AboutMathew Powers – PorchDrinking.com
ABV 9.1 | IBU 45
The sun dipped below the North Pole’s horizon long ago — not to be seen again until March. The relentless darkness creates indescribable arctic cold that marches southward all winter. But, there’s more than just frosty breezes arriving from the north, there’s Imperial Stout — Two Brothers Brewing Northwind Imperial Stout.
Noon Whistle Brewing | Photo Credit: Mathew Powers
Suburban Chicago’s Noon Whistle Brewing is located in an old strip mall and barely visible from the main road; a location unlikely to garner a passing grade in a Business 101 class. Makes no matter because in the craft beer world, it’s not location, location, location that’s essential; it’s libation, fermentation, innovation.
The beer emerging from Noon Whistle Brewing pulls throngs of thirsty patrons through its doors. And that is why when I arrived a few minutes after the noon hour on a Friday — the first of two days dedicated for its two-year anniversary — I was far from the only person ready to indulge in a parade of special releases. By the time I left that night, the place was packed.
Maplewood Brewery, as it is rountinely referred, officially goes by the name, “Maplewood Brewery & Distillery,” and on January, 18, those in Chicago will finally be able to experience Maplewood’s multi-faceted focus on imbibing. At Chicago’s Fountainhead — a hip craft beer and whiskey bar, one can attend and enjoy what is officially being called, “Maplewood Spirits Launch & Boilermaker Night.”
Cover Photo credit: 961 Beer (via Facebook)
Uncertainty and cultural disharmony runs amuck in the world today, but not among beer aficionados. A typical beer nerd’s Instagram feed includes posts from New Zealand, Brazil, Mexico, the UK, Ireland, the U.S. … and Lebanon! Yes, that Lebanon. Sandwiched between Syria and Israel, the region’s history is noted for its tumultuous nature and not one that would appear to be conducive to brewing. But, the region is also rich with beer history – predating the The Peloponnesian War by a few thousand years — and now it has microbreweries. The first one arrived a few years ago, named 961 Beer, and the porter it brews is as good as the area’s beer history is rich.
Ben Franklin never wrote, “Beer is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy.” Despite numerous sources, such as Pinterest, Twitter and your local t-shirt guy, the quote — now this may shock some of you — started on the Internet and then numerous people shared it without bothering to check for its accuracy. WHOA! What’s next, fake news stories? Say it ain’t so, Internet Joe!
Bugsy. Rat Pack. Elvis. The Sands. Avery Brewing. That’s right – it’s Vegas, baby!
Avery Brewing announced it’s expanding to Nevada, and special events planned for Reno and Vegas will kick-off this desert adventure
Pull up a chair, turn on the Weather Channel and relax, because Sam Adams has two beers ready to match anything Mother Nature can throw at ya! Samuel Adams, no stranger to seasonal releases, is introducing drinkers to two new seasonal beers: Samuel Adams Hopscape and Fresh as Helles. Ashley Leduc, Sr. Communications Specialist at Sam’s, explained the reason for two seasonal releases in a press release, “The brewers felt that these two brews capture the essence of the ever-changing season across the country from January through April.”
The Craft Beer industry is emblematic of the Holiday Season maxim — community, caring and sharing. The examples of this community-focused philosophy that bind craft brewers together can be witness almost any day throughout the year. Here are six recent examples of craft breweries bringing good tidings of joy to thy neighbor by donating time, money, and resources during this Holiday Season.
French hens, ladies dancing, swans swimming and, of course, a porter in a beer tree. These are necessary components for a successful 12 days of Christmas. For this writer, the beer found under the tree is Baderbräu Christmas Bliss Baltic Porter with vanilla and orange peel. Because, in Chicago, Jack Frost does more than nip our noses, it darn near renders them red enough to qualify us to guide Santa’s sleigh. Hence, any porter good enough for those traversing the frigid waters of the Baltic Sea is good enough for us living on the ice-covered shores of Lake Michigan.
Two Brothers Brewing champions family, community, and craft culture and The Craftsman location exemplifies that philosophy. Jason and Jim Ebel — the brothers behind the name — recently opened their new tri-level establishment in the Chicago suburb of Naperville. At every turn, one can find examples of artisanship and skill — two indispensable facets of craft culture. Two Brothers repurposed and transformed a historic building that now provides its multi-award winning beer along with its own brand of coffee, made-from-scratch pastries, bread, dinner and brunch, wine, mixology and crafted distilling.
What better way to get acquainted with Holiday beer than a December beer festival offering local, national and imported selections? For instance, BrewLights 2016 — a craft beer festival held amidst Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo’s animal family, adorned by a plethora of holiday lights and accompanied by plenty of holiday tunes. The scene at BrewLights made it tough not to get into the holiday spirit. Throw in a little nip in the air and the smell of Christmas beer, and it’s as if Santa himself has arranged the party. As you shop this year, it may be difficult to know what holiday-seasonal beers to purchase, so let’s go through the 12 beer samples of Christmas provided at BrewLights 2016.
Moody Tongue Brewing in Chicago, the brainchild of Jared Rouben, a graduate of both the Culinary Institute of America and Seibel, recently opened its new, cozy taproom on the city’s west side. With that opening, Moody can now provide its coveted Shaved Black Truffle Pilsner on draft – a sinful holiday beer treat for either the naughty or nice this year.
ABV: 5.8% | IBU: 12
The mere utterance of Harlem likely evokes a myriad of imagery; it’s a section of New York City that’s oozing with history. The name and label artwork adorning a bottle of Harlem Brewing Company Renaissance Wit speaks to that wealth of history – beer history, music history, cultural history, and everything in between. But, when reviewing a beer, one must refrain from being swayed by the story attached to a beer or brewery. Instead, the beer must be judged on its own merits, and that is what this showcase aims to do. Nevertheless, there’s no reason history and culture can’t be included in the discussion. Craft has always been more than just about beer, and this wheat beer personifies that concept.
Most of the leaves have vanished, the nights are getting longer, and Jack Frost has been seen wandering around North America. There’s no stopping it – winter’s coming. You know what that means, right? Cheers to stout season! It may be getting cold outside, but the appropriately named Burnt City Brewing in Chicago is one of many brewers ready to combat each cold front with robust beer — take that, Jack! If you are in Chicagoland or Alabama, get ready to enjoy some Freight Handler Milk Stout. And on New Year’s Eve – Burnt City and Arcade Brewery are ready to help Chicagoans ring in 2017.
From IPA to BBA, craft beer continues to evolve, and Colorado’s Avery Brewing is unafraid to ride that wave of transformation and help influence its direction. In 2017, Avery Brewing will offer fans far more fermented pleasures from its Botanicals & Barrels series, as well as a add to its year-round selections. While that is exciting news for many fans of Avery, it comes with a price — a few long time favorites will have to be retired.
ABV: 14.5% | IBU: 20
Revolution Brewing explains its Deep Wood Series Ryeway to Heaven as perhaps a “doorway to an existential awakening, or maybe it’s just a damned fine beer.” One could argue it’s a little bit of both. This rye ale aged in rye barrels serves as the quintessential example of how the art and science of barrel-aged brewing can result in elevated deliciousness – and it’s a perfect treat for Thanksgiving and holiday festivities.
ABV: 5.4% | IBU: 10
Let’s talk about a beer that any bunny can appreciate — Hugh Hefeweizen, from Rhinegeist. Hugh likes the finer things in life: Silk lederhosen, pretty junge Fraus, and sitting by the pool in a palatial Bavarian castle — where else would you find a noble hop? One sip of Hugh Hefeweizen and beer drinkers will immediately realize what Hugh is all about — pleasure.
Leave it to a Siebel Institute graduate to ferment a plan to impress a girl. Charlie Davis attempted to win Katie Morgan’s heart with hard cider. It worked. She not only fell in love with him, she married him. Katie also fell in love with the cider. In fact, the two of them thought so highly of that magical moment that they turned it into a business — Chicago’s first cidery. Today, you’ll find Charlie right-beside-her — Right Bee Cider, churning out well crafted cider to a growing fan base. He wooed her, and now they are wooing Chicago. You might say, it is cider at first site.
The world’s largest barrel-aged beer competition, held at the Festival of Barrel Aged Beer (FoBAB) in Chicago, is underway. However, the FoBAB 2016 awards are now official, and our Chicago/Midwest editor, Mike Zoeller was there. Here are the results — congrats to all the winners!
Chicago’s brewing culture is as diverse as its population, but one genre of brewing resonates strongly with Windy City beer enthusiasts — barrel-aged brewing. In 1993, Greg Hall at Goose Island experimented with beer in bourbon barrels and, as they say, the rest is history (see this movie about that story). The legacy of his idea manifests itself every November with Goose Island’s Black Friday Bourbon County release and numerous barrel-aged beer festivals, notably the Festival of Barrel Aged Brewing (FoBAB). Brandon Wright, of Chicago Brew Werks/Werk Force Brewing, shares his unique perspective on Chicago’s love of barrel-aged beer.