AboutMathew Powers – PorchDrinking.com
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.
The continued meteoric rise of craft breweries affords beer drinkers an opportunity to enjoy special releases with unfathomable regularity. But, once in a while, a classic “gotta have it,” beer rolls around; be it Pliny the Younger, Utopias, or in this case — KBS.
Since 2002, Founders Brewing has been putting its coffee-chocolate-malty stout in whiskey barrels and then storing them below its Grand Rapids home for a year. Each spring, just as tulips emerge from the soil, KBS escapes the caves so it can be enjoyed by throngs of fans. Welcome to spring; welcome to KBS season.
Firkin Fest: April 2, 12pm to 4pm | Tickets: $42 GA / $57 All-Access
The litany of festivals these days is almost overwhelming, which is why it behooves beer drinkers to pick and choose festivals that provide something unique. That’s just what Chicago’s Headquarters (HQ) Beercade is doing with its 4th Annual Firkin Fest — 40 Breweries bringing unique selections, only available for festival goers. For those willing to pay a little extra, food will be served, too. And the best part? Ticket proceeds will support the Chicago Food Depository.
A true celebration of fermentation — centuries of craft knowledge enjoyed one boilermaker at a time. I mean, who needs leprechauns and pots of gold when Tullamore D.E.W. rolls into town on March 15 with its decked-out tour bus and visits BuckleDown Brewing in the suburbs of Chicago? A host of people with thick Irish accents provided music to thirsty patrons’ ears with a chorus of Irish toasts and whiskey. Even better, the whiskey paired harmoniously with BuckleDown Brewing beer, orchestrated by its brewmaster and founder, Irish-American Sean Mahoney.
SideDoor, the popular gastropub adjacent to Lawry’s The Prime Rib, is joining forces with Lagunitas Brewing Company on Thursday, March 23 at 7 p.m. Located in a building steeped in history, Executive Chef Leonard Delgado will provide guests with a five-course menu that will pair with Lagunitas beer or beer-based cocktail ($75/person). It’s a night for foodies and beer geeks.
Photo courtesy of 21st Amendment Brewery
The new, ultra-refreshing spin on the original Brew Free! or Die IPA has arrived this March like a full-flavored lion pouncing on its beer-drinking prey. The brewery that made watermelon beer famous has gone the citrusy IPA route with its new year-round offering — real blood oranges and plenty of hops.
St. Paddy’s Day is right around the corner, but the festivities often begin days in advance. Hosting a party, heading to a parade or fun at the pub are some of the many ways one can embrace their inner Leprechaun. But, for the love all things Michael Flatley, please refrain from drinking bad, green beer. Finding a quality beer that pays homage to Ireland isn’t that difficult; there exists many easy-to-access, readily-available beers one can enjoy at nearly any bar or purchase in any store.
Tickets: Click here to register for free
Few places embody the Irish spirit more than the local pub, which historically served as more than a place for grabbing a pint or sipping Irish whiskey; Irish pubs once stood as the community center, town hall, and anything else one can imagine. Americans, notably those without lineage tied to Ireland, are often accused of stomping on Irish traditions each St. Paddy’s day. But, that is changing, and few things demonstrate that evolution towards authenticity more than Ireland’s own Tullamore D.E.W Whiskey Distillery touring the United States. On March 15, that tour will take them to the bastion of blue-collar, neighborhood-style watering holes — BuckleDown Brewing in Lyons, IL (Chicago).
Few places embrace local breweries like Brass Tap in Orland Park, Illinois (Chicago). But, this is no time to celebrate community — community, smoonity! This is March Beer Madness and it’s all about competition! One dozen breweries enter the tournament, but only one leaves a winner (and the lucky fans who picked it correctly). It starts with Chicago’s Maplewood Brewery vs. suburban Darien’s Miskatonic on day one, March 16th.
It’s free to fill out a bracket… so, who ya got?