While thousands of Chicago residents and many area breweries continue to mourn and speak out against last week’s police murder of Minnesota resident George Floyd, systemic racism, and police brutality, one Chicago brewery has taken a controversial stance.
Manteno, IL’s Steam Hollow Brewing, whose co-owner, Natalie White proclaimed on Facebook, “George Floyd isn’t dead, he is a porn star/actor who knows the officer, who isn’t even a real officer. Wake the f up.” That response comes in stark contrast to Illinois breweries like Half Acre, which posted: “We support our neighbors locally and nationally in the demand for justice and lasting change. Should you choose, you could donate the money you would have spent on beer today to one of the solid organizations helping to create equality for all. Black Lives Matter.”
The passing of Memorial Day signals the start of yet another summer and another period of delicious seasonal craft beer offerings. While canned lagers, mostly in the Macro-format, still reign supreme in any cooler or patio session for many, craft breweries across the nation continue to churn out a bevy of light, easy-drinking and flavor-forward sessionable offerings that appeal to any summertime day-drinking session. Chicago’s passion for beer is equally matched by its passion to get the most out of the few warm summer months that make the onslaught of freezing temperatures and cold worthwhile. As the city cautiously reopens its parks and outdoor spaces in the coming days, here are six Chicago sippers available in cans that you can comfortably drink from your home or from an appropriate social distance outside on a nice summer’s day.
On Friday, May 29, the full COVID-19 lockdown came to an end for numerous breweries across suburban Chicago, as long as they could offer outdoor seating and follow social distancing protocols (The city proper would have to wait a little longer). The questions were: How would breweries adjust to operating during a pandemic and would beer drinkers comply and behave?
While many Illinois breweries were able to reopen with outdoor seating on May 29, Chicago-based breweries have had to wait a bit longer. However, this Wednesday, the city’s beer scene will finally begin breathing new life as brewpubs have been granted permission to reopen June 3.
In the city, things will operate under different guidelines than the rest of the state. As of right now, if a brewery location doesn’t serve food, they will not be able to reopen, even with outdoor seating. That will drastically limit which breweries in the city can reopen starting Wednesday.
In the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd by (now former) Minneapolis Police Department officer Derek Chauvin, the Twin Cities has been the center of peaceful protest and calls for justice and reform. However, Minneapolis and St. Paul, along with other cities around the country, are experiencing civil unrest, as, throughout the week, peaceful protests during the day turned violent and chaotic in the night.
As the Twin Cities community looks to mourn, heal, rebuild and lead change after a horrific tragedy, a specific, but significant part of that community — the area’s craft beer scene — is responding.
In addition to donations from Modist Brewing and Bauhaus Brew Labs, the Minnesota craft beer community is standing in solidarity behind the message for further justice and systemic change as our country mourns, rebuilds, and reforms. The responses have been rapid and unifying to repair the fabric of a torn community.
We took a look at how breweries across Minnesota, as well as the rest of the country, have spoken out against the brutal slaying of George Floyd, and joined in support of their Twin City communities.
For those of us still living in many major U.S. cities, we’re still in a state of near-complete lockdown. While we can finally start breathing a cautious sigh of relief here in Chicago soon, the experience of dining out, eating pizza and drinking a cold one at one of Chicago’s famous pizza joints may never look the same. However, a similar, all-day experience can still be had in the comfort and safety of your own home in the form of pizza making.
There is one universal truth in this world: the Bon Appetit YouTube channel is perfect. From Claire Saffitz attempting to recreate your favorite snack foods to Brad Leone’s chaotic fermentation process, the chefs at Bon Appetit have become minor celebrities. What better way to honor the hours spent in quarantine binging their videos than to pair each chef with a beer? So, next time you press play on Chris Morocco recreating Guy Fieri’s trash can nachos, make sure you have the perfect beer in hand.
Despite taprooms continuing to stay closed in light of COVID-19, there’s no shortage of local beer releases, especially as we approach the summer months. Although May hardly counts as a “summer month” here in Chicago, we’re staying optimistic for warmer days. Courtesy of Copenhagen is a recent pick-up that will bring you to that feeling of enjoying a sunny summer day.
Lately I find myself gravitating toward a trustworthy core of Chicago craft beers I’ve befriended over the years. Brews like Begyle Blonde, Dovetail Helles and Whiner Miaou. These beers won’t surprise me—something I typically love when trying the latest from local breweries. These days, it’s all about familiarity and reliability. Whiner Beer makes a few beers I’d be content to have in my fridge on the regular, but this singular Belgian Wheat Ale is one of the brewery’s finest.
Zombie Dust, Gumball Head, Alpha King and the rest of the 3 Floyds lineup of beers will still be available to-go from the brewery in Munster, IN. But, the ability to sit down and have a drink or a bite to eat won’t be around for the foreseeable future; the 3 Floyds Brewpub is closed indefinitely.
Arvon Brewing Co. didn’t have much chance to bask in the afterglow of opening a brewery. Before even a month had passed at their new taproom in Grand Rapids, Michigan, quarantine hit, forcing them to close off the space they’d worked so hard to prepare. But instead of letting the pandemic rain on their parade, they improvised.
As winter turns to spring, the weather can be pretty deceptive—particularly in the Midwest. Depending on what the weather has decided to do each day, it can go anywhere from warm and sunny to a bit chilly to downright cold. If you’re the type of beer drinker who enjoys matching the beer you’re drinking to the weather outside, what are you supposed to do? This is where a beer like Robert the Bruce from Munster, Indiana’s Three Floyds Brewing comes in. A full-bodied Scottish-style ale with an IBU of 24 and an ABV of 6.5%, it’s warming and malty, yet just light enough to sip while lounging on the porch as the evening turns from warm to chilly.
Munich Dunkel might seem like an unusual style to lead a brewery’s portfolio in 2020, but Devil Wind Brewing Dankel Dunkel is thwarting expectations in Xenia, Ohio.
This small brewery was founded in 2018 and takes its name from a devastating F5 tornado that leveled much of the town in April 1974, killing 33 people. Xenia rebuilt, and Devil Wind carries on the town’s legacy of both heritage and progress.
Illinois Craft Beer Week my be postponed due to the COVID19 lockdown, but that’s not stopping six suburban-Chicago breweries and one bottle shop from celebrating craft week in spirit. Together, they have put together the 0th Annual Suburban Beer Hunt. From May 15 to May 30, beer fans can solve a series of puzzles that will take them on a to-go journey to six breweries and one bottle shop located in Chicago’s western suburbs. If they can solve each puzzle correctly, and in the correct order, prizes await the participants.
The Coronavirus pandemic has touched every part of the nation, from how we meet, work, play, and come together. As an industry that relies heavily on building relationships with consumers, craft brewing has been especially hit hard. We have reached out to find out what its like to try and keep business thriving while the country remains largely indoors. Paul and Rachel Szlaga of Brewery Faisan, located in an eclectic Detroit neighborhood, were nice enough to take some time out of operations to speak with us about what it’s like to be operating in the midst of the uncertain.
It’s been almost (exactly) two years since this extremely limited release from Side Project came out. While many who are familiar with O.W.K still consider it to be the best beer ever produced, perhaps even a larger percentage of people still don’t even know of its existence.
The Brewing Projekt Dare Mighty Things Single Hop IPA and Double IPA are something to be grateful for during the monotonous hours of being at home. This brewery located in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, is almost five years young and truly making pieces of liquid art. They absolutely crush this experimental Hazy IPA series, and their fruited beers are out of this world. Don’t pass if you have an opportunity to open one of these beers. Even here in the Pacific Northwest, we’re fortunate enough to be getting a few drops every couple of weeks and the beer community couldn’t be happier. These are challenging times and this beer is a reminder that we can persevere this pandemic and all enjoy a great craft beer for some sanity.
Just about everything looks different than it did a few months ago: We’re buying to-go beer and drinking at home because many of us cannot enjoy our favorite beverage at a local brewery or bar right now. Overnight, breweries have turned into delivery companies specializing in contactless delivery and carry out. Innovation is the name of the game and many breweries are offering creative options for people to stay entertained, from gift baskets to DIY pizza kits.
The fitness industry has drastically shifted as well. We cannot currently take large group fitness classes and instead are forced to participate in at-home workouts, oftentimes with dogs and small children attempting to join in.
For the past three years, PorchDrinking and Bitter Pops, a craft beer bar and bottle shop, have put on Newbies and Freshies during Illinois Craft Beer Week to highlight the freshest and newest breweries in Chicagoland.
This year, with all events postponed, Newbies and Freshies will change the format. Instead of people coming to Bitter Pops to experience new and fresh beers hitting Chicago over the past year, we’ve created a box that you can take home full of a dozen beers from a variety of breweries.
The idea of “craft community” has always enjoyed duality in that it both touches on brewery-to-brewery camaraderie and the connection between breweries and its neighborhoods and cities. Breweries such as Chicago-area’s Skeleton Key, Wolfden and Sew’d Hop—to name a few, along with a host of brewing and service industry peers, are now creatively working together and with nearby businesses as they pivot to a new “normal” during the lockdown. And, that effort is exemplified by the unique to-go COVID-19 Brewery Baskets available to customers.