ABV Chicago Craft Beer Podcast

It’ll be another six months before the next wave of Bourbon County hits the supermarkets, so we check in on the 2017 lineup to see how they’re tasting after half a year. We are joined by Josh Noel, author of the brand new book Barrel-Aged Stout and Selling Out: Goose Island, Anheuser-Busch and How Craft Beer Became Big Business, to review the beers and talk all about Goose Island and the story behind the book. Never has a craft beer drinker’s relationship with a brewer been more complicated, and we reminisce on the pre-sale days of innovation in styles and marketing. Then we talk plenty about what has changed since that fateful day in 2011 and all the people responsible for what we now know as Goose Island and how the craft beer world has been redefined with the acquisitions race of the last five years. But also, is this the least impressive lineup of Bourbon County to date? And how can Goose reinvigorate the legacy of their premier release? We try and figure it out before the ABV catches up to us.

See what indie bookstores near you carry Josh’s book here: Indiebound

Bourbon County 2017 Lineup:

Bourbon County Brand Stout

Bourbon County Brand Barleywine

Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout

Bourbon County Brand Northwinds Stout

Proprietor’s Bourbon County Brand Stout

Reserve Bourbon County Brand Stout

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_225_Halfway_to_Black_Friday.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:49am CDT

Stealing furtive glances from across the liquor store, you let your gaze finally fix on what could be your new summer crush - a local canned beer under six percent alcohol. We flirt with some new releases from some favorite locals, and put them on our Crushometer©™ along with our usual rankings. You’ll also hear the rare double lead-up, Craig’s review of the Impossible slider, a super sneaky (and deadly) Mosh’, some old Playstation games, and the terrifying threat of improv poetry. Kick! Punch! It’s all in the mind.

Beers Reviewed

Blue Island Beer Co. - Limón Pepino (Witbier w/ cucumber and lime)

Middle Brow Beer Co. - Little Crush (Session IPA)

Maplewood Brewing - Zip Zap (Extra Pale Wheat)

Forbidden Root - Hay Fever (Dry-hopped Farmhouse)

Pipeworks Brewing - Blood Orange Guppy (Session IPA w/ blood orange and honey)

Half Acre Beer Co. - Fader (German-style Pilsner)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_224_New_Crush.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:47am CDT

Few styles are as satisfying as a perfectly executed saison. It’s no wonder that the devotees of this heterogeneous style are as passionate as they are, passing on the latest fad IPA to reach for some stubby green bottle with the hard-to-pronounce Belgian name. This show is dedicated to saisons of much variation, and we’re joined by saison lover and brewer Mike Thorpe of Afterthought Brewing in Lombard. Though Mike’s mixed culture and oak-aged saisons are being made in extremely limited volume, the beer is already approaching expert levels of refinement. For this show, we drink seven distinct saisons or farmhouse ales from all over to experience the variations in the style while Mike gets technical about the process. There’s a lot about Afterthought, but we also just luxuriate in the wonders of saison and what makes it different than just about any style. Also, there’s a huge development in the Craig Eating Celery Saga that you won’t want to miss. And if you truly love saisons, check out our Illinois Craft Beer Week event, Saisonathon, at Pub Royale on Monday, May 21st. More details here: bit.ly/Saisonathon2018

Beers Tasted

Brasserie de la Senne - Taras Boulba

Blackberry Farm Brewery - Classic Saison

Jester King Brewery - Le Petit Prince

Afterthought Brewing Company - Saison Meer: Lilac

Brasserie Fantôme - Fantôme (Saison)

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales - L’épouvantail Noir

Brouwerij De Ranke - XX-Bitter

Direct download: ABV_chicago_223_Science_of_Saison.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:40am CDT

To commemorate everyone’s favorite early-May drinking holiday, we have six beers to celebrate Polish Constitution Day! (Thursday, May 3rd!) Though this show cost only $15 to fill, its true value lies in providing the literal worst singular beer experience either us have ever had. Seriously. But there are also some killer value finds, along with stories of dumb eye injuries, the return of Black Phillip, and a Craig celery update.

Beers Reviewed

Tyskie Browary Książęce - Tyskie Gronie (Pale Lager)

Browar Amber - Koźlak (Bock)

Browar Wąsosz - Miodowe (Honey Beer)

Lulu Craft Beer - Peach Gose

Grupa Żywiec - Żywiec Porter

Browar Okocim - Okocim O.K. Beer (Pale Lager/Pilsner)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_222_Polish_Beers.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:53am CDT

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