French hens, ladies dancing, swans swimming and, of course, a porter in a beer tree. These are necessary components for a successful 12 days of Christmas. For this writer, the beer found under the tree is Baderbräu Christmas Bliss Baltic Porter with vanilla and orange peel. Because, in Chicago, Jack Frost does more than nip our noses, it darn near renders them red enough to qualify us to guide Santa’s sleigh. Hence, any porter good enough for those traversing the frigid waters of the Baltic Sea is good enough for us living on the ice-covered shores of Lake Michigan.
Two Brothers Brewing champions family, community, and craft culture and The Craftsman location exemplifies that philosophy. Jason and Jim Ebel — the brothers behind the name — recently opened their new tri-level establishment in the Chicago suburb of Naperville. At every turn, one can find examples of artisanship and skill — two indispensable facets of craft culture. Two Brothers repurposed and transformed a historic building that now provides its multi-award winning beer along with its own brand of coffee, made-from-scratch pastries, bread, dinner and brunch, wine, mixology and crafted distilling.
How does one of America’s most iconic craft breweries celebrate 20 years of Midwest liquid gold? Founders Brewing’s 20th Anniversary will be commemorated by dropping a special line of barrel-aged beers to bolster an already impressive overall portfolio.
It’s hard to believe that we’re nearing the end of another year. 2016 was full of highs and lows for Chicago breweries. We saw a bunch of new breweries open up, some close, new beers sending waves throughout the industry and some well-known breweries recall a lot of beer. After all the dust cleared there were some great Chicago beers that came out this year.
What better way to get acquainted with Holiday beer than a December beer festival offering local, national and imported selections? For instance, BrewLights 2016 — a craft beer festival held amidst Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo’s animal family, adorned by a plethora of holiday lights and accompanied by plenty of holiday tunes. The scene at BrewLights made it tough not to get into the holiday spirit. Throw in a little nip in the air and the smell of Christmas beer, and it’s as if Santa himself has arranged the party. As you shop this year, it may be difficult to know what holiday-seasonal beers to purchase, so let’s go through the 12 beer samples of Christmas provided at BrewLights 2016.
Two Brothers Artisan Brewing has released the newest beer in the In the Flesh series. Started earlier this year, the series is a line of American sours and each beer highlights a different fruit used in the brewing process. The latest beer is re-fermented with real blueberries and is available in stores now.
It’s finally here! With the Black Friday crowds still swarming retail stores post-holiday, head out for Goose Island‘s 2016 Bourbon County Brand Stout lineup, which is now available for purchase! (as limited release)
Two years to the day that they opened their doors to the public, Cademon Brewing Co. has announced that they are permanently closed.
Moody Tongue Brewing in Chicago, the brainchild of Jared Rouben, a graduate of both the Culinary Institute of America and Seibel, recently opened its new, cozy taproom on the city’s west side. With that opening, Moody can now provide its coveted Shaved Black Truffle Pilsner on draft – a sinful holiday beer treat for either the naughty or nice this year.
ABV: 5.4% | IBU: 20
If you’re like me and not ready to put summer behind you yet, try a lighter beer that would be a good transition from summer to fall. The Begyle Blonde, a deep gold colored American Blonde Ale, is a perfect beer for the transition of the seasons.
Photo courtesy of Arcadia Ales.
To quote a past professor: I reserve the right to be wrong.
In sixth grade I only once cleaned up after a friend’s Tamagotchi Giga Pet. I belonged to a school district around a farming community and found it was not uncommon for students to walk through cow or horse or pig manure in the morning before school. We knew what sticks were for and this egg-looking pixilated-dog toy had no use-stick button. I had cast aside my childhood then and welcomed cynicism. Since then, I have not succumbed to fads: my first cell phone was out of necessity at twenty, as apartment landlines became expensive and impracticable and employers immediately threw away applications without a phone number; I still have a flip phone, find the constant use of smart phones offensive; I avoided Twitter for eight years; I still don’t exactly understand Tinder or Reddit or what a millennial is or what their duties are or why one young man felt the need to tell me not to whistle while doing laundry because I was appropriating unpaid-labor culture; only now do I think a Tickle-me-Elmo would be fun (however, Gak was great, though I never owned any). And as of recently, I had no desire to fill the void in my life with anything pumpkin-spiced.
Back in the 1990s Greg Hall was seen as a pioneer in craft beer. At a time when the industry was beginning to grow, Hall helped Goose Island become a national leader in craft beer. In 2011 Hall left the brewery to enter a space that was on the verge of experiencing large growth just like the craft beer industry years ago – cider.
Most of the leaves have vanished, the nights are getting longer, and Jack Frost has been seen wandering around North America. There’s no stopping it – winter’s coming. You know what that means, right? Cheers to stout season! It may be getting cold outside, but the appropriately named Burnt City Brewing in Chicago is one of many brewers ready to combat each cold front with robust beer — take that, Jack! If you are in Chicagoland or Alabama, get ready to enjoy some Freight Handler Milk Stout. And on New Year’s Eve – Burnt City and Arcade Brewery are ready to help Chicagoans ring in 2017.
Pair with: Friendsgiving gatherings. Thanksgiving leftovers.
‘Tis the season to embrace all things fall. If you’re burnt out on pumpkin-spiced everything, Yammy Yammy by Platform Brewing Co. features another star of the fall cornucopia, the sweet potato, making it …
ABV: 14.5% | IBU: 20
Revolution Brewing explains its Deep Wood Series Ryeway to Heaven as perhaps a “doorway to an existential awakening, or maybe it’s just a damned fine beer.” One could argue it’s a little bit of both. This rye ale aged in rye barrels serves as the quintessential example of how the art and science of barrel-aged brewing can result in elevated deliciousness – and it’s a perfect treat for Thanksgiving and holiday festivities.
It is Christmas ale season: a festive time of year many people anticipate with a frothy fervor! However, it may be that you would rather hide away from the hubbub of ginger and cinnamon and all things Christmas. I enjoy a little bit of holiday cheer in my beer from time to time, and the weather has finally become chilly enough around these parts to warrant a few Christmas ales in my tummy. This year, Great Lakes Brewing Company is not simply rolling out their most popular beverage for all the good little boys and girls. They are also bottling their barrel-aged Christmas ale right after Thanksgiving for everyone to sip around the mistletoe. I received a nice 22-ounce bottle to try in advance of the bottle release later this week, and I am here to give you the details about the beer and what will take place very soon.
Walking down the sidewalk last week with my son, we literally saw a squirrel with an acorn in his mouth. “He’s stocking up for the winter,” said the 12 year old. “How cool would it be to hibernate?” Wow. Hibernate. I could deal with that. Take off for a few months, do nothing but sleep, eat and drink beer. But the key to a successful hibernation is that you can’t go out. Actually I think that is the definition of hibernation.
Let’s talk about a beer that any bunny can appreciate — Hugh Hefeweizen, from Rhinegeist. Hugh likes the finer things in life: Silk lederhosen, pretty junge Fraus, and sitting by the pool in a palatial Bavarian castle — where else would you find a noble hop? One sip of Hugh Hefeweizen and beer drinkers will immediately realize what Hugh is all about — pleasure.
Now that my liver has had a few days to rest I’m able to look back on the 2016 Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beers. Once again the beer selection at FoBAB was incredible. In fact 2016 seemed to highlight more “whales” than last year. There were definitely some beers worth highlighting that didn’t take home medals this year.