AboutMathew Powers – PorchDrinking.com
The GABF Gold Medal awarded to Begyle Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Pajamas validated what many already knew: in a town abound in exceptional bourbon-barrel-aged beer, Begyle’s has risen to become one of the best. The 2019 release on Friday, November 15, will be the first for the Community Supported Brewery (CSB) since winning the medal. They graciously hosted PorchDrinking a couple of days early, offering to provide us with a few tastes and plenty of discussion about its barreling program.
Two hundred breweries from around the country will come to Chicago on Nov 8-9 and offer guests a wide variety of wall-to-wall, remarkable barrel-aged beers. However, with an abundance of wilds, sours and a host of bourbon, rum and wine barrel-aged brews, the Festival of Barrel Aged Beers (FoBAB) tests both one’s liver and belly.
So, how do you survive? How can you avoid getting so inebriated you can’t taste the beer…or walk? How do you avoid having your stomach curdle? For that matter, how do you enjoy FoBAB fully?
Don’t worry; we have a plan.
You remember the Pale Ale, don’t you? Sure you do. It’s a beer style born in England during the early 1700s. It was then resurrected and reinvented in the U.S. when Fritz Maytag introduced the lovely Cascade hop into his Anchor Brewing Liberty (Pale) Ale in 1975. He was followed by Jack McAuliffe of New Albion Brewing Company, and then most famously by Ken Grossman and Paul Camusi with Sierra Nevada Pale Ale in 1981. Early American Pale Ales profoundly altered the modern craft beer scene. Even the first canned beer to emerge in modern craft beer was Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale in 2002. Its place in craft beer history is forever cemented, but is still relevant as we approach 2020?
The nation’s first all-in-one brewery collaborative, Chicago’s District Brew Yards, has added a forth member to its team of breweries. The Latin American-inspired Casa Humilde Cervecería will join Burnt City, Around the Bend and Bold Dog in the unique pour-your-own beer hall and retail shop on Chicago’s West Side. The announcement of the fourth brewery comes on the heals of the Brew Yards’ unique Kveik Fest and Bold Dog Brewing winning the 2020 Sam Adams “Brewing the American Dream” award, which was announced at the Great American Fest in early October. The four breweries will officially kick off their new partnership with a Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration on November 1.
The 17th Annual Festival of Wood & Barrel-Aged Beer (FoBAB), the world’s largest barrel-aged beer festival and competition, will occur in Chicago on Nov. 8-9 at the University of Illinois-Chicago. More than 200 craft breweries from across the United States will showcase innovative, rare and special barrel-aged brews, while also competing for top honors in The National Barrel-Aged Beer Competition.
“FoBAB continues to be a one-of-a-kind showcase of the creativity, innovation and passion that defines the craft beer industry,” said Danielle D’Alessandro, executive director for the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild, host of FoBAB for 17 years. “We’re thrilled to provide a venue for breweries across the nation to feature their barrel-aged beer to thousands of enthusiasts from all over the world.”
For the second year, Jameson Whiskey sponsored and participated in the Great American Beer Festival (GABF). Twenty-two brewing partners used Jameson Irish Whiskey barrels to age beer and then pour the finished product for fans in the energetic, music-filled Caskmates Barrel Aged Beer Garden. For this Irish (craft beer loving) American writer, it was my (pleasurable) task to drink as many of the 45-plus creations and provide my feedback.
The Great American Beer Festival began in 1982 with 24 breweries serving 47 beers to fans for a single, five-hour session. Today, the number of external events exceed the beers poured at that first fest, and the convention hall will allow patrons to select from more than 3,500 beers. What do you drink? Where do you go? How can one possibly navigate such a colossal beer experience? We at PorchDrinking.com have tried to make the process simpler, writing more than a dozen stories on the event. And, to further simplify it, we have now put all those stories in one location.
First a few important notes on this year’s festival:
- A few tickets still remain for Thursday Night and Saturday Night sessions. Tickets available here.
- This year’s festival format returns to booths being arranged alphabetically by region.
- Attendees of ALL sessions will receive glass cups instead of plastic.
- Thursday Night, Friday Night and Saturday Night Sessions begin at 5:30, Saturday’s Day Session begins at Noon. For first time attendees, we recommend arriving at least an hour and a half before your session to wait in line.
- Don’t forget to check out other sections for hidden gem beers. The Brewers Guild section has guild representatives from several states that bring beers from breweries that aren’t otherwise pouring on the festival floor.
- The Heavy Medal section has beers pouring from past GABF medal winners.
- There’s a Fresh Hop booth with all fresh/wet-hopped beers.
- Several breweries will have special timed releases that aren’t otherwise listed on the pour list. Modern Times Beer, for example, will have a different special release each day of the fest.
Enjoy GABF. Enjoy Beer. Enjoy Craft in all it glory. And here are more tools to help you enjoy the week.
For one week a year, Denver and the surrounding metro area turn upside down for the Great American Beer Festival. While the festival floor is a great place to sample thousands of beers from all across, the events happening outside of the festival have become equally as impressive and formidable. From tap take-overs to beer dinners, special release to actual full-blown separate beer festivals all together have broken off of GABF. So, to help provide some perspective and frothy guidance, we have made that navigation a bit easier with a 2019 GABF Week Events Guide. Too much to sort through and choose? Don’t worry, chuggernaut, we got you covered.
It’s only a matter of time before Chicago’s craft-community routinely lists Burnt City Brewing as one of the city’s most innovative and creative breweries. And that day may inch closer after it hosts Kveik Fest. Thirty Breweries from around the country will descend upon Chicago to showcase beer brewed with kveik, a traditional and unique Norwegian farmhouse brewing yeast. The festival will occur on September 7 at the (also innovative) District Brew Yards, a spot shared by Burnt City, Around the Bend and Bold Dog Brewery.
“Kveik is a Norwegian dialect word for ‘yeast’,” explained Lance Shaner, owner at Omega Yeast Labs in Chicago. “In the brewing context, kveik are Norwegian farmhouse brewing yeasts that collectively share a lot of common traits, most notably high temperature tolerance (not unusual for them to produce good beer in the upper 90sF), high alcohol tolerance and fast fermentation. They were brought to the attention of the world by Norwegian blogger Lars Marius Garshol.”
The second annual Metal Monkey Brewing Artisan Market hosted by Metal Monkey Brewing celebrates â€œcraft” in its many forms. The event allows patrons to shop for unique gifts created by more than 30 local artists while sipping on craft beer, enjoying meals from local food trucks and listening to live, local music. Moreover, a percentage of all event proceeds will be donated to The St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
One artist, John E. Streetz, of Bead Streetz, is a well-known figure among Chicagoâ€™s brewing scene, both because of frequent visitations to Chicago-area breweries and because he regularly displays his artwork there. John is heavily involved in the Artisan Market event. He spoke with us about his work, the connection between artists and craft beer and the event at Metal Monkey.
Refer to it as mid-summer; the dog days; the height of summertime. Call it whatever you want, but the fact is that it’s hot outside in the Windy City. And so to beat the heat; we need a few refreshing beers. Whether you drink it watching a ball game while grilling or just basking in some air conditioning, it’s satisfying to have a beer that fits the season. Here are six Chicago summer beers sure to help keep the mind off the endless beads of sweat forming all over your skin.
Crystal Lake Brewing may be located on the outer edges of the Chicago Metropolitan region, but the brewery is as much a “Chicago beer” as any brewery located within the city limits. So much so, the Crystal Lake Beach Blonde Lager has become a staple at the Signature Room, a posh restaurant & lounge located 1,000 feet above Chicago on the 95th & 96th floor of the John Hancock Center. And now, the brewery has created Top View Brew Golden Wheat Ale exclusively for the Signature Room and Signature Lounge. “Aside from occasionally being on draft at the Crystal Lake Tap Room, it’s only available 95 floors up in the Hancock building. Guests at the restaurant will be able to order this beer year-round while they enjoy the great menu and amazing views of Chicago,” explained Crystal Lake Sales Manager, Jesse Able.
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]
A few of the featured events occurring from July 8 – 21 are listed here. Enjoy.
Rhinegeist in Cincinnati is about the celebrate six years of brewing, and what a journey it has been. Three years ago, we featured the brewery’s Streaker Rye IPA and I wrote, “Streaker Rye IPA from Cincinnati’s up-and-coming Rhinegeist provides insight into why this Queen City brewery is enjoying such rapid success.” Well, three years later, it is no longer accurate to describe Rhinegeist as “up and coming.” They’ve arrived.
The brewery operating in the historic Over-the-Rhine Brewery District in Cincinnati (from whence the brewery name is derived), has grown into one of the nation’s largest breweries. We had a chance to pose Five Questions to Bryant Goulding, Co-Founder and VP of Sales & Marketing for Rhinegeist, and ask about where the brewery is, where it’s been and where it’s going.
Deep Woods. Boathouse Reserve. Bourbon County. Barrel Aged Imperial Pajamas. Quiet Giant. The maturation and evolution of Chicago-Area craft breweries has not included a drift away from the style created in the Windy City — Bourbon Barrel Aging. And, breweries that have gained named recognition in the past few years commonly release of a lauded, coveted and oft-cellared BBA. For Imperial Oak Brewing, a continually expanding suburban-Chicago brewery that’s recently added an entire space dedicated to Foeders and other barrels (The Savage Oak Room), its best-selling beer is Quiet Giant. Each year, the beer once deemed a PorchDrinking.com favorite at Beer Under Glass (BUG) in 2017 arrives just in time for both BUG and its summertime anniversary party. This year Imperial Oak has five variants; one for each year its been open.
We at PorchDrinking were privvy to a special preview before Beer Under Glass, and are pleased to share our findings with you.
Creativity breeds creativity, so it’s no wonder that Katie and Krys Wolf, with their pension for design and art, have turned an 1850s home into a profoundly unique craft brewery — Wolfden Brewing. The exterior is that of a spacious, suburban home while the inside reminds one of a lodge one enters in Wisconsin or the mountains of Wyoming — with plenty of beer, to boot.
“We wanted it to feel like home, or like a vacation getaway spot,” explained Katie Wolf.
The Women of Suburban Chicago, who took part in the Pink Boots Live Brew Day at Skeleton Key Brewing for International Women’s Day in March, had one thing in mind: make good beer. The brewers and brewery professionals, who happened to be women, came together to do what all beer fans love: transform yeast, malt, hops and water into a wonderful, fermented beverage. As a byproduct of brewing in the Pink Boots’ event, the women did accomplish one extra item: they demonstrated (again) that brewing prowess has zero to do with gender. Any doubt that women can brew was immediately stripped away when patrons enjoyed the nine varieties (of the 10 made) of Hold My Crown Rustic Lithuanian Pale Ale, released April 5 at Iron & Glass bottle shop. From base beer to Kombucha, the variants proved to not only be delicious, but a geeky exploration of flavor combinations.
The innovative and imaginative District Brew Yards, new home to Burnt City Brewing, Around the Bend Beer and Bold Dog Beer, stands as the nation’s first brewery collective, pour-your-own beer hall, eatery and swag shop all operating under one roof. With an ability to provide customers an expansive — and routinely experimental — beer menu, Brew Yards (opening Friday, April 12) adds tremendous allure to the already impressive Chicago Brewing District on the west side comprised of nearby All Rise Brewing, as well as On Tour, Great Central, Finch and Goose Island.
As the Brewers Association (BA) gears up for this week’s Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) we decided to catch up with the governing body of craft beer to dive deeper into their decision to move this year’s conference from Indianapolis to Denver, just months before GABF will once again be held in the same city. Ann Obenchain, Marketing Director for the Brewers Association, spoke with PorchDrinking.com about this year, and the years to follow.
While the Craft Brewers Conference is an amazing opportunity to gain valuable education from the multitude of sessions and seminars, as brewers we know the real fun comes with the after-parties surrounding the conference. To help you navigate the week-long schedule of tap takeovers, beer dinners, special releases and more surrounding CBC we put together a day-by-day external events guide. Use the menu below to quickly navigate to the corresponding day.
Additionally we will be updating this guide throughout the week, so if we missed an event be sure to shoot us a message.
Special thanks to our friends at OnTap Credit Union, who have been crafting banking solutions for breweries, brewery employees and beer lovers for the past 64 years in Golden and Arvada. Their support in underwriting PorchDrinking allows us to continue to research and present in-depth pieces like the the 2019 CBC External Events Writeup