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AboutTaylor Laabs – 3/9 – PorchDrinking.com

Taylor Laabs

Taylor Laabs

Posts By Taylor Laabs

Metropolitan Brewing Celebrates 10 Years of Business in the Increasingly Competitive Chicago Market

January 17, 2019 | Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

Chicago and the surrounding area are currently home to the most breweries in the nation. It’s an especially impressive stat when you realize that the market hasn’t really been around for that long. Being able to create a successful brewery during the early growth period of the Chicago market and then stay equally successful amongst growing competition across every neighborhood in the city is an impressive feat that deserves a bit of praise. It’s not easy, but Metropolitan Brewing has managed to do it, which is why their upcoming 10 Year Anniversary celebration this Saturday is so exciting.

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Ask the Experts | How to Properly Return a Beer

January 16, 2019 | Avg. Reading Time: 3 min

If you’ve drank enough beer, you’ve probably found yourself in this situation. It’s an unfortunate experience that leads to apprehensiveness among patrons and bar owners: how do you handle the conversation when there is something clearly off with your beer? With January being the biggest month for gift returns, I thought it might make sense to take a look at how and why patrons should return a beer to their bartender or bottle shop manager. It’s not a cheery subject, but common sense from both sides can lead to a positive outcome that betters the drinking experience of the patron and the drinking relationship between the patron and beer purveyor. To help provide a full perspective on the issue, I asked craft beer bar owners and craft brewers alike to gather their insight. Here is what they said.

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Firestone Walker Expands its National IPA Profile with Release of New Mind Haze IPA

January 10, 2019 | Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

“We’re finally ready do a hazy IPA the Firestone way.” Those were the words from Firestone Walker brewmaster Matt Brynildson in this week’s press release. While 2018 created the initial haze craze, 2019 represents the second wave of the trend, with more major players like California’s Firestone Walker Brewing Co. entering the fray with their new Mind Haze hazy IPA.

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The Longer the Government Shutdown Goes On, the Bigger Problem it Becomes for Craft Brewers

January 8, 2019 | 1 Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

The government shutdown is now in its third week due to the debate over a border wall and has resulted in noted consequences for federal workers, government entities and general governmental functions. While many are more pressing, perhaps the one many craft beer fans should keep an eye on is how it impacts the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB).

One of TTB’s functions is approving new beer labels, licenses and ingredients that are vital to the continued business of any craft brewer, winery or distiller. As long as the government keeps its doors shut, the TTB does too, which means any meaningful innovation or initiative from craft brewers come to a grinding halt as the government body will not “review or approve any new submissions” during the shutdown.  Here are some of the major implications if the government decides to extend the shutdown further.

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PorchDrinking’s Best in Beer 2018 | Chicago Metro Region

December 28, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 3 min

What a year for Chicago (and it’s neighboring suburbs). Amid winning a bevy of medals from high-profile events like GABF and FOBAB, the Windy City also took home the title for most breweries (167) within the metro region – an impressive feat indeed. With so many breweries making so many amazing beers, it’s safe to say Chicago beer drinkers were more than spoiled this year as they indulged in some of the best barrel-aged stouts and hazy IPAs in the U.S.

PorchDrinking’s Chicago crew diligently drank through many amazing beers this year. Some wowed us, others impressed with their creativity and several just made us warm and fuzzy.

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Ultimate 6er | 6 Beers to Leave Out for Santa Claus

December 19, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 4 min

Thanks to the amazing array of barrel-aged brews and hearty ales available in December, many of us are growing bellies that even the man at the North Pole would be proud of. While many of us don our own red hats and honor the big man with our own gift-giving exploits, it feels like Santa might be extra stressed this year for a myriad of people-produced reasons. I’m sure Santa still appreciates a good batch of cookies and a tall glass of milk, but this year, I think Mr. Claus might appreciate something with more of a bite to quell his nerves during the big night. Here’s a look at six beers that are sure to put you on the nice list with Santa Claus this year.

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Dogfish Head Stretches its Creative Roots with New Alternate Takes Whiskey Series

December 18, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 3 min

Delaware-based Dogfish Head is anything but timid when it comes to their product. From beers made with space rocks to colorful creations that combine beer and wine, the brewery most known for their intensely-hopped IPAs has made it a point to expand their creative profile beyond just beer into the lucrative distilling space. After experimenting with small batches of spirits in as early as 2002, Dogfish put their foot in the ground in 2015 with the launch of their new distillery which creates 100 percent scratch-made gin, whiskey, rum and vodka at their Milton, DE location. Now, the ambitious brewery and distiller is taking things one step further with the launch of their Alternate Takes spirits program that aims to shake up the traditional liquor you see on your local liquor store shelves.

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Chicago Quick Sips | Dec. 3 Chicago Beer News & Events

December 3, 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. If you’d like to submit something to be included in the next Quick Sips, please email us at [email protected].

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How Craft Brewers Use Their Influence to Help Out Man’s Best Friend

November 30, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 4 min

Tis the season for Christmas cheer, hearty beer and giving back to those in need. Craft brewers connect to their local communities—and beyond—not only through their beer but also their charitable acts and community outreach. Look no farther than the 1,000+ breweries who have teamed up with Sierra Nevada to brew beer to aid in the Campfire recovery. Brewing beer for good or for a purpose gives craft brewers the ability to create actual change in their communities and for causes that they care about, which extends far past just human-to-human outreach.

Interweaving the love of their four-legged friends into business activity has become a standard practice for breweries across the U.S. While many breweries employ cats to help in pest control, even more advocate for man’s best friend through unique beers, adoption programs and charitable initiatives that come from breweries who have a particular passion for the dogs in their lives. Here’s a look at how several craft brewers embrace and spread the love of their favorite furry friends.  

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Fast Facts on Cruz Blanca’s 2018 Luchadores Club Bottle Release

November 20, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 4 min

Chicago beer fans are spoiled during this time of year. Between FoBAB and a list of nationally-recognized bottle releases throughout November, there’s never been a better time to be a barrel-aged beer fan. And though Goose Island, Half Acre, Begyle and Revolution Brewing (and more) all make exceptional barrel-aged beers, Cruz Blanca in the West Loop quietly released an equally impressive lineup of barrel-aged beers last year and is doubling down in year two with a bigger and better lineup that can easily challenge Chicago’s best.

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Event Preview | 2018 FoBAB (Festival of Barrel-Aged Beers)

November 15, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 3 min

Tis the season for barrel-aged beers. While many fervent craft beer fans will flock to the annual barrel-focused release parties of their favorite local brewer this month, there is only one event that brings more than 200 of the best barrel-aged brewers from around the country together for one decadent event. The Festival of Barrel-Aged Beers is now in its 16th year and has quickly established itself as one of the best beer – not just for stouts and barleywines – festival in the states.

The event is held at the UIC Forum in Chicago on Friday November 16 and Saturday November 17 and already has the attention of many beer fans, myself included, excited to indulge in all of the great one-off and unique barrel-aged offerings served two ounces at a time.

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First Impressions on Revolution Brewing’s 2018 Deth’s Tar and its Two Variants

November 11, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 3 min

Two releases in and this year’s version of Revolution Brewing Deep Wood Series is shaping up to be its best so far. After the daring idea to can its barrel-aged creations last year, the Chicago-based brewery decided to push the limits even further in 2018 by expanding the lineup to 10 ambitious beers, including new offerings such as Code Switch and Deth by Currants. The second release happens this Friday, November 16 at its Kedzie Taproom location (3340 N Kedzie Ave, Chicago, IL) and will feature the popular Deth’s Tar, the highly-acclaimed Cafe Deth and the new Deth by Currants, which won the fan vote for best fruited variant.

We were lucky enough to get early access to these three Deth-inspired stouts and came away wholly impressed. Here are our initial thoughts.

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Enter the Darkness | Six Dark Beers Perfect for November

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

The twilight of fall is the best time of the year for beer people. Yes, I love my sweet fruited ales and lightly sour goses, but there’s something hearty about a viscous, dark brown porter or stout that warms your heart…and your stomach on a cold day. Now that November has officially arrived and the sight of Halloween and pumpkin ales are behind us, I wanted to highlight six crucial beers that effortlessly bridge the gap between the sweet malts of September and the boozy heat of December. I below that the below six beers fit that mold and can be reasonably located throughout the country – some more than others.

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Chicago Quick Sips | November 5 Chicago Beer News & Events

November 5, 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. If you’d like to submit something to be included in the next Quick Sips, please email us at [email protected].

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Craft Beer Highlights from Four Unique European Cities

October 30, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 5 min

I was lucky enough to attend Oktoberfest, but that’s only part of the 11-day beer journey I took across four cities in early October. Outside of the Bavarian beer fest, Munich has a bunch of awesome beer history, quaint beer gardens and famed beer destinations like Hofbrauhaus. Much like Munich, the Belgian capital of Brussels is steeped in brewing tradition thanks to its array of world-renowned trappist breweries and Belgian beer bars like the Delirium Cafe. These two beer-fused cities offer an embarrassment of riches to any beer lover, but it’s the beers and experiences I had in the other two cities I visited: Budapest and Amsterdam, that really opened my eyes to just how diverse and vibrant the beer scene is in Europe. From beer baths in Budapest to a craft brewery situated under a picturesque windmill in Amsterdam, my beer experience in Europe was amazing. Here are my main takeaways from the unique beer scenes in each city I visited.

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Founders Brewing’s 2018 CBS Showcases Greater Depth and Balance

October 29, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

Ah, CBS. Founder’s highly-praised Imperial Coffee Chocolate Stout returns for a second consecutive year starting November 2nd across their distribution footprint. This year’s version is different than the 2017 variant for several reasons.

First and most obviously, the iconic “mountie” is missing from the bottle and branding. Why? Everyone has ideas and Twitter has seen its fair share of wild speculation. My guess is they just wanted to refresh the brand and focus on this year’s beer. Which, by the way, is very very good. After a six-year hiatus, the CBS that returned in 2017 was good, but its maple syrup sweetness dominated the palate. That said, this year’s version is great, dare I say exceptional, because it brings this insanely complex beer back to equilibrium. It’s much more balanced than year’s past, which lets several flavors shine. 

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Off Color is Bringing the 250ml Bottle to Chicago

October 25, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

Off Color Brewing is well-known in the Chicago market for pushing the limits of beer, but now they’re pushing the limits of packaging as well. Not content with traditional bottles, bombers and draft options, John Laffler and the rest of the Off Color crew are rolling out new 4-packs of 250ml (about 8oz) bottles to appease the thirsty masses. Read More

3 Observations from Oktoberfest in Bavaria

October 24, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 4 min

Walking through the entry gates of Oktoberfest was like walking into a beer-soaked version of Valhalla. On a sparkling Saturday with warm weather and a faint breeze, I got to experience the best beer event in the world—lederhosen and all.

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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].

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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.

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