Showing posts with label Illinois. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Illinois. Show all posts

October 9, 2013

Beer Mail: Goose Island, Magic Hat, Kona Brewing Company

I've been remiss in sharing some of the brews that have arrived on my doorstep over the past couple months. Things have been pretty busy around here. For one, I've been writing quite a bit of content for the E. C. Kraus homebrewing blog. I've also started with an exciting new project, which I'll share very soon. For now, some beer reviews from Goose Island, Magic Hat, and Kona Brewing Co.:

Goose Island Brewing Co., Chicago, IL

I was genuinely pleased with Goose Island's beers, a few were pretty impressive. Some people give Goose Island a hard time for "selling out" to AB-Inbev, but based on the quality of the beer itself, I can't fault them...

  • Honker's Ale - An easy drinking English style bitter. Burnt orange in color with an off white rocky head. Pale malt and some ale yeast esters in the aroma, with low hop aroma. Crisp grain flavor with mild hop bitterness. Some wheat gives it a medium-light body and good head retention. Finished somewhat dry. (4.2% ABV)
  • IPA - Similar to the Honkers in that wheat is used for head retention and body -- it's there in the aroma, along with sweet caramel malts and moderate spicy hop aroma. Not especially bitter in the flavor, pretty well balanced. Medium bodied. (5.9% ABV)
  • Urban Wheat - Light yellow in color with a big rocky white head. Faint aroma of lemons in the aroma, but nothing like the banana/clove of a hefeweizen. An easy drinking wheat ale perfect for a hot day. (4.2% ABV)
  • Matilda - This is where Goose Island's portfolio really begins to impress. Matilda is a Belgian style pale ale featuring complex aromas of orange, spice, phenols, and some dark fruit. Medium and frothy body with a moderately sweet finish. Excellent. (7% ABV)


    Goose Island Matilda - there's a winner.
  • Sofie - Sofie is a farmhouse ale, pale yellow in color with a white head. Somewhat tart with a prominent lemon character, plus some mild farmhouse funk. Light, yet chewy mouthfeel. (6.5% ABV)
  • Bourbon County Stout - This highly coveted imperial stout pours black/brown and viscous with a big brown head on top. Sweet chocolate is balanced by bourbon spice. This one's definitely a sipper! (15% ABV)

A pretty impressive lineup from Goose Island.

March 8, 2013

Atlanta Beer, Bourbon, & BBQ Fest Recap

Chef Christopher Davis of NC's
Little Red Pig Championship BBQ
Cooking Team
While James was enjoying the Panama Micro Brew Fest, my girlfriend and I traveled down to Atlanta for the Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ Festival at Atlantic Station. It was unusually cold, so cold that it actually snowed! (in Atlanta? in March? Yup.) As a touring festival with upcoming dates throughout the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, here's a taste of what you can expect from upcoming editions (minus the cold, I hope).

The BEER

We started things off with a new local brewery, Monday Night Brewing from Atlanta, GA, and tried their Draft Kilt Scotch Ale (well-balanced bitterness, hint of smoke) and the Fu Manbrew Belgian-Style Wit (light, crisp, with a touch of ginger). Both solid beers.

September 6, 2012

4 September Beer Festivals to Enjoy this Fall

Fall is a great time for beer festivals. (Then again, when is it not a great time for beer festivals?)

The original 1811 Oktoberfest in Munich celebrated the marriage of Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Bavaria, but it also coincided with the harvest of the grain crop. What better way to ring in a new season of brewing by finishing off the previous spring's batch? While Munich's Oktoberfest has strict standards for the beers that can be served, these festivals below allow the modern beer-lover a wide variety styles to explore:

August 4, 2012

In Chicago for Lollapalooza? Try These 7 Local Beers

Photo: Brett Gustafson

So you're in Chi-town for Lollapalooza Music Festival and wondering if there are any local craft beers worth a try. You're in luck  Chicago is a great craft beer city with plenty to choose from. Just don’t try to carry them into the festival – no outside food or drink. You've been warned... 

May 7, 2012

Get your vote on: BeerCity USA 2012

The taps at organic Pisgah Brewing, a stone's throw
from Asheville, NC.
In case you haven't already done so, go ahead and get your vote in for the BeerCity USA 2012 poll.  Any beer fan can vote, with a limit of one vote per computer.

Asheville, NC, is the reigning champion and, at the time of writing, has a narrow lead over Grand Rapids, MI.

The fact that this past week's Craft Brewer's Conference and World Beer Cup were held in San Diego, CA, should be considered, though one might also want to check out Food Republic's Craft Beer Power Rankings, which include representation from ten breweries in six different states.

I just made it harder to choose, didn't I?

May 6, 2012

Announced: World Beer Cup 2012 Winners

This just in:

Winners of the 2012 World Beer Cup, a.k.a. "the Olympics of Beer Competition," have just been announced by the Brewers Association.  Brewers around the world are surely celebrating with a Sunday brew!

Special shout outs to some of the breweries from my travels:
  • Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, Richmond, VA
    • Category 6: Herb and Spice Beer
      • Bronze Medal: Hardywood Gingerbread Stout
  • Blue Mountain Brewery, Afton, VA
    • Category 17: American-Belgo-Style Ale
      • Silver Medal: Blue Reserve
  • Devils Backbone Brewing Co., Roseland, VA
    • Category 35: Vienna-Style Lager
      • Gold Medal: Vienna Lager
  • Boscos Brewing Co., Memphis, TN
    • Category 52: German-Style Pale Wheat Ale
      • Gold Medal: Boscos Hefeweizen
  • Revolution Brewing, Chicago, IL
    • Category 66: English-Style Summer Ale
      • Gold Medal: Cross of Gold
    • Category 94: American-Style Stout,
      • Gold Medal: Rise American Stout
  • The Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn, NY
    • Category 79: British-Style Imperial Stout
      • Bronze Medal: Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout

It's a big world of beer out there!  Check out the full list of winners here.


April 29, 2012

Chow.com: The Best Brewpub in America

Right now on Chow.com, you have an opportunity to vote for the best brewpub in America.  I've been to three of the eight still in the running: the Wrecking Bar in Atlanta, Cambridge Brewing Company in Massachusetts, Revolution Brewing in Chicago.

These are some tough choices!

Vote every day through the final round May 8 - 15.

January 18, 2012

Chicago, IL - Beer School Day 3

OK folks, apologies for such a delay on the next post -- between the holidays and procrastination I've let the blog fall to the wayside.  But big things are a-brewing (puns are great) so bear with me as I get you up to speed.

Day 3 of my Start Your Own Brewery class through the Siebel Institute began with an introduction of John Mallett, Production Manager at Bell's Brewery of Kalamazoo, Michigan.  With over 20 years in the beer business, we knew this guy was an expert.  Over the next few hours, John spoke to us about the brewing process, the anatomy of a brewery, including brewing, fermentation, and packaging equipment, and also about utilities and waste management.

December 14, 2011

Chicago, IL - Beer School Day 2

On Day 2 of the Siebel course, we hit the ground running and dove straight into some spreadsheets. Tim Lane of Goose Island Brewpubs led the session and guided the class through various charts, sales projections and cost analyses, demonstrating how important the math can be when running a restaurant.

Just a few of the things you need to ask yourself if you want your pub to be successful: What's the average check amount? How many turns of the tables each day? What's the profit margin on each menu item? What are your projected sales minus the total cost of goods sold and payroll and other expenses? Bottom line: Serving food really complicates things.

December 6, 2011

Chicago, IL - My Kind of (Beer) Town

Finally, I've had a chance to check out the city Sinatra's been singing about -- Chicago.

I was in the Windy City last week taking a Start Your Own Brewery course through the Siebel Institute.  The 3-day seminar was held at the Goose Island Pub in the Clybourn neighborhood and covered a wide range of topics, including business plan development, site selection and construction, brewpub operations, starting a packaging brewery, distribution, marketing, and much more.  The class was moderated by Ray Daniels, author of the highly-rated homebrewing manual Designing Great Beers.  For each segment of the class, Ray brought in different players from the Chicago and Midwest beer scene to talk about their experiences.  I was pleasantly surprised with both the breadth and depth of the course.  Hearing from people who had actually been successful in the beer business was both inspiring and eye-opening.

DAY 1 started with a brief overview of the course and introductions by each of the students in the class.  The 53 students came from all over the country.  I noticed the class was about 80-90% bearded male, a trend commented on here and inspiring this brewer and his blog.  Anyways, I digress.