About- Mike Zoller
Quick Sips is our way of highlighting beer events, tap takeovers and other notable beer news around the city of Chicago. If you’d like to submit something to be included in the next Quick Sips, please email us at [email protected].
Last year Surly Brewing made it clear — Chicago was a market they wanted to have a stronger footprint in. They switched distributors in January from Windy City Distributing to Lakeshore Beverage, AB-InBev’s High End distributor, and have subsequently made an immediate impact on the Windy City’s craft beer scene.
When Goose Island was sold to Anheuser-Busch in 2011, the craft beer industry was a sliver of what it is today. Just a handful of breweries were operating in the city and the idea of a hazy beer would have been blasphemous.
A lot has changed over the past year for Empirical Brewery. They moved to self-distribution, the brewpub, just a stones throw away from the taproom, is in full-swing, and they are moving from bottles to cans. There’s a lot of great beer coming out of the small taproom in Andersonville so we went out there and spoke with CEO Bill Hurley and Head Brewer/Taproom Manager Jacob Huston about Empirical, craft beer in Chicago and the industry in general.
With my wife being from Indianapolis, I know that when the calendar turns to May; it’s Indianapolis 500 month. To celebrate the event, Bear Republic Brewing Co., known for its Racer 5 IPA and other racing-inspired beers, has released Racer 500 Indy Pale Ale. The beer is only be available at the brewpub and the state of Indiana.
The West Coast meets the Midwest on Tuesday when Ballast Point Brewing Company opens its Chicago brewery in the West Loop neighborhood. The long-awaited opening adds another well-known beer name to the city’s beer scene.
While it seems that Illinois is celebrating craft beer every week of the year, there’s one week in May that is set aside to specifically recognize the role that the Prairie State is playing in the greater world of craft brewing.
By the time you’re done reading this sentence, tickets for Mikerphone Brewing Smells Like A Beer Fest would have sold out. An exceptionally lucky 400 people obtained tickets to the inaugural event that will be held at the brewery on April 28 which features a star-studded lineup of breweries both local and from around the country.
The festival replaces Pale Pauper Day which had been held over the past few years as an alternative to the popular 3 Floyds Dark Lord Day.
Chicago has always been a weekend destination as people look to explore the city’s rich history, culture and of course, have a slice of deep dish pizza. It’s also now a place where craft beer fans can indulge in the wide array of breweries that the city offers. If anything, it might be overwhelming when trying to think of how to tackle all the breweries within the city limits. Spoiler alert—it would be virtually impossible to visit every single brewery in a weekend.
So if you’re coming to Chicago for a weekend, here’s a guide on how to get the most out of the Chicago craft beer scene in a limited amount of time. Understand that like I said above, it would be virtually impossible to do every brewery, so I had to leave some out. It’s nothing personal and you can alter this itinerary however you like. You’ll also notice that there are no suburban breweries on this list. I’ll be doing another itinerary in a couple of weeks that will focus on just suburban breweries—don’t worry guys, I didn’t forget about you!
This year PorchDrinking.com is pairing up with two local Chicago bottle shops for two great events during Illinois Craft Beer Week. Both events are designed to introduce the city to breweries that are new to Chicago or are out in the suburbs and might not be well-known to people living in the downtown area.
Let me start by saying that I’m currently in the process of writing this Ultimate 6er while packing up and moving, so I hope that earns me a bit more credibility with this post. There is nothing that’s needed more than a beer while moving, and six beers is probably a good number to have at the very minimum.
All the big names were at the Goose Island Brewpub for the return of Stout Fest. While well-known and established breweries like Half Acre, Pipeworks, Goose Island and Revolution were pouring some great stouts, it was a small brewery from Bloomington, Ill. that stole the show.
As the number of craft breweries expanded rapidly in not only the suburbs of Chicago but all across the state of Illinois, there was talk if Chicago Craft Beer Week was feeling a little restrictive.
For over two decades, Two Brothers Brewing Company has been making solid beer and is a mainstay in the Chicago beer scene. Just recently, they added a new year-round beer to their rotation as well as two seasonal/limited releases.
Rarely do I geek out over a specific beer. There’s a lot of great beer out there and getting to live in Chicago, we get the next “must-have” beer more often than not. But when I had More Brewing’s Henna Batch 3, I had a beer that I knew was truly special.
Will you serve food? It’s a question every brewery that’s getting ready to open a taproom will be asked.
In Chicago, there are a lot of taprooms. Food is a necessity when drinking, and taprooms handle this issue in all different ways. While some have a full menu, others work with food trucks to stop by on a regular schedule and others are simply BYOF (bring your own food).
While barrel-aged season peaks in November, there are still great barrel-aged beers being released into early 2018. Surly Brewing is known for a variety of beers, but their stout series, Darkness, is one of the best known beers the Minneapolis brewery releases. The barrel-aged version of Darkness hit shelves recently, so naturally we cut through the wax and poured a glass to see how this year’s version came out.
Just minutes before Marz Community Brewing Company was set to open for the first time this past Saturday, a line stretched from the door and around the corner with craft beer fans ready to welcome the long-awaited taproom to the Chicago beer scene.
Crack open two Surly Brewing Hop Shifter IPAs and they might taste different from one another. No, nothing is wrong with either can, the taste difference is by design.
At the 2017 Cider Summit in Chicago, Denver’s Stem Ciders was officially introduced into the Chicago market. One year later, they’ve carved out a nice foothold in the growing cider offerings throughout the city and have been able to stand out in a very crowded space.