About- Emma Wargolet
As part of the PorchDrinking AleBlazers Series, I was excited to get to chat with Sarah Flora of Flora Brewing. If you’ve had a chance to peruse her website or YouTube channel, you know that she is a top-notch homebrewer. Additionally, she just made her commercial debut at Pilot Project Brewing, a brewery incubator in Chicago, with Medusa, a Pale Ale that is perfect for summer!
The love of Broadway runs deep and being able to see my first Broadway show while out in New York City recently was exciting, to say the least. While having spent a lot of time watching theatre, none of the shows were actually on Broadway. How to pay homage to Six: The Musical? By pairing each woman with a beer thoroughly enjoyed in New York City, of course!
The winners of the World Beer Cup were announced on Thursday, May 5, 2022 in Minneapolis, MN, as part of this year’s Craft Brewers Conference. The World Beer Cup competition was launched by the Brewers Association in 1996 to celebrate brewing and brewers across the world and is often referred as “The Olympics of Beer Competitions”. It is typically held every other year, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 awards were canceled, meaning that the last time these awards were given out was in 2018.
Despite the idyllic notion that craft beer is an incredible industry founded on collaboration and camaraderie, last year’s reckoning ignited by Brienne Allan’s work showcased that sexism is a rampant issue in beer that has often been swept under a rug for far too long.
Brienne’s work helped to shine greater awareness on the systemic issue and as a result, incremental change has begun, as seen with her Brave Noise collaboration campaign. Additionally, we’re constantly inspired by a new class of trailblazers like Ash Eliot, founder of Women of the Bevolution, who’ve stepped up to help continue to further Brienne’s cause, and our own Kindsey Bernhard, who launched the Boys are from Märzen podcast to spotlight incredible women in the industry, and Grace Weitz, editor for Hop Culture and organizer of Beers Without Beards festival, which celebrates women and non-binary led breweries. However, in the grand scope of things, there’s still so much that needs to be done to bring greater equity to a historically male-dominated industry.
It’s not enough to post that a brewery supports diversity and will work to combat racism, sexism, homophobia; there has to be actual action. Performative allyship does nothing.
Each year, Pink Boots Society members across the country team up to brew a beer for International Women’s Day. The Chicago chapter met up in February at Church Street Brewing Company to brew Cosmic Nunchucks, which will be available on tap and in cans at participating breweries starting this weekend. The brew day event involved 45 women that are involved in the craft beer industry in the Chicagoland area, helmed by Chicago Chapter Co-Leaders Shana Solarte, Raiye Rosado and Katie Hofmann.
As a part of the PorchDrinking AleBlazers series, we’re excited to chat with the owners of Funkytown Brewery, Richard Bloomfield, Zachary Day and Gregory Williams! With their opening in October 2021, they became the second Black-owned brewery in Chicago that is currently operating. We discuss the future of Funkytown, how they started working with a brewery incubator, the importance of diversity in craft beer and more!
As a native Wisconsinite and a current Chicagoan, Dry January has never been something I have attempted before. After a heavily celebrated December (and negative COVID tests abound), I knew this year was the time to take the plunge. Despite two full beer fridges from advent calendars and friends leaving beer at my home, I went into January with a strong resolve. Below are the tips and tricks I learned throughout the month so anyone who wants to attempt a dry month can hopefully also be successful!
After what seemed to be maybe three months since the last holiday season, it is already December! This means my favorite sport is upon us; gift giving. Finding the perfect gift for those that you love is truly an aphrodisiac, but it can be hard to figure out the right one. As it is one of my main talents, I thought I’d share my advice. Check out my list of gift ideas that the craft beer enthusiast in your life will love!
For those craft beer and travel nerds out there, a new YouTube series is out for you to enjoy! Next Exit is a series from HopCulture and Untappd featuring Kenny Gould, the founder of Hop Culture. This series focuses on a different city each episode, learning about their beer culture and other cool spots in the city. Guest appearances from beer festival founders, brewery owners and more are found throughout, and you’ll step away learning something about a new city, even if it’s one you have been to before.
As a person who loves choices in food and drink, I am always elated when I see breweries come out with mixed packs. Two of my favorite things in this world are tapas restaurants and create your own six packs at beer bars. Therefore, when Firestone Walker came out with another Crafted Thru Hops mixed pack featuring the Propagator Series with Strata Hops, I had to get my hands on it.
Recently, I was able to leave the Midwest for the first time in 15 months and head on over to Denver. Considering the last time I went, I hit up 11 breweries in two and a half days, I was looking forward to seeing what damage I could do in five and a half. While it was difficult, I whittled six of my favorite beers from six of the breweries I visited during my trip!
Just your friendly neighborhood bisexual reminding everyone that Pride Month is an important time to reflect on the LGBTQIA+ community, both on the strides that have been made in the past fifty years as well as all the work that still needs to be done. Nearing the end of June, I wanted to pair some Pride Month beers to important milestones in furthering LGBTQIA+ rights. Please keep in mind that these are only six of the many events, riots, protests, bills, etc. that have occurred, and it is important to learn about these events year-round, not just in the month of June. As always, let us remember that we owe Pride to Black transgender women like Marsha P. Johnson, and to understand whatever our own privilege is, even as members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
This post is sponsored by Firestone Walker Brewing Company
The simple act of enjoying a beer with friends outdoors is something that is cherished more now than ever before. As a midwesterner, it’s essentially the religion I grew up with so when I found out that Dylan Efron was hosting a YouTube series sponsored by Firestone Walker Brewing Co. in which he goes and learns about outdoor activities, I knew I had to check it out.
This post was sponsored by Arryved.
When it comes to a point-of-sale system, most software companies try to incorporate too many unnecessary features in an attempt to cater to a wide variety of industries and use cases. However, when Arryved was developing their platform, they knew specifically that they were building this out for breweries, leading to the ability to be more innovative and specialized towards the brewing industry. Despite having breweries in mind, Arryved is also fully functional for full-service kitchens, brewpubs and restaurants. The flexibility of Arryved, along with many additional benefits, allows their POS system to stand out in a sea of systems that were not designed for the craft beer world.
Many groups in the craft beer industry are underrepresented, including the LGBTQ+ community. When Grace Weitz of Hop Culture let PorchDrinking know that a Queer Beer Festival was launching this year after the success of the Beers With(out) Beards festival, I knew I had to chat with Weitz to learn more about the festival and what sort of virtual events we can expect. The festival will be held on June 5, 2021 and tickets can be purchased here.
In honor of the Top Chef Season 18 premiere tomorrow, I thought I’d pair my top six winners with some craft beer. While always a fan of Top Chef, it has grown into a bit of an obsession during quarantine. Picking six winners of seventeen was hard enough, so other contestants are not included in the sixer, mainly because there would be no way to choose. If you love food and haven’t watched Top Chef, start watching now instead of reading this article because there are definitely spoilers (even if the spoilers are between one to thirteen years old).
The arts and the hospitality industry are more intertwined than we often consider. When someone has tickets to see a show, it is highly likely they will also go grab food near the venue; they might be making an entire trip out of the event depending on the ticket (“Hamilton,” anyone?). While the hospitality industry has been hugely affected by COVID-19, at least they could have some income coming in. Theatres have been completely shut down, causing thousands of people to be out of work across the country. It is not just actors: It is set builders, costume and makeup designers, conductors, lighting and so many more jobs that are involved in live theatre.
We have all seen how beer can help make a difference, from the Black is Beautiful collaboration to the newly-launched Curtain Up Beer Project. So, when Savagewood Brewing Co. wanted to collaborate with female beer blogger Beer Babe Jess (Jessica Merritt), they immediately knew they wanted the collaboration to be for a good cause. The end result is Pouring It Forward, a Raspberry Ale featuring a special hop blend from the Pink Boots Society (Ahtanum, Cashmere, Citra, Loral and Sabro) with proceeds going towards the Big Sister League in San Diego.
As much as the brewery and restaurant industry has been hit in the wake of COVID-19, live theatre has essentially seen an entire shutdown. While there have been wonderful virtual performances (yes, I do still watch Meryl Streep, Christine Baranski and Audra McDonald perform Ladies Who Lunch on a weekly basis), nothing beats the thrill of going to a live musical, play or comedy show. As someone who performed in comedy theatres across Chicago, my heart aches when I think of how many theatres will need to close and how many working actors have struggled through the past year.
The growth in popularity of Sours the past couple of years in the craft brewing community has been extremely exciting for the woman who shoved sour gummy worms in her mouth by the handful as a child. While Sour Ales may not get the love and acclaim as Barrel-Aged beers do, they should be recognized as a beer style that takes creativity and patience, not to mention access to interesting ingredients. One such brewery taking risks with their Sours and Goses is Company Brewing, based out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Recently, I enjoyed Alphabetical Order, a Pink Guava Gose that originally started as a collaboration beer with Component Brewing.