If you grew up in the Chicagoland area, the iconic green box of Frango Mints was most likely a staple in your household. The chocolate mints, bought at Marshall Field’s, were always around my house and now they’ve found a way into my beer.
A chorus of cheers drowned out the announcement, but the result was clear as the Kansas City Bier Co. logo appeared on the screen. Winterbock, their Dark Doppelbock lager, had won a silver medal. A longtime fan favorite, the bier had gained international recognition – a huge achievement for the Kansas City, Missouri, brewery.
“It’s been known for a long time the addition of hops will control the growth of bacteria in beer,” says Matt McCarroll, professor of chemistry and biochemistry and director of the Fermentation Science Institute at Southern Illinois University. While these antibacterial qualities aren’t usually needed in modern brewing, the rise in popularity of mixed-fermentation beers has reawakened interest in this poorly understood property of hops.
We were recently able to try a Czech Pilsner from City Built Brewing out of Grand Rapids, MI called Prague Underground. We think this beer is brewed true to style and well worth trying out if you enjoy great tasting beer.
The Pilsner is a Lager beer that was originally brewed in 1842 by Bavarian brewer Josef Groll in the town of Pilsen in Bohemia which is now the Czech Republic. Legend has it that beer was brewed in this part of the country as far back as 1307, but the quality of the beer brewed up until the late 1800’s was so inconsistent the locals had dumped barrels of beer to show their disgust! They brought in Josef Groll to implement a new style of beer that focused on local ingredients and paler malts, and as the old saying goes “the rest is history”.
Every year, in a sea of highly touted barrel-aged releases, Revolution’s Deep Wood series seemingly has one that will stand out amongst them all. Even though we’re only in the second of four releases, this year’s Straight Jacket might very well be the star this winter.
Two Cincinnati institutions have teamed up to combine two autumn standards. Frisch’s Pumpkin Pie Ale, brewed by Taft’s Brewing Co., will warm up your fall with its smooth, creamy, lightly spiced pumpkin pie flavor.
New venue. New normal. Same celebration of barrel-aged beers. After a pandemic-induced hiatus in 2020, the Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beer (FoBAB) returned in 2021, although the masks and vaccination requirements offer a stark reminder that things aren’t quite back to normal. And that’s what made every sip of every strong barrel-aged beer, fruited sour or wild ale even more enjoyable. The awards ceremony returned, too (not streamed). We are happy to provide you a recap of the 2021 FoBAB Awards. Congrats to Charlotte’s Resident Culture Brewing for winning Best in Show, and to Chicago’s Revolution Brewing for winning the Runner Up award.
Two of America’s legacy craft beer brands are joining forces after a bombshell announcement this morning that Michigan’s Bell’s Brewery has been sold to Australia’s Lion, a subsidiary of Kirin Holding, and the parent company which also acquired New Belgium Brewing two years ago.
After seeing one of its most successful Bourbon County Stout lineups in 2020, Goose Island brought a similar theme to 2021 with variants that focus more on the barrels and the distilleries the brewery has relationships with.
Zipline Brewing Co. of Nebraska has earned another Great American Beer Fest (GABF) medal. In 2021 Festbier received the bronze medal in the style of Dortminder or German-Style Oktoberfest. What is special about the brewing process? “Time!”
Death, taxes and Revolution Brewing nailing the blending of barrel-aged beers: few things are a given in this world but over the last five years, the largest independent brewery in Illinois has continued to excel with its barrel-aged beers.
Parson’s Beer, a Golden Ale, is brewed by Revolution Brewing and can only be enjoyed at Parson’s Chicken & Fish here in Chicago. The beer is light, crisp and refreshing and pairs perfectly with Parson’s incredible menu. You can’t necessarily enjoy the restaurant’s stunning patio year-round, but you can enjoy this beer anytime you’d like–and that’s arguably more important.
The bare shoulder and neck of what we assume is a human woman is sketched in pencil. The lines vary in shade and weight like they’re drawn from shadows. Where the neck meets the face, a skeletal jaw emerges, the teeth all wrong like they were ripped from something that hunts the dark forest. The upper teeth are human, and above them, the hollow eye sockets of a skull that nonetheless seem to stare straight into us.
And it’s here the nightmare really begins. Massive branches of a great tree split from the top of the skull like an antler rack, too heavy for the neck but held up by a hidden, infernal strength, stretching their limbs and fingers into the fog. Looking closer, the creature’s own arms bear a faint pattern of bark, the entire thing some alchemy of primeval nature and inchoate humanity stalking the landscape of our dreams.
Chicago’s Maplewood Brewery & Distillery just released a new Cold IPA, Cold Chisel, that is fermented and conditioned at colder temperatures, similar to a lager. As the temps begin to drop here in the Midwest, it’s the perfect time to try this new brew from one of the best Chicago breweries.
Breweries like to go big on their anniversary. Usually a party, special tappings, food trucks, and sometimes, a special beer. Ska Brewing in Durango, Colorado celebrates their anniversary with live ska bands and around 25 guest breweries pouring shaker glasses full of beer for thirsty partygoers. With COVID in full swing last September, the team made the tough decision to cancel the party. This year, they went big… really big. (And I’m not just talking about the Mighty Mighty Bosstones headlining the sold-out party.)
The country’s premiere barrel-aged beer festival returns this year as the Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beers (FoBAB) will take place November 12-13 with some changes in place because of the ongoing pandemic.
The fact that Märzen-style beers aren’t offered year-round is devastating. Even if we all had to come together and choose just one local offering to hold onto outside of the season, I’m convinced that Endgrain by Hopewell Brewing would have a strong chance.
With so many Oktoberfest beers to choose from, it’s challenging to sample them all, but we’re trying. Oktubberfest, a Festbier from Cincinnati’s Taft’s Brewing Co. is a fine example of a light, easy-drinking Lager-style Oktoberfest beer.
In a season that has many brewers rummaging through their spice cabinets to pull together something pumpkin spiced, Beards Brewery in Petoskey, Michigan chose a different path. Hop Up North Imperial Red IPA is a welcome addition to autumn beer.