ABV Chicago Craft Beer Podcast

It’s a HIGH concept week here at ABV Labs as we determine whether certain beloved beers should or should not be aged. We have six beers to drink: two vintages of three different beers, and we approach each set blind to see if we can tell the difference. We learn quite a bit about beers and aging, but most importantly, we learn a lot about life….and love. We pitch to get an actual-size Craig bobblehead built, Ryan gleeks with no regard, and we both assail your ears with a barrage of threadless pop culture references beyond our usual so-called restraint. And if love of High Life makes you uncomfortable - morally or physically - you may want to have that skip button ready for the last segment.

Beer Vintages Tasted Blindly

New Glarus Brewing - Belgian Red: 2013* vs. 2018

Founders Brewing Co. - KBS: 2015 vs. 2018

Off Color Brewing - Eeek!: 2016 vs. 2018

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_221_Old_Fresh_Blind_Test.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:41am CDT

An episode we swore we would never do, it’s all smoked beers of different styles on this show as we attempt to shake our long-running distaste of drinking ashy campfire ales. Do we finally open our minds and palates to the wonders of smoked malts? Listen to find out if we safely cross the Rauch rope bridge to escape gaunt Vin Diesel and his villainous clan. (It’ll make sense later.) There’s also an unusual amount of movie references, a discussion of all the things you can smoke (in both ways), a spoogey ghost, the deep recesses of the weed internet, and Ryan’s attempt to make sense of children’s YouTube. Hold up. Heyyyy.

Beers Reviewed

Schlenkerla - Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen

Freigeist Bierkultur - Abraxxxas (Lichtenhainer)

Dovetail Brewery - X01 (Flanders Rauch aged in bourbon barrels)

Alaskan Brewing - Smoked Porter

Goose Island - Islay (Imperial stout aged in Ardbeg Scotch whisky barrels)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_220_Smoked_Beers_Everyday.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:48pm CDT

As another dogged Chicago winter comes to a close, we have some leftover beers that need to be emptied out into our swollen hibernation tummies. For this show, we drop the high concept act and drink six random beers for enjoyment and review, with the return of a game of Beer Carnac to boot. We learn about Craig’s wardrobe proclivities and his extreme views on iguana marriage. And both the looming threat of sediment and an esophageal acid bath are enough to send us into a gleeking frenzy in desperate need of a tarp. Thanks for listening to our beer show that doesn’t make any sense and is barely about beer!

Beers Reviewed

Untitled Art/The Brewing Projekt - NEAPA (New England-style American Pale Ale)

Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers - Barrel-aged Saxonator (Dopplebock)

Hop Butcher for the World - Mellotron (Double IPA)

Good City Brewing - Reward (Double IPA)

Suarez Family Brewery - 100 Ft. North (Country Beer/Saison)

The Good Beer Company/Bottle Logic Brewing - Square Fruit (Barrel-aged sour w/ ten fruits)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_219_Spring_Cleaning.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:48am CDT

Slow growth is better than no growth - and it may be even better than rapid growth, as the crew at Hop Butcher for the World proves. After nearly two years of intermittent releases of their (mostly) hoppy offerings, the demand for Hop Butcher beers has surpassed all of their local peers - and few breweries deserve it more. But now that their operation has moved down to Miskatonic’s space in Darien, the canned releases are coming with more volume and frequency while not compromising their excellent quality. For this show, the guys at Hop Butcher sent us five of their more recent releases to sample and review, and we try to balance our high standards for their beers with our usual garbage arbitrary opinions. Also, Ryan feeds the 90’s vampire, Craig asserts his new stout authority, and we come up with our most excellent podcast idea to date. (To all those Herbs: please apply at abvchicago@gmail.com)

Beers Review

Blazed Orange (IPA)

Ole Knotty (IPA w/ Hobson Oak and Vanilla) Collaboration with Solemn Oath and Miskatonic

Galaxy Bowl (DIPA)

The Beer That Should Not Be (DIPA) Collaboration with Miskatonic

The World’s Colombian Coffee Exposition (Imperial Coffee Stout)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_218_Hop_Butcher.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:53am CDT

In the grand order of the pastriarchy, the s’more stout reigns supreme again and again. But are they any good when you remove the hype? We blind taste five s’more-mimicking stouts in order to determine our arbitrary, ooey-gooey rankings. And no joke - the craziest thing happens at the end of this episode when the beers are revealed that completely left us stunned (and one of us very, very sad). The rest of the show is pretty pun-centric, with a lot of talk about different ways to consume or inhale chocolate, and then just an unexpected amount of time talking about Bam Margera. Also there’s some camping trivia that seems tipped in Craig’s favor, and we address the whale in the room. Kumbaya, my Lord, kumbaya….

Beers Tasted Blindly

Short’s Brewing Co. - S’more Stout

Pipeworks Brewing - S’more Money, S’more Problems

More Brewing Co. - Henna (Batch 3: S’more)

Off Color Brewing - Dino S’mores

Mikerphone Brewing - S’more Cowbell

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_217_The_Smore_You_Know.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:42pm CDT

The most beloved and influential American IPAs of the last decade are being churned out in record volume, yet the juicy beers are getting all the hype while diluting the meaning of the very style. We reignite our love for six of the country’s most-revered IPAs that are now all available in grocery stores all over Chicagoland - and we do it in the dark. This blind tasting will once-and-for-all determine our completely arbitrary opinions about the best IPA that even your weird coworkers have heard of - and we are totally surprised by the results. Because we’re Chicagoans, we also spend a lot of time playing, “Is this Anti-Hero??” and expose our general ineptitude at guessing beers. Craig makes a bad suggestion for March Madness, Ryan tries to break the Baba Yaga’s Craig curse, and we talk about our favorite Aerosmith-inspired shooting game. Oh and there’s misheard 311 lyrics, a simple request about a Frasier shirt, a fact check for the English majors, and our memories of sitting out in the Quad. And all this content is stuffed into the shortest episode we’ve released in over a year, so turn your playback speed back down to “1x” and enjoy!

Beers Reviewed, Blindly (in order of appearance on the show)

Surly Brewing Co. - Furious

Bell’s Brewery - Two Hearted Ale

Cigar City Brewing - Jai Alai

Maine Beer Company - Lunch

Ballast Point Brewing Company - Sculpin

Revolution Brewing Company - Anti-Hero

Thanks to Beer on the Wall for gathering up the freshest beers available to make this show possible!

Direct download: ABV_Chicago__216__Top_IPAs_Blind.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:46am CDT

Our hearts are wide open and ready to embrace the funk, but will it embrace us back? Yazoo Brewing out of Nashville, Tennessee has been brewing since 2003, but their obsession with making complex sour works of art started in 2012. We have four beers from Yazoo’s funky side thanks to listener Matt Milam, and we can’t help but wonder why they haven’t taken over the world yet. We also are very confused about this year’s Pitchfork lineup and the sudden soaking swell of Wet Daves. Oh...hold on. BRB. Craig’s back from his Taco Bell run.

Beers Reviewed 

Saison de Bois (Saison aged in 20 year old French Oak Bordeaux Red Wine Puncheon casks with mixed cultures of lactobacillus, pediococcus and brettanomyces)

State of Funk 2017 Release 3: What’cha Want (A sour blonde ale aged 15 months in a Cabernet barrel with a Passion Fruit secondary fermentation and Pineapples and Cherries for a tertiary fermentation)

State of Funk 2017 Release 4: No Fakin’ the Funk (15 month Chardonnay barrel aged mixed culture Saison brewed with Tennessee Oats, Tennessee Wheat and secondary fermentation with Pink Guava)

State of Funk 2017 Release 5: Cuff And A Crease (13 month High West Bourbon barrel aged sour brown ale conditioned on Pluots)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_215_Yazoo.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:43am CDT

What would you do if you were a brewer at a one barrel brewery with a family and full time job with only a handful of brew days each month? Well if you’re Energy City Brewing, you’d probably open one Saturday a month and drop some exceptional beers on the unsuspecting public of greater Batavia. Thanks to our daddy Ross O’Neill, we have five offerings from homebrewer-turned-pro (and human sentence) David Files that are released in an extremely limited quality to an increasing fanbase. Hear us experience the wonderful and weird that this new-ish outfit has to offer before they scale up to reach a larger audience. We’re cool like that. But then we destroy that façade by talking about flagshops, chocolate IPAs, New England-style beer tiers/tears, and the angel love that is “Swella.” Seriously though, how do you talk to an angel?

Beers Reviewed

Hop Waka (New England-style IPA)

Green to Brown (Imperial American Brown Ale)

Hop Nawi (New England-style IPA)

Hop Revenge - Anomaly (New England Wild Tropical Stout)

Poputchik (Russian Imperial Stout)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_214_Energy_City.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:55am CDT

About two years after a buyout from a private equity firm that joined them with crafty canning giants Oskar Blues, Cigar City Brewing is poised to make 2018 a year of expansion. Now that their world-class beers are being faithfully reproduced on a larger scale, it’s due time they entered the crowded - yet thirsty - Chicagoland market. We try four of the canned beers they’re bringing to town and one bottle (that won’t see our shelves) just for the fun of it. You’ll hear about the best brown ale we’ve had in forever, the possible progenitor of pastry stouts, and why no one should consider Jai Alai as “just another IPA.” We also improve the CiceroneⓇ exam, have a break down over beer freshness, trash some bouncy houses, and get nostalgic for five years ago. Plus there’s a great “Florida man…” game that is fun for the whole family (over the age of 21). It’s straight CANarchy on this one. (*slide whistle*) Thanks to Beer on the Wall for providing the four canned beers and for their continued sponsorship! Check them out at wehavegreatbeer.com!

Beers Reviewed

Guayabera Citra Pale Ale

Invasion Pale Ale

Maduro Brown Ale

Jai Alai IPA

Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout (2017)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_213_Cigar_City.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:49am CDT

Four years ago, no one wanted to hear us drink German styles coming out of Chicago. Now that more local breweries are paying homage to the biers from Deutschland, we reboot the concept with a grittier lineup and go for that hard PG-13 rating. We dive into these styles by reading from a few dusty tomes, and those that are excited by the word “decoction” should take notice. We also plan for our messy divorce, sing a bad song, author some bock beer puns, call for beer copulation, and feel unnatural things about bacon. (And thanks to our first-ever actual sponsor, Beer on the Wall, for providing the doppelbock.)

 

Beers Reviewed

Baderbräu - Five Star Lager (Helles Lager)

Piece Brewery & Pizzeria - Dark-N-Curvy (Dunkelweizen)

Great Central Brewing Company - Weizenbock

Dovetail Brewery - Rauchbier

Tighthead Brewing Company - Reformator (Doppelbock)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_212_German_Style_Reboot.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:52am CDT