About- Mike Wronski
This picture will no doubt look a little off to some. A New Glarus beer in front of the Chicago skyline just seems misplaced, like a John Deer tractor driving down Michigan Ave. But there is a huge amount of respect for New Glarus here, and people will travel out of their way to grab a bottle (thanks for your convenient location and large New Glarus selection, Mars Cheese Castle!). And while there is some animosity between the two states (Packers vs. Bears; Wisconsin State Troopers vs. Wisconsin Dells-Bound Illinoisans; ‘Sconnies vs. FIPs), we are undoubtedly linked by common loves: beer and sausage.
Thursday night kicked off the beginning of Chicago Craft Beer Week—Chicago’s 10 day “week” dedicated to craft beer. Many events across the city welcomed the start of the annual celebration, but the premier event and most sought after ticket was for the Beer Under Glass, held every year at the Garfield Park Conservatory by the Illinois Craft Brewer’s Guild.
Chicago is a city of neighborhoods. And after living here for any extended period of time, that phrase becomes so common and clichéd that it loses its meaning and incites a collective eye roll from any Chicagoan who hears it (as I’m sure any Chicagoan reading this has already audibly groaned at another utterance). But although it’s become a throwaway phrase, it’s still important to the city’s identity. Sometimes being a city of neighborhoods ends up creating divides and pockets of separation, as demonstrated by the city’s most recent mayoral election. Thankfully, there are dedicated groups of Chicago brewers more focused on bringing people together than providing further means of division.
Style: Finnish Sahti
For the average American, a sauna inspires images of scantily clad, sweaty old men at the gym. Either that or Florida in August. Fortunately for us, the wonderful citizens of Finland have a much different perspective on the sauna, and found it a perfect environment for brewing beer. With over 200 days of winter-like conditions every year, they could stay warm while brewing beer, which meant they had beer to keep them warm while they went outside for materials to brew more beer! At least that’s my theory…
It’s February in Chicago and by this point, we all have the same stinging feeling the mayor of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin is experiencing. But also, it’s February in Chicago which means you’re running out of time to boast about grilling outdoors in the dead of winter. So in the spirit of flipping off the polar vortex, throw on your knit cap, fire up the grill, grab a beer and pretend Spring is right around the corner. I find that the best way to achieve this mindset is to dive into a Gatecrasher IPA by Evanston, IL brewery, Temperance Beer Co.