Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Go on over to, beers are still a big part of the picture, plus follow the twitter and facebook accounts for beer and cocktail dinners and recommendations and so on. If enough readers over there ask for more frequent or in-depth beer reviews like from here, then that's what I'll do!
Twitter: BoozyBeggarChi

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Boozy Beggar begins

I'm not exactly Batman, but I'll be sharing with you the best in local and midwestern beer, cocktails, beverage ideas, recipes you can use at home, spirits to look out for, etc, etc, amen. Coffee will appear periodically, as well as other non-alcoholic beverages, as I also work on making my own sodas and kombucha/tea. Food pairings and ingredient prep for at home beer and cocktails. Restaurants doing tasting events, especially in Chicago. Some focus will be on what you can do at home, including preparing syrups, infusing spirits, what beers and spirits pair with what food, etc. I'll still be linking to other midwestern and Chicago blogs when events or releases are announced, but will also be producing more original content on at least a weekly or even twice a week basis.

twitter: BoozyBeggarChi

I highly encourage anyone in the industry that comes across this to do one of the following:
1) email me and we can chat about your brand/producers' events in and around Chicagoland
2) send me calendar links so I can just keep track myself of what you have going on
3) talk about product ideas, etc

Sunday, August 26, 2012

It's Time...

Evolution happens to nature, but to the conscious, creative world, it happens because of choices. It's become time to do something more with OMG Beer! A few things brought this on. One, I can not and will not be associated in anyway with the other blog using the OMG Beer! name. I'm not sure who came first and I don't care. They do video blogs. They are really proud of getting drunk a lot. That's enough for me to not want to be attached to the same moniker. Two, I'm not just about beer anymore. I'm about flavors and combinations, I'm about cocktails with beer in them and without beer in them, with what goes with seitan and pulled pork, and so on.

SO, here's where we stand. This whole venture needs a new name. There's some that are being tossed around at OMG Beer Headquarters (which currently consists of two cats in an apartment). There's going to be a lot more going on here in terms of variety, but also in terms of particular booze ventures. No, I won't talk about chocolate martinis. I don't even know how to make one. I will talk about cocktails. I will talk about experiences as a bartender when I get to have them. I will talk about brewing more actually, but also about making syrups and tinctures and infused spirits. I will delve into the complexities of sugar. I will be writing for a plant-based diet blog that leans gluten-free and organic and link to those posts from here.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Oskar Blues Confirmed First Events

Oskar Blues comes to Chicago soon (August 21st) and over at the Tribune they've got a list of confirmed tastings and dinners and tap takeovers and all that other jazz that is now requisite when you're a baller of a brewery and you enter the Chicago market. Yeah, that's right, I said baller of a brewery. I've had Oskar Blues on trips up to Wisconsin and to their home state, Colorado, and I've never been disappointed. Canned beer, to be poured into a glass.,0,731634.story

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Two Brothers 15 for 15 series

Here's an awesome graphic of each label from the first 9 in the Two Brothers 15 Beers for 15 years series.

Half Acre Update

Happy 5th Birthday to Half Acre!

I remember when you guys were a contract brewed lager and a sponsored bicycle racing team and that was about it. Congrats, and keep up the good work. Also, more holiday parties, I loved working that and it was an amazing good time. Good luck this year with the opening tap room and other expansion stuff.

Last Friday, Half Acre tapped It's Good to be the King and Lil Blaster, the former being a lager brewed with  popcorn (!!!) and the latter a saison. Get your hands on those summer beers ASAP. Coming soooooon is the return of Shewolf, a very awesome Half Acre-Three Floyds collaboration IPA. This might be a new version of the same collaboration, or new hops, but it's sure to be delicious, these breweries know how to make hoppy beer.

Monk's Pub Southern Tier Night

I really owe it to everyone to talk more about Southern Tier, because I've never had a bad beer and their delicious stuff is pretty highly available in the Midwest.  Monk's Pub in the Loop is hosting Southern Tier tonight, and here's what is on tap.

Beers available starting at 5pm:

2XIPA-Imperial IPA
Iniquity-Imperial Black Ale
Mokah-Imperial Stout brewed with chocolate and coffee
Creme Brulee-Imperial Stout brewed with vanilla coffee beans
Oak Aged Imperial Pumking
Oak Aged Unearthly IPA

Sadly, I will be missing this tap night, because of both my jobs. I'll cross my fingers there are some beers left for me tomorrow night before a concert at the House of  Blues.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

New beers from Half Acre and Revolution

Half Acre
Sunday in Saigon - Saison with thai basil and lemongrass, 6.0% ABV. Vietnamese inspired. Sounds like a winner, growler pours starting tomorrow at noon. $15 for a fill, $19 for a growler+fill.

Faustenstein - "Our latest barrel-aged experiment is the Faustenstein. This beer is a blend of our Fausten Weizenbock and Eugene Porter that has been aged in Jack Daniels and Woodford Reserve Barrels for 9 months. Faustenstein is one creation the good doctor would be proud of. Come get your complimentary samples all day at either the pub or Kedzie taproom! 8-8.5% ABV, 12oz. snifter - $8"

Monday, July 16, 2012

Tickets still available to Lincoln Square Summer Brew, Thursday July 19th, 630pm

Kind of like a VIP event before a festival, this tasting features beers not available over the next 2-3 days at Square Roots Fest. Check out the attending brewery list below.

20 dollars gets you in, gets you a beer, and a 9 oz tasting glass. Food and beer tickets available inside for 1$.

    - Two Brothers (Warrenville, IL)
    - 5 Rabbit (Chicago, IL)
    - Finch (Chicago, IL)
    - Founders (Grand Rapids, MI)
    - Greenbush (Sawyer, MI)
    - Half Acre (Chicago, IL)
    - Hinterland (Green Bay, WI)
    - Metropolitan (Chicago, IL)
    - New Holland (Holland, MI)
    - Vander Mill Cider (Spring Lake, MI)

Solemn Oath + Bangers & Lace, August 8th (plus a tasting on Wednesday from Perennial Artisan Ales from STL)

If I posted all the cool events and pairings and so on at Bangers & Lace, you'd all accuse me of playing favorites, but this one promises to be delicious on both sides of the +/ampersand. Solemn Oath is the newish kid on the production block, based in Naperville, and joins up with the staff of B&L to put together a beer dinner on August 8th. Tickets here.

On top of that news, I also noticed there's a tasting on Wednesday with Perennial Artisan Ales. 4 beers, described below. Phil Wymore of Perennial spent some time at Goose Island and Half Acre. Wednesday, July 18th, try:

Hommel Bier (dry hopped belgian pale)
Saison de Lis (with chamomile)
Violet (tripel brewed with pluots)
Fantastic Voyage (Imperial coconut milk stout)

A short welcome to OSKAR BLUES (coming around August 20th)

Yes, Chicago, one of the best breweries of the brewbiquitous state of Colorado finally makes their way to our stores, mouths, and bellies.

Here's a link to Oskar Blues website. I'm unsure which/how many of their delicious beers will make it to Chicago, and if it's just cans or if this includes kegs. More soon!

EDIT: Here's a link to the press release!

Beer of the Week July 1 - 7, Summer Beervana # 2

Surly Furious and Surly Cynic

This is kind of weird combination of one of the best beers I've ever had, along with another favorite, and that favorite being fantastic for summertime.

Furious - 6.5% ABV, American IPA. This is the pinnacle of mid-western IPAs. It is hoppy (99 IBUs), pulling flavors from a variety of hop styles to create a complex blend of cinnamon, grapefruit, and pine needles. However, there's a big malt body to balance out some of that bitterness, and lend a toffee-caramel sweetness to the overall beer. How many IPAs do you know that claim the addition of some roasted barley?

CynicAle - 6.6% ABV, Belgian Saison/Pale Ale. Amazingly, this beer almost tastes like a Wit to me, with less citrus. Fantastic blend of belgian yeasts, earthy continental European hops, pilsner malt, and some oats that round out the body and keep it smooth.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Reading Material: Guidebook to Northern California Beer

If you live in or near or plan on visiting Northern California, pretty much ever, you need this. 150+ breweries populate this area. It's densely pact with barley-hops-yeast-water delights.

Read more on the SF weekly blog.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Great Lakes Grand Cru at Monk's Pub

Try Great Lakes Brewing Company's Grand Cru (belgian strong pale ale) at Monk's Pub at 5:00pm, July 11th. Next Wednesday. This was/is normally a pub-exclusive! Let's not even begin to guess how or what the folks at Monk's Pub had to do to get this beer out to Chicago for us to taste.  Like many Grand Cru's, this is a strong belgian pale ale brewed with the spice profile of a wit.

Rumor has it Rye of the Tiger will also be tapped, another (and current) pub exclusive IPA brewed with rye malt.

Additionally, every week in July there will be a Great lakes beer on tap for $4.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Two beers new to 4 packs

Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous

Firestone-Walker Double Jack Imperial IPA

Look for both by the end of summer.

Duvel Art Glass Night at Monk's Pub

July 12th, starting at 5pm. Monk's Pub.
Order a Duvel and a Duvel single and get a Duvel Art Glass.

Goose Island's Chef Collaboration Series

Not sure I even knew about this one til I saw Jared Rouben's mug on

Here's four links, each to a video about the collaboration.

Goose Island Luciana - dark smoked saison
Goose Island Fiona - hefeweizen
Goose Island Allium Roses - belgian-style dark ale
Goose Island Amara Amo - belgian dubbel

Dear midwestern breweries...

I've seen signs that some folks on the east coast are already releasing their pumpkin ales, or plan on releasing them before the end of September. If you do that, I will skewer you alive on this blog and all over the internet. It's absurd. It's even a little gross, since where are you getting all that pumpkin in june and july for brewing?

Arcadia cans

Not entirely sure how long or how many styles of Arcadia Brewing beers go into their cans, but Sky High Rye will be out in cans soon. Just recently posted about this rye pale ale in the first beervana of the summer.

New Holland Four Witches Black Saison

Name: Four Witches
Brewery: New Holland
Style: Saison (sub: black)
Brewed In: Holland, MI
Origin: Belgium(ish)
ABV: 8.3%
Serving Glass: Goblet
OMG Beer Rating: 8.6

Appearance: Pretty pretty beer! Dark body, cloudy, with a hovering, lingering tan head. Looks...rustic?

Aroma: Sweet blend of licorice and chocolate/caramel syrup, a hint of grassy saison and tartness underneath. The latter is a lot more subtle, and I feel like there's a bigger malt driven aroma than in most saisons.

Taste: Tootsie roll sweetness, licorice, a hint of booze. If they had mentioned candy sugar in the brewing process, I'd have believed it. Roasted grain flavor that fits the color. Hints of pepper and clove and other spices hit on the back of the flavor.

Mouthfeel - Creamy, but after those spices slide across, you still get a good dry saison ending, though without the hard bubbles, and refreshing tartness is subdued.

Some people might get turned off because of the body, which veers away from the typical golden saison body towards something creamier. The body is heavier than most saisons as well. However, I think this is something you should expect with a black saison.  I've never had one brewed purely or mostly with the kind of black malts that just add color and not much else. This is about taking a certain kind of yeast and adding roasted malts to it. In my mind, with that being the idea, this beer is exemplary of black saisons. Certainly beats out most, if not all of the black saisons I've had previously, in terms of flavor and execution.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Beervana Summer #1

I'm going to try to crank out quite a few Summer Beervanas to play catch up, and there will for sure be a saison dedicated one later in the summer, and a sour one as well. Let's just start with some stuff I picked up on a hot day, and am now drinking on another hot day.

Hinterland IPA - this drinks like an English IPA. A malt backbone and slight toffee presence balance out a crisp and dry, bitter hop finish. Hop aroma doesn't sock you in the face, but there's a nice hint of grass and oranges. A bit of sulfur but nothing to fret about. The reviews on beer advocate seem to completely misunderstand a really solid offering from this small brewpub in Wisconsin. No surprise that this Green Bay IPA would go well with some stiff cheese and mustard. The pint bottles are a nice touch too.

Arcadia Sky High Rye - let me say two completely different things about this beer. 1) it is a nice, subtle, refreshing beer. It's an american pale ale with a bit of spice and fruitiness, backed up by a sweet bread flavor reminiscent of darker breads. The fruit leans summery, but it's not cloying. This is still a subtle beer. 2) IT IS SUBTLE, this isn't the hop bomb-y, west coast pale ale you'd expect from the Arcadia website description. Rather, it is what a west coast pale ale might have been 15 years ago, had someone thrown 20% rye in the grain bill.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Goose Island Fulton & Wood Series #3 - Black Mission

I'll be honest and say, I wasn't too crazy for either of the first two Fulton & Wood beers, but I've been intrigued each time.

This is a combination of:
Vienna lager grain bill - dry, roasted, slightly sweet
Belgian tripel yeast
black mission figs puree

Lots of potential here for a really flavorful beer. The last two Fulton & Wood beers lacked a boldness to match the creativity behind them.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Two Brothers 15 for 15 series, #5

From Facebook:

#5 in the 15th anniversary series is Take Two, a hybrid beer. Brewed using two sources of water, two barley types, two hop varieties, an ale yeast and a lager yeast.

Take Two will be released to the market July 2nd, stay tuned for events and more release dates for the remaining ten beers...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Once in a lifetime, Three Floyds Dark Lord related event...

This is copied from the Publican's Facebook wall:

Thursday, July 19th, all hell will break loose as Publican Quality Meats hosts a Diabolical, Decadent and Daring Dark Lord Dinner.

5 vintages and 2 variants of 3 Floyds Dark Lord Beer will be on accompanied by an over-the-top multi-course meal, paired and created by different One Off Hospitality Chef’s including David Posey of Blackbird, Koren Grieveson of Avec, Justin Large of Big Star, Erling Wu-Bower of the Publican and Cosmo Goss of Publican Quality Meats.

These coveted beers have been donated from personal collections; the majority of the proceeds will go to The Inspiration Corporation. Only 10 seats are available to ensure that each guest may experience the deviations Dark Lord in all it’s distinction. The seats will be available for Auction for only 72 hours, bidding begins at $300 per seat.

Ticket includes 1 hour beer reception and hors d’oeuvres, multi-course dinner with Dark Lord Pairings, and a signed Tony Fitzpatrick print.

To begin bidding, please go to Monday, July 9th at 12:00noon.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dry Hopping

Check out this guest post by Northern Brewer (the homebrew supply company out of Minnesota and Wisconsin) on Beerpulse.

Information on what it really means, how to do it in your own homebrewing, etc.

Harpoon Bohemian Pilsner

An argument at work (bar, not legal) inspired me to keep my eyes out for any pilsners that might compete with Victory Prima Pils for best brewed in America. I'm a pretty big fan of Flywheel Bright Lager, from Metropolitan, which is quite pilsner like, and is more in the vein of traditional pilsners than Prima, which has a hop profile all of its own in many ways. I've got a lot of respect for Harpoon, so I just wanted to point out, this beer should be out soon, in 6 packs. And it's a great summer choice. Have 4 or 5 at your next BBQ with some spicy food.

Collaboration News - St. Feuillien and Green Flash

Friendship Brew/Beer de L'amite
Black Saison!
4-packs and 22 oz bottles in the fall.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Statistics for Cicerone Certified Beer Exam

Check out a map and some statistics here.
I didn't realize there's only 15,000+ certified beer servers, of which I am one.

Microbrew drinking in the past 30 days - A study

The information below comes from here. CHICAGO, WTF? We're clearly not working hard enough to bring new craft drinkers into the fold, if this is accurate.

Among the top twenty local markets for American adults 21+ who have had a microbrew in the past 30 days are:
DMA % of Adults 21+ Who Drank a Microbrew
Denver, CO 13%
Portland, OR 13%
Seattle, WA 11%
Colorado Springs, CO 9%
Milwaukee, WI 9%
Spokane, WA 9%
San Francisco, CA 8%
Boston, MA 8%
Grand Rapids, MI 8%
Austin, TX 7%
Minneapolis, MN 7%
Hartford, CT 7%
San Diego, CA 7%
Tucson, AZ 7%
Baltimore, MD 7%
Washington, DC 6%
Rochester, NY 6%
Green Bay, WI 6%
Des Moines, IA 6%
Kansas City, MO 6%

Beer of the Week - Grand Teton Sweetgrass APA

Yeah, trying to get back to at least a Beer of the Week post weekly, AND I really do have a review of Two Brothers' Pillar of Salt on the way, it's just on a piece of paper in a place that I'm rarely at, namely, my storage unit. Oops.

Grand Teton's Sweetgrass APA becomes this weeks Beer of the Week by a new rule...if I try a beer on Friday and then run into it at a different bar on Saturday, and I actually do the very un-OMG like thing of ordering it again, clearly it's a winner. I don't normally drink the same beer twice. There's enough malt in this 2009 GABF gold medal winner for a sensitive beer drinker to not mistake this for an IPA, though frankly, it's on that border (BJCP guidelines, it falls into both). If you get access to a bottle of it, pour it in a glass, it really benefits from opening up. I'd like to get my hands on their Teton Ale and compare the two.

National Homebrewers Conference - A Post-Event Guide

Check out a re-cap/news release about NHC 2012.

I did my own share of homebrewing thought this weekend, though no action (hey, I'm a busy guy).
One, I'm going to end up experimenting with some gluten-free kits and offerings, potentially in concert with a food blog dedicated to "clean" eating. More on that as it develops.

Two, I'm thinking of trying my hand at a cherry dubbel, if I can get access to enough cherries.  That and something one-notch up from the rye blonde ale (recipe up soon). The rye blonde was delicious, made top 10 at a restaurant's tasting event (out of about 30 entries). That was pretty much Mt. Hood hops, pilsen malt, rye malt. I'm leaning towards using the same yeast (london III), though aiming for more carbonation.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

35 terms every beer lover/geek should know

Even Betty Crocker wants to know more about beer, so they asked a Cicerone for some help. Check out the article. Thirty five words you should know.

Can't say my list would be the same, but it might be close. I think geeks need to understand the brewing process more, so that when presented with a style, they understand what composes that style.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Lions, Tigers, & Beers!

Who: Surly, Three Floyds, Mikkeller, Piece, Firestone Walker and more.
What: Rare beers, rare bottles, raffle prizes, merch!
When: 11am, June 19th.
Where: Northdown Cafe and Taproom.
Why: Because animals are awesome, these breweries are awesome, and Northdown is awesome. So awesome!

This is from the event page on Facebook:
"The event starts at 11am on June 19th. We'll be tapping rare beers from 3 Floyds, Surly & Mikkeller every two hours throughout the day, as well as beers generously donated by Piece Brewing & Firestone Walker Brewery. We'll also have amazing raffle drawings all day, with items donated from some of the best artists & shops in the city!

A few of the beers we'll be pouring:
Surly - Five
Surly - Abrasive
Mikkeller - 1000 IBU
Mikkeller - Monks Elixir
3 Floyds - Hells Black Intelligencer
3 Floyds - Tiger Jelly

Raffle/merch info:
All raffle tickets, t-shirts & poster sales are cash only. Limited shirts & artwork will be available commemorating this incredible event.
General Raffle Item tickets - for sale on the day of the event. Tickets are 3 for $10 or 7 for $20.
Grand Prize Raffle Item tickets - Sales start Tuesday June 12th & are $10 each

Some of the general raffle items include:
--> Gift certificates from Revolution Tattoo, MetroVet Center, Paddy Longs, Pioneer Tattoo, Long Room, Insight Studios, Trenchermen, & Animal Emergency & Treatment Center.
--> Artwork from Left Handed Wave, Photos of two of the cats at the Wildcat Sanctuary, a handmade quilt, hand-drawn artwork from the drink & draw being held by incredible graphic novel artists.
--> Schwag &/or rare beers from Mikkeller, 3 Floyds, Surly, Piece, New Holland Brewery, & Duvel.

Raffle Grand Prizes:
--> 6 year flight of 3 Floyds Dark Lord
--> Private Tour & Tasting with Todd at Surly
--> Rare Surly Collection
--> Flight of eight bourbons donated from West Lakeview Liquors: Blantons Barrel 252/Buffalo Trace Barrel 304/Buffalo Trace 309/Eagle Rare 015/Eagle Rare 021/Evan Williams Barrel 431/Willet 3yr Rye/Willet 20yr Bourbon
--> Signed tap handle from all three breweries on a custom-made display rack.

Raffle drawings will take place all day. Winning #'s will be posted on our facebook wall & emailed to our customers. Be sure to follow & see if you've won!
Raffle items not claimed after 48 hours will have another winner drawn.

More beer info, raffle items, etc will be updated frequently -- stay tuned! This is only the beginning!!!"

Friday, June 15, 2012

Small Bar (Division) hosts Firestone-Walker's Back to Back Best Midsized Brewery wins

Back to back, AND 4 times since 2004, Best Mid-sized Brewery.
Their beers are delicious.

Tapping at 6pm in celebration:
Pale 31 (2012 World Beer Cup Gold)
Double Barrel Ale (2011 GABF Gold - english/special bitter)
Union Jack
Wookey Jack (Black Rye IPA)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Founders Brewing - Devil Dancer returns, Frangelic Mountain Brown

July 2nd, Founders Brewing will release in bottles:

Devil Dancer - their triple IPA. It's delicious. That's all I need say.

Frangelic Mountain Brown - a big (9% ABV) hazelnut coffee brown ale, in 750ml bottles, and rare. Won't last long.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Two Brothers 15 beers for 15 years anniversary series update

Someone check me if I'm getting the numbers wrong:

1 - Red Eye Coffee Porter
2 - Bonfire Dunkelweiss
3 - Dark Mild Ale
4 - White Rye

Number 5 comes out soon. I've  had both the Bonfire and the White Rye so far. Both are delicious. Bonfire is a really solid Dunkelweizen, easy drinking, bold roast and cocoa flavors over a creamy wheat base. The White Rye I'll be posting a review of tonight or tomorrow.

Half Acre makes a wheat beer

American wheat plus Australian hops. That's the gist of it.
Akari Shogun American Wheat.
So yeah, Japanese name, American Wheat, Australian hops.
Those kids at Half Acre are silly.

I looked up the hops...which the internet says are from New Zealand, but whatever, lemon and lime notes upfront and some tropical fruit flavors as well. Sounds great for a wheat beer hitting as summer becomes official.


More Sour Beers

This time, from Eater. A review, if you will, of Avery's sour beer fest, but another short list of good but harder to find sour beers.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Edge of the Beer Galaxy? Sour Ales, An Introduction

I'm not saying a magazine about growing up after college is the best place for your beer advice, but here's a little guide to sour beers by my buddy Billy Broas, of BillyBrew, for Primer Magazine. Coming soon, midwestern sours to wet your local needs.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Beer Fly Alley Fight!

This is another one of those classic Chicago Craft Beer Week events that I always miss, but that I can't help but recommend anyway. 2013!

This is homebrew paired with food and art hosted at Haymarket's Drinking & Writing Brewery.

35 dollars and it doesn't appear to be sold out.

Beer dinner - City Provisions w/ Finch's and w/Greenbush

Just saw that both City Provisions beer dinners next week have room left.
City Provisions is a special part of Chicago's food scene, and both these breweries are new to the area.

Finch's and City Provisions - 5/21

Greenbush and City Provisions - 5/23

If you get this and are out tonight, head on over to Haymarket for a Greenbush tap takeover. There's a never been released beer available there and at Half Acre's The Sands party (sold out).

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Chicago Craft Beer WEEK! (or um, fortnight? May 17-27)

Oh, you wondered why I was quiet?
Vacation. Quitting cigarettes. Nightmares about taking the Cicerone exam.
And preparing for CCBW of course.
I posted the events page, but here's the link.
It would appear to be down temporarily? I'm going to laugh at my day job if that's really the case.

I'll be posting about an event or two each day, and trying to get back onto the reviewing high horse. I also have a beer recipe to post, AND some new ones to brew.

If nothing else, see a ton of you readers and friends at Revolution Brewing's production brewery opening party next Friday the 25th.

I'm going to try to avoid talking about events with just flagship beers and the usuals that you've had and already know, or can easily have after CCBW ends...but Revolution's doing a tap takeover at the Empty Bottle tonight, and beer and rock n roll have never gone so well together.

Smallbar Division has my pals at Metropolitan's new Dunkel Rye, Arcwelder, on tap to open CCBW. Enjoy it while it lasts!

If you have a ticket, Beer Under Glass will be awesome, but I will be missing from that wonderful event once again. ENJOY! I think it counts as the true CCBW kick-off.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Revolution's New Brewery, Craft Beer Week

Last year, it was Revolution's Craft Beer Week final party, this year, it's opening up their new brewery to the public for beer, music, and food trucks. FOOD TRUCKS! BEER! Sorry, I had to get more enthusiastic. They know how to throw a party there...perhaps better than they do an actual Revolution.

May 25th, 5-10 PM.
$15 dollars, tickets go on sale Friday the 27th of April, noon.
Get your tickets here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Starting at 5pm today...Half Acre/Three Floyds Collab Beer @ Owen & Engine

The Mutiny and the Mollusk (one of the best names for a beer in awhile)

SO...I've been remiss and passed up a couple of chances to talk about this unique collaboration beer from 3 Floyds and Half Acre.

It's an oyster stout, and yes, that means it is brewed with real oysters, meat and shells. Lends a sea-worthy brine note to the beer, which you'd maybe be surprised to find out, works quite well. I've enjoyed a few oyster stouts on the East Coast, but this is the first I've seen of one brewed in our rather sea-less Midwest.

Owen & Engine is tapping a cask of this at 5 tonight.

Less than a month - Chicago Craft Beer Week

It's time to start checking out the Chicago Craft Beer Week website and plan for all the drinking you're going to do to celebrate how awesome we're getting at beer in this city (just check out Chitown on Tap for information on various new breweries about to pop up).

May 17 - 27th.
There's a list of bars and restaurants where you can pick up lanyards.
Why a lanyard? Here's why.
Come to Bar Deville for a lanyard on a Wednesday!

Boulevard Brewing Co - Rye on Rye (BotW, 2 weeks in a row!)

I'm not cheating, this really is worthy of two weeks in a row as Beer of the Week. Nothing last week even compared, and the week before, it blew out everything I tried in a three day, three bar flurry of tasting. So this is for the last two weeks (up until the 22nd).

Boulevard Rye on Rye

This reddish-brown ale has no real style designation and is straight up all about rye malt and rye whiskey barrels. You can smell the barrels, the spiciness of everything hints at whiskey barrels, and the beer is smooth, creamy, and whiskey-ridden. Not super woody, but present, the aroma is all whiskey and toasted grains. There's a hint of fruit, like dried cherries, underlying the vanilla and whiskey notes. I kind of felt like there's a hint of gimmicky to the beer, in the sense of it being rye malt based ale aged in rye whiskey barrels, but it works  and has a niche in the almost ubiquitous barrel-aging movement. Also, on pure tastes alone, it's one of the more stupendous barrel-aged offerings I've run across since becoming a regular at the Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beer. Rye on Rye, coming in at 11% ABV, is a pretty special beer. Bottles should be available wherever you can get Boulevard Smokestack Series bottles.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Sixpoint Overload...

Remember when Stone Brewing officially made their way here? Tap takeovers and events at most of the major beer bars. People who were casual craft beer drinkers got involved. It seemed a big deal. Well, I think Sixpoint might be managing something bigger.  Check out this Facebook page and tell me if there's not an event within a mile of where you live in Chicago. Seems impossible that there won't be some Sixpoint near you soon.

Arcadia B-Craft Black Double IPA release

Dark, delicious malts plus generous hopping and 8.5% ABV, this beer needs to come with a small craft warning. This is tax relief at it's finest from Arcadia Ales, coming out on this year's Tax Day, April 17th.

Here's how the brewery describes B-Craft:
“Massive in every way, B-Craft delivers a complex bundle of flavors with a citrus hop aroma strong enough to make a billy goat shake his head. Moving past the huge hop aroma, rich and roasted malt flavors of chocolate and coffee move forward only to be checked by an impressive hop bitterness. Texture and flavor dance together so seamlessly that you may need to remind yourself that while this beer slides down like a session, it delivers like an assassin!”

4 packs should be in Chicagoland. Hopefully it ends up on tap somewhere as well.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Harpoon's New Offerings for Spring

100 Barrel Series Catamount Maple Wheat - from Harpoon:
"Catamount Maple Wheat is a full-bodied, smooth wheat ale made with genuine Vermont maple syrup. The original version of this beer was brewed in the winter of 2009 by Harpoon Vermont sales representative John Baker.
Harpoon brewer Brett Simmons based his 2012 version on John’s recipe, with some tweaks to make it his own. It is brewed with a combination of wheat malt, pale malt, caramel malt, and mildly hopped with Willamette. The balance of malts and hops allows the distinct flavor and aroma of real Vermont maple syrup to take the lead."

 And from a previous 100 Barrel Series release, their Rich and Dan's Rye IPA is now a year-round affair.  From the press release:
"The combination of Pale, Rye, Caramel 60, Flaked Rye, and Vienna yields a complex malt body that stands up to the spiciness of the rye and the pronounced hop flavor. The rye also adds a reddish hue to the beer. The kettle additions of Centennial, Apollo, and Chinook, and the dry hop addition of Falconer’s Flight add a multidimensional hop character. This beer has a fruity, subtly spicy aroma, a full mouthfeel, and a dry finish."

Harpoon's been at this craft brewing game for awhile now, and this beer's a little bit of their history, conceived originally to celebrate their 25th anniversary.

Battle for Beer of the Week, No. 1

With time short, and life complicated, Fountainhead's delicious taps will have to compete a different week. Instead, a stop to nearby The Twisted Spoke occured. Three beers. Great Divide's Colette is no slouch, but it didn't quite make the cut when compared to the other two brews of the night. It's a creamy and complex beer, a bit lacking in the crispness factor that you expect from a farmhouse/saison.

Jewbelation 11 - I think? I mean, did they really hold onto a beer from 4 celebrations ago and tap it now? Is it actually 14 or 15? Who the f knows? The fact of the matter is, 11 hops and 11 malts, or 15 hops and 15 malts, if you can make that taste good and not be too gimmicky, you're doing something special. This beer is as bold in flavor as the name/process suggests. This is a relatively dark beer, and the nose hints at that. The hops accentuate the chocolate and roasted flavors with a bevy of spices. They also keep it balanced; you won't come away feeling like you just sipped your dessert in terms of sweetness. LOTS going on in terms of flavor. Spices floating over cocoa, molasses, burnt sugars.

Stillwater Folklore - let Mr. Stillwater himself explain: "A bracingly deep ale, built dark and rich with an elegantly lean body, accompanied by heady aromas of Belgian yeast, earthy hops and gently kissed by a wisp of smoke." That defines it perfectly. You can really get swept away in the subtle flavors of this beer, while marvelling at the light yet textured body that makes it so easy to plow through a glass.

Sixpoint Brewery comes to Chicago

Sixpoint Brewery of Brooklyn, NY, makes their Chicago debut next week.

Bar Deville has some Sixpoint surprises planned, aside from cans of their flagship brands. More details if I get them. Thursday night, the 19th!

Get in on Sixpoint before that though, at Smallbar Division.
The release party there, April 17th, will feature:

Spice of Life with Citra Hop
Righteous Ale
Sweet Action
Bengali Tiger