New Glarus Brewing Co.
might just be one of my favorite breweries. They make a number of excellent beers including, but not limited to, the Raspberry Tart
, Belgian Red
, Dancing Man Wheat
and pretty much every beer in the Unplugged series
. Although their beers aren't available in Chicago, it is but a short drive up to New Glarus-rich Wisconsin. Indeed, the town of New Glarus is a mere three hours' drive from Chicago, so the lady friend and I decided to make a long overdue trip up there this past Saturday (more after the slideshow).
Gallery sneak peek (13 images):
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I had a good Dark Lord Day 2010. Correction: I had a great Dark Lord Day. The rain held off, the beer was good, the company better and I came back with nary a complaint. Expect a more detailed post on Dark Lord Day in the near future, but for now, I just wanted to address a few concerns that I have been hearing over the past few days.
1. The lines were too long: The folks at Three Floyds were expecting around 8000 people and some post-event estimates place the number closer to 12000. With that many people, lines are inevitable. I really do not understand this objection- sure, the lines were a tad on the long side, but one could hardly fault Three Floyds for that. If you can come up with a better way to order people that are waiting for something, I would love to hear it. A number of us waited in line and used the opportunity to chat with other beer enthusiasts and sample brews- glass half full, or half empty?
To begin with a hackneyed reference, 'it was the best of times, it was the worst of time.' Twisted Spoke (on Ogden and Grand) featured 20 taps of barrel-aged beers last night, part of the WhiskeyFest debauchery that hits Chicago tonight. I had posted the potential tap list in an earlier post and needless to say, we were rather excited; Matt and I journeyed up to Twisted Spoke at close to 6:30 yesterday evening in the hopes of partaking of a few of the libations on offer (more after the jump.)
Following the heads-up from both Matt and Jeff, I hope that at least a few of you were able to make it out to the Shorts Brewing event at Sheffield's this past Wednesday. Matt had headed up there earlier in the evening and I joined him later on, which prevented me from meeting the brewers unfortunately.
I headed up to Milwaukee this Tuesday to attend a talk on Lambic Blending given by Sam Quartier, a quality manager at Brouwerij Bockor in Bellegem, Belgium. The same talk was given on Monday at the Hopleaf but I was unable to get a ticket so I boarded the Megabus and headed even further north to Milwaukee's Palm Tavern.
The first step of Bockor's lambic creation process is the boiling of a wort consisting of 70% malted barley and 30% unmalted wheat. Two or three year old hops are also added to the beer as well. These add a little bit of bitterness to the beer but they are not responsible for any recognizable hop flavor. Instead, oxidation of some of the hop compounds creates a cheesy character that is desirable for a lambic, since it blends well with the funky flavors caused by the yeast.
Following our favorable first impression of Revolution Brewing Company
on opening night, I have been up there on a fair number of occasions
(the lady friend in particular is a huge fan). Over the past month or
so, Revolution has released the Bottom Up Belgian Wit, Black Power
Oatmeal Stout, Willie Wee Heavy and the Coup D'Etat French-style
saison....fine brews all. Honorable mention should also be made of the
Fist of Gold: I caught a taste of the second batch right after it was
tapped and found it to be nicer than the first (the freshness may have
had something to do with it)- it had a distinct mango-flavor going on
that gave the beer a new dimension.
One of the best things about Chicago the quantity and quality of its festivals. And its beer festivals are no exception. Matt and I, along with a few other friends, attended our first Night of the Living Ales this past Saturday evening. The event featured over 40 cask ales from around the region. Cask ales are also known as "living" or "real" ales because they are unpasteurized and unfiltered, and are packaged without added CO2 (like a keg) and continue to change in the cask. As a result, cask ales have a very different characteristics than those served from a keg or bottle. The mouthfeel is extremely silky, and carbonation is limited. Certain styles, like English Style Bitters and Milds are traditionally served this way.
Apropos of Jeff's original "Growlers in Chicago
" post, I thought it only fair that we put our money where our mouth is. To that effect, I've been journeying around the Chicagoland area in a bid to explore the growler scene some more, giving me the chance to try a whole lot of fresh beer.
Most of the beers listed below are still available at the breweries/brewpubs (approximately at the prices mentioned by Jeff), so I would suggest making your own growler run asap.
Gallery sneak peek (7 images):
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