Revolution Brewing knows how to make damn good beer, and they know how to market it. With an overwhelming amount of quality craft options in the Chicago market, Revolution has been able to defend their sales turf by standing out through their unique marketing efforts – look no further than their League of Heroes variety pack.
With my wife being from Indianapolis, I know that when the calendar turns to May; it’s Indianapolis 500 month. To celebrate the event, Bear Republic Brewing Co., known for its Racer 5 IPA and other racing-inspired beers, has released Racer 500 Indy Pale Ale. The beer is only be available at the brewpub and the state of Indiana.
Scroll through your Instagram these days and you’re sure to find a wide selection of hazy beers in tulip glasses, strategically positioned to capture the faintest glimmer of sunlight on the glass. For many, the fanfare around the NE-style IPA is as much about the visuals as it is about the beer’s inherently juicy sweetness. Humans are visual eaters after all, so creating a beer that delights both your eyeballs and tastebuds makes sense. When I scrolled through my feed a few months back, my finger stopped on a post from Chicago-based Forbidden Root. The West-side brewery has made a name for itself with their botanical brews and hazy concoctions, but this newest endeavor, dubbed Assembly Required, was daring even for them. It was a sour NE-style IPA, more opaque than hazy, with a bright rosy red hue that departed from the typical orange juice color of a traditional haze bomb. Their new Assembly Required line is a bold evolution to the must-make trend of the present. After tasting the next batch, I’m confident in saying that the sour haze trend is alive and well in Chicago
Last January, I waxed nostalgic a bit. Great Lakes Brewing Company decided to re-introduce Holy Moses White Ale as a constant, everyday staple in the beer fridge at the local, and not-so-local, supermarket. I quivered with anticipation when I heard the news, and then I balked at their seasonal May release. It was a beer that would add raspberries to its refreshing citrus undertones, and at the time I did not think I would be ready for that transition. After GLBC’s foray into Holy Mimosas after the Holy Moses release earlier this year and after trying to make them myself—I used mango juice—the idea that there would be another form of Holy Moses to grace our shelves and our bellies was more exciting than the initial reveal. Now, Great Lakes Brewing Company and Holy Moses Raspberry White Ale has arrived, just in time for the warmer weather—FINALLY.
The West Coast meets the Midwest on Tuesday when Ballast Point Brewing Company opens its Chicago brewery in the West Loop neighborhood. The long-awaited opening adds another well-known beer name to the city’s beer scene.
While it seems that Illinois is celebrating craft beer every week of the year, there’s one week in May that is set aside to specifically recognize the role that the Prairie State is playing in the greater world of craft brewing.
Springtime is here and, for me, that can only mean one thing: sitting on my sunporch and drinking some fantastic IPAs. Thankfully, I live in Grand Rapids, Michigan (AKA Beer City, USA), which means I’m generally near the birthplace of some of the best made IPAs in the world. Michigan breweries know their IPAs, and Bell’s Brewery has blessed us with one helluva new brew in their recently released double IPA, Hopsoulution Ale.
The ubiquitous nature of craft beer fests suggests that the novelty of simply offering nothing but an array of craft beer has diminished; a lively competition among fests exists. As a result, festivals routinely engage in the “craft-plus” strategy, such as a “craft + a theme” or “craft + an appealing venue.” One such craft-plus fest occurred on May 5 in the Chicago area at the Schaumburg Boomers’ minor league baseball stadium — the 6th Annual Ballpark Brew Fest (co-hosted by Bigby’s Pour House).bot
The alluring venue coupled with breweries who brought A-game brews, mostly served by its all-star staffers, made for a successful fest and one for which has the potential to maintain its year-to-year viability.
When the snow melts, Minnesota springs into life. As a Minnesota native, I’m partial to the great Land of 10,000 Lakes for many reasons. If you can get past the prolonged winters and man-eating mosquitoes, Minnesota really does have a lot to offer to the outdoor enthusiast, family man, beer aficionado, sports fan and everyone in between. Oh, and the beer scene in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul is absolutely kickass.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the breweries in western Pennsylvania — Dancing Gnome, Grist House, Voodoo Brewery and Brew Gentlemen, to name a few of my favorites. The craft beer served at those places, as is the rest of the craft beer served in the region, is absolutely delicious. However, every once in awhile you want to branch out and explore other breweries. That is where Narrow Gauge Brewing Company (St. Louis) comes into play, including its King Fallen Flag.
With more than 200 breweries within its city limits, Chicago’s brewery scene can be a bit overwhelming for newcomers or tourists visiting the city for a weekend. Thankfully, many breweries have started to take the guess work out of where to visit by joining together to create uniquely branded brewing “neighborhoods” that offer beer drinkers a structured map of several breweries in close proximity to each other. It’s more a branding play than anything, but it does help each brewery in the allotted “district” brand themselves as being part of the collective – adding extra appeal to those who want to make a day out of walking to several spots in one day. The breweries in the Ravenswood neighborhood were the first to pioneer the idea in Chicago, as the adeptly branded “Malt Row” offers drinkers a robust list of unique breweries and beer styles from the likes Dovetail, Begyle and Band of Bohemia, all located within a near mile radius. Now, Chicago’s quickly growing West Side is getting into the picture with the newly created “Chicago Brewing District,” which includes beer giant Goose Island, GABF-winner On Tour Brewing, large contact brewer Great Central Brewing Company, All Rise Brewing and Finch Beer.
Love. We all need love, right? I love a few things in life. Aside from my beautiful wife and the kids she claims are mine, my other great loves are biking and beer, or beer and biking. Now, in St. Louis it’s impossible to have one ‘favorite’ brewery, but I do have one favorite bike shop. I’ve been buying bikes from Mike Weiss and Big Shark for 20 years. They are MY bike shop. So, when I learned that my favorite bike shop was teaming up with one of my favorite breweries — Urban Chestnut, I may have teared up a bit. Really. A tear was shed.
The first time I tasted Rivertown Brewing’s Raspberry Flicker in their airy Monroe, Ohio, taproom on a sunny day in late January, it reminded me of childhood. I realize that’s an odd thing to say about an alcoholic beverage, but stay with me. No, my childhood did not involve me throwing back refreshing lagers. But it did involve raspberries.
Located in the heart of Central Minnesota — a state known for its fierce Scandinavian pride — is a small Irish pub that almost seems out of place.
Hayes’ Public House provides the most authentic Irish experience some Minnesotans may ever have. And that’s the point. Owner and Head Brewer Pugs Hayes and his wife spent two months touring Ireland, absorbing as much of its culture as they could. With the help of friends and family, they recreated what they saw, heard, felt and tasted in a small brewery that has become the hub of Buffalo, MN.
By the time you’re done reading this sentence, tickets for Mikerphone Brewing Smells Like A Beer Fest would have sold out. An exceptionally lucky 400 people obtained tickets to the inaugural event that will be held at the brewery on April 28 which features a star-studded lineup of breweries both local and from around the country.
The festival replaces Pale Pauper Day which had been held over the past few years as an alternative to the popular 3 Floyds Dark Lord Day.
Kerri Gatz, general manager of the 2018 Craftbeer.com Illinois’ Best Beer Bar, has cultivated a craft-beer environment that showcases small, local brewers with as much enthusiasm as it does well-known brands. Though operating under the umbrella of the Brass Tap franchise name, the independence offered to Gatz at her Orland Park (Chicago) location has allowed her to provide patrons with beer choices, events and an overall vibe that reflects her personality and love for beer. She’s more than a bar operator; she is a craft beer ambassador.
The New England IPA (NEIPA) was once only available via bottle trades or to those willing to wait in long lines. But that has slowly started to change because larger breweries are making this style and distributing them in much larger volumes. That’s good news to those that previously couldn’t get their hands on these beers. However, it is worth asking if the large scale production can mimic what made this style so unique and special. Cleveland’s Platform Beer Haze Jude helped answer that question.
Chicago has always been a weekend destination as people look to explore the city’s rich history, culture and of course, have a slice of deep dish pizza. It’s also now a place where craft beer fans can indulge in the wide array of breweries that the city offers. If anything, it might be overwhelming when trying to think of how to tackle all the breweries within the city limits. Spoiler alert—it would be virtually impossible to visit every single brewery in a weekend.
So if you’re coming to Chicago for a weekend, here’s a guide on how to get the most out of the Chicago craft beer scene in a limited amount of time. Understand that like I said above, it would be virtually impossible to do every brewery, so I had to leave some out. It’s nothing personal and you can alter this itinerary however you like. You’ll also notice that there are no suburban breweries on this list. I’ll be doing another itinerary in a couple of weeks that will focus on just suburban breweries—don’t worry guys, I didn’t forget about you!
Let me start by saying that I’m currently in the process of writing this Ultimate 6er while packing up and moving, so I hope that earns me a bit more credibility with this post. There is nothing that’s needed more than a beer while moving, and six beers is probably a good number to have at the very minimum.
All the big names were at the Goose Island Brewpub for the return of Stout Fest. While well-known and established breweries like Half Acre, Pipeworks, Goose Island and Revolution were pouring some great stouts, it was a small brewery from Bloomington, Ill. that stole the show.