For my first piece for PorchDrinking, I decided to revisit a beer that kicked off my love of craft beers.
I still remember the first time I tried The Charlatan…back before it was canned. Before it received its new look. Hell, even before Maplewood came to be known as Maplewood.
Flowers bloom, jackets get placed in storage and new beer makes its way onto store shelves. If the recent weather is any indication, spring is right around the corner. And while I don’t want to jinx it, I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t already daydreaming of new spring releases and returning seasonals that pair well with warmer temps and added sunshine. Thankfully, I’m not alone in that sentiment. Spring is an exciting time for craft brewers as darker beers retreat to their barrels and lighter and fruitier options come into prominence. This spring might be even more adventurous for beer releases as craft brewers continuously compete to address changing consumer preferences amongst the surging popularity of lighter alcohol options, wine and spiked seltzer.
I grew up in Minnesota but currently live in Chicago. This means that I often fly back to Minnesota for family occasions and holiday gatherings. The sub-hour long flight has just enough time for one round of drink service in the cabin. Typically, I opt for whiskey or plain water given the lack of craft beer offerings on most airlines. Now, that might all be changing. A few weeks ago, Minneapolis-based Fulton Brewing announced that Sun Country Airlines would be offering their Lonely Blonde Ale on flights for the first time alongside their current craft option, Surly Brewing’s Furious IPA. It’s an exciting move that shows airlines aren’t averse to the changing drinking demands of consumers. I spoke with a few airlines along with Fulton to get more info on how these partnerships work and what beer drinkers should expect on flights.
Recently dubbed the “beer capital of America,” Chicago will soon welcome an entirely new brewing concept to the city. Pilot Project Brewing will be Chicago’s first formal brewing incubator – a space for experimentation and collaboration.
Set to open by early summer at 2140 N. Milwaukee Ave., Pilot Project introduces the city to the incubation concept, adopted at brewing spaces across the country such as Rocky Mount Mills and Labrewatory. All who brew are welcome at Pilot Project, from amateur homebrewers looking to kickstart a professional career, to existing breweries in search of an outlet for experimenting with flavors, styles, and peers.
Being a master blender is much like being a mad scientist. It takes an innate knowledge of the craft, a bit of daring, and a bit of flare. The job inherits a lot of risk thanks to how unpredictable wild yeast can be. Thankfully, California-based Firestone Walker has the man up to the task.
Jim Crooks, affectionately called Sour Jim, has run Firestone Walker’s Barrelworks wild yeast facility since its introduction in 2014. During that time, he’s worked on unique barrel blending projects like Feral One and newer ventures like their recently-released Rose-style beer that uses locally-sourced Paso Robles grapes. Crooks has produced a lot of innovative offerings over the past five years, but the best may be yet to come given their focus on blending the lines between beer and wine with the help of locally-sourced ingredients. We asked Jim five questions about his role, why he focuses on fresh, and what comes next for Barrelworks. Here’s what he said.
The time for women to run this beer industry is now. Despite the efforts of stodgy scared obstinate old curmudgeons like Bill Metzger, the former co-publisher of the Great Lakes Brewing News, this industry is no longer a man’s world, …
One of the many things we love about the craft beer scene is how supportive it is and the community surrounding it.
When Portage Brewing Co. in Walker, MN was destroyed by an overnight fire this past January, the craft community rallied around them. Local fundraisers were quickly thrown together to help raise support, and breweries like Bent Paddle and Modist Brewing announced collaboration beers with proceeds going to support their friends at Portage Brewing.
New Utah breweries are opening at a rate not seen in a generation, if ever. The boom is providing plenty of options for craft beer lovers to drink directly at the source.
At peak times, many brewery taprooms are filled with good beer and lively conversations. However, as with any business, it’s not all-bustling, all the time.
To appreciate the many wild branches of today’s craft beer industry in America, one must take note of its roots. There are few bigger pillars in the American brewing industry than Larry Bell, the founder of Bell’s Brewery. What started as a humble homebrew supply store in the ‘80s has turned into a craft brewing powerhouse that remains a foundational stitch of the modern brewing fabric. A testament to the Michigan brewer’s impact is the sustained success of Two Hearted IPA. Alongside their Oberon Wheat Ale, the unassuming IPA with a fish on the green-hued label is a beer that helped modernize the craft beer scene and helped establish the IPA trend in America. PorchDrinking sat down with Bell’s founder Larry Bell to learn more about the history of the flagship and what comes next.
A mutual love for beer first connected John Rowley of Rowley Farmhouse Ales in Santa Fe and Eric Erman of Ermanos Craft Beer & Wine Bar in Tucson over a decade ago. And the spirit of collaboration also connected them with fellow funk enthusiasts Matt Brown of Tombstone Brewing Company and Rob Hammelman of Sand-Reckoner Vineyards to collaboratively create a Spontaneous Ale that features the terroir of Cochise County in Arizona using only local ingredients.
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.
How do you stand out in the ultra-competitive IPA market? Maybe you go the hazy route; maybe you go with something double or triple-hopped, or maybe you just make a damn good single-hop IPA. That’s the inspiration behind Odell Brewing Company’s Wolf Picker IPA series, which shines a light on a new hop in each iteration.
The 2019 Wolf Picker features the new Oregon-grown Strata hop and is the first of the series to debut in cans. Sourcing unique hops that stand out amongst the competition is a tough job, but it’s one that Odell’s agronomist Scott Dorsch relishes. A typical agronomist role requires the person to be an expert in the science of soil management and crop production, but it takes on a bit of a new meaning when you work at a craft brewery. We asked Dorsch five questions about his career in agronomy, why he chose Strata for the latest Wolf Picker and what excites him about the hop marketplace in 2019.
The modern world of craft beer tends to glamorize the brewmaster as a lone wolf creative genius. One person working away in an underground lair fermenting magic. Of course, a brewmaster relies on a large team of professionals in every step of the process. The very first step is gathering quality ingredients. Yeast is beer’s most mysterious ingredient. A reproducing single-celled organism that consumes sugars to create alcohol and carbon dioxide. Without these invisible creatures, there would be no beer.
Chicago beer drinkers are spoiled with the multitude of taproom options available to them throughout the city. With more breweries than any other city, it only makes sense that there are numerous spots where patrons can leisurely stroll from one brewery to the next in just a few minutes. Up north in Ravenswood, there is the Malt Row which boasts the likes of Half Acre, Spiteful, Begyle and Dovetail Brewing. To the west is the Chicago Brewing District, which includes award-winners like On Tour, Great Central Brewing Co. and more. Smack dab in the middle (okay, somewhat close to the middle) of these two vibrant brewing neighborhoods is Logan Square, which has quickly become one of the hottest brewing locations in the nation, with a growing list of breweries calling the unique neighborhood home.
Are you in the midst of planning your big day? Did you recently get engaged and are just starting the wedding planning process? Or are you just curious to see what awesome venues are out there to host special events, such as a wedding and/or reception? Well, look no further. Regardless of what brought you to this list, here’s a few breathtaking venues that may be the perfect fit for your dream wedding.
In honor of National Pizza Day on February 9, I am overjoyed to be writing about two of my favorite things: craft beer and pizza. Seriously–is there anything better than taking a bite of a hot, tantalizing slice of your favorite pizza and chasing it with a sip of a cold IPA or a refreshing pale ale? Just thinking about it makes my stomach rumble and my mouth begin to water.
In our explorations of Michigan’s craft brewery scene, my husband and I have tasted a lot of amazing food paired with some exceptional beer. However, nothing seems to top the beer and pizza combination for us, and we find ourselves returning to some of our favorite Michigan breweries again and again simply to indulge ourselves in this dynamic duo. If you don’t have a location to celebrate National Pizza Day already chosen, here are my recommendations for the best of Michigan’s craft beer and pizza scene to inspire you. Maybe we will see you there!
In 2018, Colorado craft beer consumers had its demand for more met with more supply as the state saw 67 new brewery openings or additions. Astonishingly, this is the most since 2014 when 68 brewery openings occurred.
“Hype is a funny thing,” Larry Bell told me on his way from Kalamazoo to Chicago. Bell is a craft beer pioneer and founder of the eponymous Bell’s Brewery. “Hype doesn’t come from us. It comes from what people’s expectations are. I’ve seen how hype affects people, but even with 30 years in the business, I can’t explain it fully.”
In Colorado, which was once (and perhaps still) considered the craft beer capital of the world, there are some legendary flagship brews we haven’t had easy access to until very recently. Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, Founders’ All-Day IPA and Brooklyn Lager are just a few. This all changed at the end of 2018 and Midwest and East Coast transplants living in Colorado celebrated the return of their long-lost favorite brews.
It’s time once again for PorchDrinking’s 2019 Super Bowl Bingo Cards for Super Bowl 53. In addition to the entertainment of seeing who can inhale the most combinations of cheese dips in one sitting, we’ve created bingo boards for your party-goers’ enjoyment. Each square should be crossed off as they occur. And sure, since this is PorchDrinking, take a drink each time you cross off a square.
Starting off the year by attending a beer festival is the best way for any beer enthusiast to set themselves up for success. The idea of unlimited beer sampling from a stellar brewery, along with over 50 local and regional breweries is heavenly. Add that with a solid time with friends enjoying food and music and you have the Maple Bacon Coffee Porter Festival at Funky Buddha Brewery.