Chicago Beer Travelers

Appreciating Beer Archives

10 Beers For When You're Snowed In 2011

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Matt Tunnell

Frisbee player, beer lover

Well, here we are again, almost a year after the most successful post in Beer Travelers history, once more discussing the best beers to drink in the wake of a baleful storm.  This years Snowpocalypse/Snowgasm/Blizzmageddon beats last years surprise early February storm in both advance hype and eventual delivery.  Anyway, this is a list of beers to fortify and stimulate you during the doldrums of your winter internment.  Like last year, I had the foresight to already have many of the beers, but once more I assure that these are worth venturing out past the wreckage of Wrigley field for.

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Book Review: The Beer Trials

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Matt Tunnell

Frisbee player, beer lover

   We recently received an email from Fearless Critic offering to send us review copies of their new book "The Beer Trials."  Since fame hasn't yet gotten to my head, I decided to go ahead and review it.  The Beer Trials and its companion book, The Wine Trials, are based on the premise of blind tasting, which is what really sets them apart from other rating systems.  
   The editors selected 250 beers for evaluation based on availability (they tried to find beers distributed in at least 12 states) and on their origin with half from microbreweries and half from macrobreweries and of those one third are imports.  These 250 beers are broken up by some artifice into so-called families of styles in order to facilitate the blind tasting process. An index of the beers and their ratings, organized by style, is available at the beginning of the rating section of the book for quick comparisons.  I have some qualms with the selections that this resulted in.  Do we really need ratings for 5 different versions of Budweiser?  Moreover, many of the craft beers in The Beer Trials, including Deschutes, Kona, and Oscar Blues are unavailable here in Chicago and it seems like Midwestern craft brew gets underrepresented here.  I don't know if Bell's and Great Lakes meet the distribution requirements, but, in my mind they're likely choices for inclusion.
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Pairing Beer With Food: Pizza

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Matt Tunnell

Frisbee player, beer lover

Beer and pizza is probably the first beer pairing that most people think of. I'd like to look beyond the standard of American adjunct lagers like Bud/Miller/Coors and delivery pizza, satisfying though it might be. Pizza can be a difficult pairing because of tomato sauce, especially in the case of that divine casserole otherwise known as deep dish pizza. Tomato sauce manages to be sweet, fruity, acidic, and savory all at once which makes it exceedingly difficult to make a good match. The original Beer Traveler, Michael Jackson, swore by Vienna Lager as a great pizza pairing, especially for deep dish which is a veritable sauce bomb. I can;t vouch for this pairing myself but I'm excited to try it next time I get deep dish. If you care to try it I'd recommend Metropolitan Brewing's Dynamo as a tasty, easy to find Vienna Lager. Great Lakes' Elliot Ness would be another good choice. However, this pairing is beyond the scope of this post, which will deal with thin crust pizza. Two of the pizzas I made stray from the beaten path but the other two are my best approximation of delivery classics.  The pizzas were tasted twice, once in Chicago and once in Milwaukee.  The pizza photos are from Milwaukee. Read on for the details... 

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Appreciating Beer 2: Glassware

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Rohit Naimpally

Pol Sci, Econ and Cricket geek who loves a good pint

As with my last post on appreciating beer, this one was inspired by something Bill Leff asked us about on the show a couple of weeks back: does different beer glassware matter? Given that we replied with a resounding yes, I felt that a post was in order. On that note, onwards to a few famous examples of beer glassware (note that this is by no means an exhaustive list):

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Appreciating Beer 1: Some Useful Tasting Terms

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Rohit Naimpally

Pol Sci, Econ and Cricket geek who loves a good pint

I've been a little AWOL off late, but in the meantime, I hope you've read Jeff's brief history post- currently our most popular post to date- and Matt's excellent, ongoing, "beer glossary" series.

This will be the first in a series of posts on the various aspects to appreciating beer- over the coming weeks, I shall try to cover tasting "terminology", appropriate glassware, serving temperatures and a whole lot more. Those of you who tuned in to listen to us on WGN might remember a couple of questions regarding the "breadiness" of beer and strange glassware- I'll attempt to clear up some of those questions, to the best of my ability.


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