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#ChicagoCraftBeer – 2/7 – PorchDrinking.com

Ultimate 6er | Beat the Heat with Chicago Summer Beer

July 17, 2019 |

Refer to it as mid-summer; the dog days; the height of summertime. Call it whatever you want, but the fact is that it’s hot outside in the Windy City. And so to beat the heat; we need a few refreshing beers. Whether you drink it watching a ball game while grilling or just basking in some air conditioning, it’s satisfying to have a beer that fits the season. Here are six Chicago summer beers sure to help keep the mind off the endless beads of sweat forming all over your skin.

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Crystal Lake Brewing & Signature Room | Top View Brew

July 11, 2019 |

Crystal Lake Brewing may be located on the outer edges of the Chicago Metropolitan region, but the brewery is as much a “Chicago beer” as any brewery located within the city limits. So much so, the Crystal Lake Beach Blonde Lager has become a staple at the Signature Room, a posh restaurant & lounge located 1,000 feet above Chicago on the 95th & 96th floor of the John Hancock Center.  And now, the brewery has created Top View Brew Golden Wheat Ale exclusively for the Signature Room and Signature Lounge. “Aside from occasionally being on draft at the Crystal Lake Tap Room, it’s only available 95 floors up in the Hancock building. Guests at the restaurant will be able to order this beer year-round while they enjoy the great menu and amazing views of Chicago,” explained Crystal Lake Sales Manager, Jesse Able.

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Chicago Quick Sips | July 8 Chicago Beer News & Events

July 8, 2019 |

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]

A few of the featured events occurring from July 8 – 21 are listed here. Enjoy.
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Event Recap | Chicago’s Craft Brews at the Zoo

June 25, 2019 |

A Saturday filled with thunderstorms and unseasonably cold weather did not stop a large crowd of craft beer enthusiasts from descending upon Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo after hours to enjoy the annual Crafts Brews at the Zoo.

The event featured several local Chicagoland breweries including a select few from across the country and beyond. VIP ticket holders were welcomed with a half hour-early admission complete with access to a light appetizer bar and special tappings from Pollyanna Brewing (including a thick, delicious Malted Milk Ball Pastry Stout). As we’ve come to expect from a Lou Dog Events! festival, the event was very well organized with brewery pouring stations located throughout the park, embedded into many of the zoo’s animal exhibits. This allowed ample space to move around, see some animals and sample some great beer.

The weather kept a few of the animals indoors, but festival attendees had the opportunity to see an eastern black rhinoceros, Japanese Macaque and, of course… penguins! In addition to entertainment, we had some great beers being poured from breweries both local and beyond.

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Brickstone Brewery | Milkshake IPA

May 29, 2019 |

Located 60 miles south of Chicago, the quiet village of Bourbanais, Illinois, might be the last place you’d expect to find an award-winning brewery and brewpub. Brickstone Brewery is well-known nationally for its award-winning APA, and the brewery emerged well before Chicago became the brewery capital of the nation. Recently, Brickstone began experimenting with the new “trendier” styles of IPAs to great success. Brickstone’s Shak’d Up series of Milkshake IPAs gives the brewery a chance to have some fun and experiment with this new style.

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Imperial Oak Quiet Giant Release | Five Anniversary Variants for Five Years

May 14, 2019 |

Deep Woods. Boathouse Reserve. Bourbon County. Barrel Aged Imperial Pajamas. Quiet Giant. The maturation and evolution of Chicago-Area craft breweries has not included a drift away from the style created in the Windy City — Bourbon Barrel Aging. And, breweries that have gained named recognition in the past few years commonly release of a lauded, coveted and oft-cellared BBA. For Imperial Oak Brewing, a continually expanding suburban-Chicago brewery that’s recently added an entire space dedicated to Foeders and other barrels (The Savage Oak Room), its best-selling beer is Quiet Giant. Each year, the beer once deemed a PorchDrinking.com favorite at Beer Under Glass (BUG) in 2017 arrives just in time for both BUG and its summertime anniversary party. This year Imperial Oak has five variants; one for each year its been open.

We at PorchDrinking were privvy to a special preview before Beer Under Glass, and are pleased to share our findings with you.

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Brewery Showcase | Wolfden Brewing in Suburban Chicago

April 18, 2019 |

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.

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District Brew Yards | Three-Brewery Collective, Pour-Your-Own Beer Hall and Eatery

April 9, 2019 |

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.

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Maplewood Brewery | Charlatan Pale Ale

March 22, 2019 |

For my first piece for PorchDrinking, I decided to revisit a beer that kicked off my love of craft beers.

I still remember the first time I tried The Charlatan…back before it was canned. Before it received its new look. Hell, even before Maplewood came to be known as Maplewood.

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Chicago Quick Sips | March 18 Chicago Beer News & Events

March 18, 2019 |

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]

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Pink Boots Live Brew Day | Women of Suburban Chicago

March 8, 2019 |

The Pink Boots Society’s “Live Brew Day: Women of Suburban Craft Beer Collab” event at Skeleton Key Brewing (Suburban Chicago) focused on one principal goal — make great beer.

Certainly, Pink Boots Society events present a bonding opportunity for women of the industry, while simultaneously fostering awareness of their contributions. Nevertheless, from the presence of Omega Yeast Labs to the many brewers and industry women present, the event made it abundantly clear that crafting excellent beer served as priority #1. And, in doing so, demonstrated how possession of a Y-chromosome has nothing to do with becoming a skilled, imaginative beer professional.

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18th Street Brewery | Disciple’s Revenge

January 30, 2019 |

At the beginning of a new year, resolutions are a constant. Beer drinkers are no different. While I haven’t made the commitment that Midwest editor Mike Zoller has to “no hazy IPAs” in 2019, I have decided that I’m going to push myself to drink new styles and try new breweries.
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Event Preview | Chicago Ale Fest — Winter Edition

January 14, 2019 |

We’re entering another Chicago winter. The wind, lack of sun and bitter cold tend to keep Chicagoans indoors. But before you enter hibernation mode, it’s time to drink some of Chicago’s finest winter beers. What better place to do so than at the Chicago Ale Fest on February 2. This year, the festival makes its way to Pilsen, where Lacuna Artist’s Lofts will host. The festival boasts live music, food trucks and more than 100 beer pours from over 40 breweries. It will be a day off full of fun, surprises, mouth-watering munchies and plenty of strong, hearty ale to keep you warm until spring.

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Brewery Showcase | Oswego Brewing Company

December 20, 2018 |

The addition of suburban-Chicago’s Oswego Brewing Company (May, 2018) further demonstrates that the craft beer industry is far from “too crowded.” Oswego Brewing has fit in nicely, thank you, and is drawing in its own new loyal crowd of craft beer fans. Operating out of spacious building — the town’s former fire station — and under the direction of the multi-award winning head brewer, Marc Wilson, Oswego Brewing deftly balances the art of offering sophisticated special releases alongside solid, versatile year-round and seasonal choices.
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Editorial | Don’t Get Stuck in a Craft Beer Brand Name Rut

November 20, 2018 |

Does size matter? Do name brands imply value? Last year, I dared to suggest that the best barrel-aged beer I tasted came from Crystal Lake Brewing — the 2015 Heaven Hill Rye Barrel-Aged Stout (aged for three years). That assessment afforded me an opportunity to receive several nasty, troll-like emails, messages and online commentary.

For some reason, boldly claiming that a brewery outside the realm of the “big boys” somehow banished me to the craft beer timeout corner. But why?

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Events Roundup | Black Wednesday in Chicago

November 19, 2018 |

Once deemed “Black Out Wednesday,” to differentiate it from Black Friday and because the day before Thanksgiving ranks as one of the busiest drinking nights of the year, Black Wednesday has grown to become one of the craft beer industry’s biggest days. Chicago’s breweries and bars are regaling patrons with plenty of special beer, most of it as black as a winter night. So, to help you navigate Black Wednesday in Chicago, we’ve compiled a list to help you.

We can’t detail every event, but we tried to hit on the big releases and offerings. Did we miss something grand? Let us know via comments here or on social media. Have a great Thanksgiving Week!

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Brewery Showcase | Brickstone Brewery

October 25, 2018 |

Brickstone Brewery has won medals at FoBAB, the World Cup, and GABF. One can find Brickstone at every Jewel, several Buffalo Wild Wings, throughout Guaranteed Rate Field (White Sox games), at beer fests — and even gas stations these days. It’s tough to find a Chicago-area bar without some tap handles adorned by Brickstone artwork. Yet, most Chicago-area beer fans have never been to Brickstone. Born of a family-restaurant in the 1990s, the Bourbonnais business added a brewery in 2006 and has since evolved into a dually-located, full-fledged, 9k to 10k barrel-per-year brewery (with a capacity for 18k) and, as it always has been, family restaurant. Located 45 miles south of downtown Chicago, Brickstone has simultaneously discovered a way to cater to its local clientele while also existing among the biggest names in Chicago beer.
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Half Acre Far & Away Festival | A Sensational Beer Event

October 16, 2018 |

The first annual Far & Away festival hosted by Chicago’s Half Acre Brewery and held at the city’s popular Millennium Park offered beer fans a ‘27-Yankees level brewery and beer lineup; heavy hitters that did not disappoint in October. For the two PorchDrinking.com writers who attended each session, the immediate discussion afterwards included the comment, “best ever.” Granted, immediate conclusions can be wrought with over-reactions, but the mere fact that we both said that speaks to the festival’s sheer excellence.

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Solemn Oath in Logan Square | Emporium Pop-Up Bar & A New Taproom

October 11, 2018 |

Solemn Oath Brewing, located in the large and populous Chicago suburb of Naperville, has remained a stabilizing force within the broader, changing Chicago craft beer market. Since opening in 2012, the brewery has adapted to internal and external changes without ever losing its identity, nor its popularity among beer fans; that’s what good people serving well-executed beer will do for a brewery.

Solemn Oath is now ready to take the next step in its craft beer journey by expanding to a second location and joining a slew of breweries in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. But first, a pop-up bar is in the works.

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Chicago Craft Beer | GABF 2018

October 2, 2018 |

Six years ago, only about 80 breweries operated in Illinois. Now, approximately 200 breweries create heavenly ales and lagers within the Chicago metro area alone. Coinciding with that eruption of breweries has been an ever-increasing amount of recognition, including Chicago-area breweries winning Great American Beer Festival (GABF) medals and winning them in highly competitive categories.

Granted, Chicago has consistently been able to boast about its bourbon barrel aging prowess—after all, it was conceived at Goose Island during its pre-ABI days and celebrated each year at the Festival of Barrel Aged Beer. But few people outside of Chicago seemed to notice the Chicago brewing scene until recently. However, at the 2018 GABF, Chicago definitely made its mark in the Mile High City.
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