#ilbeer – PorchDrinking.com
It’s a well regarded fact that the best beer to make you recall fond memories of Christmases of yore is a terrifically dark, malty ale. Perhaps it’s spiced, like Great Lake Christmas Ale. Maybe it’s minty with deep chocolate notes. Or it could be barrel-aged, resulting in a boozy, syrupy confection that’s meant to inoculate you from the inevitable holiday hangover. But what if, just this one time, you wanted to enjoy a Christmas beer that embodies the current haze craze? Well, we’ve found the beer for you.
This past weekend was one of the most highly rated beer festivals in Southern California: Collabapalooza. The ethos of the beer festival is a sense of community within the beer industry–in most cases, all of the breweries involved were friends with each other and the brewers were all trying each other’s beer while talking shop. As we got to talk to several breweries in the preview article on the beers they were bringing, we got to experience the selection of a ridiculous tap list contributed by all the breweries. Here are some standouts.
Located in the heart of Ravenswood’s Malt Row, Empirical Brewery has drawn a significant following thanks its scientific approach to brewing and great sour beers. Oh, and the cats are a huge draw too. You won’t find them roaming around the taproom or on much of their branding, but there’s no doubt that their three Ghostbuster-themed cats, Venkman, Egon and Raymond have had a significant impact on the staff at Empirical and on their business as a whole. On a given Saturday brewery tour, it’s common for patrons to be more interested in finding the cats hidden amongst pallets or perched in their cat castle than getting a close look at Empirical impressive experimental brewing system. We asked Head Brewer and COO Jacob Huston about his feline employees and how they’ve become a vital part of the brewery’s family – and business.
One of my favorite examples of a local beer success story is Revolution Brewing’s Fist City. Every now and then, you’ll find a local craft beer being sold in 12-pack cans at the liquor store. While the 4-pack of 16-ounce cans is the standard for most local craft brewers today, few make it to 12-pack status; a sign that this beer has made it.
I’ll admit that I didn’t start watching Anthony Bourdain’s show, Parts Unknown, until after he tragically took his own life on June 8th. I was late to jump on the bandwagon, but once I saw what the hype was about, I was hooked. I binged the entire series on Netflix in a few days. As someone who enjoys writing about beer, food and travel, it was only natural to admire someone who gets paid to eat and get drunk in some of the most beautiful and exotic places on earth.
Quick Sips is our way of highlighting beer events, tap takeovers and other notable beer news around the city of Chicago, IL. If you’d like to submit something to be included in the next Quick Sips, please email us at [email protected].
So, there I was, standing outside on a cold March night in Chicago watching Off Color’s social media manager Ben Ustick and co-founder Dave Bleitner (lovingly called “The Other Guy”) methodically put together the fence that would block off their soon-to-be-open patio space. There was a palpable excitement shared between Ben and Dave as they hammered each 2×4 into place. The patio meant something more than just providing extra seating on a swanky summer day. It was validation that Off Color’s grand experiment had paid off.
The new taproom space, dubbed the Mousetrap, has been a smashing success as it has provided Dave and the other Co-Founder Jon Laffler (the one you usually see in the papers) with more room to share their craft beer genius with hordes of willing Chicagoans. While 2017 was an exciting year for Off Color Brewing, with more momentum and new experiments in the hopper, 2018 is shaping up to be even better.
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].
Soccer and suds on a Saturday morning. It’s a weekly tradition for U.S. soccer fans as they head to their favorite bar every weekend to watch their designated Premier League team play. Now, Half Acre Beer Co. is getting involved, which should excite soccer fans in the Chicago area.
Beer releases are a tricky thing. As more and more people take an interest in craft beer, the next release of a hazy NE-IPA, mix culture barrel-aged wild/sour, or big barrel-aged stout are getting more hyped, more complex and trickier for the brewery to manage. There is no such thing as a perfect release, however, breweries today are doing their best to figure out how to get their beer out to their customers.
Sand between the toes, hammocks, sunshine, rustling palm trees and now Church Street Brewing — that could describe your next Caribbean vacation. The suburban-Chicago brewery is taking its beer to the tropics!
Nisei Lounge is one of the most unique dive bars on the Northside, and it’s also one of the best spots to grab a beer near Wrigley Field. Opened back in 1951, Nisei Lounge was around long before craft beer took hold of the bar scene and smack dab in the middle of the Cubs’ 108 years of mediocrity. Enter the present: Nisei Lounge still has the same toilets it had when it opened over 60 years earlier but has also added some new elements like five new flatscreen TVs and a new affinity for local craft brews that makes the local joint more than appealing for a loyal Cubs fan or everyday Chicago craft beer lover.
Whether it’s in a can, bottle or on-draft, craft beer can be consumed in many ways. Now, thanks to a new state law backed by Chicago suburban brewery Noon Whistle Brewing, there will be a new way to drink: cans with completely removable lids.
It has been a busy week for Chicago’s largest independently owned brewery. After announcing the exciting news that they will officially begin distribution to Michigan starting August 21st, Revolution Brewing recently announced even better news for craft beer lovers: the expansion of their Deep Wood barrel-aged brew series into cans.
Attending a Chicago Cubs game is an experience. From the bars to the fans to the field, Wrigley Field overwhelms the senses. One thing that has not been traditionally overwhelming near the stadium: the craft beer selection – until now. Thanks to the newly built Lucky Dorr, neighbor GreenStar Brewing and a concerted effort from Clark Street bar owners to stock more craft beer options, it is now easy to sip on some local craft beers before cheering on the 2016 World Champions.
The Chicago metro area certainly has a multitude of beers available for consumption these days, given its now 175+ breweries in operation. But, every once in awhile, a beer comes along that inspires a beer writer such as me to, well, write about it. This time, the beer comes from the mad geniuses of Chicago’s Dovetail Brewery. The Dovetail motto, “We brew like monks (minus the vows),” notes its dedication to traditional, continental European-style brewing methods and that is why the Dovetail Hefeweizen is one of the best you’ll ever have.
For all Rick & Morty fans who have ever dreamed of visiting the Blips & Chitz arcade-themed building, the nostalgia-tinged craft beercade hosts an event inspired by the characters of Rick & Morty with beer pairings from 3 Floyd’s Brewing.
Nestled in the woods of southern Illinois, among the dips and low hills of a surprisingly wild region of the state, sits one of the most innovative breweries operating in the American craft beer scene today. That innovation, however, comes by way of ancient tradition. Owners and brewmasters Marika Josephson and Aaron Kleidon aren’t pioneering cutting edge brewing technologies or using explosively flavorful new varieties of experimental hops. Rather, they’re reviving the use of ingredients and techniques that humans have used for centuries to make beer. Foraging among the underbrush of their wooded property for edible bark, nuts, fruits, flowers, roots and mushrooms, and growing yet more ingredients at their brewery garden, the folks at Scratch are bringing unexpected flavors to beer drinkers lucky enough to make it to their rustic property.
Feature image courtesy of DryHop Brewers
For DryHop Brewers & Corridor Brewery & Provisions head brewer Brant Dubovick, the insight to start focusing on hazy IPAs started when he was in DC for the Craft Brewers Conference with DryHop Lead Brewer Adrian Vidaurre and Corridor Lead Brewer Roger Cuzelis. While there, Brant decided to wait in line for up to 2.5 hours for a Trillium and Bissel Brothers New England-style IPA at a tap takeover. Since then, the haze craze has been front and center for both DryHop and its sister brewery Corridor Brewery & Provisions in particular. Corridor has proven to be a particularly good testing ground to test Chicago’s demand for the hazy IPA, and according to Dubovick, the response has been “amazing.”
Revolution Brewing already has several great summer sipping beers like Rosa and Fist City in their canned arsenal; now, they’re adding a couple new seasonal options to help round out their summer portfolio.