AboutMathew Powers – PorchDrinking.com
Beer & Baseball go hand-in-hand. Although beer operations are either slowed or shut down in almost every U.S. location, to-go options and cellar-emptying are at least helping us through this quarantine. Baseball, however, is on full hiatus, and baseball fans need something to fill the void. The good news is that fans can still enjoy baseball during a quarantine through social and digital media. You may even find sites you never knew existed, and become fans of those sites forever.
The craft beer industry ordinarily revels in St. Paddy’s Day celebrations—everyone is Irish on March 17. And on this St. Paddy’s Day, it behooves us all to remember the Irish’s resolve and endurance. Indeed, Irish and Irish Americans have routinely dealt with periods of enormous difficulty due to famine, disease, imperialism and racism. And we can especially look to Irish women for inspiration as they have shined brightly during the most challenging times, both on the Emerald Isle and in America. So, as we find the beer world, and the entire human race, at a crossroads, we can find inspiration in those Irish women. As Mother Jones once proclaimed: “Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.”
Since the COVID-19 pandemic has us indoors this St. Paddy’s day, here are four inspiring Irish women to celebrate the holiday. And, at the end, this Irish-American in Chicago will provide a little commentary and also mention a special beer that, while untraditional, captures the essence of Irish women’s tenacity and compassion — we can all use that right about now.
Welcome to 2020. For the past six years, PorchDrinking.com have composed a roundup of brand and beer release calendars from breweries across the country. The PorchDrinking 2020 Beer Release Calendar Roundup gives readers a preview of what some of their favorite breweries have planned for the year and also gives an early glimpse of the beer trends that driving the roughly 8,000 U.S. breweries in operation today.
We will continually update this page as soon as we receive information (many breweries are still in the final stages of finalizing their calendars), so be sure to bookmark this page and check back often. If your brewery isn’t listed and you’d like to share your release calendar, please reach out to us via [email protected] and we’d love to add you to the list!
Additionally, if you would like to sponsor future iterations of this page, feel free to reach out as well!
The women of Mikerphone Brewing do not play the role of background singers at the musical-inspired brewery, but instead work harmoniously with the men; they are integral to the entire operation. And, on February 8, Mike Pallen and his skilled assistants handed over the brewhouse to the women of Mikerphone in order to brew Drippin’ So Much Sauce Double Dry-Hopped Double IPA. The beer will not only be tasty but also support The Wings Program, which aims to end the cycle of domestic violence and give aid to those who have suffered.
Suburban Chicago’s Imperial Oak Brewing will celebrate its 6th anniversary this May, and that will be the last one as a single-location brewery. Imperial Oak will open a second location about ten miles north of its current taproom this summer; the brewery purchased Brixie’s Craft Beer Bar, a family-run bar that first opened in 1934.
Imperial Oak (Willow Springs) joins several other of Chicago’s west- and south-suburban breweries that opened in a roughly fifteen-month stretch from late 2013 though early 2015 in expanding, and in the process have grow into name-brands. Imperial Oak, Hailstorm, Pollyanna, Noon Whistle, and Werk Force have all expanded their original spaces, and some are now adding second and third locations.
Move over Cupid. Oswego Brewing, Riverlands Brewing, Skeleton Key Brewing and Wolfden Brewing have concocted the perfect method for which to achieve romantic bliss: the Box of Chocolates Beer Collaboration. The multi-brewery Valentine’s Day beer package is more than just a treat, though, because the beers also serve as beautiful demonstrations of the versatility of stouts (or stout-like ales), which is fitting for February (a.k.a. Stout Month).
As we close the book on 2019, it’s time to look ahead to a new year — welcome to the ’20s! Each year, we at PorchDrinking.com take time to look ahead and publish a few of our “beer goals” for the upcoming year. What do we want to drink? What topics do we want to cover? Where do we want to travel? We hope that some of our 2020 New Beer Resolutions inspire you to set a few of your own beer goals for 2020.
As the Chicago-area craft scene inches its way towards 200 breweries, the annual task of summarizing the year’s best beer stories has grown ever so daunting — and exhilarating. To peer through one’s pictures of the beers, events, and interviews and re-discover the year in beer offers a reminder of how enriching the job of a beer writer can be. Indeed, the pick the minds of brewers and industry folks, and drink the fruits of their labor, is satisfying to no end. Mike Zoller, Chicago and Midwest Editor and I, Chicago writer and National Content Editor, decided to provide some of our highlights this year. Without further ado, enjoy our 2019 Best of Chicago Craft Brewing
It’s great that St. Nick takes care of the kids. But, for grown-ups, it’s all about St. Bernardus. He doesn’t need to send his elf for your shelf because his smiling face and festive hat adorn every bottle of St. Bernardus Christmas Ale. One sip of the exquisite Belgian beer will surely bring an abundance of holiday joy to any beer fan.
We at PorchDrinking.com thoroughly enjoy the Holidays, and the beer that comes with it. From Winter Warmers to Christmas Ales, there’s something for everyone (even if they’ve been naughty). We have decided to showcase a different holiday beer each day the next couple of weeks. Some beers enjoy rich histories while some are new to the scene, but each one has a warm place in the heart of the writers who’ve chosen to showcase their favorites. Even better, for those writers “up north,” the beer is keeping them warm as Jack Frost nips at their noses.
A Christmas Classic beer showcase will publish each day until we approach Christmas. Hopefully we can add to this list next year and in the years to come. And because the Holidays are all about over-doing it, we’ve also added a few extra goodies to your PorchDrinking stocking.
The holiday shopping season is underway, and it seems that breweries are a hot item. In a matter of weeks, we’ve witnessed the acquisition of New Belgium Brewing by Kirin’s Lion Little World Beverages and, just yesterday, the stunning story …
The fourth annual release of Santa’s Cookies Imperial Milk (and Cookie) Stout, a collaborative effort by Hailstorm Brewing and The Open Bottle in Tinley Park (Chicago), arrives November 30. Since its first release in 2016, Santa’s Cookies popularity has grown and expanded to include variants, which is good news because part of the proceeds of the beer goes towards the Tinley Wish Foundation, who help local, needy families.
On Black Wednesday (Nov 27), BuckleDown Brewing in Lyons, IL (just outside of Chicago proper) will release the third edition of its Significant BBA (Bourbon-Barrel-Aged) Imperial Milk Stout. The three-year-old program has transitioned from bombers to cans, and has grown from one bottled variety to four canned offerings: the base and three variants. Each year, the brewery has used different barrels to store the beer with this year relying on Few Spirits, located in Chicago.
Fresh off its Silver Medal at the Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beer (FoBAB) for its Rye Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout, Crystal Lake Brewing has unveiled its 2019 Boathouse Reserve barrel-aged series, which will formally be released on Saturday, November 23. …
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.