Walking into the 11th annual Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer, and Food festival was an overwhelming sensory experience. The excitement and chatter of thousands of festival goers filled the air, in addition to music being provided by local musicians. The smell of tacos from Lindo Mexico and pulled pork from Slows Bar Bq, just a few of the local eateries on site, teased my taste buds. Although I enjoy wine and cider, my eyes were drawn immediately to “Beer City Station,” the area of the festival dedicated to over 60 brewery tents lined with taps and ready for me to explore. My husband and I bought our tasting tickets and set out on our culinary adventure.
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!
A few weeks ago, on a cloudy Seattle Friday night, dozens of beer fanatics flooded the basement of the Pike Brewing Company in celebration of the establishment’s 29th Canniversary. Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the taproom and restaurant, guests mingled amidst the brewery’s fermenters and bottling lines – sipping away on the quintessential Pike brews and slurping down oysters from the Puget Sound.
Over the past 16 years, Chicago’s Festival of Barrel-Aged Beers has quickly established itself as one of the preeminent showcases of barrel-aged beers in the country. This two-day festival not only allows festival goers the chance to sample from some of …
I just got finished shoveling snow and am about ready to start my commute to work. There’s no beer in my immediate future, but luckily I can live vicariously through the craft-brewed adventures of the PorchDrinking.com staff. This is What We’re Drinking.
It’s happened. A few meager inches of snow have fallen on southeastern Pennsylvania, and drivers who normally blow past my house at 20 MPH over the speed limit have slowed to an embarrassing crawl. I leave for work in three hours and I will lose my mind if the roads are still clogged with scared white-knucklers. This isn’t our first winter. I’m not asking you to maintain your normal clear-weather speeds, but at least act like you’ve seen snow before. Anyhoo… I found some stuff on social media and hope you like it. This is The Weekly Buzz.
In a market so saturated with DDH beers, super-fruited and adjunct overloads (which I should note, I love trying as much as the next beer enthusiast), I find it refreshing when a brewery isn’t steadfast to these trends and unafraid to put out more traditional styles of beer. Fox Farm Brewery in Salem, Connecticut is a brewery that’s doing just that. Their Smoked Helles Lager, The Cabin, is a great beer that deserves the spotlight for this reason.
Tis the season for barrel-aged beers. While many fervent craft beer fans will flock to the annual barrel-focused release parties of their favorite local brewer this month, there is only one event that brings more than 200 of the best barrel-aged brewers from around the country together for one decadent event. The Festival of Barrel-Aged Beers is now in its 16th year and has quickly established itself as one of the best beer – not just for stouts and barleywines – festival in the states.
The event is held at the UIC Forum in Chicago on Friday November 16 and Saturday November 17 and already has the attention of many beer fans, myself included, excited to indulge in all of the great one-off and unique barrel-aged offerings served two ounces at a time.
Fall weekends in Austin, Texas can trick you into forgetting all about humid summer nights or surprise flash floods. Weather like that can convince someone that patio weather will never end, that you get an extra hour of sleep every night or that that the next beer might be the best beer — Hold Out Brewing is working to make at lease one of those dreams a reality.
An upcoming brewpub in central Austin, Hold Out is spearheaded by brewers Mark Stowe and Brent Sapstead. Brent is the former head brewer and production manager of Real Ale Brewing Company in Blanco, Texas. On Saturday, November 3, Hold Out Brewing threw a preview event hosted by their soon-to-be neighbors, Better Half Coffee and Cocktail Bar. Guests could sample four beers from Hold Out Brewing or purchase two different collaboration beers from Hold Out Brewing and Austin Beerworks.
The Denver Beer Beat sheds light on news of brewery openings, special tappings, firkins and one-off batches, bottle releases, dinners, pairings, etc.
‘Tis the season for a good winter beer.
What if you’re not a fan of stouts or porters, but still want to get into the festivities of winter beer releases? We’ve got some suggestions for you!
Seward, Nebraska is known as “The Fourth of July City.” With just over 7,000 denizens, Seward is not a “small” town by Nebraska standards, where towns with less than 1,000 people are still common around the state. And so it was nice to see this town get its own independent brewery in 2015 when Bottle Rocket Brewing Company opened its doors.
Ah, ’tis season of winter beers. As the days and nights turn colder in the northern parts of the nation, the bite in the air invites us to turn from the lighter beers of summer to the bigger, bolder and richer beers designed to be sipped by the fire, enjoyed with hearty menus or served at warmer temperatures.
The three most popular winter styles, outside the realm of barrel-aging, involve stouts, porters and brown ales. While most can adequately describe stouts, the differences between porters and brown ales are often misunderstood. To better understand the styles, I asked some breweries in the St. Louis region to provide clarity on the topic.
In a way, it is fortunate that President Thomas Jefferson wasn’t able to read his distant successor’s “The Art of the Deal.” If he had, he might have learned that one does not kick the tires after making a $15 million purchase (as providence would have it, Jefferson’s profligacy was vindicated and the French ended up looking like suckers). So it was that in May 1804, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark boldly commanded their corps to paddle furiously upstream from St. Louis, Missouri.
One full year later, Lewis and Clark found themselves in present-day Montana. By August 1805, two events critical to the expedition had happened: Lewis and Clark successfully navigated the Missouri River past Great Falls and what is today known as Helena, Montana; William Clark celebrated his 35th birthday with nary a beer in sight.
Luckily for you, the extended family at Lewis and Clark’s namesake brewery have labored so you do not have to be so deprived. For your next expedition (e.g. trip to the bottle shop) or special occasion (e.g. Tuesday), we suggest Lewis & Clark’s Prickly Pear Pale Ale.
This is a sponsored post on behalf of Founders Brewing
As we first announced back in August, Founders Brewing is finally primed to add Colorado as the 47th state in its national distribution footprint. The iconic Grand Rapids brewery will kick off their Colorado launch with a week of events beginning today, featuring their core lineup, with a larger drop that will include their barrel-aged beer series later in the month.
For the past four years, Detroit area breweries have teamed up in October to collaborate on innovative beers in honor of the Michigan Brewers Guild’s Fall Beer Festival. However, this year’s theme took experimentation to the next level. Seven breweries decided to pay homage to the cornerstone of Michigan pop (not soda), Faygo, the beloved pop brand of Michiganders and Juggalos alike. While Faygo has been covered in the national press, usually as a side-story to the oddities of the Insane Clown Posse, the Detroit Beer Experiment, a collective of Detroit-based breweries, decided to give the product it’s culinary due by way of beer. Stephen Rogonson of Batch Brewing Co and Robert Orler of Brew Detroit were nice enough to answer some questions about the Detroit Beer Experiment.
Ryan Blandford, head brewer at Cincinnati’s Taft’s Ale House, won his first gold medal at the World Beer Cup while working for crosstown brewery Fifty West in 2016. When he heard Fifty West’s 10 & 2 Barleywine announced, he couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
“I was jumping up and down and swearing,” laughed Blandford when we spoke on the phone last week. “As a young brewer you look up to these guys who are winning all these medals and when you’re fortunate enough to win one, well, you’re kind of freaking out.”
Two releases in and this year’s version of Revolution Brewing Deep Wood Series is shaping up to be its best so far. After the daring idea to can its barrel-aged creations last year, the Chicago-based brewery decided to push the limits even further in 2018 by expanding the lineup to 10 ambitious beers, including new offerings such as Code Switch and Deth by Currants. The second release happens this Friday, November 16 at its Kedzie Taproom location (3340 N Kedzie Ave, Chicago, IL) and will feature the popular Deth’s Tar, the highly-acclaimed Cafe Deth and the new Deth by Currants, which won the fan vote for best fruited variant.
We were lucky enough to get early access to these three Deth-inspired stouts and came away wholly impressed. Here are our initial thoughts.
Election day has come and gone, leaving either a wave of disappointment or excitement in its wake. People hit the polls in record numbers to exercise their right to vote, and crowds gathered across the country in various venues to await the results. No matter what side of the fence you are on, I think we can all agree it was an invigorating and exhausting week. Time to sit back, take stock of your voting efforts and grab a beer. If you need some good ideas on a which brew to choose, the PorchDrinking staff has you covered, here’s What We’re Drinking.
I just want to thank America for doing (mostly) the right thing this week. Great work everybody! Now that we’ve taken steps to reinstate a check on our country’s executive branch, I feel safe imbibing a fine craft-brewed beverage. Crack open a beer and discover all this stuff I found on Twitter and Instagram. This is The Weekly Buzz.