Off Color Brewing | Chicago Craft Gin Week is a Real Thing
Every once in a while, a truly insane beer comes around and delights the masses. Chicago Craft Gin Week Is A Real Thing (CCGWIART) from Off Color Brewing is one of these beers—if the masses love a sour, that is. Off Color brews up some of the best beers in the Windy City, from their experimental Miller High Life collaboration, Eek!, to the delicious dessert that is Dino S’mores Russian Imperial Stout. With CCGWIART, the brewery has yet another unconventional (yet delectable) feather in its cap.
First brewed for Chicago Craft Gin Week in December 2019, this American Wild Ale clocks in at 6.1% ABV. CCGWIART is a blend of three different ales: a funky Saison aged in a Sangiovese puncheon with Rangpur limes for eight months; a Foeder Aged Wild Ale finished in a Caledonia Spirits Tom Cat-style gin barrel hand-selected by Publican; and a Wild Ale aged in a FEW gin barrel for three years.
That’s a lot to take in even before having a sip of this delicious nectar. Such a jigsaw puzzle of a beer may have you thinking you’ll only want a few sips. You may be wrong in that assessment, though you probably won’t want to have many servings in a row (but, if you aren’t driving, who am I to judge?). CCGWIART pours a translucent, bright straw in color with minimal head. The first sip is almost a shock to the system, with immediate oak and juniper notes that slowly give way to a tart floral, key lime finish. The beer drinks medium-dry with a pleasant wild-funk throughout. If day drinking were a cheese board, this beer is the complementary pile of tiny pickles: an unexpected, palate-awakening punch of tartness that makes the whole gustatory experience just a little bit better.
Speaking of cheese, here’s a pro-tip: Grab a pie from Pizzeria Bebu on your way to the taproom (it’s some of the best pizza in the city). Nothing on the menu is the wrong choice, but the Carbonara pizza comes highly recommended.
The one downside is that CCGWIART is no longer on tap at Mousetrap. They do have some limited bottles available, but you may have to wait for the 2020 Chicago Craft Gin Week to get a sip of the 2020 version of Chicago Craft Gin Week Is a Real Thing. Mark your calendars now!