#offcolorbrewing Archives – PorchDrinking.com
For all of you who are excited about the CDC’s new mask guidance, slow your roll. I’m glad you’re excited, Mr. “I haven’t developed a third COVID chin,” but some of us were really enjoying having a covered face. I guess I’ll just start washing my whole face again…maybe start shaving again. I dunno, it’s a whole new damn world.
There’s plenty of reason to celebrate this week, obviously, and the PorchDrinking team never fails to deliver. Crack open whatever you’ve been holding onto for a special occasion and check out this week’s What We’re Drinking.
While it has been used for thousands of years in brewing, honey is an up and coming star of the craft beer world. Brewers are becoming more aware of the myriad possibilities it presents. Honey provides multiple potential contributions to beer depending on how and when it’s used in the brewing process and has a dizzying range of flavors. Factors such as terroir, the botanicals visited by the bees, and even the time of year the pollen was gathered all affect flavor. So what exactly does honey do for beer, and why do breweries use it?
We made it through another week, ya’ll! As we edge closer to fall and all it’s glory — spiced everything, pumpkins, dark beers, cooler weather, etc. — we should take time to reflect on the days that have passed already. It was only about six months ago that our country was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses closing and people being laid off. Now, many businesses are opening for outdoor seating, craft beer is seeing an uptick in brews being delivered to your door (which I hope never goes away!) and we’re seeing lower positive test rates. Our writers are busy covering virtual events and releases, and need some tasty inspiration — here is What We’re Drinking.
If you’re currently in the mindset that it’s too early for pumpkin beer but too late for summer-only releases, then we’re on the same page. This often means it’s Oktoberfest season, the best season of all! Oktoberfest styles (usually in the form of a Festbier and Märzen) are popping up at the majority of breweries across the city and suburbs, and while it feels slightly earlier than normal (what day is it anyway?), I’m not upset about the early arrival.
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.
Mother’s Day may be well-known for mimosas, but here at PorchDrinking, we prefer something a little more hoppy. While Mother’s Day will be different than previous years, it doesn’t mean you can’t pick up some of your favorite local brews. If you can’t be with your mom, consider delivery as a nice surprise; and if you are a mom, stock up and know you have a day free of homeschooling. Need some inspiration? Check out our Ultimate 6er and you’ll be sure to find the perfect Mother’s Day beer for a video chat.
As another year comes to a close, we’d like to look back at the past 12 months on some of our favorite beers we had that came out of Midwest breweries.
With the number of breweries increasing, it becomes harder and harder to narrow down a list, but we have a handful of Midwest writers who contributed their favorite beers of 2019.
If there’s ever been a more urgent time to clone yourself, it’s now. With summer on the horizon in Chicago (despite the weekend snow storm), there’s LOTS coming up on the beer front. Illinois Craft Beer Week kicks off with Beer Under Glass (BUG) May 10, but there’s also plenty to celebrate before then, and why wait? It’s already a big weekend for Star Wars and taco fans, but there’s three important beer events coming up this Saturday, May 4.
The nice thing about the craft brewing industry is that there’s always something new to drink and learn. Both happened to me at Allagash Brewing’s Saison Day at Off Color Brewing’s on April 6, 2019. I wasn’t expecting to find a beer on tap with a hazy color and a viscous texture that would showcase the bright and colorful Saison and Farmhouse ale creations from the likes of Off Color, Allagash, Side Project and Brasserie Dupont. But there I was, savoring every drop of Birds Fly South Ale Project’s Rustic Sunday, a deliciously savory yet fruity Farmhouse ale created via the Solera aging style. I had never heard of Solera aging before but after having one of Birds Fly South’s (BFS) brews, I knew I had to find out more.
Off Color Brewing is well-known in the Chicago market for pushing the limits of beer, but now they’re pushing the limits of packaging as well. Not content with traditional bottles, bombers and draft options, John Laffler and the rest of the Off Color crew are rolling out new 4-packs of 250ml (about 8oz) bottles to appease the thirsty masses.
The team is not messing around this week and the proof is in the beer! We sure do love conversing about the new beers emerging this season but I can speak for all beer lovers when I say we love to drink them even more. It has been quite an eventful month and as we prepare to jump into May, let’s take some time to see What We’re Drinking as we say farewell to April.
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.
*Feature image courtesy of The Park at Wrigley
On a glorious Saturday evening, Chicago beer lovers got to experience the first ever non-baseball event at The Park at the Wrigley – and boy was it a good one. The inaugural Craft and Cuisine event had everything you’d want in a beer festival – great beer, access to brewers and unlimited pours.
After winning a coveted Michelin star this past November, Band of Bohemia welcomes in spring with an industry leading list of brewers. On May 1st they’ll host, “Chicago’s Premier Brewpubs and Breweries Under One Roof”. They are teaming up with the James Beard Foundation and The Illinois Restaurant Association to put on the event.
Where There’s Smoke, There’s Beer, another great Barley’s Angels event, went off with a bang last Monday offering up some smoky treats at Links Taproom in Wicker Park. Barley’s Angels, a women’s craft beer appreciation and educational group, sure does know how to pick their taprooms. You would think that with 36 beers on tap, deciding which beer to choose would be a nightmare – but the Links staff is more than happy to discuss your likes and dislikes and recommend the perfect beer. On every wall you can see digital boards displaying the wide variety beers currently on tap and how much of the keg is left. This allows patrons to choose their beers wisely because once a keg is spent, a new brew is on.
Besides GABF, it was kind of a slow week on social media, but fear not, fair reader! I’ve managed to scrounge up a few humdingers for your enjoyment. If you like beer events, ghosts, or janitorial work, you have come to the right place. Turn up the polka music, pour yourself a beer, and dive into The Weekly Buzz!
The world of eSports is vast and glorious; on the brink of mainstream acceptance through the understanding and mutual respect put into the time and skill of learning video games. There are games with underground followings like Counter Strike: Global Offensive and genres such as MOBAs that have reached the zenith of national sport. But today’s Ultimate 6er is centered around a breed settled when the quarters were slammed on the arcade cabinet in the days of yore: Fighting Games.
The Fighting Game Community or “FGC” has had a vigorous history through years of rigorous reinvention and a fervent, dedicated fanbase of thrill-seeking gamers. Beyond the coordination and strategy of other gaming tournaments, Fighting Games have an unmistakably thematic flair. The ups-and-downs of comeback, the mind game of predicting your opponent and the study of position create a viewing experience unlike any other. It’s just two players, two controllers, two characters drowning out the thousands of passionate fans to play the best match possible.
You’ve probably seen Off Color Brewing beer in your local beer store. The bottles stand out with their unique artwork featuring a little grain mouse. Off Color doesn’t brew your typical beer. They don’t have an IPA, instead opting to brew Sahtis, smoked beers and anything else outside the norm that head brewer and co-founder John Laffler can dream up. I sat down with John for the latest installment of Inside the Tank to get into the head of the man behind Off Color Brewing in Chicago.