About- Mike Wronski
For the third year running, Lagunitas’ Chicago brewery is hosting the indefinable Beer Circus this Saturday, September 10th. The event is the first stop of the traveling circus this year, with appearances added in Brooklyn, NY and Asuza, CA. with, of course, their annual main event at the original Petaluma location (win tickets to the Petaluma event here!).
Botanicals are seemingly having their place in the sun right now. Plants are more popular than ever in America, with people ordering kale in unlikely places, foraging for wild plants to eat, lining up to witness Corpse Flowers blooming country-wide and enjoying some previously illegal ones recreationally in four states. It was only a matter of time before they started showing up in our beer.
City living comes with its annoyances. Plenty to find just in being around large amounts of people. But the special treat comes from dealing with the variety of “wildlife” that the city harbors. Rats, pigeons, squirrels, rabbits, centipedes, ginkgo trees, invasive ivy. Every city dweller has a story about a run in with city nature. Girlfriends screeching to kill a ceiling centipede, rats running into your foot on a bar’s back patio, or pigeons decorating your suit coat on the way to work. Just daily city navigating. But one way to take your mind off the animals (other than employing your own feral cats) is to sit down with Spiteful Brewing’s God Damn Pigeon Porter.
ABV: 4.8% | IBU: 14
After pinballing through Chicago Craft Beer Week, my liver was in need of some time off. I obliged for about a week before the amazing weather we’ve been having eroded my willpower. However, I compromised, and vowed to drink only beers that were less than 5% ABV. It’s more fitting for 80 degree weather anyway and, frankly, I’m a little worn out on 7%+ IPAs. Thankfully, CCBW reintroduced all the beer styles I haven’t visited in awhile, which granted me plenty of options. One of these stuck out, and I’m pretty sure it will be a consistent 6-pack in my fridge this summer — Scorched Earth’s Hickster.
Back by popular demand this year is Lagunitas’ Beggin’ for Brews, Barkin’ for Bubbles Chicago Craft Beer Week event! Lagunitas will be throwing their 420th annual dog-themed fest where finally your four-legged friends can join in the beer festivities with …
ABV: 10.7% | IBU: 22
There are those days that just become overwhelming at a certain point. Where it seems that the daily grind keeps testing your boundaries with an escalating level of small crimes against your sanity. Well, I’d …
7.3% ABV | 0 IBUs
I’ve never been a big fan of Wit beer. The true to style witbier seems to have a flavor that reminds me of boiled hot dog water, which in turn reminds me of the Limp Bizkit album Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water which then floods me with memories of my 8th grade year. I can’t figure out if it’s the coriander that most seem to feature or a yeast strain issue, but whatever it is, it usually bubbles up some long repressed teenage embarrassment that I haven’t yet reconciled emotionally.
Yeah, I know. A lot to blame on a beer style. But it’s been enough for me to avoid ordering them.
But recently I decided to give wits another shot. There’s been some hesitation, though luckily the few I’ve tried have tasted great. But there is one that has stuck out and given me hope for wit beers. And that’s IBW’s Fnord wit beer.
Short’s Brewing broke the news a couple weeks ago about their intentions to begin distributing outside of Michigan for the first time. They would head to Pennsylvania and Illinois within the near future, exciting many Chicagoans at no longer having to make the trek to New Buffalo, MI for their Short’s fix.
With Pennsylvania already receiving their first shipments of Short’s, many Chicago fans were anxiously awaiting their own fix. Well, it appears now that all the Illinois distributors have been solidified, and Chicagoans can expect their first taste of Short’s beers on March 4th!
ABV : 9.75%
Commuting to work is one of life’s pleasures that many people get to experience twice a day, everyday. Fighting traffic, navigating through throngs of people crossing the street, cramming into train car nooks, tapping impatiently while waiting for a bus to show up — chances are, your daily commute provides some nice slices of stress between which you sandwich your workday.
Oftentimes, the commute ends with a strained “I need a drink!” Well, if you’re lucky enough to take the Metra, you don’t have to wait until you get home. And if you’re even luckier, the local convenience store by your stop will carry some of Mikerphone Brewing’s Big Ass Cans for you to take with. And to really kickstart your workday decompression, it’s probably best to grab a One Man Wrecking Machine.
Few things are better than savoring a Saturday afternoon beer. Except when drinking that beer is supporting a great cause. And also when that beer is unlimited. And especially when that beer is consumed in fierce competition.
You’ll have exactly that opportunity at the Chitown Beernival on Saturday January, 23rd.The event Joe’s On Weed St. is to benefit the Autism Speaks to Young Professionals (AS2YP), and will feature beer pong, competitive flip cup and plenty of carnival games to test your hand and win prizes.
Oak Park has been a premier Chicago suburb since Chicago started having suburbs. Famed for being Frank Lloyd Wright’s canvas and the birthplace of Ernest Hemingway & Ray Kroc, there’s plenty of history and culture to prompt a visit. And located at the termination point of the Green Line, just a 25 minute train ride from the Loop, it’s simple enough to get to.
Lately, Oak Park has started to add more reasons to visit with an up and coming craft beer scene. It’s been host to the popular Oak Park Microbrew Review and will soon be home to its first breweries in 2016 (Oak Park Brewing Co. and Kinslahger Brewing Co.). But you need not wait until 2016 to get your craft fill in Oak Park, because Beer Shop now has everything you need.
Mustaches are big in Chicago. Seems like they showed up in the 70s and then became a local institution. You surely can’t win a championship in this town without a mustachioed coach. And imagine Da Superfans or Carl Winslow without mustaches. Nick Offerman, Craig Robinson and the late Dennis Farina sport some hometime pride on their upper lip, too. All we need now is for Bill Murray to bring back the ‘stache (and i think we all agree that he should!)
So mustaches aren’t just for Movember around town here, rather they’re a matter of civic pride. Which is why South Loop Brewing and Dry Hop Brewers got together to brew Milkstachio, giving everyone the opportunity to sport a mustache. Although, this one won’t last long and is way more tasty than an actual mustache.
IBU: 38 | ABV: 8%
Thankfully, we’ve reached a point in time where every single day on the calendar is now National _________ Day. There’s a reason to celebrate something every single day! It used to be that you’d have to accomplish something or there had to be something historically important to reflect upon. No longer are we beholden to that oppressive outdated schedule! National Donut Day, National Pizza Day, National Love Your Red Hair Day (personally, I celebrated by reflecting the sun off my skin and into peoples’ eyes).
Smoky flavors in food and drink have a long history. When the only method of cooking was using an open fire, you could pretty much expect smoke to impart a scent or flavor into whatever you were putting over it. Beer was no different. In fact, up to the 1700s, pretty much every beer was a smoke beer since the only method to dry the malt would be over an open flame. It wasn’t until after kilning methods were developed that pulled the smoke away from the malt that beer started tasting the way we know today. And smoke beers began their fast decline quickly thereafter.
5.4% ABV | 40 IBU
Searching has become a daily obsession in our modern culture. Our day is consumed with idle searching; Googling a topic, asking Siri a question, scrolling through your Twitter/Facebook feed, flipping through TV channels, entering a YouTube vortex. Billions of dollars have been made off of search algorithms. You most likely ended up on this article via a search.
But then there’s the bigger Search. The lifelong pursuits, the non-stop studying, the week after week commitment to that ever elusive goal. The kind that inspires Captain Ahab’s voyage, haunts Ponce de Leon’s dreams and coaxes Cubs fans into watching them in the postseason. A deeply embedded feeling that stirs and motivates you to action (or U2 action). This is the space where most craft brewers exist, always improving and tweaking, working towards that perfect beer.
This week marks the halfway point to St. Patrick’s Day. And since a typical St. Paddy’s Day celebration couldn’t get farther from anything actually Irish, being furthest away from that day is a good time to explore some authentic Irish beer!
ABV: 6.1% | IBU: 30
I’ve been a lager lover ever since my college study abroad semester in Germany. Those minimalist, four-ingredient beers served as my first introduction to good beer and opened the door to the rabbit hole of beer that I’ve been falling down ever since (Vielen Dank, Rothaus!).
After coming back to the U.S. though, it was difficult to find any American lagers on par with what Germany was churning out. And imports just never held up after the international travel. Plus, with the American craft ale boom starting to really ramp up, it was easy to get taken with the tide. So my lager love was cellared until I could return to Germany again.
Except there’s been a steadily growing American craft lager movement, and I’m definitely late to the party (thanks for distracting me, sour beers!). So it’s time to bust out my cellared lager passion and shout my lager praises Zicke Zacke style, for Metropolitan Brewing’s Afterburner Oktoberfest.
Here at Porchdrinking, Pipeworks Brewing has been mentioned numerous times over the past couple years. But somehow, showcasing a Pipeworks beer has yet to happen. Granted, they’re known for their smaller batch, one-and-done beers that would sell out quickly. So by the time a beer could be reviewed, it’d most likely already be sold out, and we’d just leave you wanting.
But that will all be changing now.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but summer is about halfway over. I only bring it up because it’s time to carpe the summer diem! All those things you said you wanted to accomplish this summer, well, time to get after it. Including that trip to the park for some good old-fashioned outdoor drinking you’ve been putting off, probably because it’s been raining so damn much (sorry California, we’d LOVE to send some your way…). If you’re a Chicagoan, that means a trip to Ravinia or checking out one of the countless free shows at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park (check out the summer film series!).
And while wine seems to be the drink of choice at these events, a collaboration beer between two of the Midwest’s sour powerhouses could easily convince wine drinkers to make a switch. Michigan’s Jolly Pumpkin teamed up with Indiana’s Upland to brew a Persimmon and Dragonfuit infused wild ale that ends up being very reminiscent of a sparkling white wine. But of course, there’s plenty of nuance for beer drinkers to love too.
We may be 2 weeks away from the official start of summer. But for a majority of the country, there’s already been at least a couple days of some back sweat and sunburned noses. Which of course means it’s more than appropriate to break out the summer treats. Instead of getting sticky with melting snow cones or the sadness of losing a scoop of vanilla to the ants, grab one of these summer inspired beers instead. Or even throw them in the freezer for a frozen beer treat!