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About- Mike Zoller

Mike Zoller

Mike Zoller

After trying to retire after a lucrative two-year career in sports journalism, Mike got back into sports but in the administration side. He currently works for the Northwestern University Athletic Department as an account executive working directly with football and men's basketball. At Miami University Mike was the sports editor for the The Miami Student and also did radio play-by-play for RedHawk ice hockey, football and baseball. Mike is still waiting to see Northwestern basketball play in the NCAA Tournament and the Cubs win the World Series.

Posts By Mike Zoller

Chicago takes hazy gold once again at GABF, 9 other medals

October 5, 2019 | Avg. Reading Time: 4 min

Chicago is once again home to Great American Beer Festival’s gold medal-winning Hazy IPA after Old Irving Brewing Co. took home top honors for Beezer. Last year, the first year with the Hazy IPA category, Alarmist won the inaugural gold for Le Jus. (And, in 2017, Hailstorm won for its Prairie Madness IPA which was the most-entered category by breweries that year.)

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2019 Great American Beer Fest | Standouts and Recap from Day One

October 4, 2019 | Avg. Reading Time: 3 min

As bagpipers marched into the Colorado Convention Center Thursday evening to officially usher in the 38th annual Great American Beer Festival the PorchDrinking team was feverishly sampling as many beers as possible, to discover hidden gems and standouts from night one.

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Drinking Through the 2019 Surly Darkness Barrel-Aged Variants

September 27, 2019 | Avg. Reading Time: 3 min

For the second year in a row, Surly Brewing Co. will be releasing a series of barrel-aged variants of their popular Russian Imperial Stout, Darkness. The different barrel and adjunct beers were released at Darkness Day last year and will follow suit this year.

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GABF Spotlight | The Best Chicagoland Beers

September 26, 2019 | Avg. Reading Time: 4 min

There will be more than 4,000 beers poured at this year’s Great American Beer Festival. It is impossible to try every beer there, it would even be a feat if you tried 3% of all the beers being poured at the event.

I went through the pour list of every Illinois brewery pouring at GABF this year and picked out a handful of beers that if you’re not from the state, should be on your list to try. Keep in mind that pour lists do change and so I’m going off of what is available on the festival’s website. I’ll also give you an honorable mention beer from each brewery that may not be the most hyped up beer they have, but it’s still worth trying.

Also, know that a lot of breweries submit beer for judging but don’t make the trip out to Denver to pour their beer. So if you saw that your favorite brewery sent beer to GABF, it doesn’t mean that they are actually going to be there for you to try. Read More

Event Preview | The 9th Annual BeerHoptacular

September 26, 2019 | Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

Billed as Chicago’s original craft beer festival, the BeerHoptacular returns once again to the Vertiport hangar on September 28 with over 100 beers being poured.

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Ultimate 6er | Pairing Six Revolution Beers with White Castle Menu Items

September 18, 2019 | Avg. Reading Time: 6 min

I’ll never forget waiting in the drive-thru lane of a White Castle at 12:45 a.m. after immediately seeing Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle. It wasn’t my first time, but it was my most memorable time eating those delicious little sliders with onions that really do pop with flavor.

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Recapping Burnt City Brewing’s Kveik Fest

September 10, 2019 | Avg. Reading Time: 6 min

There are beer festivals centered around hazy beers, big stouts, sours and other styles, but rarely is there a festival around a strand of yeast. Burnt City Brewing teamed up with Omega Yeast Labs to showcase the Kveik strand of yeast and show just how versatile it is.

30 breweries were on hand at District Brew Yards, the home of Burnt City in Chicago, to pour more than 60 beers, a majority using the Kveik yeast. Everything from hazy IPAs to stouts to barleywines were on hand at the festival.

Mathew Powers and I were both there for PorchDrinking.com and we were also joined by Jack Muldowney from The Hop Review; we’d like to share some of our favorite beers from the afternoon. 

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Revolution Brewing Adds Hazy IPA to Year-Round Lineup

August 30, 2019 | Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

One of Chicago’s most notable series of beers is getting a new year-round addition. Revolution Brewing’s Hero Series which features their iconic Anti-Hero is welcoming a hazy IPA, aptly named Hazy-Hero.

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Chicago Quick Sips | Aug. 26 Chicago Beer News & Events

August 26, 2019 | Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

Quick Sips is our way of highlighting beer events, tap takeovers and other notable beer news around the city of Chicago. If you’d like to submit something to be included in the next Quick Sips, please email us at [email protected].

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Goose Island Reveals 2019 Bourbon County Stout Lineup

August 14, 2019 | 4 Avg. Reading Time: 5 min

After weeks of speculation and multiple labels filed to the TTB that didn’t quite make the cut, Goose Island has announced its 2019 Bourbon County Stout lineup. Like last year, there will be the original Bourbon County with seven variants, eight beers in total.

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A Beer with Top Chef Winner Joe Flamm

August 8, 2019 | Avg. Reading Time: 4 min

No stranger to the Chicago culinary food scene, Spiaggia’s Executive Chef Joe Flamm, made a name for himself nationally after winning Top Chef in 2018.

Flamm was part of the original crew at Stephanie Izard’s Girl and the Goat in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood, he also worked with Bill Kim, known for his Asian-fusion restaurants in the city before landing at Tony Mantuano’s Spiaggia, a Michelin star restaurant.

Like many in the culinary industry, Flamm is a huge fan of Miller High Life. From his days as a line cook to now, it’s his beer of choice and has been apart of many of the biggest moments in his life.

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Ultimate 6er | Beers for a Float Trip

July 31, 2019 | Avg. Reading Time: 3 min

Every year my company does a big float trip about 90 minutes south of the city of Chicago. We hop into canoes and spend anywhere from three to four hours floating down a river. Of course, while you’re floating you need drinks, that’s pretty much half the fun otherwise, you’re just canoeing. So for this Ultimate 6er, I picked six beers great for an afternoon on the river.

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Can Out of State Breweries Succeed in Chicago?

July 29, 2019 | Avg. Reading Time: 4 min

In June, I made the trip to New Glarus Brewing to visit the iconic Wisconsin-only brewery that’s coveted all over the midwest. While there, I overheard two guys talking about how they wish New Glarus distributed to Illinois and so they could buy it all the time. But would they?

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Revolution Brewing to Release Two Barleywines in July

July 8, 2019 | Avg. Reading Time: 3 min

Big Stouts and Barleywines are typically released in the fall and winter. The cold and sometimes downright freezing temperatures create a perfect atmosphere to drink beers that are more than 12% ABV. So naturally, when Revolution Brewing announced that two big English Barleywines are getting released in mid-July, it turned heads.

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Brewery Showcase | New Glarus Brewing

July 1, 2019 |

“You’re going to Wisconsin? Can you pick me up some Spotted Cow?”

If you like beer and you live in the Chicagoland area when someone knows you’re going to Wisconsin, the ask is always to bring back some … Read More

Moody Tongue to Open New Restaurant & Bar in Baderbrau’s Old Space

June 4, 2019 | 1 Avg. Reading Time: 3 min

With his culinary background and his craft beer experience, it was only a matter of time before Moody Tongue’s Jared Rouben opened a full-service restaurant to bring together two of his passions.

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New Holland Brewing | Triple Mash Dragon’s Milk

May 23, 2019 | Avg. Reading Time: 3 min

New Holland Brewing’s Dragon’s Milk is an iconic stout in the craft beer industry. It’s the most widely produced barrel-aged stout in the country and is the featured beer in the Michigan brewery’s arsenal.

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Beer Lines and What They Say About the Culture of Craft Beer

May 21, 2019 | 1 Avg. Reading Time: 6 min

A few weeks ago as I walked into my office, I noticed a massive line stretching around the block. It was just after 7 a.m. in the middle of the week; clearly, these people had been waiting either overnight or since very early in the morning. It wasn’t freezing out, but it wasn’t warm. I later found out they were waiting for the BTS, the Korean music group, pop-up store to open up. I thought they were all crazy.

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Event Recap | 2019 Beer Under Glass

May 14, 2019 | Avg. Reading Time: 5 min

One of the most anticipated events on Chicago’s craft beer calendar is Beer Under Glass (BUG). Put on by the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild, the event kicks off Illinois Craft Beer Week each year and brings together breweries from all over Illinois.

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10th Annual Illinois Craft Beer Week Kicks Off

April 29, 2019 | Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

In 2018 a lot of changes happened to Illinois’ celebration of craft beer. For the first time, Chicago Craft Beer Week was renamed to Illinois Craft Beer Week (ICBW), Beer Under Glass (BUG) moved to a Friday and the event lasted two weeks.

2019’s Illinois Craft Beer Week will follow suit to the 2018 event as BUG will continue to kick-off the festivities on Friday, May 10, at the Garfield Park Conservatory. However, ICBW will last just one week.

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