#ChicagoCraftBeer Archives – PorchDrinking.com
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.
Suburban Chicago’s Imperial Oak Brewing will celebrate its 6th anniversary this May, and that will be the last one as a single-location brewery. Imperial Oak will open a second location about ten miles north of its current taproom this summer; the brewery purchased Brixie’s Craft Beer Bar, a family-run bar that first opened in 1934.
Imperial Oak (Willow Springs) joins several other of Chicago’s west- and south-suburban breweries that opened in a roughly fifteen-month stretch from late 2013 though early 2015 in expanding, and in the process have grow into name-brands. Imperial Oak, Hailstorm, Pollyanna, Noon Whistle, and Werk Force have all expanded their original spaces, and some are now adding second and third locations.
Move over Cupid. Oswego Brewing, Riverlands Brewing, Skeleton Key Brewing and Wolfden Brewing have concocted the perfect method for which to achieve romantic bliss: the Box of Chocolates Beer Collaboration. The multi-brewery Valentine’s Day beer package is more than just a treat, though, because the beers also serve as beautiful demonstrations of the versatility of stouts (or stout-like ales), which is fitting for February (a.k.a. Stout Month).
As the Chicago-area craft scene inches its way towards 200 breweries, the annual task of summarizing the year’s best beer stories has grown ever so daunting — and exhilarating. To peer through one’s pictures of the beers, events, and interviews and re-discover the year in beer offers a reminder of how enriching the job of a beer writer can be. Indeed, the pick the minds of brewers and industry folks, and drink the fruits of their labor, is satisfying to no end. Mike Zoller, Chicago and Midwest Editor and I, Chicago writer and National Content Editor, decided to provide some of our highlights this year. Without further ado, enjoy our 2019 Best of Chicago Craft Brewing
The fourth annual release of Santa’s Cookies Imperial Milk (and Cookie) Stout, a collaborative effort by Hailstorm Brewing and The Open Bottle in Tinley Park (Chicago), arrives November 30. Since its first release in 2016, Santa’s Cookies popularity has grown and expanded to include variants, which is good news because part of the proceeds of the beer goes towards the Tinley Wish Foundation, who help local, needy families.
On Black Wednesday (Nov 27), BuckleDown Brewing in Lyons, IL (just outside of Chicago proper) will release the third edition of its Significant BBA (Bourbon-Barrel-Aged) Imperial Milk Stout. The three-year-old program has transitioned from bombers to cans, and has grown from one bottled variety to four canned offerings: the base and three variants. Each year, the brewery has used different barrels to store the beer with this year relying on Few Spirits, located in Chicago.
Fresh off its Silver Medal at the Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beer (FoBAB) for its Rye Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout, Crystal Lake Brewing has unveiled its 2019 Boathouse Reserve barrel-aged series, which will formally be released on Saturday, November 23. …
The GABF Gold Medal awarded to Begyle Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Pajamas validated what many already knew: in a town abound in exceptional bourbon-barrel-aged beer, Begyle’s has risen to become one of the best. The 2019 release on Friday, November 15, will be the first for the Community Supported Brewery (CSB) since winning the medal. They graciously hosted PorchDrinking a couple of days early, offering to provide us with a few tastes and plenty of discussion about its barreling program.