About- Emma Wargolet
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.
Celebrating friendships has always been extremely important, even more so after experiencing the trash fire of 2020. Galentine’s Day is a favorite holiday of mine, as it is a day where I can bake and craft and celebrate the incredible women in my life. I spend more time preparing for Galentine’s Day than I do most things, so knowing that this year will need to be postponed just equals more time to make celebrating female friendships extra special.
With a deep love for family and friends and food, Thanksgiving is the perfect holiday (until someone brings up politics). It also means that afterwards, I can blast All I Want for Christmas Is You as much as I want and no one can say anything.
Black Calder Brewing, a new brewery opening in Michigan, launches on Black Friday. As the first Black-owned brewery in Michigan, owners Terry Rostic and Jamaal Ewing recognize how significant this is for representation and diversity in craft beer. PorchDrinking chatted by email with Rostic and Ewing to find out more about Black Calder Brewing and what to expect from the brewery.
Sometimes it can be extremely difficult to look at the silver lining of 2020, particularly for those working in the craft beer industry. Being able to experience the Beers With(out) Beards festival helped me see at least one silver lining: Craft beer festivals have never been more accessible than right at this moment. Living in the Midwest, I would not have been able to make it to the Beers With(out) Beards festival in-person, so being able to join this festival of incredible women and non-binary people working in craft beer was a dream.
As someone who was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Oktoberfest is not just a type of beer or a festival in Germany; it’s a state of mind. With the cancellation of many Oktoberfest events, people have to be creative in their celebration. Personally, give me a day where I can justifiably drink beer and eat sausage all day and I’ll be a happy camper.
As with every other 2020 beer festival, Beers With(out) Beards, the country’s largest celebration of women in craft beer, is doing things virtually this year. I had the chance to chat with Grace Weitz, the woman who started the festival back in 2018, about how the festival began, what we can expect for this years’ festival, and how going virtual offers up the ability to reach an entirely different group of women.
While the main virtual festival is on Saturday, October 10, you can add on workshops that take place on the Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday before. You can buy the digital passes up until the day of the event. However, if you are looking to purchase the beer box of female-led breweries, sales end on Monday, September 14 (at the end of the day).
Recommending the television show What We Do in the Shadows has become a regular part of my conversations with people. Developed from the film of the same name, WWDITS is one of the best new comedy series to debut in recent years. Throwing the sophomore slump cliché out the window, the second and most recent season is absolutely hilarious, and earned an Outstanding Comedy Series Emmy nomination. They’ve somehow created a hilarious vampire television show that does not lean on shticks or gimmicks, and have developed characters who, despite killing humans, are sympathized with and cheered on.
The sheer number of breweries within Chicago limits would lead you to believe you would never need to leave the city to get your craft beer fix. While this is technically true, there are many Chicagoland suburbs that have great breweries that, unless they distribute to the city, Chicagoans will miss out on.
Striking a balance between tart and sweet is a difficult task. Fortunately for beer lovers, Riverlands Brewing Company has done just that with their Acid Prism: Buried in Berries. A companion to their Acid Rainbow, the Buried in Berries is a bold Fruited Sour with raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, vanilla, and milk sugar.
Beermiscuous, a local beer cafe in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago (and another new location in Highwood, IL), recently celebrated their sixth anniversary, having opened on June 27, 2014. In years prior, they have hosted events ranging from tappings of special beers to raffles that give the winner two free beers each week. With the current state of COVID-19, Beermiscuous instead hosted a virtual tasting, hosted by co-owner, Austin Harvey.
In recent years, books written by comedians about their own lives have become extremely popular. From Amy Poehler’s Yes Please to Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, these books of essays blend humor, life lessons, and important experiences into a relatively quick read. With shelter in place orders still set in place, what better way to spend your time than with a delicious beer and an entertaining book?
The below books are focused on those of BIPOC authors; you can find your local Black-owned bookstore here to support Black-owned businesses!
In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, people across the country have been supporting the Black Lives Matter movement through protests, donations, signing petitions, calling their representatives, and more. But one more way to more directly make the craft beer industry a more diverse and welcoming community is by actively spending your money at Black-owned breweries.
There is one universal truth in this world: the Bon Appetit YouTube channel is perfect. From Claire Saffitz attempting to recreate your favorite snack foods to Brad Leone’s chaotic fermentation process, the chefs at Bon Appetit have become minor celebrities. What better way to honor the hours spent in quarantine binging their videos than to pair each chef with a beer? So, next time you press play on Chris Morocco recreating Guy Fieri’s trash can nachos, make sure you have the perfect beer in hand.
A large Memorial Day cookout may not be an option this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the delicious foods that come with the barbecue. For those who are social distancing together, you can still put together a fun, albeit small, Memorial Day event. While PorchDrinking can’t do the cooking for you, we can give you the perfect pairings for those classic cookout foods!