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Ultimate 6er | Beers and Books for Summer Reading

July 1, 2020 |

In recent years, books written by comedians about their own lives have become extremely popular. From Amy Poehler’s Yes Please to Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, these books of essays blend humor, life lessons, and important experiences into a relatively quick read. With shelter in place orders still set in place, what better way to spend your time than with a delicious beer and an entertaining book?

The below books are focused on those of BIPOC authors; you can find your local Black-owned bookstore here to support Black-owned businesses!

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Able Seedhouse & Brewery | Laser Blade DDH Sour IPA

July 1, 2020 |

Located in the heart of Northeast Minneapolis’ Art District, Able Seedhouse & Brewery constantly uses their surroundings, and onsite seedhouse, to brew and brand stimulating beer. This summer, one of Able’s latest creations comes in the form of Laser Blade, a DDH Sour IPA.

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Great Lakes Brewing Company | Mexican Lager with Lime

June 30, 2020 |

Summer has arrived like it always does, even in these rather unusual circumstances. Now that my favorite season is here, a spectacular variety of warm-weather refreshments have appeared. Great Lakes Brewing Company (GLBC) is no stranger to providing summertime tipplers and this year they have released multiple beers set to quench the thirst of the most parched beach-goer and barbecue attendee. Here’s a beer that will entrance the multitudes: Mexican Lager with Lime.

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New Belgium Brewing Company | Voodoo Ranger 1985 IPA

June 24, 2020 |

By any measure, 1985 was a great year. Madonna’s “Like A Virgin” was blasting on every boombox, Back To The Future was blowing everyone’s minds in theaters, and yours truly was being born in the middle of Hurricane Gloria at a small hospital in Red Bank, New Jersey. Basically, the only cool thing that didn’t exist in 1985 was Hazy IPAs. New Belgium Brewing Company decided to pull a classic Marty McFly and rewrite history with their latest summer offering: Voodoo Ranger 1985 IPA.

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Chicago Breweries Reopen for Onsite Consumption

June 17, 2020 |

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced on Monday, June 15, that city bars and breweries would be able to serve customers outdoors starting Wednesday, June 17. The announcement came nearly two weeks after restaurants and bars and breweries serving food were able to open for outdoor dining—and drinking. While not all establishments may have existing permits—let alone patios—new applications are being expedited to allow all interested businesses to begin outdoor service.
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First Taste | Imperial Oak Brewing 2020 Quiet Giant Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout

June 17, 2020 |

Pure barrel flavoring. No extracts. No syrups. No sugar bombs. The Imperial Oak Brewing Quiet Giant (strong) Barrel-Aged American Imperial Stout series, now in its sixth year, celebrates the artistry of barrel-aging in its purest form.

Yes, there are varieties with adjuncts, but only as complementary flavors. “Why put a beer in a barrel for a year and then completely cover it up? That’s why the two-year [BBA] is still my personal favorite. But, I do like our variants. They aren’t going to knock you in the face. That’s not our thing. None of them are going to be a chocolate bomb, coconut bomb..that type of terminology. I like adjuncts. But, I want it to be subtle and complement the beer,” said Brett Semenske co-owner and brewer.

Quiet Giant arrives each year for its anniversary, which this year enjoys the theme: Six years, Six Feet Apart (details can be found at the end of this story). The party slogan speaks to the challenges presented to breweries in 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic. But, Illinois’ case numbers are declining, patios are open and the beer remains consistent as ever. Going forward, most can expect five variants to arrive each May (this year in June due to the COVID-19 lockdown), with more two-year BBA for 2021.  However, this year, Imperial Oak also has a one-time special beer from its Savage Oak room, offered in bottles.

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Downey Brewing Company | The Razz Raspberry Radler

June 12, 2020 |

Michigan seemed to have missed the memo on Spring. From late April snow to consistent summer heat in June, Michigan seemed to have missed the memo on Spring. As Michiganders emerge from drinking beer locked inside from COVID-19, to drinking beer on their porches outside, Downey Brewing’s The Razz is here for your cool-down beverage needs.

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Barrel House Uses Petty Humor for Serious Good

June 9, 2020 |

Ohio ordered all bars to close for on-premise consumption on March 15, 2020 to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Barrel House, a beer bar and bottle shop in downtown Dayton, chose to close completely to protect customers and staff. When they announced they were reopening for carryout on May 1, they showcased their irreverent sense of humor with the very first item on their list of customer guidelines: “Everyone wears a mask or fucks off.”

“Some folks didn’t think that was as funny as we did,” said Gus Stathes, who co-owns the bar with his wife, Sara Stathes.

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Jackie O’s Pub & Brewery | Polycephaly IV

June 9, 2020 |

With so many breweries closed or offering limited service, it is a serious challenge to find a steady supply of great beer. Luckily, there are a few notable breweries that are offering shipping to states with a more liberal policy on out-of-state beer shipping (thank you VA, DC and AK!). Jackie O’s Pub & Brewery is one such notable example.

The good people at Jackie O’s are not just selling their more commonly found offerings, but have also opened up their cellars and are selling early examples in their sought-after Polycephaly series, including Polycephaly IV.

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Illinois Brewery Faces Backlash After Claiming George Floyd Murder Was a Hoax

June 4, 2020 |

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.”

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Ultimate 6er | Sub-6% ABV Chicago Beers Built for Summer

June 3, 2020 |

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. 

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Suburban Chicago Breweries Adjust to Operating During a Pandemic

June 2, 2020 |

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?

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Chicago Brewpubs Prepare to Reopen on Wednesday

June 1, 2020 |

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.

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Minnesota Breweries Respond to the Murder of George Floyd

June 1, 2020 |

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.

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Ultimate 6er | Make Your Own Pizza Paired with Beer

May 27, 2020 |

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.

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Ultimate 6er | Bon Appetit Chefs Paired with Beers

May 27, 2020 |

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.

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Brewer’s Kitchen | Courtesy of Copenhagen

May 27, 2020 |

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.

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Whiner Beer Co | Miaou

May 25, 2020 |

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. 

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3 Floyds Brewpub to Remain Closed Indefinitely

May 21, 2020 |

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. 

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Arvon Brewing Co. | The Grand NE Style IPA

May 21, 2020 |

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. 

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