About- Emma Wargolet
As the kid who would host séances at her birthday parties and dressed as a variety of witches throughout her youth, anything witchy is always welcome in my home. When Courtney Iseman came out with Beer Tarot: Pulling Cards, Pouring Beer, & Discovering Self through the Bean to Barstool umbrella, I knew it was one I had to read.
The return of the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) each year serves as one of the greatest spectacles in American craft beer. And while the festival, which kicks off this week on Thursday, September 21, is a feat in and of itself, what happens outside of the Convention Center is equally as exciting. External beer events built around the return of GABF have already begun kicking off, and they offer beer fans a unique opportunity to explore rare and exciting new beers from breweries not typically available in the state of Colorado but also serve to showcase some of the best that the state of Colorado can offer.
Back in May 2023, three Chicago breweries, Maplewood Brewery & Distillery, Ravinia Brewing Co and Metropolitan Brewing, joined forces to create the Brewer’s Triangle. Now, as we are heading into September, we will be in full swing of Oktoberfest season in no time. To celebrate, the Brewer’s Triangle will be holding an all-day event at the three breweries on Saturday, September 23 starting at 11:00am.
A new brewery opening up is always a cause for celebration. A new brewery that focuses on farmhouse traditions and the owners are alumni of Roaring Table Brewing Co? You cannot get this city woman out to the suburbs fast enough. Sundial Brewing & Blending opened up in July of 2023 in Barrington, Illinois (about an hour drive from Chicago… with no traffic*) after many years of homebrewing, and the expertise shows.
The cinema event that we’ve all been waiting for is here! While you may not be able to carry the following six beers into a movie theater, you can pair these when you inevitably rewatch Barbie at home, when it comes on streaming.
Chicago is well-known for its multitude of breweries, and it can be overwhelming for a first-time visitor to try to decide which ones to go to. Certain Chicago neighborhoods have more breweries than some, such as Avondale and Logan Square. Three of the breweries in this area have combined forces to create the Brewer’s Triangle, a newly formed conglomerate of Maplewood Brewery & Distillery, Ravinia Brewing Co. and Metropolitan Brewing.
A brewery that has made a huge splash on the Chicago craft beer scene over the past year has been Funkytown Brewery, who brews at Pilot Project Brewing in both Chicago, IL and Milwaukee, WI. Owners Richard Bloomfield, Zachary Day and Gregory Williams chatted with PorchDrinking in February 2022 as a part of our AleBlazers series, so naturally we needed to catch up with them and see how the last year has been and where 2023 is taking them!
Pilot Project Brewing, a brewery incubator based in Chicago, with a second location in Milwaukee, WI, is a collaborative space where multiple breweries are able to enter the market without certain barriers that traditionally plague startup breweries. Their newest addition is Flora Brewing, Sarah Flora’s brewery that started contract brewing recently, though many know her from her homebrewing videos over the past six years. Flora Brewing will be launching four beers, with the release event set for Saturday, April 29.
For those across the Midwest, Ale Asylum Brewery in Madison, Wisconsin, was a staple of their beer fridge until they closed in July of 2022 after 16 years of operation. Less than a year later, however, their bold flavors are set to make a comeback under the Karben4 Brewing flag. Karben4 owners, brothers Ryan and Zak Koga, are excited to re-launch these staples of Madison craft beer in the same city that they operate their brewery.
As a native Wisconsinite, Dry January does not immediately evoke a “let’s do this” kind of attitude. To be fair, for a long time the only non-alcoholic options around was soda (translation for some of my Midwestern pals: pop), and that is not appealing. Fortunately, there has been a shift in what is available, particularly in January because Dry January is becoming more and more popular. It’s also just more inclusive to make fun NA options available; whatever reason for someone not drinking, it shouldn’t mean they can’t enjoy themselves!
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!