I mentioned a time or two that I just don’t get to go to many beer events. As Mrs. Naut puts it, probably correctly, “How are you going to drive back.” But with this year’s Beer Under Glass being held at Union Station, I was able to hop on and off my local train to get there.
The inaugural event of Illinois Craft Beer Week had been relocated this year from the Garfield Park Conservatory, while it undergoes some renovation. At least the Great Hall has a high, huge glass skylight, so we could still claim to be “Under Glass.”
This year’s “Week” has remained low-key, with very few sanctioned events, just the encouragement to patronize your local. However, I have read posts by some bar managers upset at the paucity of sponsored events, plus the fact that the ICBG has set one of the days to encourage “political action,” to encourage legislation allowing brewers to ship directly to customers. I can get that retailers are concerned about the “Amazonification” of the beer industry.
Meanwhile, about 2,000 people attended the four-hour tasting session, with over 120 brewers offering samples, along with select food vendors.
I had set out for the event by meeting some fellow beer fans at Orange & Brew. Beer was already flowing, thanks to some generous party members (and I realized I could have brought some goodies out of my cellar, too).
Out train was delayed by about 15 minutes, thanks to having to wait for an Amtrak to pass. So we arrived after the VIP session had begun. Despite the long line, we got in quickly.
Now understand that I’m one of the few people in Chicago still posting reviews on Ratebeer.com. Maybe when there’s an app to transfer 20 years worth of ratings to Untappd, I’ll think about it. But I went through the list of announced brewers and plotted out the 43 local and statewide brewers whom I still have not sampled. There was no way I’d hit them all, but below is a shoutout to the brewers and their beers that I did get to taste. For a more thorough note on each beer, click on its link.
|No.||Beer, Brewer, notes|
|1||Barrel-Aged Cinnamon Coconut Coffee Flavored Barrel Aged Stout |
Lil Beaver Brewery, Bloomington, IL
Already I broke my resolve by visiting this first in the island of downstate brewers, having enjoyed one of their beers previously. They offered a series of beers aged on coconut, which I’m not a big fan, but I’m willing to try anything in a barrel-aged stout.
|2||Suco Lupulo Hazy Imperial IPA|
Cypress Grove Brewing, Assumption, IL
A microbrewer in a farm store also offering their beef and pork. I will be hitting fewer of the Hazy IPAs as others might, but I’ll never regret trying one.
Smylie Brothers Brewing Co., Evanston
Sidling over to the section for north suburban brewers for one of their flagship brews.
|4||Friar Bok |
Dutchbag Brew Co., Chicago
A Netherlander-focus brewer, currently working out of Duneyrr Artisan Fermenta Project. They did not have the Stropwaffel-based beer I had first heard about from them, but this “Lente Bok” still stood out.
Niteglow Beer, Chicago
A debut brewer, apparently an outgrowth of Dayglow Coffee Co. This is specifically a “French pilsner,” with French hops and a side of honey.
|6||Ode to Whimsey Belgian-style Witbier|
Odious Cellars, Chicago
Another branch of the Duneyrr Artisan Fermenta Project, focused on “co-fermentation” with other fermentables and spices. This one features coriander, Meyer lemons and mandarins.
|7||Civil Code Oktoberfest |
Banging Gavel Brews, Palos Heights, IL
Walking the row of south suburban brewers. I continue my excursion into as many styles as I can.
Evil Horse Brewing Co., Crete, IL
A bourbon barrel-aged blend of Maibock and Doppelbock. I didn’t ask why, I just tried. And was rewarded.
|9||Whiro New England IPA|
Rabid Brewing, Homewood, IL
I didn’t I was staying away from hazies entirely, now.
Corridor Brewery & Provisions, Chicago
One of their regular beers, an IPA featuring lactose, oats, and, dispensed on nitro.
Misbeehavin’ Meads, Valparaiso, IN
Somehow, an Indiana brewer got in here. A cider fermented on currants with black tea.
|12||With a Baseball Bat (Concord) |
Had to dive in for a second taste, since the first wasn’t a proper mead, didn’t I?
The latest in their series of peanut butter meads. By George, this taste very pleasantly like a Grape PB & J, without the bread.
|13||Maple Bacon Fun Size Pastry Stout|
Pollyanna Brewing Company, Lemont, IL
Another brewer I’ve sampled before, but Mom, it’s a Fun Size. Only 6.1% abv, but the big flavor of a barrel-aged beer. Smoked malt, no real bacons were harmed.
|14||Ice Cold Tri |
White Oak Brewing, Normal, IL
Back to the downstate island of tasters. After a couple of brawny sips, I needed a nice light Kölsch for balance.
|15||Rye Not Rye IPA|
One Lake Brewing, Oak Park
I just tend to gravitate toward rye malt experiments.
Around the Bend Beer Co., Chicago
Again, going for the 11.0% imperial stout. Well worth the dive.
Burning Bush Brewery, Chicago
A kettle-soured Berliner Weisse with raspberries. Jumping to the other end of the spectrum.
Alulu Brew, Chicago
A farmhouse ale with green pepper and strawberry. My “why not sense” was tingling.
|19||Lewis’s Can-O-Corn Lager|
Adams Street Brewery (Berghoff), Chicago
I’d had many Berghoff’s but this is my first since they rebranded and began brewing AT the Berghoff! Light corn-adjunct lager delivered just as named.
Door 4 Brewing, Decatur, IL
Back downstate for a beer named after Decatur’s sister city in Japan. Another light lager, this time with rice.
|21||Bamm-Bamm Loves Pebbles|
Will County Brewing Co., Shorewood
The name enticed me every time I saw it on my calendar listings. Yep, a wheat ale that taste just like a Fruity Pebbles.
Side Lot Brewery, Wauconda
Remember when Black IPA‘s were going to be a thing? This was designed by one of their bartenders, and a kudo to trying this style out.
A light, rye saison from this “kitchen-focused” brewer. Liked, but may like better paired with their food.
|24||Holey Jeans Blueberry Wheat|
Keg Grove Brewing Co., Bloomington
More fruit? Yes. Blueberry that plays nicely with the wheat malt.
|25||93 Octane 20W-50 Imperial Stout|
93 Octane Brewing, St. Charles.
Either the 2021 or 2022 release. The 2021 clocked in at 11%, and had enough of a punch to make want to check out more of this undiscovered gem, available at fine gas stations in DuPage County (True!).
|26||Hip-Hops and R&Brew |
Funkytown Brewery, Chicago
Found the side room where all the Pilot Project collaborations are being poured. Had to taste this American Pale Ale as my 3rd beer from this brewer, so now Ratebeer lists me as the Mayor of Funkytown.
|27||Brewer’s Kitchen Mañana de Mallorca|
Brewer’s Kitchen Beer, Chicago
Another kitchen-focused brewer. This was an IPA infused with a Mallorcan tea.
|28||Soul Shaker Tripel|
BBGB Brewery & Hop Farm, North Aurora
Back out to the Great Hall (probably for a restroom break) and dropped in this sweet, big boy.
|29||Hayrick Cream Ale|
Histrionic Brewlab, Chicago
One last walk through the Pilot Project client room. It’s my “cool down” with a light, slightly sweet cream ale.
Azadi Brewing Co., Chicago
From this Indian brewer, a Gose with Tellicherry black peppercorns and Himalayan pink salt. My first “salt & pepper beer.” And I failed to get much of an observation dictated.
Filed under: Beer Festivals