AboutMathew Powers – PorchDrinking.com
Banded Oak Brewing Barrel-Aged Atomga comes with an intriguing backstory: it was brewed to celebrate the release of the band Atomga’s album, “AGA” and the recipe resulted from a collaboration with Bodebrown, a Brazilian brewery.
But, a great story means nothing if the beer is subpar. So, rather than provide an article filled with interviews and storytelling, I decided as a writer to concentrate solely on the beer.
The ubiquitous nature of craft beer fests suggests that the novelty of simply offering nothing but an array of craft beer has diminished; a lively competition among fests exists. As a result, festivals routinely engage in the “craft-plus” strategy, such as a “craft + a theme” or “craft + an appealing venue.” One such craft-plus fest occurred on May 5 in the Chicago area at the Schaumburg Boomers’ minor league baseball stadium — the 6th Annual Ballpark Brew Fest (co-hosted by Bigby’s Pour House).bot
The alluring venue coupled with breweries who brought A-game brews, mostly served by its all-star staffers, made for a successful fest and one for which has the potential to maintain its year-to-year viability.
It was the best of sours, it was the best of sours. My apologies to Mr. Dickens, but the tale of these two sours from two different breweries located in two different regions, and enjoying two different histories, is a joyful one. So, do you prefer California or Colorado? Kettle or Barrel? Belgium or Germany? It doesn’t matter. You can have whatever you want because beers like these exemplify how we as craft beer fans are indeed living in the best of times.
Valentine’s Day has its chocolate hearts and Easter its chocolate eggs, but chocolate beer can be enjoyed all year. And why not? Chocolate and cocoa are more than additions to dessert, they a delectable ingredients that enhance a multitude of savory dishes such as mole sauce, chili, barbecue and ravioli. Granted, chocolate beers tend to lean to the sweet side, but has anyone ever had a chocolate shake in the summer? Chocolate exists as a diverse, adaptable and downright delicious ingredient, and brewers have mastered its integration into beer. Here are six noteworthy examples of chocolate-infused beer (even if it’s been a while since the release date, the beers can be found on shelves, or in your beer buddy’s cellar).
Kerri Gatz, general manager of the 2018 Craftbeer.com Illinois’ Best Beer Bar, has cultivated a craft-beer environment that showcases small, local brewers with as much enthusiasm as it does well-known brands. Though operating under the umbrella of the Brass Tap franchise name, the independence offered to Gatz at her Orland Park (Chicago) location has allowed her to provide patrons with beer choices, events and an overall vibe that reflects her personality and love for beer. She’s more than a bar operator; she is a craft beer ambassador.
Founders Brewing is bringing its freshly-released KBS and the entire Grand Rapids experience to Tribes Beer Co., located in Chicago’s southern suburb of Tinley Park, on April 3. Along with the 2018 KBS, there will be a special menu, live music and a host of highly regarded beers such as ’17 KBS, CBS, Doom, Backwoods Bastard and Frootwood.
The event starts 5 p.m! All you need is an appetite and a thirst for good beer.
The layered Black and Tan beer cocktail routinely accompanies American St. Patrick’s Day festivities. However, for the Irish, the subject of Black and Tans is nothing to celebrate; the term refers to a notorious British group sent by Winston Churchill who brutally murdered and tortured the Irish, and regularly destroyed their property, during the Irish War for Independence (1919-1921).
Chicago’s Howells & Hood restaurant and pub, with its 119 beers on tap, lies at the confluence of two Chicago icons—the “Mag Mile” and The Tribune Building. Besides the lauded culinary program and extensive beer list (and draft wine, and cocktails and more), H&H boasts of a fabulous patio that provides patrons with an exceptional, photogenic view of the Chicago skyscape. On March 1, Howells & Hood raided the Bourbon County barrel cellars of Goose Island for its five-year anniversary. The Goose presence served to be somewhat symbolic, sort of speak, as is proved to be Howells & Hood’s Anniversary Party swan song; renovations to the Tribune building will force H&H out on September 30. That leaves fans of the pub (and tourists) one more summer to drink beer surrounded by Chicago’s architectural big shoulders.
Though American societal and political chaos has dominated in recent months, President’s Day remains a day to honor the few who have operated as the Chief Executive of these United States of America, whether they be good or bad, deplorable or laudable. And as we celebrate, it behooves us to have a little fun, too, including discussing those times when presidential culture and American beer culture have converged. From Billy Beer to Duff Beer, presidential beer connections are a part of our nation’s history.
Oh sure, you’ve let brewers please your palate and provide love to your liver, but have you ever let them entertain your ears? That’s what the Brewery Band Ballyhoo is all about. On February 2, for $10 (or $50 VIP), you can watch those brewers or brewing staff members get on stage and battle for the Ballyhoo Gold Record — your vote to determines the winner!
Although, in truth, the real winner is the Alliance for the Great Lakes. Proceeds will go the organization dedicated to keeping our Great Lakes pure. If you like beer, that should be important to you.
A principal attribute of craft brewing involves the confluence of creativity and tradition. The summer ‘18 opening of the newest Tribes Beer Company location—a brewhouse, tasting room and beer garden—exemplifies that characteristic. Tribes draws on tradition while simultaneously adapting to an ever-evolving beer industry.
Don’t think of LaGrow Beer Company as an organic brewery; think of it as a family-owned brewery dedicated to using the purest ingredients imaginable, from soil to suds.
At LaGrow, the ingredients used are pure, which results in a beer abound in flavor and exceptionally crisp, clean and fresh. Even if one doesn’t care about ingesting chemicals, the resultant flavor derived from chemical-free ingredients is sure to please any beer drinker, from beer geek to macro fan.
A lust for special release beers has increasingly dominated beer geek culture the last few years, and an abundance of Chicago beer drinkers share that trait. But, what about signature brews? While it’s fun to post pictures of whales on social media, flagships pay a brewery’s bills and their quality ultimately determine a brewery’s fortune.
It’s likely that nearly all of nearly 200 Chicago-area breweries have one or two (or more) beers worthy of making this list. And, you can be sure that we writers left a few of our favorites off this list, too. Nonetheless, we feel that these 21 beers are ones you should not miss in 2018.
The physical manifestation of American Craft Beer’s evolution exists with Imperial Oak Brewing Ragnarok Rum-Barrel-Aged Baltic Porter. It’s not just a craft beer; it’s a crafted lager. It’s not just any lager; it’s a Baltic Porter. It’s not just barrel-aged or aged in the bourbon barrels; it’s aged in rum barrels. I doubt even Ken Grossman could have envisioned a beer such as this back in the late 1980s. But, this is 2017, and this is how far craft beer has come.
Each year, throngs of beer fans ignore industry arguments and engage in the annual Black Friday hunt for Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout (BCBS). It’s difficult to argue its historical significance, current popularity and quality. But, do people covet BCBS due to its quality or because of its fame? Or, is it a little of both? There’s no right answer, and there’s no judgement to be given for choosing either option. But, maybe it’s not really about choice as it is a sign that the BCBS fame can’t last forever.
Maybe, what we are seeing is a slowly evolving beer revolution akin to the bloodless 1688 Glorious Revolution in England that ousted a King and forever put the government in the hands of Parliament. BCBS isn’t going away and it will likely always be revered. However, other beers might well supplant its power within the market and on social media.
Maplewood Brewery & Distillery didn’t merely open a taproom and tasting space, it opened a thoughtful representation of the entire Maplewood experience — and that’s how all breweries should approach taproom designs.
Just when you think you know what to expect from a Christmas Ale, Around the Bend Beer Company comes along and provides a unique holiday surprise — the Pretty Lights Belgian Tripel with Cranberry and Almond. Although this beer is exceedingly capable of standing on its own, it would be tough to find a beer more suited for pairing with a holiday feast.
For beer fans, notably in the Chicago region, Black Friday means dark beer releases. The day, dominated by Goose Island Bourbon County Stout, offers numerous opportunities for beer fans to indulge in some of breweries’ finest creations. For those that love Bourbon County — big beer or not — it’s the day to stand in line or find a bar party, of which there are many. For those who have no interest, it’s a time to Uber-it-over to breweries and bars for an immense, diverse selection of barrel-aged, or sometimes big-hopped, beer. Forget shopping. It’s beer time! Happy Holidays!
Have an event we missed? Email us — we’ll update this through Thanksgiving. Check back for updates!
A raging-river’s worth of barrel-aged beer flows through Chicago during November and December. Breweries often release special beers and throw plenty of parties on both Black Wednesday and, even more-so, Black Friday. But, it all starts with the day before Thanksgiving, allowing beer drinkers an opportunity to party, as well as purchase some Turkey-Day goodies!
Events are listed as we received them
The world’s largest barrel-aged beer competition — The Illinois Craft Beer Guild‘s Festival of Barrel Aged Beer (#FoBAB) in Chicago — is currently satisfying hoards of beer lovers. For breweries, it’s also a chance to see if their beer stood-out among the sea of special beers. The awards have been announced and our Chicago/Midwest editor, Mike Zoller, relayed the information as it happened. Here are the results — Congrats not only to the winners, but also every brewery that took the time to offer their beer to a thirsty, enthusiastic beer crowd.