AboutMathew Powers – PorchDrinking.com
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?
ABV: 6.66% | IBU: 87
If Hamm’s is the beer from the land of sky blue waters, Rogue is the beer from the land of hop green farms (and amber waves of grain). Any doubt about this notion is removed after taking one sip of Rogue 6 Hop IPA. The Rogue collaboration with Mother Nature incorporates a harvest’s worth of wheat, rye, yeast, hops and “free range coastal water,” for a beer that is super hoppy, but presents far more to drinkers than just existing as a “hoppy beer.”
One thing for which no one can accuse Avery Brewing is resting on its laurels or being behind the times. From altering its own portfolio and removing some fan favorites to changing the name of its own beer (read on), Avery refuses to stand still and risk the craft-beer world passing it by. Avery is reintroducing its red ale to the world in a new way, and in new cans; it’s throwing some beer in tequila barrels; and Avery is going to have a little fun at Beer Camp, too.
Rhinegeist had a great 2016: The Cincinnati brewery was part of the New Belgium Fat Tire and Friends Colla-beer-ation, expanded to Massachusetts and Cleveland, increased production by 80%, from 31,470 bbl in 2015 to 56,500 bbl in 2016 and grew from roughly 50 employees in 2015 to more than 200. Rhinegeist also opened a rooftop deck, the Annex and — the best part — married more than 100 couples in the new brewery.
It appears that 2017 might include the same success story. The first step involves an expansion to Pittsburgh. Folks in the Steel City can enjoy brews as early as March 6, but Rhinegeist will arrive on the 20th to help kick-off the a week’s worth of launch parties to help make it official.
Around the Bend Beer Co. keeps expanding and releasing new beer. In 2016, Around the Bend introduced Mr. Marmalade IIPA with bitter oranges from Seville, Spain; Villainous IPA with its four yeast strains — two British and two West Coast; and a little beer called Vera, a pistachio cream ale. Vera, though, was not packaged. Why would anyone think a Pistachio beer would be popular? Well, it was. It really was. So, in spring of 2017 the beer returns and will be sold in cans. In fact — as of this spring all of the beer from Around the Bend will arrive to stores in the form of 12 oz canned goodies.
Around the Bend will be part of, or hosting, several events to commemorate the return of Vera and introduce its cans to the world.
You won’t find the best beer from Founders Brewing Co. in Grand Rapids, Michigan — you’ll find it below Grand Rapids, where barrels of goodness hibernate in caves. For example, each April, the famous Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) arises from its slumber and seeks to conquer the palates of beer geeks everywhere. And this year, for Founders Brewing’s 20th Anniversary, several special beers are emerging from those caves, too. So, let us talk about the first release, a barrel-aged cherry ale from Founders named Frootwood.
Feature Image: From Sheffield’s Beer and Wine Garden, Chicago
For Roman Catholics, Ash Wednesday and Lent are right around the corner, which means Tuesday is the last day to indulge. For everyone else, Fat Tuesday is an excuse to experience new heights of debauchery, notably if you find yourself in New Orleans with all sorts of beads and cash. Indeed, the carefree nature found in New Orleans is the result of centuries of cultural homogenization. Yes, like a societal jambalaya, there’s a true mixing of cultures from almost every continent. It gave birth to modern hot jazz, and it found a way to mix all sorts of spirituality, including a wide acceptance of Voodoo. So, on this Fat Tuesday, let us celebrate the beer that celebrates the spirits that guide people through one last day of no-rules-fun — welcome to the Voodoo beer sixer!
Feature Image Credit: Allagash Brewing (social media)
Like book lovers with towering bookshelves full of the classics, or hunters with heads o’ plenty adorning their walls, some beer nerds maintain extensive bottle collections. Indeed, aficionados of fermented malt and hops often engage in the art of cellaring beer. But not all of them agree with the idea of saving beer for later.
Nevin’s Brewing Company (NBC), located in Chicago’s suburban Plainfield, is a restaurant, banquet hall, music venue and a brewery — and now that brewery has its own name, Nevin’s Draft Company. The “B” in NBC, occasionally got lost in the mix, so the brewing arm of NBC created a new, separate identity. The beer has always been good, but now more people are going to know about it.