AboutMathew Powers – PorchDrinking.com
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Image Source: Anchor Brewing
Anchor Brewing is a brewery for which most ardent craft beer fans pay reverence, for if not for Fritz Maytag betting a good portion of his inheritance and defying all logic in the late 1960s, well, who knows? Maytag had a vision, and that vision has manifested itself in a terrific brewery that was integral in awakening a nation from its brewing doldrums. In 2017, the brewery isn’t sitting around resting on its laurels, demonstrated by the new Anchor Brewing Blood Orange Blonde Ale. How can something be both blonde and blood orange? Leave it to Anchor Brewing to solve this colorful conundrum.
Two Brother’s Brewing Summer Festival speaks volumes about the brewery’s identity. The journey for the Ebel brothers started with a brewery that barely turned profits twenty years ago to owning five locations and adding coffee and spirits to its portfolio. But, what defines Two Brothers is not its products as much as the brewery’s propensity to host events and welcome fans into its many homes. From Scottsdale to Oak Park, Oktoberfest to Summerfest, nail-pulling parties to special releases, Two Brothers invites you inside and says, “Welcome to our house, beer’s in the fridge.”
Feature image courtesy of New Belgium Brewing
“Most of our students come from so far, like 10 kilometers, so the time the girl is getting to school, already that girl is so tired,” explained Monica Mudonidongo, Vice Principal Bukhaywa Secondary School in Kenya. In the U.S., bikes are a luxury, but for many countries a bicycle is a necessary means with which to obtain life’s basic necessities.
World Bicycle Relief, a global non-profit that mobilizes people through the power of bicycles, is partnering with New Belgium Brewing. This summer, proceeds from specially marked Bike the World with Fat Tire 12 packs will go to World Bicycle Relief to help people in developing countries access education, healthcare and economic opportunities—and you might find the lucky 12 pack that sends you on a gorgeous trip through Patagonia.
The breweries that lie north of Chicago’s Saison-Dixon line regularly play the role of the ugly red-headed stepchild. Granted, Mikerphone receives endless, well-deserved praise, but Mikerphone is a transplant that gained its fame prior to moving to Elk Grove Village. Meanwhile, breweries located in the North Burbs, such as Light the Lamp, Ten-Ninety, ZumBier, Chain O’Lakes, Side Lot, Tighthead, Only Child, Flesk — a brewery in the process of moving to Barrington, and countless others are oft-ignored among the pantheon of Chicago-area breweries.
Don’t do it. Don’t rob yourself of that joy. Refuse to ignore northern-suburban breweries. The brewing scene of the North Burbs is too good to miss!
Sometimes, a beer event comes along that encapsulates the enormous impact the craft beer industry has had on modern imbibe culture. For example, the pairing between suburban-Chicago’s Two Brothers Brewing and Chicago’s Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap during the last day of Chicago Craft Beer Week seemed ordinary on the surface, but a deeper meaning lied underneath. Yes, the two craft-beer-focused operations collaborated on a beer — an American Wheat Beer with melon, but the beer did not take a few weeks to make; it took 30 years.
“In fourteen hundred ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue,” but a few months before Columbus landed in the Caribbean, an Austrian brewery that came to be known as Stiegl arose in the town of Salzburg. Five and a quarter centuries later, the world has dramatically changed, but Stiegl is still there and still delivering beer in its hometown by horse and carriage. The one thing that is new is the Stiegl Zitrone Lemon Radler, its newest summer-friendly, highly sessionable U.S. import.
The transcendental experience provided by the combination of a sweet summer, sun-kissed breeze and the right song is surreal. It calms. It centers. It also energizes and inspires. In a month dominated by big beer buyouts, political turmoil and the sad, unexpected death of Chris Cornell; it’s easy to get lost in all of life’s difficulties. Well, forget all that for a bit. Get in the car, find an open road, don some shades, feel the breeze and listen to some road tunes picked by a few PorchDrinking.com writers and editors.
The annual Beer Under Glass (B.U.G.) at Garfield Park Conservatory serves as the formal opening to Chicago Craft Beer Week (#CCBW), and brewers are more than happy to provide special offerings for the unique event. One such brew exemplifies the true meaning of craft beer — industry first, beer first, a collaboration between two “competing” breweries, Alesmith Brewing Company and Chicago’s Around the Bend Beer Co. This special brew will enjoy its first pouring at B.U.G, and then during select events (and sold in stores) thereafter.
Although the last vestiges of winter traversed Lake Michigan and infiltrated the Chicago Beer Classic on May 6, glorious blue skies and both golden sunshine and beer screamed, “spring.” Besides, a little cool breeze couldn’t ruin an experience provided by 100+ brewers pouring beer at a venue that provided plenty of proverbial “wow factor.” Produced by Red Frog Events, few venues exceed the uniqueness offered by a chance to sip a beer while standing on the Chicago Bears logo at the 50-yard line. Go Bears, or go beers — both applied. The additional component of the stadium’s role in paying homage to America’s soldiers only added to the fest’s positives.
The Only Child Brewing story involves several unique chapters. Some sections are straightforward, yet compelling, such as mentioning the brewery’s ultra-hip, slick taproom or the brewery’s personable, enthusiastic staff. Of course, one can also talk about its beer that exemplifies the term, “artisanship.” However, other portions of the Only Child Brewing story are far more complex, including the nearly simultaneous, and tumultuous, birth of both the brewery and its owners’ newborn twins. The story may not be a fairy tale, but all signs point towards a happy ending.
It was merely spring training when we first reported on the White Sox Craft Kave, and now a month into the season the south siders are looking up with a tie for first in the AL Central. Recently, the White Sox organization invited PorchDrinking to visit the Craft Kave for an inside look into MLB’s finest collection of craft offerings in a single stadium.
Although The Kave is not all about craft — macro’s and macro-owned quasi crafts certainly exist, the infusion of Craft Beer into the White Sox home is not only substantial, it’s celebrated. In fact, The Chicago White Sox recently announced a new marketing agreement with Revolution Brewing: Rev will be featured as the “Beer of the Homestand” during the Detroit and Boston series on May 26 through May 31.
Feature Image: James Nichols, Great Central Brewing Co.
If craft brewers had escaped from their 20th century oppression (on the way to the fermented promised land) with a set of rules on stone tablets, there’s a good chance it would have included the commandment “thou shall not contract brew.” But, are all contract brewers the same? One visit, one conversation with Chicago’s brand new Great Central Brewing Company (GCBC), and it’s likely you’ll realize that perception and reality rarely match. I know, because I did just that a few weeks ago.
Fresh off the Chicago Bears blockbuster decision to go all-in on the barely-tested QB, Mitchell Trubisky; Soldier Field will provide Chicagoans with the ultimate solution for any possible worries — plenty of beer. The annual Chicago Beer Classic arrives May 6th with two sessions that include hundreds of beers, food, games, tours of Soldier Field, chances to talk to brewers and voting for an MVP beer.
Crystal Lake Brewing may feel awfully far from downtown Chicago, located more than an hour’s drive away, but from the 95th floor of the John Hancock Building, Crystal Lake is easy to see. It’s pretty small, but you can find it. But, on May 2, you won’t have to look very far — Crystal Lake Brewing is bringing its seasonal beer selections to Chicago’s 3rd largest building. Patrons will enjoy Crystal Lake beer and a four-course dinner provided by Chef Cardel Reid.
Photo Credit: Mathew Powers: Campo, Colorado tornado (2010).
No place on Earth enjoys conditions more conducive for tornadoes than the U.S. It’s not even close. And, late April into June marks the peak of tornado season. Music, like severe weather, masterfully pieces otherwise chaotic components into an orderly, harmonious sensory delight. Both can evoke feelings of tranquility or make one’s heart beat rapidly.
Photo Credit: St. Louis Brewery/Schlafly Beer
Craft with a conscious. It’s the phrase commonly found on the underside of Schlafly Beer bottle caps, and it captures the essence of a brewery that recently celebrated 25 years in the business. Schlafly is Missouri’s largest locally-owned and independent craft brewery, and it’s dedicated to upholding the craft brewing industry values consisting of community, sustainability and innovation.
Photo Credit: Noon Whistle Brewing via Facebook
The Noon Whistle Brewing story resembles one enjoyed by innumerable craft breweries, especially in Chicago. The brewery first sought to create a niche within the booming craft beer market by becoming Chicago’s premier session-beer location. But, now in its third year, abundant success has forced the Noon Whistle Brewing crew to adapt its vision, both to accommodate its growing business, and also satisfy a desire to brew a variety of great beer. Noon Whistle has transitioned from audience-seeker to a trusted name brand.
Masters Photo Credit: more-sky.com
The first golf major of the year is one that’s filled with mystique, nostalgia and fierce competition. The Masters, held at Augusta National in Augusta, Georgia, is defined by its majestic blooming azaleas and fast greens that test the nerves of even the most accomplished veteran golfer. It is, as Jim Nantz proclaims, “A tradition unlike any other.” For die hard golf fans, few things surpass Sunday at the Masters, capped off by the presentation of the famed green jacket to the tournament winner. As golfers worry about picking the right club, fans must be sure to pick the right beer. So, let us be your beer caddy.
The Craft Kave at Guaranteed Rate Field has taken the traditional baseball and beer concept and improved it mightily. Fans can enter the bar, order any of the 75 craft/quasi-craft beers, eat chef-inspired food or order from the full bar menu. Early indications are that the new relationship between the Chicago White Sox and its new stadium owner, Guaranteed Rates, are taking craft beer seriously. This is no gimmick, this is a celebration of good beer.