new era. During my year of presidency, we addressed electronic lockboxes on homes for sale to protect the homeowner and to track showings (prior to that, agents would obtain keys at the front desk of the listing company, can you imagine how time consuming that was?).

Who were real estate agents representing in transactions in 1994? In Colorado, we became a leader in tackling Buyer Agency, Seller Agency, Dual Agency and Transaction Brokers. REALTORS® needed to learn how to use computers and the internet was in its infancy. If you wanted to buy a home, you would look at an MLS book that published listings. The first mass-produced cell phone was introduced in 1994.  Most business was conducted face-to-face with the telephone as a secondary form of communication.  Networking with other REALTORS® was the foundation for serving your client. It was a time when you looked people in the eye and a handshake was a commitment.

So, in October, 1993, my family joined me at the state convention to kick off my theme, “Headed for the Future”. We borrowed a DeLorean from a local resident and it was sitting on a lift stage, below the vision of everyone at the banquet. The music began to play, (Neil Diamond singing “Headed for the Future”… “We’re headed for the future and the future is now”) My family and I got into the DeLorean and the winged doors closed. My 6-year-old freaked out….. she thought the car was actually going to fly! Instead, the lift stage rose up through simulated fog and once we were at stage height, the car doors opened and we all got out. I introduced my theme and spoke about all of the changes and challenges that I thought were on the horizon in the real estate industry.

You must watch Back to the Future II and the perception of how 2015 would look back in 1989. No spoilers in this blog (ok one, where are our flying cars?). And, theaters will be airing Back to the Future II on October 21, 2015, the day Marty and Doc went to the future.

March is National Reading Month…

…And a great time to open a new book or old favorite story.

Last week my wife and I attended a REALTOR® Issues Conference in Scottsdale and one of our speakers, Doris Kearns Goodwin, amazed and captivated me. She is known as “America’s Historian-in Chief” for her books about our American presidents.  Ms. Goodwin wrote Team of Rivals: the Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln and Steven Spielberg acquired the rights to develop the feature film Lincoln based upon her book. She “lives” with the presidents in her stories as she researches and compiles notes about her subjects. Doris spoke, barely taking a breath, about her newest narrative, The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism. I can’t wait to read the book!

Friends of the CSU Libraries and the Poudre River Friends of the Library sponsor a free author evening series,, and it is always a great experience. Last month my favorite youngest daughter and I had the privilege to hear William Ury, (The First Step in Any Negotiation, Conflict or Difficult Conversation) is Getting to YES with Yourself. Mr. Ury is cofounder of the Harvard Negotiation Project.

In my book club this year, I already have two favorites: Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked The Civil War by Tony Horwitz, and A Higher Call by Adam Makos. I received Adam Makos’ book as a Christmas gift from my favorite middle daughter and I couldn’t put the book down. The author now lives in Denver but grew up in PA, a WWII junky because of the stories told by his two grandfathers.  Side note: my wife’s father was at Pearl Harbor when it was bombed and my father served in the army in Europe, so we both had similar experiences. Fast forward to college where Adam was interviewing veterans and publishing a magazine about WWII with a mission statement of “Preserving the sacrifices of America’s veteran’s”. However, the story does not focus on the conflict of WWII, but the human spirit that can draw together two souls on opposite sides of the war.

The National Education Association’s Read Across America always kicks off on March 2nd, Dr. Seuss’s birthdate. Although Dr. Seuss passed away in 1991, his widow has recently found new manuscripts of his works. On July 28, 2015, look for a new Dr. Seuss book, What Pet Should I Get? Happy reading!

Tuesday 10: March Happenings in Fort Collins

March is here and in Colorado you never know if it will be 50 degrees, snowing, or both on the same day. No matter the weather, here are ten fun events, great for music, food, shopping, and just getting out of the house.

1. March 1st– 14th– Great Plates – Downtown Fort Collins – Foodies rejoice! With over 30 restaurants in downtown Fort Collins participating, you won’t lack options. $25 dinner deals and $2.50 breakfast deals. Diners are encouraged to donate to the Larimer County Food Bank. $0.25 provides a meal for a person in need. Two of the companies I work with, Meritage Homes and The Group Inc., are sponsors this year.

2. March 3rd – Free Band Concert- 1400 Remington St. – Performing music inspired by the lives of Americans and American folk music.

3. March 4th – Free Orchestra Concert – 1400 Remington St.- Performing music by British composers including Holst, Vaughan Williams, and Grainger.

4. March 6th-8th – Friends of the Library Used Book Sale – Harmony Library – Have a few spots open on your bookshelf? Check out this event. You can go home with a handful or an armful of books, all while supporting the library.

5. March 7 & 28th – Winter Market – Downtown Fort Collins – A family favorite! Great event to wander, listen to live music, sample goodies, and purchase artisan food products. Inside the Opera Galleria. If you like fish, check out my wife’s favorite vendor, Kaleb’s Katch.

6. March 14th – Balloon Glow – Linden & Walnut St. – 3-4 hour air balloons will be lit up and coordinated with music. A great event to bring your children. Some balloon pilots will allow photo ops.

7. March 14th – St. Patrick’s Day Parade – Wear your green and head downtown! The annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade is a free event. Visit the Old Town Irish Party afterwards for live music, food, beverages, and entertainment.

8. March 17th – Free Concert Larimer Chorale – Opera Galleria – Singing of the Green. A family friendly event with music and dancing. A fun option for St. Patrick’s Day.

9. March 19th – Cons, Scams presented by Dave Miller – Happy Lucky’s Teahouse- Sometimes a little magic is a good thing…until you lose your lunch money. Dave Miller, magician extraordinaire, is sharing the scams that con artists have used for hundreds of years. Learn how to avoid these cons and how to practice them on your unsuspecting friends (as a joke of course).

10. March 27th – Wine Fest – Fort Collins Marriott – Benefits Disabled Resource Services. Meet your friends for a night of sniffing, sipping, and enjoying wine. If you aren’t into wine, you can enjoy beer, food, live music, black jack tables, raffle, silent and live auctions.

What events are you looking forward to this month?

New NAR Insurance Committee

A few weeks ago I was appointed to the new National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Insurance Committee. Why is this so important? NAR is the watchdog whose purpose is to protect private property rights in our country. Over the past few years, Northern Colorado has had to deal with a number of natural disasters. Tornadoes, drought, excessive rains, fires and floods have affected our population and the largest single investment of its people…their

The purpose of the committee is to advocate public policy related to insurance issues which benefits the interests of home owners by modernizing/improving the system of insurance regulation in the U.S. The areas of discussion are Disaster & Homeowners Insurance, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) and the Affordable Care Act provisions and how they relate to Health Insurance for NAR members.

As a REALTOR®, it is my job to not only help my clients buy and sell real estate, but to ensure my clients’ investments are protected at the legislative level.

The Little Blue Book

I was privileged to be part of the product concept and creation of Rules to Live by for REALTORS®. Now in print, thousands of REALTORS® are reading this light-hearted booklet which focuses on the instructions, principles, philosophies and rules that members of the National Association of REALTORS® utilize to be successful in their real estate careers. Input was received from nearly 600 NAR members to create the professional guide that gives realistic advice to REALTORS®.  
Chris McElroy,REALTOR®