AboutPaul Lewis – PorchDrinking.com
March is here; and by this point many of us in cold weather states have gotten sick of the sub-zero temperatures, potholes, and unseen sheets of ice that cause us to fall on our ass. Rather than reaching a breaking point and going postal, it may be a better option make your way towards southern Florida for a short getaway in weather that teeters between the mid-70s to mid-80’s to get some much needed vitamin D.
My wife and I recently reached our milestone of traveling to all 50 states, ensuring we visit the local brewery in each of the places that we visit. While I am an avid meat eater, my wife is vegetarian. So, the places we choose to eat during our travels had to be well researched in advance to ensure they have a vegetarian menu that met the expectations of my wife, who can be quite a picky eater. Luckily, nowadays, that isn’t hard. Many breweries and brewpubs offer at least one vegetarian option on their menu, to various degrees of success and creativity.
I admit, I rage-bought a beer. I bought Pipeworks Brewing Pothole City because of the name. I didn’t even know what style it was, but I knew I wanted it. Nonetheless, the beer — an Imperial Stout — proved to be just as good as the name.
This past weekend, Navy Pier’s Aon Grand Ballroom once again hosted the 7th Annual Cider Summit in Chicago, welcoming thousands of cider enthusiasts from around the Midwest as they enjoyed over 150 ciders from producers around the country and the world.
As Chicago barrels toward a week of historically cold temperatures, I was eager to get out to my local Binny’s and stockpile some dark, heavy stouts to keep me sane as I prepare for a week filled with cabin fever.
One of the things that can make a beer festival memorable (besides the beer) is the festival’s venue. Chicago Ale Fest changed things up this year to great success; they brought the festival to the Lacuna Artist Lofts in Chicago’s red hot Pilsen neighborhood.
While PorchDrinking does tend to focus on the craft beer industry, it is hard to ignore the expansive growth of the beer-adjacent craft cider industry. Chicago is again hosting the cider festival bringing many of these cider producers together from …
Despite its neighbor to the south being named Beer Capital of America, Wisconsin’s breweries are plentiful and still sling some pretty damn good beer. While New Glarus might be the destination of choice for those on a Wisconsin beercation, braving the shivering Midwest January weather and making the drive a little farther north brings you to the small town of Amherst, home of Central Waters Brewing. Expect the journey to be arduous as you attempt to avoid snowdrifts, slippery country roads, rogue cows and Green Bay Packer Fans. However, you’ll be rewarded by visiting a brewery that brews one of my favorite winter beers from America’s Dairyland.
We’re entering another Chicago winter. The wind, lack of sun and bitter cold tend to keep Chicagoans indoors. But before you enter hibernation mode, it’s time to drink some of Chicago’s finest winter beers. What better place to do so than at the Chicago Ale Fest on February 2. This year, the festival makes its way to Pilsen, where Lacuna Artist’s Lofts will host. The festival boasts live music, food trucks and more than 100 beer pours from over 40 breweries. It will be a day off full of fun, surprises, mouth-watering munchies and plenty of strong, hearty ale to keep you warm until spring.
Given the fact that its buried in snow and doesn’t see the sun for 6 months out of the year, It comes to no surprise the Chicago doesn’t even rank in American’s top 50 fittest cities. But where Chicago lacks in fitness, friendliness, honest politicians, and low taxes, it makes up with its food and beer scene.
As the craft beer industry continues to evolve and become more complex, Sierra Nevada switched gears and brewed an ale for a different beer lover. For the consumer who’s no connoisseur or who may not even care what the hell a hop even is, there’s Beer for Drinking.
It’s not barrel-aged, dry-hopped or infused. It’s beer. Plain and simple. And for many, that’s all they need.
Craft beer is always best enjoyed locally, straight from the brewery taproom. But if you can drink at the source, why not sleep at the source, too?
While Columbus, OH has seen a craft beer renaissance in recent years, it …
Fall in Wisconsin is an exciting time of year. Hearty, Midwestern men and women come back from the lake, stock up on cheese curds and bratwursts and prepare for Packer season. The crisp, cool air signifies a clear changing of the seasons and thus the beer aisle at your local Woodman’s begins to change with it. The aisles formerly populated by the Midwest’s finest kolsch and summer wheat beers seemingly overnight are now enticing thirsty patrons with Oktoberfests, maibocks and pumpkin beers. Oh God, so many pumpkin beers. Everyone makes them now. My recommendation, coming from years of industrial grade levels of drinking, is to avoid the constant disappointment of so many of the macro breweries “take” on pumpkin beers and go straight to the one pumpkin beer that lays waste to its vast and meager competition.
In the Chicagoland area, we have no shortages of breweries. Big ones (Revolution Brewing, Goose Island, Half Acre) and some smaller ones looking to make their mark (Whiner Brewing, Lo Rez Brewing, Marz Brewing). With over 200 breweries and brewpubs now cranking out in the Chicagoland area, it has been hard for a professional drinker to find a place that truly stands out without trying to truly stand out. Personally, I prefer a place where the tourists don’t venture out to and I’ve had to look no further, Une Année.
I’ll admit that I didn’t start watching Anthony Bourdain’s show, Parts Unknown, until after he tragically took his own life on June 8th. I was late to jump on the bandwagon, but once I saw what the hype was about, I was hooked. I binged the entire series on Netflix in a few days. As someone who enjoys writing about beer, food and travel, it was only natural to admire someone who gets paid to eat and get drunk in some of the most beautiful and exotic places on earth.
Jones Dog Sundae from Chicago’s Pipeworks Brewing Company is a stout made for summer drinking. This sweet milk stout with natural flavors comprised of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry was brewed to be the boozy, liquid version of Neapolitan ice cream — the perfect warm weather treat!