#ImperialOakBrewing Archives – PorchDrinking.com
The Imperial Oak Brewing BBA Quiet Giant series doesn’t quite get the attention that other Chicago-area BBA releases receive, but its quality is on par with some of the best in the metro area. And the brewery’s annual, crowded anniversary party and Quiet Giant release speak to the love affair many have with the series. Though we have covered the release as a preview each year, we wanted to appeal to those beer-cellar lovers by opening a 2020 Quiet Giant Aged Two Years in Bourbon (and then aged in this writer’s basement “BBA fridge” for two additional years) to see how well Quiet Giant ages.
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.
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.
How is everyone’s sugar hangover going?! I know I ate all the fun-sized skittle packs this week and very much need a candy-free weekend! Our writers have been getting in the Spooky Szn mood with some witchy brews! Kick up your feet, grab a cozy blanket, and let’s see what we’re drinking as we welcome fall into our world!
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.
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.
2017 will undoubtedly go down as the year of the tap room for Chicago craft beer. Big names that have become synonymous with beer in the city finally opened their doors to the public. Off Color Brewing, Metropolitan Brewing, Maplewood and Half Acre’s new production facility are just to name a handful of places you can now go drink where you couldn’t before.
The physical manifestation of American Craft Beer’s evolution exists with Imperial Oak Brewing Ragnarok Rum-Barrel-Aged Baltic Porter. It’s not just a craft beer; it’s a crafted lager. It’s not just any lager; it’s a Baltic Porter. It’s not just barrel-aged or aged in the bourbon barrels; it’s aged in rum barrels. I doubt even Ken Grossman could have envisioned a beer such as this back in the late 1980s. But, this is 2017, and this is how far craft beer has come.
The enthusiasm for brewing small-batch beer at Imperial Oak Brewing is palpable. Brett Semenske, Grant Hamilton and Chris DiBraccio of Imperial Oak Brewing own a wealth of combined home brewing and bar industry experience which explains their recipe for success – brew a variety of great beer and make the brewpub experience priority number one.