#Chicago #ChicagoCraftBeer – PorchDrinking.com
The idea of “craft community” has always enjoyed duality in that it both touches on brewery-to-brewery camaraderie and the connection between breweries and its neighborhoods and cities. Breweries such as Chicago-area’s Skeleton Key, Wolfden and Sew’d Hop—to name a few, along with a host of brewing and service industry peers, are now creatively working together and with nearby businesses as they pivot to a new “normal” during the lockdown. And, that effort is exemplified by the unique to-go COVID-19 Brewery Baskets available to customers.
Every once in a while, a truly insane beer comes around and delights the masses. Chicago Craft Gin Week Is A Real Thing (CCGWIART) from Off Color Brewing is one of these beers—if the masses love a sour, that is. Off Color brews up some of the best beers in the Windy City, from their experimental Miller High Life collaboration, Eek!, to the delicious dessert that is Dino S’mores Russian Imperial Stout. With CCGWIART, the brewery has yet another unconventional (yet delectable) feather in its cap.
Lil Beaver Brewery comes from Bloomington, Illinois—a town nearly smack dab in the middle of the state—and has been brewing up tasty treats since 2017.
They are fresh off their great performance at FoBAB, when we listed them as one of the best newcomers, and are finally starting to expand more and more throughout Illinois. The vast majority of their brews are Stouts but they have also made a name for themselves producing some tasty hazy Pale Ales and IPAs.
As another year comes to a close, we’d like to look back at the past 12 months on some of our favorite beers we had that came out of Midwest breweries.
With the number of breweries increasing, it becomes harder and harder to narrow down a list, but we have a handful of Midwest writers who contributed their favorite beers of 2019.
It has been a busy summer for Revolution Brewing. Between their Midlife Crisis barrel-aged release and the hyped-up IPA collaboration with Hop Butcher coming later this week, Chicago’s largest independent brewer has made headlines during the hotter months. That being said, year three of Revolution’s acclaimed Deep Wood barrel-aged series is set to generate buzz among the beer-drinking community for the upcoming colder months thanks to its consistent release of new and old canned barrel-aged creations from October to January. The 2019-2020 roster includes five returning favorites and five new creations, all available in 4-packs of 12oz cans. Here is what you need to know.
Pizza comes in many shapes, sizes, and forms, and all of it is generally good. Chicago is a city saturated in pizza joints, but pizza in the Windy City is the real deal. While many tourists visit Chicago for its deep-dish style pizza, most Chicago locals will tell you their preferred Chicago style pizza is “tavern-style.” What is tavern-style pizza? While there is no strict criteria, any proper Chicago establishment that claims they serve this type of pizza share a similar method. The crust is very thin, better known as “cracker crust.” The pizza is cut into squares, not slices. Pineapple is not a choice on the ingredients list. Using this as a canvas, there are many Chicago pizza joints outside of the tourist traps in the Loop that deliver solid pizza offerings that go great with a nice cold beer on a warm summer day, and here are my favorite Chicago pizza and beer pairings for you to try, whether you’re a tourist or a local.
A few weeks ago as I walked into my office, I noticed a massive line stretching around the block. It was just after 7 a.m. in the middle of the week; clearly, these people had been waiting either overnight or since very early in the morning. It wasn’t freezing out, but it wasn’t warm. I later found out they were waiting for the BTS, the Korean music group, pop-up store to open up. I thought they were all crazy.
Few things can stir up nostalgia like the smell of fresh cut grass, hearing the crack of the bat, a vendor in the distance yelling “Beer here, beer here! Peanuts!” As we kickoff one of the most anticipated times of the year in the U.S. (MLB season), it can cause excitement, sentimentality and expectation. We at PorchDrinking, had the fortunate opportunity to speak with baseball analyst for The Athletic and former beer writer, Eno Sarris, about the evolution of baseball’s growing relationship with the craft beer industry. Eno was generous enough to talk through his own love of craft beer and “the game,” lending an extremely fascinating insider’s perspective.
Chicago beer fans are spoiled during this time of year. Between FoBAB and a list of nationally-recognized bottle releases throughout November, there’s never been a better time to be a barrel-aged beer fan. And though Goose Island, Half Acre, Begyle and Revolution Brewing (and more) all make exceptional barrel-aged beers, Cruz Blanca in the West Loop quietly released an equally impressive lineup of barrel-aged beers last year and is doubling down in year two with a bigger and better lineup that can easily challenge Chicago’s best.
Jones Dog Sundae from Chicago’s Pipeworks Brewing Company is a stout made for summer drinking. This sweet milk stout with natural flavors comprised of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry was brewed to be the boozy, liquid version of Neapolitan ice cream — the perfect warm weather treat!
Dovetail Brewery, one of Chicago’s most unique micro brewers, recently celebrated their one year anniversary in their Ravenswood brew spot on Malt Row. Dovetail has accomplished a lot in one year and have differentiated themselves from competitors due to their unique open fermentation, European-brew style of lagers, pilsners and hefeweizens.
With a year under their belt, the good folks at Dovetail are doing what any ambitious new microbrewery does: expand, whether that is via increased distribution or new brew styles. Here are a few recent summer announcements you might have missed.
The Windy City Smokeout was sold out this year and, after experiencing the event on a sunny Saturday afternoon in Chicago, it’s easy to see why. Music evokes many powerful emotions within people, but there are few greater sounds on a hot summer day than the melodious tunes of a country band. Couple that with copious amounts of craft beer and delicious barbecue, and you have an event that is worth every penny.
Wrigley Field is many things, but it has never been an ideal place to indulge in some local craft beer – until now. Opening this week at the beautiful Park at Wrigley complex, Lucky Dorr offers Chicago craft beer lovers a myriad of delicious, local options along with hand-crafted food from Chef Matthias Merges that are sure to leave many baseball fans with a smile on their face before they even enter into the hallowed grounds of Wrigley Field. Here are the fast facts on Lucky Dorr.
*Feature image courtesy of Sierra Nevada*
Sierra Nevada is known for some fantastic beer, from their Narwhal barrel-aged imperial stout to their Torpedo Extra IPA, but they’re also known for hosting the nation’s largest traveling beer festival: Beer Camp. Sierra Nevada’s annual ode to nationwide craft beer takes place in a rotating list of 8 cities every year. Last year, I got to experience Beer Camp in Milwaukee; this year, Beer Camp is coming to Chicago’s Navy Pier, and I can’t wait to check it out.
*Feature image courtesy of Greater Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce
Ravenswood is embracing the vibrant beer culture within its Northside neighborhood by re-branding a two-mile stretch of road into Malt Row, which will feature six local breweries along with one distillery. That two-mile stretch, mapped here, will expand from Balmoral Avenue to Irving Park Road.
After winning a coveted Michelin star this past November, Band of Bohemia welcomes in spring with an industry leading list of brewers. On May 1st they’ll host, “Chicago’s Premier Brewpubs and Breweries Under One Roof”. They are teaming up with the James Beard Foundation and The Illinois Restaurant Association to put on the event.
Featured image courtesy of Half Acre Beer Co.
Half Acre Beer Co. is expanding and it’s a good sign for Chicago craft beer drinkers. Their new Balmoral Brewery space, a massive 60,000 square foot expansion, is getting closer and closer to opening to the public. Not only does this mean more real estate, but it also means more opportunities to brew beer, including the newly announced mixed fermentation program at their original brew spot in Lincoln Square.
Known for its expanse of warehouses and industrial vibe, the West Town neighborhood in Chicago has become a hotbed for craft beer, including the recently opened On Tour Brewing. Positioned within walking distance of Forbidden Root, All Rise Brewery and Goose Island, On Tour Brewery is the perfect midway point for any West Town brewery crawl due to its relaxed vibe and its exceptionally well-rounded beer list.
From day one, the Band of Bohemia team consisting of Michael Carroll, Craig Sindelar, Matt Dubois, Carlos Matias, Mario Lopez, Tom Santelle strove to reflect the highest of standards in the field of culinary and brewing excellence. That distinction has now been validated as Band of Bohemia becomes the first brewpub to receive a Michelin Star recognition of excellence in the culinary dining field. More impressive, is the fact that the Chicago-based brewpub’s is just celebrating their one year anniversary this upcoming November 19.