Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image
Scroll to top

Top

AboutTaylor Laabs – PorchDrinking.com

Taylor Laabs

Taylor Laabs

Posts By Taylor Laabs

Chicago Quick Sips September 17 – 30

September 17, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

Quick Sips is our way of highlighting beer events, tap takeovers and other notable beer news around the city of Chicago, IL. If you’d like to submit something to be included in the next Quick Sips, please email us at [email protected].

Read More

A Newbie Guide to Oktoberfest in Munich

September 17, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 5 min

America has a lot of beer festivals. I mean… a lot. I could practically book every weekend for the next few months with at least 2-3 Chicago beer festivals. The heightened popularity of these events resides on a foundational bedrock of human existence: people like drinking, and people like drinking together. And while things like the Great American Beer Festival draw massive crowds and a considerable amount of hype amongst USA-based beer drinkers, there’s typically one beer fest that appears on any beer fan’s bucket list across the globe: Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany.

Read More

Fast Facts on Funkwerks’ New Winky’s Snack Pack

September 10, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 3 min

It is a great time to be alive if you’re a craft beer drinker. Between the innovation, quality and wealth of choice that the craft beer boom has offered the general consumer, there’s a lot to be thankful for. You can add packaging to that growing list. Craft brewers like Colorado-based Funkwerks are well-aware that their audience now demands a strategic combination of quality and uniqueness when it comes to picking out what beer they take home with them. One of the more popular packaging trends that fits this need is the surge in variety packs sold across the nation. Funkwerks is diving head first into the trend with their own unique twist. Instead of focusing on hops and IPAs, Funkwerks’ newest Winky’s Snack Pack wraps up four unique sours and saisons to a create a truly unique packaging format that stands out on shelves.

Read More

Allagash Brewing | Pick Your Own Sour Red Ale

September 5, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 3 min

Allagash Brewing’s mastery of the Belgian beer category has expanded as the company has grown since its introduction back in the late 90s. And while staples like their famed Allagash White and even the newer canned version of Hoppy Table make their way across Allagash’s large distribution footprint, some of Allagash’s more ambitious creations have stayed local to their taproom. As demand for fruited ales and sours have grown over the past couple of years, Allagash has decided to release more of their offerings into the booming craft beer market. Their newest large-scale release, Pick Your Own, a sour red ale aged in an oak foudre with a myriad of Maine-sourced berries like strawberries, cherries, blueberries and raspberries, is now available on shelves. We got the chance to try out this unique brew. Here’s our review.

Read More

Lucky Dorr Celebrates One Year of Success in the Heart of Wrigleyville

August 31, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 3 min

Deep in the heart of Wrigleyville, nestled between the macro-beer strongholds of Sluggers and the Friendly Confines, is a small, 400 square-foot box of craft beer paradise. Started last July, Lucky Dorr is one of the recent upgrades to the sprawling Wrigley Field complex that aims to give baseball fans and regular neighborhood beer drinkers alike a truly unique craft beer experience. The young craft beer spot focuses on exclusive, ballpark-inspired collaboration beers with local breweries as a way to provide patrons with something different from the Bud and Goose Island-filled stadium cups they’re used to. It’s an ambitious venture, but it seems to be working. We spoke to bar manager and brewer Niilo Hayes about the success of the craft beer bar and what he has planned for the operation — and for Wrigleyville — in the years to come. Read More

The OGs of Craft Beer | Oskar Blues – Dale’s Pale Ale

August 29, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 4 min

When you speak of OG beers, few stalwarts deserve the title more than Oskar Blues Brewery’s Dale’s Pale Ale. You can call many brewers innovative, but being able to say that you canned the first ever craft beer definitely gives you some added bragging rights. Dale’s Pale Ale’s adept combination of floral hops and malt overtones was first packed into aluminum back in 2002, in the early days of craft beer’s infancy, before beer was served in snifters and incessantly critiqued on social media. The iconic “strong pale ale” is still one of the most recognizable beers on the market even as the style of Pale Ale has evolved and the India Pale Ale entered its heyday. Here’s why it continues to capture the taste buds of drinkers across the country.

Read More

National Brewers Take the Haze Craze to 12oz Cans

August 27, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 4 min

Chances are, your local brewery has experimented in the Hazy IPA trend. It would be silly not to given the incredible popularity of the newish beer style that has taken the nation – and even GABF – by storm thanks to its fruit-forward appeal and inherent drinkability. Hazy IPAs have expanded into many areas of the craft beer economy, but they’ve yet to really make an impact on the 12oz can segment. That is all changing thanks to the vision of three nationally-known breweries, 21st Amendment Brewery, Deschutes Brewery and Odell Brewing Co., making their hazy offerings readily available in the easily accessible aluminum format. We asked each brewery why they’ve decided to can their hazy creations.

Read More

Paws & Pours | The Story of Empirical Brewery’s Feline Employees

August 23, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 3 min

Located in the heart of Ravenswood’s Malt Row, Empirical Brewery has drawn a significant following thanks its scientific approach to brewing and great sour beers. Oh, and the cats are a huge draw too. You won’t find them roaming around the taproom or on much of their branding, but there’s no doubt that their three Ghostbuster-themed cats, Venkman, Egon and Raymond have had a significant impact on the staff at Empirical and on their business as a whole. On a given Saturday brewery tour, it’s common for patrons to be more interested in finding the cats hidden amongst pallets or perched in their cat castle than getting a close look at Empirical impressive experimental brewing system. We asked Head Brewer and COO Jacob Huston about his feline employees and how they’ve become a vital part of the brewery’s family – and business. Read More

Half Acre’s The Big North Celebrates Duality of Mainstream Appeal & Creativity

August 20, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 3 min

This past Saturday, beer fans from across Chicago (and the larger U.S.) made the trek to Half Acre’s Balmoral home to partake in the burgeoning beer fest called The Big North. Half Acre has hosted this event for three years running now. Each year is bigger, each year is better, and each year, the beer list grows to eye-popping quantities. The third iteration of Half Acre’s beer celebration did not disappoint as hundreds of sudsed-up beer fans took in a picturesque summer evening across Half Acre’s ever-expanding campus. The event is special for many reasons, but it’s also an important milestone for Half Acre’s self-titled pursuit of “duality,” which means that they’re able to make enough mainstream brews to keep business moving, while also keeping their creative and experimental programs producing at a high clip. The result of Half Acre’s pursuit was witnessed on Saturday, and boy did it taste good.

Read More

Fast Facts on Surly Brewing’s New Hop Pack

August 17, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

Oh, variety packs. What Hazy IPAs are to trending beer styles, the variety pack is to new packaging formats. And why not? You lower buyer’s remorse by offering more options and expose consumers to a wider array of your beer. Minnesota’s Surly Brewing has experimented with offering new beers available only in variety packs before (ala 60 Below Rye IPA), and its newest Hop Pack offering aims to build on this by offering two new beers in a hop-focused format.

Read More

Lagunitas Partners with Short’s Brewing Co. on New Session Ale

August 14, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

Last July, Lagunitas purchased 20% of Michigan-based Short’s Brewing Co. When it was announced, Short’s spokeswoman Emily Sullivan noted that the agreement was strategic and helped them grow their business through easier access to materials and packaging that a brewing behemoth like Lagunitas can offer. Now, we’re seeing the first real activation of the partnership, as brewers from both operations joined together for a Midwest meets West Coast collaboration: Passion Grass Session Ale made with passion fruit and lemongrass. The new creation is the first consumer-facing example of their partnership and is sure to appeal to beer geeks nationwide. Here are the details.

Read More

Why the Craft Brewers of Green Bay are Some of the Packers’ Biggest Fans

August 7, 2018 | 2 Avg. Reading Time: 4 min

Wisconsin is known for its cheese, beer and football. Green Bay, Wisconsin’s third biggest city, is simply known for the Packers. Dubbed Titletown USA, Green Bay has been home to the Packers for ages (the team will celebrate its centennial next year). The team is also a massive business boon for the city thanks to the tourism and additional business opportunities it brings to the small port city.

Packers football Sundays have also become big business for Green Bay’s small, but growing, craft beer scene. Two breweries, Badger State Brewing and Hinterland Brewery, are strategically positioned within a quick walk from the hallowed grounds of Lambeau Field. Stillmank Brewing Company is a bit farther away, but still sees a good deal of added foot traffic during any Packers’ home game weekend. We spoke to the owners of each brewery for an assessment on how the Packers have impacted their business.

Read More

Chicago Quick Sips August 6 – 19

August 6, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

Quick Sips is our way of highlighting beer events, tap takeovers and other notable beer news around the city of Chicago, IL. If you’d like to submit something to be included in the next Quick Sips, please email us at [email protected].

Read More

New Moves from Allagash & Surly Signal Rise of Wine-Inspired Lagers

July 24, 2018 | 2 Avg. Reading Time: 4 min

Rosé (lager) all-day? For some beer-drinkers, this dream is quickly becoming a reality. To stand out in 2018, brewers are throwing anything and everything (fried chicken?) into their beer to win over the increasingly saturated taste buds of beer lovers. That said, some breweries are moving in a different direction.

Beloved Minnesota brewer Surly Brewing and national powerhouse Allagash Brewing have decided to target a new sub-section of drinkers: wine and spirit fanatics. It’s a large group that continues to eat up market share thanks to the popularity of beverages like spiked seltzers and Rosé drinks. Rosé in particular continues to increase its influence across the alcohol market, posting a 40% increase of sales in 2017.

Read More

Creature Comforts Brewing Co. | Get Artistic Tart Wheat Beer

July 23, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

Creature Comforts Brewing Co. makes great beer; they also make great beer with a purpose. Their recent initiative, Get Artistic Tart Wheat beer, is a fitting testament to this two-pronged approach. Announced earlier this summer, the Get Artistic beer is part of a larger campaign aimed at finding  “creative ways to add value the local arts community” in Athens, Georgia. The kicker: 100% of the profits from the beer and its corresponding flashy merchandise will go towards funding the dreams, endeavors, and passions of local artists. Sounds like a win-win to me. Here’s my review.

Read More

Niche or Necessity? Why 19.2 oz Cans Continue to Gain Momentum

July 19, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 5 min

Look in the hand of any avid craft beer fan and you’ll most likely find a can of glistening beer. Right now, the shift towards aluminum primarily revolves around the traditional 12oz and tallboy formats, but that trend is evolving as consumers continue to voice their beer opinions through their wallets. The next frontier for cans is one that has been on-shelves for some time. Unsurprisingly pioneered by Oskar Blues back in 2012, the 19.2oz can, often called a stovepipe, is a behemoth of beer, giving drinkers over 1.5 standard servings of beer. It’s not a format for everyday use, but several brewers across the nation are finding interesting niches for the big can format.

We asked them about the growing trend and if they think the can is here to stay.

Read More

Fast Facts on Lagunitas’ New THC-Infused Sparkling Beverage, Hi-Fi Hops

June 27, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

It’s not any sort of industry secret that Lagunitas Brewing Co. has been known to have an affinity for dankness. The Petaluma, CA-based brewery has had a storied history combining hops and cannabis into beer, which makes their recent announcement that much more exciting. Lagunitas has decided to take their groovy talents to the booming sparkling water market, with the introduction of their Hi-Fi Hops sparkling beverage. The new carbonated water drink is IPA-inspired and blends together hops with both THC and CBD, two chemical compounds found in cannabis.

Read More

Why Patio Season in the Midwest Means More

June 19, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 6 min

Oh, summer. As a native Minnesotan and current Chicagoan, I have a mixed relationship with the best season of the year. I’m used to rationalizing the cold, the rain, the snow, more cold…and even hail, endured during roughly nine months of the year, knowing that the sweet embrace of 70 degrees and sunny skies is right around the corner. Unfortunately, summer in the Midwest can be as fleeting as the last drip of Lager in your glass, which is why Midwesterners go so crazy for the nice days:  because there are so few of them. One of my favorite summer activities is patio drinking. It’s a staple pastime that tans the skin and bloats the belly as you sit outside sopping up suds and some much-needed Vitamin D. Much like its inhabitants, the breweries of the Midwest also rejoice when the first summer forecast comes into the picture. Patio season can even start before Memorial Day – I’ve seen Chicago breweries unveil their patio chairs on an unseasonably sunny day in March. And guess what? That patio was filled. We asked several Midwestern brewers why patio season is so special for their brewery and for their patrons.

Read More

Fast Facts on Revolution Brewing’s First Ever Sour: Freedom of Speach

June 18, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

Chances are, the last Revolution Brewing beer you had was probably from their Hero IPA line – or even a Rosa or Pils knowing both are a staple of summer. That might not be the case for much longer. Revolution is diving head first into the sour beer trend with the release of their first-ever sour, Freedom of Speach. The session peach sour gets its tartness via kettle souring and comes in at a sessionable 4.5% ABV, meaning that it will add some variety to any cooler you’re packing this season.

Read More

More than a Name | How Service Brewing Lives its Mission

June 12, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 4 min

The goal of any brewery should be to produce great beer and positively impact their community. Many breweries have this similar mission, but few are as mission-driven as Savannah-based Service Brewing Co. Read More