Last Christmas, my extended relatives decided to gift me a few deliveries of The Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club. Opening these mail packages felt like a relic of a different era when getting craft beer required more effort and planning. It can be a fun gift to give to the beer fan in your life when they’ve had everything at the supermarket. I’ve received beers from breweries in New York, Pennsylvania, and Iowa that I never heard about before, but the best beer to come from these shipments was Mt. Carmel Brewing Company’s Coffee Brown.
Nebraska can get broiling hot this time of year. It’s good for the corn but painful for us humans. The day after a good rain the temperature can drop ten to twenty degrees. On those days, which Nebraskans call “pleasant” (this is code for, “I can walk outside without instinctively yelling out in anger”), those are the days to pause and find a way to make yourself a time of retreat.
New beer styles don’t come along every day, so when I first stumbled upon the new, increasingly popular Brut IPA, I wanted to know more. So, I reached out to Rob Abel, head brewer at Ferguson Brewing: “The Brut IPA is a new IPA, the rationale for that name is that much like Brut champagne is extremely dry, the IPA is extremely dry, having zero residual sugar left.”
One of the most exciting elements to craft beer is the concept of a collaboration beer. Many of these collaborations prove that craft beer is unique in the way that community often trumps competition. Meaning, breweries will gladly work with and support other breweries long before they look at them as competitors. Can you imagine a world where Burger King and McDonald’s get together to make a burger? Probably not but that is exactly what happens in the craft beer world.
Moreover, collaborations aren’t restricted to breweries; restaurants, museums, organizations, and bars partner with a breweries to make a special beer, demonstrated by Urban Artifact Lost Alley Quad.
After a long, cold winter, west Michiganders emerge from hibernation to find paradise on the sandy shores of the Big Lake. However, in the blink of an eye, those precious days are slipping away and I find myself clinging tightly to the refreshing flavors of one of my favorite summer golden ales, Lost Dune. This New Holland Brewing Company seasonal should be at the top of your list if you are looking for a beer that truly represents the flavors and history of the craft beer scene in west Michigan. Not only are the blueberries in the brew grown on Michigan’s West Coast, but the beautiful artwork on the can brings to life the experience of climbing our sandy mountains and dipping your toes in the water on our shores.
If there’s one thing Minnesotans are proud of, it’s the Minnesota State Fair! Though if you’d said hot dish, ice hockey, Bob Dylan, Prince, the Mall of America, Target or Duck Duck Grey Duck, you wouldn’t …
Back in 1996 when Two Brothers Brewing opened there were just a handful of breweries operating in the Chicagoland area and three closed within two months of Jason and Jim Ebel starting the brewery.
The inspiration for craft beer can come from anywhere: famous historical figures, inside jokes between brewers and a host of other items, serve as inspiration and backstory for the craft beers we drink. One of the nice things about the hyper-local nature of the craft beer scene is its ability to provide insight into the local area — that was the case for me with 4 Hands Brewing’s City Museum Pilsner.
Enter the BuckleDown Brewing taproom and you’ll find, among other elements, an arrangement of leather furniture around a table (barrel) that makes one feel as if they have been invited into the BuckleDown home. It’s a fitting setting for an inviting brewery where the people matter as much, if not more, than the beer served to them. Ironically, BuckleDown opened with a production mindset in place rather than a brewpub or any concept intended to draw people through the door. Nonetheless, people arrived and relationships were forged. Catering to people isn’t a business strategy at BuckleDown: it’s organic and genuine.
Long before people chased down the haziest IPAs that stay fresh for two weeks or the sweetest pastry stouts with ingredients that you’d never expect would make it into a beer, craft beer enthusiasts chased 3 Floyds Zombie Dust.
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.
If you’ve been to a beer festival in Chicago in the past few years, odds are it was put on by Lou Dog Events.
A craft beer lover himself, founder and president Josh Seago, along with his team, is producing 10 craft beer festivals this year throughout the city and the surrounding suburbs. From the Chicago Ale Fest to the popular suburban Naperville Ale Fests, there’s no shortage of opportunities to sample beer from a wide variety of breweries.
Only Child Brewing may not enjoy the street cred afforded to breweries located within the city limits of Chicago, but with its 3rd Annual Barrel Birthday Bash it’s abundantly clear that the skill needed to convert water into wine-barrel-aged beer (or any other BA beer) has nothing to do with a brewery’s geography. Indeed, the barrel aged beers proved to be spectacularly executed and artistically conceived. Throw in some terrific food, fun music, excellent weather, friendly staff and a lively crowd, and it’s easy to see why Only Child continues to grow more popular each year.
To describe each beer would be exhausting, but here are five beer experiences from the day (six beers total) that shed light on the Only Child bash.
Maybe it’s me, but it feels like there is so much new beer coming into St. Louis that I’m not sure where to begin. Just last week, we got word from our friends at Craft Republic that Off Color Brewing, based in Chicago, would now be released in St. Louis.
Once upon a time, I was a young person who only drank Bud Light. You couldn’t get me in the same room with a craft beer. My (now) husband could not stand it, but he mostly just gave me a little hell while he drank his microbrews. However, his frustration got the better of him one day and he proclaimed, “That’s it! We need to find you something that isn’t Bud Light. Anything.”
I hesitantly agreed and he went to his fridge, coming back with a beer he had already picked specifically for me. I drank it. I didn’t just like it, I loved it. Little did I know that this beer would lead me to a career and to a passion that I would hold for the rest of my life. That beer was Oberon Ale from Bell’s Brewery.
Maybe you haven’t noticed, but Chicago’s Burnt City Brewing is making waves. The brewery already boasts of a chic brewpub and bowling alley on the always-hip Lincoln Avenue, a brewhouse located in the locally-famous, former Jay’s plant, eye-catching label artwork and a recent collaboration with Chicago’s illustrious Art Institute. But now it’s also churning out a diverse, impressive collection of beers including its Brett and Yeast friendly “Wildfire Series.”
Rewind the cold beer time machine just five years and you’ll discover only a handful of iconic beer events that have withstood the test of time. Even still, these OGs of craft beer events probably look a little different than they did back when they first started gaining popularity, because as tastes evolve, so do the greats.
It’s August. Most of the country is still experiencing summertime heat. But, I’m writing tonight to talk about fall beer. Yep, fall beers. In this case, it’s Urban Chestnut‘s two-year-old Oktoberfest Lager with a funny name — Oachkatzlschwoaf.
This malty yet well-balanced Märzen may be tough to pronounce, but it’s easy to drink. Its full name is pronounced “oh-khut-zel-schvoaf,” which translates to “tail of a squirrel”… I hear it’s a just a little Bavarian humor. But, you can simply refer to it as “O-Katz,”
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.
No one can deny that the influx of local breweries throughout the United States has been a major boon for local economies. Breweries drive beer and food tourism, create jobs, and encourage new business opportunities. In fact, this is often a factor for brewers when choosing where to open their business — they want to make the community better. This is even more clear when breweries make philanthropy a priority, no matter how small. This week for the Ultimate 6er, we’ll be featuring six charitable Michigan breweries who are doing just that — improving their communities in multiple ways.