So, there I was, standing outside on a cold March night in Chicago watching Off Color’s social media manager Ben Ustick and co-founder Dave Bleitner (lovingly called “The Other Guy”) methodically put together the fence that would block off their soon-to-be-open patio space. There was a palpable excitement shared between Ben and Dave as they hammered each 2×4 into place. The patio meant something more than just providing extra seating on a swanky summer day. It was validation that Off Color’s grand experiment had paid off.
The new taproom space, dubbed the Mousetrap, has been a smashing success as it has provided Dave and the other Co-Founder Jon Laffler (the one you usually see in the papers) with more room to share their craft beer genius with hordes of willing Chicagoans. While 2017 was an exciting year for Off Color Brewing, with more momentum and new experiments in the hopper, 2018 is shaping up to be even better.
The Dark Lord Himself Has Arisen.
I recently had the honor of conducting a 3 Floyds Brewing tasting that I never thought I would have the opportunity to do. About two and a half years ago, when I was just starting out with craft beer, I did some research and threw together a short bucket list of beers I wanted to try before I died. Well, I’ve completed that list already because, in back-to-back days, I tried Pliny the Younger and engaged in a Dark Lord vertical tasting.
As the number of craft breweries expanded rapidly in not only the suburbs of Chicago but all across the state of Illinois, there was talk if Chicago Craft Beer Week was feeling a little restrictive.
Founders Brewing is bringing its freshly-released KBS and the entire Grand Rapids experience to Tribes Beer Co., located in Chicago’s southern suburb of Tinley Park, on April 3. Along with the 2018 KBS, there will be a special menu, live music and a host of highly regarded beers such as ’17 KBS, CBS, Doom, Backwoods Bastard and Frootwood.
The event starts 5 p.m! All you need is an appetite and a thirst for good beer.
In the late 1930s, much of the world was at war. As time marched on, and the turmoil of afar reached over the ocean to impact American society, men volunteered to serve in the military. Great navies carried American men from both coasts to fight the ideologies of totalitarian regimes while patriarchal American society now found itself reliant on a female workforce to take up the slack. Call To Farms, by Listermann Brewing Company in Cincinnati, Ohio, is a triumphant expression of collaboration and hard work.
Trends and tastes are cyclical. And as we’ve detailed on this site before, such is the case with beer. Sure hazy IPAs and pastry stouts are all the rave right now, but it certainly won’t always be the case. And just as American craft beer lovers currently crave innovative over-the-top ingredients, it’s likely the trend will eventually shift back toward sessionable, traditional styles.
That said, for the past several decades, what most American beer consumers think of when they hear the word lager, typically drifts to the watered down macro lagers that have dominated sales for so long. For years American Lagers have been associated with the blue collar, no-nonsense, no taste domestics that rule the beer industry. Founders Brewing is seeking to change that with their latest release of Solid Gold Premium Lager.
I love a good IPA. I know I’m not alone in this, and I do not mind. Because when people love good IPAs, they make good IPAs, and that means more for me. In Michigan, it’s not hard to find good IPAs, which is why when one stands out to me, it’s for good reason. The Mitten Brewing Company’s Country Strong American IPA is just one of those standouts, and it has become my new go-to brew.
7.2% ABV | 58 IBU
Chicago’s Howells & Hood restaurant and pub, with its 119 beers on tap, lies at the confluence of two Chicago icons—the “Mag Mile” and The Tribune Building. Besides the lauded culinary program and extensive beer list (and draft wine, and cocktails and more), H&H boasts of a fabulous patio that provides patrons with an exceptional, photogenic view of the Chicago skyscape. On March 1, Howells & Hood raided the Bourbon County barrel cellars of Goose Island for its five-year anniversary. The Goose presence served to be somewhat symbolic, sort of speak, as is proved to be Howells & Hood’s Anniversary Party swan song; renovations to the Tribune building will force H&H out on September 30. That leaves fans of the pub (and tourists) one more summer to drink beer surrounded by Chicago’s architectural big shoulders.
Craft beer seems to go through phases. Right now, you can’t find a new brewery that isn’t making something exceedingly bitter, hazy or barrel-aged. In some ways, consumers’ preferences for different craft beer styles mirror their often-fleeting style, dietary and exercise obsessions. Every year there seems to be a new trend popping up that captures the minds of the economically important 25-34 age demographic. One dietary preference that has weathered the storm of fleeting fads has been the rise of gluten-free and gluten-reduced diets due to its digestive health benefits. Now, several prominent craft brewers are joining the fray by introducing gluten-reduced beers. Are these new options a simple novelty or a beer style that is set to explode? We asked two brewers leading the charge.
For over two decades, Two Brothers Brewing Company has been making solid beer and is a mainstay in the Chicago beer scene. Just recently, they added a new year-round beer to their rotation as well as two seasonal/limited releases.
Much like seeing flowers bloom for the first time, many craft beer drinkers associate the beginning of spring with the release of Bell’s Brewery Oberon Wheat Ale. Bell’s signature ale has been around well before craft beer was in vogue, and its popularity continues to this day thanks to a great flavor profile and a myriad of clever marketing tactics – the best being Oberon Day.
The beer was actually called Solsun up until 1998, but a naming dispute with a Mexican brewery prompted the name change to Oberon… and the rest is history. The day-long event celebrating the release of Oberon for the year has become a fan favorite for Michigan beer fanatics and casual drinkers alike. On March 26, Bell’s plans to make this year’s Oberon Day the biggest ever – here are the details.
Rarely do I geek out over a specific beer. There’s a lot of great beer out there and getting to live in Chicago, we get the next “must-have” beer more often than not. But when I had More Brewing’s Henna Batch 3, I had a beer that I knew was truly special.
Just north of downtown Cincinnati sits the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. The enclave got its name because of the high German population that settled this part of the city in the 19th century. Crossing the former Miami-Erie Canal into this neighborhood was said to be like crossing the Rhine River into Germany.
Will you serve food? It’s a question every brewery that’s getting ready to open a taproom will be asked.
In Chicago, there are a lot of taprooms. Food is a necessity when drinking, and taprooms handle this issue in all different ways. While some have a full menu, others work with food trucks to stop by on a regular schedule and others are simply BYOF (bring your own food).
As beer enthusiasts, we’ve all thought about it. Some of us may have even looked into the logistics of trying it, but very few of us could ever truly find the time, the money or the energy to visit every brewery in our home state over the course of one year. But that’s exactly what Emily Bennett accomplished in 2017 when she embarked on the Mitten Beer Quest, visiting every brewery in her home state of Michigan.
While barrel-aged season peaks in November, there are still great barrel-aged beers being released into early 2018. Surly Brewing is known for a variety of beers, but their stout series, Darkness, is one of the best known beers the Minneapolis brewery releases. The barrel-aged version of Darkness hit shelves recently, so naturally we cut through the wax and poured a glass to see how this year’s version came out.
Just minutes before Marz Community Brewing Company was set to open for the first time this past Saturday, a line stretched from the door and around the corner with craft beer fans ready to welcome the long-awaited taproom to the Chicago beer scene.
Craft beer has a diversity problem. While there’s no easy fix to an issue that is prevalent throughout most industries in America, several craft brewers are making their presence felt by promoting diversity and inclusion from within their ranks. One of those breweries is Chicago’s Revolution Brewing, who employs 68 female employees throughout their expanding operation. To celebrate International Women’s Day, the women of Revolution came together to brew a special beer: Spirit of Revolt IPA.
In an industry that’s often obsessed with the latest brewery to open, we must not look past beer from the breweries that have been around for more than a few years. Christian Moerlein is a brewery that fits that statement well. They’ve been making beer for years, and they recently released a limited edition beer called Power Stoutage.
Crack open two Surly Brewing Hop Shifter IPAs and they might taste different from one another. No, nothing is wrong with either can, the taste difference is by design.