Storytelling is nearly as prevalent in craft beer as hops. Ok, that may be a stretch but there’s no denying the importance of storytelling in the beer industry. A brewery’s narrative connects its mission and beer to its customers and community. Sonder Brewing, a young brewery located just north of Cincinnati in Mason, Ohio, has fully embraced the value of a good story in every aspect of its business.
The legend of the radler dates back nearly a century to post World War I Germany, when an innkeeper named Franz Xaver Kugler, opened a tavern and tried to capitalize on the newest craze of bicycling by working to have a bike path built right to his establishment.
On the day that thousands of bicyclists showed up demanding a beer, Kugler realized he would not have enough. He quickly remembered a stash of lemon soda he had, cut it 50/50 with his beer supply, and ultimately saved the day and gave birth to a legend.
Sometimes you take the best things in life for granted. Chicago’s craft beer foundation is built on excellent ales like Anti-Hero and Daisy Cutter, but they no longer generate the lines and Untappd check-ins of past years. It’s not their fault—Chicago drinkers have so many great craft beer options at their disposal that it often becomes overwhelming. So how do you consistently churn out excellent flagships while appealing to the “newness” decree of today’s craft beer drinker?
One valid option is Revolution Brewing’s Hero series. With taproom-only releases, unique 6-pack offerings and comic-inspired variety packs, the Hero line has helped the city’s largest independent brewer stand out from the fray and consistently provide something new to the masses. Each new offering allows Head Brewer Jim Cibak a chance to flex his brewing muscles in new and exciting ways. His latest notable creation is Cryo-Hero. I spoke to Jim and the Revolution team about the new Hero variant, the complexities of that brewing process and what other exciting beers they have planned for the coming months.
If there’s ever been a more urgent time to clone yourself, it’s now. With summer on the horizon in Chicago (despite the weekend snow storm), there’s LOTS coming up on the beer front. Illinois Craft Beer Week kicks off with Beer Under Glass (BUG) May 10, but there’s also plenty to celebrate before then, and why wait? It’s already a big weekend for Star Wars and taco fans, but there’s three important beer events coming up this Saturday, May 4.
In 2018 a lot of changes happened to Illinois’ celebration of craft beer. For the first time, Chicago Craft Beer Week was renamed to Illinois Craft Beer Week (ICBW), Beer Under Glass (BUG) moved to a Friday and the event lasted two weeks.
2019’s Illinois Craft Beer Week will follow suit to the 2018 event as BUG will continue to kick-off the festivities on Friday, May 10, at the Garfield Park Conservatory. However, ICBW will last just one week.
A new chapbook by Scratch Brewing co-founder and brewer Marika Josephson lays out a blueprint for what it means to run a true farmhouse brewery in the 21st century.
“There is an ironic disconnect in craft beer in which drinkers care a lot about beer being made locally but don’t know or don’t care about where the ingredients themselves are from,” said Josephson when I interviewed her for a story for Civil Eats in November 2017.
The quote could serve as a thesis statement for her new chapbook Keeping the “Farm” in “Farmhouse Beer”, published by Good Beer Hunting in 2018.
Supposedly, we are entering the warmer months of the year. Colorado seems to have forgotten that, as we have been getting cold weather, overcast skies and some last minute snowstorms, which calls for a dark beer to help you batten down the hatches.
As I perused a local liquor store for something malty and roasted, I noticed a striking can design. Black, with a five-word beer title and a regal-looking insignia. Horny Goat Brewing Company’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Imperial Porter clocks in at a no-nonsense 8.5% ABV, a perfect level when trying to fight the latest installment in 2019’s Bomb Cyclones.
Creativity breeds creativity, so it’s no wonder that Katie and Krys Wolf, with their pension for design and art, have turned an 1850s home into a profoundly unique craft brewery — Wolfden Brewing. The exterior is that of a spacious, suburban home while the inside reminds one of a lodge one enters in Wisconsin or the mountains of Wyoming — with plenty of beer, to boot.
“We wanted it to feel like home, or like a vacation getaway spot,” explained Katie Wolf.
Who would have thought, underneath all that foam, Barney really is like you and me—filled with blood. If his really tastes this good, somebody get an IV drip funneled into my mouth, stat.
Barney Blood isn’t Short’s Brewing Company’s first stab at pairing whimsy with the macabre. Look to the Thirstie Mutilator for that, its label featuring a unicorn wielding chainsaws for hooves, and yet, the concept here makes even more sense. If you processed Barney through an industrial blender, I bet this is what you’d get. Don’t worry though, Short’s assures no dinosaurs were harmed in the making of this beer.
Quick Sips is our way of highlighting beer events, tap takeovers and other notable beer news around the city of Chicago. If you’d like to submit something to be included in the next Quick Sips, please email us at [email protected].
The Women of Suburban Chicago, who took part in the Pink Boots Live Brew Day at Skeleton Key Brewing for International Women’s Day in March, had one thing in mind: make good beer. The brewers and brewery professionals, who happened to be women, came together to do what all beer fans love: transform yeast, malt, hops and water into a wonderful, fermented beverage. As a byproduct of brewing in the Pink Boots’ event, the women did accomplish one extra item: they demonstrated (again) that brewing prowess has zero to do with gender. Any doubt that women can brew was immediately stripped away when patrons enjoyed the nine varieties (of the 10 made) of Hold My Crown Rustic Lithuanian Pale Ale, released April 5 at Iron & Glass bottle shop. From base beer to Kombucha, the variants proved to not only be delicious, but a geeky exploration of flavor combinations.
Two hours northeast of St. Louis, in central Illinois, lies a brewery that’s been impressing since its first visit to Great American Beer Fest® (GABF) n 2011. Although the brewery’s Wild Sour series is usually the first thing that comes to mind, Destihl brews a wide variety of styles including its spring seasonal selections.
Since opening in June 2018, Branch & Bone Artisan Ales in Dayton, Ohio, has created eye-opening beers in a wide range of styles, including bright and juicy IPAs, crisp and inquisitive session sours, and velvety smooth stouts and coffee beers. Head brewer Brett Smith loves them all, having carried many recipes over from his homebrewing days, but the beers that really have his heart pour from two wooden vessels in the back room of the brewery: oak wine foeders Smith picked up from American Solera in Oklahoma City. They once held Italian Vin Santo.
While I can’t say anything bad about the Chicago beer scene (we DO have the most breweries per capita), everything else about this city is exhausting, to say the least. From the rampant corruption, violent crime, high taxes and crumbling infrastructure, there is no shortage of issues that make a resident of Cook County want to drink. When I am in need for some fresh air, fresh ale and small-town charm, my day drinking location of choice has always been my hometown: Griffith, IN, located right over the border, 30 minutes south of Chicago.
Griffith’s downtown has the charm of a small town, but also the amenities of some of Chicago’s most sought-after neighborhoods. It’s no wonder people are leaving Illinois in record numbers; many of them are moving here. Real estate is hot and the secret is out—Griffith is a pretty hip(ster) place to be. The town of 17,000 now boasts a small but bustling downtown complete with a bowling alley (with a large outdoor patio area), gourmet popcorn shop, meat market, coffee house, arcade bar, vegan hair salon and three microbreweries. All of the three microbreweries are within a short walking distance from one another with plenty of cool local businesses between to browse, shop or grab a snack to soak up some of Griffith’s fine local beer. On a personal note, I grew up here (my most of my family still lives here) so this small town and its breweries have a special place in my liver. It’s my pleasure to bring you a drinker’s walking guide of downtown Griffith, IN.
The innovative and imaginative District Brew Yards, new home to Burnt City Brewing, Around the Bend Beer and Bold Dog Beer, stands as the nation’s first brewery collective, pour-your-own beer hall, eatery and swag shop all operating under one roof. With an ability to provide customers an expansive — and routinely experimental — beer menu, Brew Yards (opening Friday, April 12) adds tremendous allure to the already impressive Chicago Brewing District on the west side comprised of nearby All Rise Brewing, as well as On Tour, Great Central, Finch and Goose Island.
This morning, Boulder-based Avery Brewing announced that it has increased its partnership with Spanish family-owned Mahou San Miguel. What began as a minority 30% ownership agreement announced in November 2017, has been expanded to majority ownership of 70% of the …
As more and more breweries pop up, the idea of the neighborhood brewery is becoming increasingly popular. To wit: Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales’ only location outside of Michigan, their Hyde Park location which opened in 2017, is quickly become a gathering space for the community.
Quick Sips is our way of highlighting beer events, tap takeovers and other notable beer news around the city of Chicago. If you’d like to submit something to be included in the next Quick Sips, please email us at [email protected]
Ike and Oak Brewing Company recently opened in Woodridge, IL as the city’s second brewery after Skeleton Key. They’re offering 11 of their beers on tap, a variety of pizza options – all in a large venue with an exposed brewhouse and TVs to show any upcoming games. Whether or not that’s conveniently located near you, here’s why you should come through Woodridge.
“We thought it was, like, ‘oh cool, that would be fun, but never-mind.’ And then after a while, I was like, ‘We need to take a break, and we want to do a collaboration, and why not?’” – Tim Jones
We recently caught up with brothers Tim and Jeremy Jones of Aegir Brewing Co. in Elk River, MN. The two had returned from a trip to Iceland that we unwittingly played a role in. Eager to hear their version of the story and the series of events leading up to the trip, we joined them in the taproom on a recent Saturday morning. Before we could ask them anything, though, they had a question of their own:
“You guys want a drink?” Jeremy offered.