About- Sarah Hargis
Beets are awesome. First of all, their name differs from beer by only one letter. They are also nutritionally diverse in vitamins and minerals, and therefore benefit important organs such the heart, liver, kidneys, and eyes. Some folks even claim they have cancer-preventing and -fighting capabilities. I have been both a long-time beet lover and a long-time beer lover, but I never once thought to combine the two. I am certainly glad someone did.
I discovered the delicious Free Dive IPA on a recent vacation back to my hometown of Tampa, Florida. Coppertail Brewing was just getting underway when I moved to Chicago a little over a year ago, so I was excited to see their progress upon my return. Situated in a beautiful 50 barrel brewhouse and nautical-themed taproom in historic Ybor City, Coppertail has settled well into its surroundings over the past year. With four flagship beers in constant production and lots of creative, small-batch seasonals, Coppertail is picking up momentum as one of Tampa’s up-and-coming larger scale craft breweries.
Ahh, the Gose (goes). Or is it Gose (go-say)? It’s actually Gose (go-suh), preferably pronounced with a nice German gutteral G. An old style originating from Leipzig, Germany, the gose is named after the river Gose in Lower Saxony. Light, tart and refreshing, this style is the only one brewed with salted water, and traditionally contains coriander. Seeing goses hit the shelves and appear on draft is as much a sign of Spring as budding flowers and bright green leaves on trees. This style also makes for an excellent shower beer.
I would like to begin by saying I LOVE THIS BEER. Unity Vibration’s Kombucha Pale Ale is funky, weird, and intensely flavored. It is also organic, gluten-free, and vegan, if you’re into that. I was initially drawn to it as a fan of kombucha tea.
Keep It Copacetic is an elote-inspired cream ale made by Middle Brow Beer Co. in conjunction with the folks over at ManBQue, an organization that got its start in Chicago, but now has chapters worldwide.
Tallgrass Brewing Co. | 8-Bit Pale Ale
Okay, I’ll admit it. I was initially drawn to this beer by its awesome retro can design, as I imagine many children of the late 70s and early 80s would be. The word “Galaxy” also caught my eye, as this relatively recently available Australian hop variety is complex in flavor, and adds a tropical element to many beers. Made in Manhattan, Kansas, by Tallgrass Brewing, the 8-Bit Pale Ale is fairly easy to find here in the midwest, and it has become one of my go-to picks over the last few months.
The Berliner Weiss is an old German style whose origins are somewhat mysterious. Some say it is a derivative of an old wheat and barley ale brewed in Halberstadt, while others say it was brought to Berlin by the Protestant French Huguenots in the late 17th century. Still others cite relics that prove it was first invented in Berlin in 1572. Whatever the story, Berliner Weisse beers are delicious. They are tart, sour, and bright, with champagne-like carbonation, and are generally offered with a choice of fruit flavorings.
Oak Park Micro Brew Review
Downtown Oak Park, Illinois is a perfect place to host a beer festival. The quaint, shady brick streets are lined with sidewalk cafés, pubs, and specialty shops, and the area is easily accessible by several public transportation routes. In fact, the train station acts as the geographical center of the festival. Started in 2008, the Oak Park Micro Brew Review is the largest zero-waste craft beer festival in the Midwest.
Spiteful Brewing | Alley Time! Pale Ale
Spiteful is among my favorites of the breweries I’ve discovered since moving to Chicago a little over four months ago. The Alley Time is a smash beer (single malt/single hop) made with Pilsen malt and Simcoe hops. These two ingredients come together to create a crisp, refreshing pale ale with just the right amount of bite for these warm summer days, fleeting though they may be.
Chicago is a mind-blowingly large city, boasting a population of over 2.7 million people, it is divided into more than 200 neighborhoods. These neighborhoods showcase the various cultures and lifestyles of the city’s residents, and each one is unique. The fifth annual Chicago Craft Beer Week (CCBW), which started last Thursday and runs for ten days total, is centered on these small, intimate parts of the city that are so integral to its structure. With over 300 participating venues in the city and surrounding suburbs, this week is guaranteed to be amazing.
I finally did it! After about six years of daydreaming and talking my friends’ ears off about it, I finally packed up my entire life (which is basically just my records, my cats and my beer collection) and hauled off to Chicago. Being a lifelong Florida resident, I feel as though I now live on an entirely different planet. I am using public transportation for the first time ever, attempting to navigate a completely new music scene and trying all kinds of beers I’ve never even heard of. It’s pretty awesome! Here are six of the amazing brews I’ve come across so far.
Bison Brewing’s Organic Chocolate is one of my favorite stouts, and has been for the last few years or so. It is rich in flavor without being heavy in the body, and low enough in alcohol to be sessionable. This is definitely NOT a sweet stout. (If sweet is your thing, check out Samuel Smith’s Organic Chocolate stout.) Brewed with Peruvian cocoa and roasted barley, this beer boasts big coffee and dark chocolate flavors.
It is hard for me to believe that Cigar City Brewing is only five years old. Since its inception in 2009, the brewery has seen rapid exponential growth, gaining global notoriety and consistently collecting accolades in a wide range of categories.
The last six months have seen an influx of new Midwestern and Colorado beers into Florida, and I, for one, am pretty darn excited about that. Founders and New Belgium are the two biggest new names in the state, but we are also starting to see some smaller breweries, such as Two Brothers. The Sidekick is the first beer I’ve tried from them.
Moving sucks. It usually takes place starting at an ungodly hour of the morning, it involves hard physical labor, scratches and bruises, and at least one or two arguments. It also takes FOREVER. Being the loving and caring people we are, we usually invite our friends to share in this very special misery, bribing them with grand promises of delicious pizza and delectable beers. I’m going to be moving at the end of the month, so here are the beers I would bribe you with, if you were to help me. *HINT* *HINT*
Pecan pie has long been a staple in the South, and Terrapin and Cigar City have joined forces to pay homage to the timeless dessert (and sometimes breakfast). Brewed with vanilla beans and pecans, the Southern Slice is a Munich lager that pours an opaque dark brown to black, with a beige colored, lacey head that dissipates quickly. The nose is primarily pecan, with a grainy malt background.