#ChicagoCraftBeer Archives – PorchDrinking.com
The Open Bottle craft beer shop and taproom in Tinley Park, Illinois, has not only endured the challenges presented by the COVID-19 outbreak but proved successful enough to advance its pre-pandemic plans for opening a second location. This November, work will begin on its second location (a retail-ready store) in Lockport, Illinois, located near the intersection of I-355 and 159th Street.
Maplewood Brewing & Distilling in Chicago, IL offered a dual homage to Bavaria this year with Festbier and Fest Whiskey, demonstrating its prowess in both realms of the imbibe world. Though Maplewood may have added distilling to its repertoire after opening its lauded brewery, creating spirits has always been part of the plan. Indeed, in 2016, Ari Megalis, co-founder and distiller, commented to PorchDrinking.com: “When we started, we almost considered only distilling, but it obviously takes some time before you can get your product on the market. But we love beer, and we ended up doing that, too. It worked out great because now we can do a lot of things with it.”
It’s tempting to bemoan the fact that the industry remains in a lengthy pandemic-induced pivot. However, it’s time to start focusing on what is instead of what isn’t happening. For this year’s Great American Beer Festival (GABF), beer drinkers will have a chance to purchase a GABF Passport that gives them access to a host of good deals (an idea similar to Chicago and Illinois Craft Beer Weeks held in previous years). One can purchase the $20 GABF Passport and start enjoying brewery deals October 1 through October 18. As well, the passport gives beer drinkers an opportunity to attend (view) the star-studded Virtual GABF Festival (October 16-17) (which includes the awards ceremony).
When Roaring Table Brewery won the 2020 USA Today Readers’ Choice “Best New Brewery” award, it didn’t come because the brewery engaged heavily in a marketing strategies, nor did it come from chasing trends or a producing a series of sexy releases. Beth May and Lane Fearing, married couple and founders of Roaring Table Brewing, created a brewery that at its heart and soul is a neighborhood tavern or pub that just happens to serve some of the best beer in town.
“Beer is more than just a drink; it’s an experience,” said Lane, who serves as Roaring Table head brewer.
It’s certainly well-known that there’s been an explosion of breweries and distilleries offering alternative beverages such as hard seltzers, ready-to-drink cocktails, hard sodas, and malt-based fruited drinks the past few years—and COVID19 has helped boost that category. Craft breweries have not been shy in cashing in on that trend, and finding their patrons to be quite receptive to their efforts. Two examples of how diverse that trend has evolved comes from Chicago’s Burnt City Brewing and Casa Humilde, two of the four breweries that make up the city’s unique District Brew Yards. They now offer their patrons a hard soda and a michelada-inspired beverage.
Seasonal beers are bittersweet. While they often use fresh, quality ingredients and are perfect for the time of year, it also means you only get to drink them for a limited time. Whiner Beer, a brewery on Chicago’s Southside, specializes in barrel-aged beer inspired by Belgium and French practices and has a few seasonal beers their patrons look forward to throughout the year.
Rifting off their permanent Saison LeTub, Bleu Tub is a barrel-aged Saison brewed with blueberries and is only available for half the year. With a dusty purple-ish hue and foamy head, the beer gives off scents of citrus, florals and it perks the nose up. With a smell that is clean, refreshing and inviting, Bleu Tub provides the perfect balance of comfort and excitement.
The sheer number of breweries within Chicago limits would lead you to believe you would never need to leave the city to get your craft beer fix. While this is technically true, there are many Chicagoland suburbs that have great breweries that, unless they distribute to the city, Chicagoans will miss out on.
August is around the corner, and for many of you that likely means the end of summer and those wonderful autumn days are approaching. That is very much not the case here in Georgia. Things are looking up, though. Well kind of. There still continue to be many highs and lows of 2020 as sports are back, but conversations about whether or not and how to reopen schools, breweries and public spaces remain. Civil Rights leader and legend John Lewis passed away this week, leaving a legacy of pressing towards equality and continuing the narrative of fighting for civil and human rights. Rest in peace, Mr. Lewis. To celebrate getting through the week, here is What We’re Drinking.
With a classic golden yellow tone, ALULU Brewery and Pub’s Aldona seems unassuming at first glance. A low head and the slightly transparent body leads a drinker to believe that the farmhouse ale may be simple, but the pint is …
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.
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?
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.
a woman holding a rank equivalent to a duke in her own right.
If you’ve ever spent time in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago, you’ve probably ventured into Maria’s Packaged Goods and Community Bar. Taken over by Maria Marszewski in 1987, the combination liquor store/bar has become a staple for the area and thus, the neighborhood dubbed her the Duchess of Bridgeport. Keeping it in the family, her son Ed Marszewski started Marz Community Brewing Company in 2013. Today, Marz pays homage to Maria with their take on a Flanders Red Ale, named for her likeliness, with Duchess De Bridgeport.
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.
Illinois Craft Beer Week my be postponed due to the COVID19 lockdown, but that’s not stopping six suburban-Chicago breweries and one bottle shop from celebrating craft week in spirit. Together, they have put together the 0th Annual Suburban Beer Hunt. From May 15 to May 30, beer fans can solve a series of puzzles that will take them on a to-go journey to six breweries and one bottle shop located in Chicago’s western suburbs. If they can solve each puzzle correctly, and in the correct order, prizes await the participants.
With many states still closed and stay-at-home orders extended through at least the end of May, most people have a lot of time on their hands. What better way to spend that free time than drinking beers and re-binge watching all your old favorite shows. These six beers are the ones you’ll be wanting to pair with some of the most popular series on Netflix.
Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago in the 90s spoiled me as a basketball fan. When I was five years old, I remember my mom giving me a wooden spoon and pot to go out into our driveway to make noise right after the Chicago Bulls won the first NBA Championship in 1991. I probably didn’t quite understand what was going on.
Chicagoans cherish their patios as much as their tavern-style pizza or beef sandwiches. While we’re all staying inside to help flatten the curve and get through this pandemic as safely as possible, I couldn’t help but make a list of the patios I want to visit as soon as it’s safe to do so.
During these uncertain times, it is comforting to know that many breweries are still working on new flavors and beers to be consumed in the safety of one’s home. Energy City Brewing, located in the Chicagoland suburb of Batavia, Illinois, is reliable in its innovation of beer recipes and desire to release new brews to the public regularly. Relatively new to the brewery game, they received their official license on St. Patrick’s Day 2017, and brewed their first stout that same day. The stout in question actually began as an award-winning homebrew of co-founder David Files, who began homebrewing in 2005.
The women of Mikerphone Brewing do not play the role of background singers at the musical-inspired brewery, but instead work harmoniously with the men; they are integral to the entire operation. And, on February 8, Mike Pallen and his skilled assistants handed over the brewhouse to the women of Mikerphone in order to brew Drippin’ So Much Sauce Double Dry-Hopped Double IPA. The beer will not only be tasty but also support The Wings Program, which aims to end the cycle of domestic violence and give aid to those who have suffered.