Chicago Beer Travelers

News Archives

Smuttynose Comes To Chicago

user-pic
Matt Tunnell

Frisbee player, beer lover

Smuttynose, another well-regarded brewery has finally made its way into Chicago, though this one arrived with far less fanfare than Stone did in April.  The beer made its way onto Binny's shelves with a nary an announcement and it will see no release party until November 3rd.  Smuttynose may not have the same flashy branding as Stone, but it certainly deserves its share of the spotlight.  For the time being, Chicago will only be seeing the regular offerings from this Portsmouth, New Hampshire brewery, but one would imagine that good sales would attract their other offerings, especially the excellent Big Beers series.
Anyway, I've been lucky enough to encounter a number of the Smuttynose offerings that will be available here in Chicago, so here's a quick rundown.

Gallery sneak peek (5 images):

View the gallery...
Continue reading...

Stone Brewing Total Tap Takeover

user-pic
Matt Young

Molecular Biologist, Brewery Labor Specialist

This is a quick announcement concerning an exciting beer event TONIGHT in Chicago. Tonight only, Stone Brewing Company is taking over all three Small Bar locations with a total of 40 Stone brews on draft.  There are lots of choices, and the list is very impressive. Expect vintages, barrel-aged rarities, and additional special treatments of the normal Stone portfolio; Event begins at 7:00, and, as an added bonus, features complimentary trolley service between the three locations! Oh yeah, beer list!

Welcome New Bloggers: Matt Horn and Matt Young

user-pic
Rohit Naimpally

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

As some of you may know, the original three Chicago Beer Travelers (Jeff, Matt Tunnell and myself) no longer live in Chicago, although we maintain close ties to the city. While we have continued with the Chicago Beer Travelers blog, we obviously realize the need for a more local presence to keep abreast of beer news in the city.

In fulfilling that need, we are proud to introduce the two newest members of our blogging team: Matthew Horn and Matthew Young (making it three "Matts" on the Beer Travelers). Horn is a friend of ours from college and also a fellow beer lover. I came to know Matt Y a couple of years back and since then, we have explored beer together on a number of occasions. Fine gents, them. They are both based in Chicago and will begin posting on the blog starting this week.

As always, keep checking in and send us feedback on what you like, what you don't and how we can keep improving the blog for our readers.

And We're Back!

user-pic
Rohit Naimpally

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

If you're reading this and thinking, "Back from what? I never knew they had been away" it either means that you never read the blog in the first place, or are being exceedingly nice. Yes, the Chicago Beer Travelers have been AWOL for an extended period and there really isn't much of an excuse.

Well, there sort of is. Maybe. Not really. As things turned out, we took the "travelers" element of our name a little too seriously and with one thing having led to another, none of us live in Chicago anymore. I fared the worst, beer-wise, ending up in Connecticut. Yes, all the horror stories are true: the beer scene in North-East is not a patch on the glorious city of Chicago. Jeff has moved on to the fair state of Oregon while Matt, perhaps the most fortunate of us all in terms of beer, has made the short move up to Milwaukee. We still are, however, the Chicago Beer Travelers. In order to lend that title a little more legitimacy now, there are plans in the works to bring in a couple of Chicago-based people to keep the local flavor of the blog going. And simply because the great city of Chicago needs a local presence on the blog. Without giving too much away, I can tell you that one of the folks that we're bringing on actually works at a Chicagoland brewery. One of our favorites as a matter of fact, so trust me, you're going to want to hear what he has to say.

Having been away this long, we're going to be getting right back into blogging with a vengeance. I'm going to start us off easy this coming week with a couple of beer reviews that I've been planning to put up. We might also try to supplement our Beer Glossary and Appreciating Beer series'. However, the big thing is coming up at the end of the week: an interview with Charles Bamforth, the Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor of Brewing Science at UC-Davis and author of Beer is Proof God Loves Us: Reaching for the Soul of Beer and Brewing. I had the great pleasure of reading an advance copy of this book, which is equal parts autobiography and ruminations on the beer industry. Prof. Bamforth is a real expert in the field and the book is immensely readable as well. I will be posting a two or three part series of posts, reviewing the book and detailing my interview with Prof. Bamforth.

So if all that sounds good, please keep checking in. We're back and we're not going anywhere for a while. There will be plenty more posts, some stuff from our travels in our new homes and plenty more talk on our favorite subject: beer. Salut! 

Ray Daniels in the Tribune

user-pic
Rohit Naimpally

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

RayDaniels.jpg

Photo credit: Draft Magazine

Out here in New Haven, I am constantly reminded of things I miss about Chicago and its beer scene. In many ways, we take it for granted that Chicago is a beer nexus of sorts, from the well-respected Chicago Beer Society to the many, many fine brewing establishments.

If you are into craft beer and the beer scene in Chicago, you have no doubt heard of Ray Daniels. A beer veteran and author of the fantastic Designing Great Beers, Ray Daniels is a beer institution in and of himself. My own interaction with him has consisted of two very hurried conversations during CBC week, but her was extremely courteous on both occasions and very unassuming for a man of his fame. Over the past three years, Mr. Daniels has been administering the Cicerone exams, a heirarchy of certifications for serious beer folk. Patrons of the Map Room will remember seeing that Jay Jankowski is a Certified Cicerone. Check out the website for more details.

Tomorrow's edition of the Chicago Tribune carries a great interview with Ray Daniels and his story (online version here): how he got into the beer industry (by way of biochemistry at Texas A&M and Harvard Business School), what motivated the Cicerone program and how beer should be served. Give it a dekko this weekend. If you are interested in knowing more, here is an older article from Draft Magazine that details the Cicerone program in a little more detail as well. We are all lucky to have folks like Ray Daniels on the beer scene 

Another Beer Event

user-pic
Matt Tunnell

Frisbee player, beer lover

And this one is free!  The West Town branch of Lush Wine and Spirits will be unveiling Ineeka's Organic Green Tea Bier and they'll be celebrating in style.  In addition to samples of the beer there will also be Ineeka infused cocktails made with spirits form Chicago's own Koval Distillery and tasty treats from Swim Cafe and Nice Cream.
Read about the Beer after the jump.
Continue reading...

Awesome Beer Event Heads Up

user-pic
Matt Tunnell

Frisbee player, beer lover

goose.jpg
   Goose Island will be "invading" the Hopleaf tonight and they're bringing an awesome selection of taps, including a lot of limited and rare beers. I'll be there, so swing by and say hello.  Check out the list here: http://www.facebook.com /event.php?eid=128822937134830&index=1
The Hopleaf opens at 3 PM.

Beer News: KBS, CBS, Invasion and more...

user-pic
Rohit Naimpally

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

medium_Founders Pack KBS.jpg
Its a glorious Spring weekend and there is some glorious beer going around to celebrate it with. Some updates for you all:

1. Those of you still looking for Founders' much sought-after Kentucky Breakfast Stout should head on down to Kimbark Liquors in Hyde Park. For the uninitiated, the KBS is a bourbon-barrel aged monster of an imperial stout that would probably lend itself better to the colder months, so you should set a few down to age. That is, if you can wait that long.

2. Half Acre released their Invasion Helles Bock in bombers yesterday and started filling growlers this morning. I filled my own growler up shortly after they opened and can testify to how good it is. You'll want at least a few pints of this deliciously juicy spring beer- fantastic. Of course, would we have expected any less from a Three Floyds-Half Acre collaboration?

3. This Thursday, Twisted Spoke will be featuring 20 taps of Barrel-aged beers as part of WhiskeyFest. I am most excited about the Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout, the Breakfast Stout aged in whiskey barrels that were also used to store maple syrup; the result is pure happiness in a glass. The KBS will also be featured along with a whole lot of other rare offerings including the barrel-aged Blackout Stout from Great Lakes, the Lost Abbey Angel's Share and a whole lot more. Check out the tap list here.

Of course, we'll have plenty more stuff over the coming week in the lead-up to Dark Lord Day 2010, so keep checking in. Have a good weekend. 

2010 World Beer Cup Winners

user-pic
Jeff Bean

hophead, fisherman, and Nebraska-native

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for WBC_gold.jpg
The results for the World Beer Cup were announced at the conclusion of this weekend's Craft Brewer's Conference here in Chicago. 

The World Beer Cup, which is sometimes described as "the Olympics of Beer Competitions," is held every two years and is the world's largest commercial beer competition. 642 breweries from Argentina to Uzbekistan entered more than 3,300 beers in the competition, more twice as many as in 2004. 

Each beer was entered into one of 90 style categories, and the winners are chosen based on strict guidelines to their respective styles.  

Goose Island was the Chicago area's big winner, taking home 4 trophies.  Chicago's Rock Bottom Brewing and Piece Brewery and Pizzeria each took home a trophy, as did Flossmoor Station Brewery in Flossmoor, IL and Three Floyd's Brewing in Munster, IN.

Gallery sneak peek (8 images):

View the gallery...
Continue reading...

Beers at the Hopleaf

user-pic
Matt Tunnell

Frisbee player, beer lover

Hopleaf_logo.png
The Hop Leaf is one of Chicago's most venerable beer bars and I missed their extensive tap list when it was first posted, so I've decided to make some comments on it at this late moment in hopes that they'll reach you readers in time for some weekend fun.  Also remember to check out our calendar for today.


Continue reading...

Craft Beer Sale at Binnys

user-pic
Rohit Naimpally

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

I would have posted this on our twitter feed, but thought it worth a more extended mention on the blog as well: its Craft Beer Month at Binnys, which means sales on virtually every American beer imaginable! Those of you that weren't able to make it out to the Stone events will be able to get some bargain basement deals on Stone beers ($4 for a bomber of the Smoked Porter, for instance), as well as a host of other stuff. Details available here.

Also, kudos to Matt on the fantastic CBC coverage thus far- we'll be posting details of the events that we attend over the next few days. I personally hope to make it out to the Map Room "special" tapping, the Goose Clybourn tapping and Local Option tomorrow, so perhaps we'll run into a few of you there.

CBC Week Events: Monday

user-pic
Matt Tunnell

Frisbee player, beer lover

     The Craft Brewers Conference is coming to Chicago later this week and many brewers are already in town to celebrate.  Most of us won't be able to attend any of the industry talks, but the brewers plan to make it up to us by bringing some of their best and most exciting beer to the city.  I've been all over the internet trying to compile a comprehensive calendar of the exciting events that the conference has brought to town and I'll be presenting my work here.
      There's not too much going on Monday, but it is part of the week so I thought it would be best to include it.  That said, there are several things worth checking out. Please click through to look at Monday's calendar.

Continue reading...

Stone Invades Chicago

user-pic
Matt Tunnell

Frisbee player, beer lover

398px-ArrogantBastardAle.jpg
Stone Brewing Company is one of the most widely distributed breweries not to make it into the Illinois market, but that's about to change.  It always bothered me that we couldn't get Stone in Chicago, especially since I've seen it all over Pennsylvania and New Jersey meaning that it presumably passed through Chicago to get there.  As of April 1st, however, I'll no longer have to worry about it.

Stone Brewing is based in San Diego (well, actually, Escondido but all of those warm places look the same) and it was founded in 1996.  They've collected many prestigious accolades, including being named the number one brewery of "all time" by Beer Advocate's magazine (their words; not mine).  This recognition has grown from a no-holds-barred aggressive brewing style.  True to form, Stone is invading Chicago armed with such a battery of events as would befit the brewers of Ruination IPA and Arrogant Bastard Ale.  The exhaustive list is on Stone's website, but I thought I'd point out a couple of possible highlights.
Continue reading...

Bells Batch 9000 and more

user-pic
Rohit Naimpally

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

Things have been a little heavy on the work front- consequently, I'm afraid my blog output will be a little lower for the next week or so. However, based on the questions we've been receiving via email and twitter, I thought it best to give everyone a few heads-ups regarding certain beers available in Chicago.
(More after the jump)
Continue reading...

More Things to Come

user-pic
Matt Tunnell

Frisbee player, beer lover

fountainhead.png
In last week's Party Crashing Post, I hinted that the Chicago beer scene would not have to miss Phil Kuhl's beer selections for long.  Indeed, some time this March a new beer bar, The Fountainhead, will open in Lincoln Square.

Continue reading...

Stone's a comin', Haymarket and other beer news

user-pic
Rohit Naimpally

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

I have only had the privilege of having three beers from Stone Brewing Co. in the past (the Arrogant Bastard, Oaked Bastard and my favorite, the Stone IPA), all of which were rather enjoyable. Thus far, we have had to get our Stone fix in either Wisconsin or Indiana, but starting April 1st, things are set to change. The following is now up on Stone's website (more after the jump):
Continue reading...

Three Floyd's Expanding to Chicago?

user-pic
Jeff Bean

hophead, fisherman, and Nebraska-native

3floydshint.jpg

Anyone know where this is?


Three Floyd's just posted this photo on their Twitter feed along with this caption: "hint."  I've heard rumors that they're planning to expand production, but I don't know what to make of this.  I can't tell for sure where this is, but judging from the building type and the lettering on the fa├žade, it could be near Chinatown.  We can only hope...

Update: As it turns out, the water tower in the picture above is indeed near Chinatown (visible off the Dan Ryan, around the exit to the 290). More importantly though, we are led to believe that the photograph + caption were merely meant to refer to the upcoming FFF-Half Acre collaboration on a Helles Bock, one which we have linked to on our own Twitter feed. Many of you will recall that Half Acre has a water tower as its symbol, hence the poetry of having a water tower with 'FFF' written on it. Guess we'll just have to keep enjoying Three Floyds at Chicago's bars! 

Food & Wine & Beer?

user-pic
Matt Tunnell

Frisbee player, beer lover

201002-r-spinach-eggdrop-soup.jpg
     Apropos of Jeff's Beer on TV post from yesterday, I'd like to bring to your attention the appearance of beer in another cultural institution: Food & Wine magazine. I received a copy recently (Thanks Mom!) and was pleased to see that the February 2010 issue promises the "50 Best Recipes to Pair With Wine, Beer, and Cocktails." Now, there aren't beer pairings for all 50 recipes, but there are certainly enough to make it worth checking out, especially in the Beer Geek's Guide to Asian Flavors.
     This guide, inspired by Chef Sang Yoon of the soon to open Los Angeles restaurant Lukshon, features recipes and pairings for 8 Asian inspired dishes, including the Spinach Egg Drop Soup with Saison Dupont pictured above. All of the recipes recommend Belgian beers and provide thoughtful explanations for each pairing. I certainly look forward to trying my hand at some of these recipes, although anyone considering them should be forewarned that one or two exotic ingredients may be required.
     As much as I look forward to trying these pairings, and as much as I enjoyed reading the article, I was disappointed to see that the Food & Wine writers and editors were not taking beer very seriously. In the Asian flavor article, Sang Yoon is quoted praising the wide range of flavors available in Belgian ales. However, the author's explanation for this range goes as such: "Ales are generally brewed more quickly and at higher temperatures than lagers or stouts, making them brighter and more complex." Stouts, as a matter of fact, are ales and any difference between them and belgian ales stems from the specific strains of yeast and varieties of malt used by the brewers; both are fermented in the same small range of temperatures. The information about lagers is more or less correct. though it's does not really capture the distinction between lagers and ales.
     In all, I'm glad to see beer featured in a publication as prestigious as Food & Wine but it's clear that the haute cuisine world has a ways to go before appreciating all that beer has to offer.  You can find Food & Wine magazine at newsstands or you can navigate to www.foodandwine.com.

Best beers for Lost Premiere, other news

user-pic
Jeff Bean

hophead, fisherman, and Nebraska-native

lost banner.jpg

TV related beer news for the week:

LOST  
I admit that I haven't watched a single episode of ABC's Lost, but that doesn't mean that the craze has been entirely lost on me.  I know more than a handful of people who think it's the best thing since canned beer.  The people at Draft Magazine appear to be some of them.  Check out their list of "10 beers that honor the show."  

Chicago Tonight 
There was a great piece on Chicago's rapidly expanding craft beer scene last night on WTTW's Chicago Tonight.  It includes a good overview of beer, some history of the craft brewing revolution in Chicago, and interviews with brewers at Metropolitan, Half Acre, and Goose Island.  You can watch the video online here.

BeerTapTV
BeerTapTV, an internet beer show that covers beer-related news, named us the "beer blog of the week."  Check it out here.  They also celebrate the beer can's 75th anniversary, and give a pretty hilarious analysis of Maxim's new "25 Best New Beers" list.  Thanks guys!

Happy Groundhog's Day, and six more weeks of winter.

Most Active Pages Right Now

ChicagoNow.com on Facebook