About- Emma Wargolet
Disclaimer: The author of this zine, David Nilsen, writes for PorchDrinking.
Becoming incredibly good at something takes a lot of time, effort and patience. In our constant need for instant gratification and expectation to be perfect at something the first time you do it, it becomes more and more rare to find a true expert. Do you think that a master woodworker was making a canoe during their first time using an oscillating saw? Or an Advanced sommelier knew how to tell what region of France a grape was from when they were 21? No. That’s why when someone shares their expertise and encourages others to learn from the time and effort they have put in, it’s a gift.
The amount of options at a liquor store can be overwhelming, and it can feel limiting to choose a six- or 12-pack of just one beer. The solution? Mixed packs. These are a great way to get a little taste of different beers, and also provide a variety to guests. Released in November 2022, Firestone Walker launched the IPA Mixed Pack Featuring Galaxy Shapeshifters, which can be found through its Beer Finder.
District Brew Yards is well-known within the West Loop of Chicago as a pour-your-own beer hall with four different breweries in operation. After looking for expansion opportunities throughout the past year, the previous Ram Brewing location in Wheeling, Illinois was the perfect fit. The current West Loop location has four breweries in residency: Around the Bend Beer Co, Burnt City Brewing, Twisted Hippo and Casa Humilde Cerveceria. At the Wheeling location, customers will find these four breweries, as well as Histrionic Brewlab. In addition to these five breweries, there is an Added Libations Tab, where ciders and wines will be available.
Sometimes, it is not the description of the beer that pulls you in, but the name of the beer. I have zero qualms about purchasing Hopewell Brewing Co.’s Ya Filthy Animal simply because of the name of the beer (turns out it is my favorite holiday beer, so that one paid off), and going into Great American Beer Festival, my philosophy remained the same.
The last two years have been… let’s say rough. One beacon of light that has emerged the last few months has been the re-emergence of beer festivals. However, due to its massive size, there were doubts that Great American Beer Festival would be able to come back swinging in 2022. Doubt no more, because the masses of craft beer nerds have descended upon Denver to bask in GABF’s glory once again.
Japas Cervejaria is a brewery that has been around for seven years, and is now taking America by storm with a series of special events throughout the month. Owned by three Nipo-Brazilian women, Maíra Kimura, Yumi Shimada and Fernanda Ueno, they have been brewing in Brazil since 2015. The Japas Cervejaria brand has already begun distribution throughout California, Florida, Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, Michigan, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, with plans to open South Carolina and Texas soon! We were able to connect with the three founders to discuss how they got started brewing beer and how it helped them explore their Japanese-Brazilian ancestry.
As someone with the Instagram bio of “ope,” a visit to Ope! Brewing Co. in West Allis, Wisconsin, was a must. For those unaware of the Midwestern statement, the word “Ope” is used as an exclamation to express surprise, dismay or really anything at all (according to one of the breweries’ stickers). Continuing with the theme of Ope! and general midwestern (specifically, Wisconsin) vibes, the three founders, Adam Anders, Kyle Ciske and John Onopa, were able to scatter nods to their home state throughout the brewery, which opened Memorial Day weekend of 2022.
Much like ordering a flight at a new brewery, mixed packs are a great option when you want to have a variety of beers available to you. If you find yourself unsure what to bring to that summer barbecue or boat ride, variety packs can provide the perfect solution! Fortunately, Firestone Walker has a variety of mixed packs to choose from, including the new IPA Mixed Pack featuring Melon Conspiracy.
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.