Event Recap | Burnt City Brewing GroundHOP Day IPA Release Party
On a chilly February night, Chicago craft beer lovers flocked to the iconic Logan Theatre to celebrate Groundhog Day with Burnt City Brewing’s newest creation: GroundHOP Day IPA. When I walked into the lounge/bar area of Logan Theatre, I was greeted by the vinyl tunes of Cage and Aquarium productions and a packed room full of beer lovers seeking Burnt City Brewing GroundHOP Day or the other special beer offered that night, Freight Handler Milk Stout.
The event was fun from start to finish and even included a life-size version of the Groundhog Day protagonist, Phil Connors, albeit, “zombie-fied,” positioned in-front of a huge map with mock weather forecasts. The zombie weatherman setup made for a fun photo opportunity for patrons, but it was the newly-released IPA that warranted the most attention.
Made with Simcoe and Amarillo hops, GroundHOP Day is the brainchild of head brewer Ben Saller who decided to honor the movie with a beer that derives its name from repeatedly hopping it during the brewing process.
I’m not going to beat around the bush, GroundHOP Day is a delicious beer the offered notes of hops from start to finish. The beer has a light head and a pale amber color with a bitter taste and bitter finish, which is exactly what hop lovers like myself enjoy about drinking some of the more hoppy IPAs. That said, while the taste and flavor profiles of GroundHOP are intense, the finish is smooth, which beckons you to drink more and more of it.
One interesting tidbid involves Saller’s use of lemon peel as a way to add texture to the beer. Burnt City consistently uses this ingredient in its lighter beers, but GroundHOP Day was the first hoppy beer to receive the lemon peel treatment. Saller’s focus is making good, well-constructed, memorable beers that are easy to drink; he succeeded in this one. Saller believes that subtlety, which can be hard to market, is key to making good beer as it means that the beer you’re making is consistently crafted and presents flavors that beer lovers expect. It doesn’t have to jump of the shelf, it just has to be good.
Burnt City doesn’t do a lot of release parties. In fact, according to Saller, it’s hard to generate enthusiasm for events because of how inundated people have become with them. Chicago’s increasingly expansive craft-beer scene has inspired Burnt City to target audiences by hosting unique events, or basing them on a specific moment-in-time, which is exactly what Burnt City did with its GroundHOP Day release.
The event was fun, quirky and it offered fans an opportunity to try an exceptionally good IPA that many people, myself included, would love to drink over and over again. Cheers!