Wed, 12 December 2018
Adults have proven time and again that all childhood nostalgia is better with booze, so beer advent calendars became a thing. Bitter Pops makes one of the best surprise 24-packs of beers, and they’ve outdone themselves this year. So we’re outdoing ourselves by reviewing and ranking the first 12 beers of the calendar. Yes, there is some light caroling (Craiging?) and some overall Xmas music appreciation chatter. But we also share a tasty holiday punch recipe, shamelessly mine for retweets from Xmas-adjacent celebrities, turn up our noses at Winter Craig, and assert that hot beer is the next big trend. #hotkvass
And a partridge in a pear tree.
Calendar Beers Reviewed
Wed, 5 December 2018
Have a fellow beer lover in your life that you want to spoil during the holidays? Or are you heading to some ugly sweater, ornament-decorating, cookie-binging holiday party and need a beer to bring that’ll help you make it through? We enlist the help of Ryan Tracy from Beer on the Wall to suggest some beers that make good gifts for all different types of drinkers. In addition, because we’re on site, we talk about our sponsor Beer on the Wall from their start to their very exciting future, which includes expansion and a second location. And because Ryan is fully aware of our usual antics, we talk about beer pranks, whale lists, gnome sharing, jewel heists, forest nymphs, creepy doll basements, hot dog beers, wrestling-style intros, meads n’ improv, and a weird faith in Taco Bell. Come on out to Park Ridge - they’re rippin’ Undies out here.
Hailstorm Brewing - Hotel Life (Lager)
Brickstone Brewery - APA (Galaxy And Huell Melon Dry-Hopped)
Lake Effect Brewing - Barrel-aged Super Shake (Chocolate malt-inspired Imperial Stout)
The Ale Apothecary - Ralph (Mixed-fermentation wild ale w/ white fir tips)
Superstition Meadery - BlackBerry Hex (Blackberry mead)
Wed, 28 November 2018
Revolution has taken some serious steps towards becoming THE barrel-aged beer producer in the city of Chicago by churning out varied, high-quality product in an accessible format over a fairly casual release schedule. Simply put, they are killing it. So we couldn’t be more eager to line up the first five releases of 2018’s Deep Wood series to review and rank, giddy with knowing that there will still be five more to come. We also chip away at two different wood-based trivia games, dust off the Playstation and some bottles of schnapps, fear the #BiL backlash, and speculate on the upcoming sequel to beer: Beer 2. Kick! Punch! It’s all in the mind.
Code Switch (Imperial Ale aged on blackberries in whiskey and bourbon barrels)
V.S.O.J. (Cuvée of two- and three-year aged bourbon barrel barleywines)
Deth’s Tar (Barrel-aged Imperial Oatmeal Stout)
Café Deth (Barrel-aged Imperial Oatmeal Stout w/ Dark Matter coffee)
Deth By Currants (Barrel-aged Imperial Oatmeal Stout w/ black currants)
Tue, 20 November 2018
Every Black Friday, Goose Island strives to deliver on a year-plus promise of bringing together consistent quality and technical innovation for a Bourbon County lineup that succeeds in besting the previous year’s. We sat down with Mike Siegel, head of Brewery Research & Development, to walk us through a tasting of some of this year’s offerings while highlighting the processes that brought these beers into existence. There’s also questions about the major changes instituted since the infection year; how specific ingredients are chosen and integrated to match a flavor concept; what quality concerns led to Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout getting passed over this year; how much AB-InBev’s influence plays a part in the yearly release; and how a new variant goes from a simple idea or blending experiment to a nationwide offering. There’s an absolute ton of other material here that would be best enjoyed while shivering in a pre-dawn line for Bourbon County, or while sitting and revelling in your spoils while sipping on a glass of barrel-aged stout. Dust off your Randall, because we’re infusing your brains with some tasty Bourbon County talk.
Bourbon County Brand Wheatwine
Reserve Bourbon County Brand Stout (aged in 12 year-old Elijah Craig Barrel Proof bourbon barrels)
Bourbon County Brand Midnight Orange Stout
Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout
Wed, 14 November 2018
For our big 250, we bring together a show that’s been over four years in the making about beers that take at least three years to produce. It’s all American-style gueuzes - er, Méthode Traditionnelle, in some cases - from six sour beer makers. We’re joined by Doug Veliky of Revolution Brewing, just because we wanted a friend to share these with. But Doug shares with us a bunch of Revolution updates, and spoils our dreams on why we’ll likely never see a canned Gueuze. If that weren’t enough, this show also features brief drop-in interviews from James Howat of Black Project (and one of three board members for Méthode Traditionnelle Society), Jason Pellett of Orpheus Brewing, and Tomme Arthur of The Lost Abbey. Thank you for your listenership at any point along the way of these 250 episodes, and thank you more sincerely for tolerating our terrible Gueuze puns.
Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales - Oxcart: Blend A (2018)
New Glarus Brewing Company - R&D Vintage 2017
Orpheus Brewing - Everything Lasts Forever
Jester King Brewery - 2017 Spon 4
Bullfrog Brewery - Le Roar Grrz (2016)
The Lost Abbey - Duck Duck Gooze (2016)
Wed, 7 November 2018
The 16th annual Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beers is almost upon us, and we continue our yearly tradition of geeking out about our favorite Chicago festival. We have five beers from brewers who will be pouring at this year’s fest while we also share some festival tips and breweries to seek out. Ryan also has done his homework as he subjects Craig to a few rounds of FoBAB history trivia. But we also review the bathrooms at the Google HQ, recklessly redefine the word “subtle”, enter the Apriverse, discover a new fetish, and get a little oxidation in our eyes. It’s more fun than you can fit in a...uh...some kind of….uh...liquid-holding vessel?
Cerebral Brewing - Deep Thought (Chardonnay barrel-aged saison)
Cruz Blanca Brewery - Paz Y Piña (Saison refermented on pineapples in Chardonnay barrels)
Cellador Ales - Seconds (Blended barrel-aged sour with apricots)
Indeed Brewing Company - Rum King 2015 (Rum barrel-aged imperial stout)
Revolution Brewing - V.S.O.J. (Blend of 2 and 3 year-aged bourbon barrel barleywines)
Wed, 31 October 2018
What horrors abound in this blind gross-out tasting challenge, wherein we try to inflict suffering on each other through liquid terrors? After the inaugural Beer Purge we did last year, Craig’s hungry for sweet and sickening revenge. We pour six of the worst beers we could find while challenging one another to guess what’s in the glass while trying to lessen the volume of our pours from the Cuveé of Doom finalé. Listen in as Craig cackles while committing an unspeakable evil, and Ryan warns that Stephen Malkmus could be coming for your identity and bank account. Don’t listen to this one alone.
Beers Poured With Extreme Malice
Stone Brewing Co. - Smoked Porter w/ Chipotle Peppers (2011)
Stone Brewing Co. - Ruination DIPA 10th Anniversary (2012)
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery - Chateau Jiahu (2013)
Baltika Breweries - Baltika #9 Extra
The Steel Brewing Co. - Steel Reserve 211 Alloy Series Blue Razz
Country Boy Brewing - Nacho Bait Habanero Blonde Ale
Wed, 24 October 2018
Our 50 States Quest continues as we take on our fireworks-selling neighbors to the East: Indiana! Recorded over the summer after Craig returned from a jaunt around the Indianapolis area, this episode features five diverse Hoosier beers that show Indiana beer is much more than that one metal brewery on the border. And because this was recorded in August, we get Craig’s recap of the Wizard World Comic Con including the cultural penetration of Golden Girls, Funko Pop everything, and what surprising offerings they were pouring at the Goose Island station. But then we talk about terrible Bobby Knight, kicking some barrels, Dick Tracy villains, and Quad IPAs. Count us IN.
Oaken Barrel Brewing - Razz-Wheat (Raspberry Wheat Beer)
Taxman Brewing Company - La Maison (Saison w/ clover honey)
Windmill Brewing - Memeosa (Milkshake IPA w/ lactose, vanilla beans, and orange juice)
Deviate Brewing - Continued Clarity (Imperial stout with vanilla, chocolate & hazelnut)
The Bier Brewery - Bourbon Barrel Sanitarium (Belgian Quad aged in bourbon barrels)
Wed, 17 October 2018
The proliferation of pumpkin-flavored everything has slowed significantly compared to five years ago, and that seems to be the case in beer as well. Even in a year’s time, pumpkin beer entries at GABF dropped from 66 in 2017 to 38 in 2018. Are pumpkin beers on their way to the porch to be picked apart by squirrels or obliterated by little rapscallion neighbors? Or is the trend deserving of a Great Pumpkin-like return? We try five unique pumpkin-featuring styles on this show (and one terrifying pre-made mixed cocktail) to determine if we should even care at all. We also learn more about Fall Craig, pick our ideal piano man at Mariano’s, explain why Bengston’s is terrible, and share some tasty, tasty rage. Good gourd, it’s an interesting journey.
Pumpkin Beverages Consumed
BuzzBallz - Pumpkin Pie Eater (Mixed vodka drink w/ “fresh dairy cream and natural flavors”)
Lakefront Brewery - Pumpkin Lager
Hoppin’ Frog Brewery - Frog’s Hollow Double Pumpkin Ale
Seattle Cider Company - Pumpkin Spice cider
Epic Brewing Co. - Barrel-Aged Imperial Pumpkin Porter
Saugatuck Brewing - Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Pumpkin Chai
Wed, 10 October 2018
When we first met Neil Fisher from WeldWerks back in 2016, we couldn’t help but root for him: an affable guy making outstanding beers that were poised to reach a larger audience. Fast forward to the present, and WeldWerks is making some of the most exciting beer in all of Colorado, and the growing demand for the beers reinforces it. For this show, we have five WeldWerks beers to review along with five segments of an interview we did with Neil this year on the GABF floor. You’ll learn about WeldWerks’ 100 Beers project, plans for increasing capacity, benefits of not having an annual specialty stout release, and the most difficult beer they’ve ever made. But then there’s some other stuff about Craig’s new fur baby, 10-inch nose aromas, next year’s new GABF styles, and some 90s grittiness. Woop woop!
Keller Pils 2.0
Quadruple Dry-Hopped Juicy Bits
Double Peach Milkshake IPA
Wed, 3 October 2018
Taking three New England-made hoppy beers and pitting them against three Chicago ones in a blind taste test would seem like a novel idea, if we hadn’t already done it like 11 months ago. But here it’s a fresh crop of hops from some big names in IPA, and our blind assumptions prove to be challenging yet again. Ryan is trapped in meme purgatory, Craig unveils his worst version (down with Fall Craig!), we say Mosher’s name 3 times to see what happens, and the throat hops return. Come feel safe in the grip of haze, and we’ll be sure to pepper in the chucklef*cks. Alan!
Beers Reviewed Blindly (in order of appearance)
Hubbard’s Cave - Fresh IIPA: One Hop Simcoe
Trillium Brewing Company - Storrowed
Tree House Brewing Company - Haze
Pipeworks Brewing Company - Infinite Galaxy
Goodfire Brewing Co. - CMYK
Alarmist Brewing - Oatshaker
Tue, 25 September 2018
For our fifth straight year at the Great American Beer Festival, we drank all of the beers in Denver so you didn’t have to. This episode is our full recap of this year’s fest, including discussions on the medal winners, our favorite beers at the fest, the hazy IPA takeover, and our inability to navigate the new layout. We also have a bunch of interviews from the festival floor featuring brewers we admire and beer people we respect. And if that isn’t enough, we drink and review three Denver-area beers from our hotel room against the will of our exhausted bodies and brains. We share some good unsolicited advice we received, introduce Craig’s new workout buds, and get interrupted by the drunkest 22 year-old at the fest.
Declaration Brewing - Hardtack Copper
Outer Range Brewing Co. - Trail No. 4 (Quandary Peak)
Ursula Brewery - Imperial Crustless
Interviews from GABF 2018
James and Melissa Priest of The Referend Bier Blendery (Pennington, NJ) – 00:12:18 - 00:20:51
Tony Corder and Drew DeWees of Columbus Brewing Co. (Columbus, OH) – 00:25:39 - 00:32:45
Mike Donovan of The Oozlefinch Craft Brewery (Fort Monroe, VA) – 00:43:04 - 00:51:13
Jason Pellett of Orpheus Brewing (Atlanta, GA) – 00:56:42 - 01:04:30
Marty Nachel (author and beer judge) – 01:13:35 - 01:18:19
Blake Arrowood of Arrowood Farms (Accord, NY) – 01:29:15 - 01:34:39
Tomme Arthur of The Lost Abbey/Port Brewing Co./The Hop Concept (San Marcos, CA) – 01:40:31 - 01:45:54
Wed, 19 September 2018
As IPA further becomes a parody of itself, we stare down the ultimate challenge to our perception of what hoppy beers could - or should - be. Milkshake IPAs are a newer variation on the fruit-forward and bitterness-free take on the IPA that features lactose and/or vanilla to raise sweetness while incorporating wheat or oats into the grist to increase its heft. Listen as these six beers slowly chip away at our reservations around this hot new trend, and we learn to love again. Sort of. Also, Ryan refuses to let Craig continue to forget Leg Day, we invent the Beach IPA, and we fall into another tangent trap about candy and Doritos. Put the pectin in it!
Odell Brewing Co. - Cloud Catcher
Collective Arts Brewing - Liquid Art Fest (w/ passionfruit, mango, and vanilla)
Energy City Brewing - Milkshake Nawi Mango (w/ mango and vanilla beans)
Hop Butcher for the World - Blazed Orange Milkshake (w/ oranges and vanilla)
Hailstorm Brewing Co. - Boat Drinks (w/ orange & pineapple juice, and toasted coconut)
Marz Community Brewing - Cocktail Umbrellas (w/ pineapple)
Wed, 12 September 2018
We’re counting down the days to the 37th annual Great American Beer Festival, and going into our fifth year attending, we finally feel like we’re qualified to give advice for those attending, or provide escapism for those that would like to be. Also, we drink five beers from five Illinois breweries we’ve never had on the show - and who also happen to be pouring at this year’s GABF! In regards to the fest, we share general advice, Illinois brewery pour lists, our picks for must-try breweries, and a rundown of interesting Denver-area events during the week. Also, Ryan plays Six Degrees of LMFAO on the opening, Craig discovers that every beer is a WeldWerks collab, and we write font-based romantic fiction. Whether you’re going to GABF or not, you can’t deny that we say the names of a lot of beers in this episode. We are sincerely sorry for party rocking.
Midnight Pig - Hook & Hatchet (Vienna Lager)
Tangled Roots Brewing Co. - Oktoberfest
Alter Brewing Co. - ALTERior Motive (IPA)
Band of Bohemia - Jasmine Rice (Lager)
Werk Force Brewing Co. - Sleepy Bear (German Chocolate Cake Russian Imperial Stout)
Wed, 5 September 2018
Years ago, before every other American brewery had a koelschip or a “sour program,” the options to foster a love for sours was mostly limited to shelf-available Belgian beers. As Ryan’s long-gestating audio lovechild, this episode represents a time when exploration of sour styles meant green-bottled imports and hard-to-pronounce names. But our reverence for these classics is apparent as we try five different Belgian sour beers done in five different styles. We learn about the beers themselves including the odd stories about how some of them were willed into existence by non-Belgians. We talk about IRL Mario Kart, put our best foudre forward, sup the cup, and buttdial our Boon buddy. And as this is (sort of) our pledge drive episode, check out patreon.com/abvchicago to donate to the show and get a ton of extra content and gifts!
Brouwerij De Brabandere - Petrus Aged Pale
Brouwerij Van Steenberge - Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale
Brouwerij Verhaeghe - Duchesse de Bourgogne
Vanberg & DeWulf/Brouwerij De Troch - Lambickx
Brouwerij Boon - Oude Geuze Boon Black Label
Wed, 29 August 2018
From the Stüssy of craft beer podcasts, this episode focuses on five Wisconsin breweries that aren’t that one you were just thinking about. Along with four interviews Craig gathered at the Great Taste of the Midwest, this show features five stellar beers that reach across the Badger State. Craig recaps some of his experience from the Great Taste, Ryan tries out a new color identifying app, we deal with a potential toilet Ghoulie situation, and we imagine a reality with Grambo. Taste the Robot World!
Working Draft Beer Co. - Hindsight (German-style Pilsner)
Earth Rider Brewery - Superior (Pale Ale)
Badger State Brewing Co. - On Wisconsin! (Red Ale)
The Brewing Projekt - Dare Mighty Things (New England-style IPA)
Raised Grain Brewing Co. - Black Walnut Coffee Stout (Belgian Imperial Stout)
Clint Lohman of Working Draft (0:07:33)
Allyson Rolph of Earth Rider (0:24:45)
Sam Yanda of Badger State (0:42:11)
Dr. Scott Kelley and Dr. Jimmy Gosset of Raised Grain (1:04:47)
Wed, 22 August 2018
Situated on a farm that also serves as a winery and restaurant, among other things, this unassuming Indiana brewery has made a name for itself through the perfect combination of eye-catching packaging and well-executed, in-demand beer styles. Craig visited the brewery and brought back a few interviews to help shed light on this growing operation while we drink through five different beer styles that range from “fresh take on a classic style” to “is this even a beer anymore?” There’s also a Fast and Furious proposal, some praise for an exceptional beer server, a potential can grenade, a 4-pack price game, and the HopHeads of the Corn. Extra thanks to McKinley and Brian from 450 North for the brief interviews!
Pay Day (Hoppy Pilsner)
Bouncy Castle (Creamy oat IPA)
SLUSHY Fruit Cocktail (Berliner Weisse w/ peach, pineapple, mango and cherry)
Diamond Nuggets (Triple dry-hopped Triple IPA)
Piece of Cake - Black Forest (Pastry stout w/ chocolate, vanilla, and cherry)
Wed, 15 August 2018
We finally realize our champagne wishes and IPA dreams as we gather some of the first beers released locally under the new Brut IPA style. What makes this San Francisco-born variation on IPA so special, and do we even really understand what a Brut IPA is by the end of the show? Maybe! There’s some light research on the history and science behind the style before we both turn into bubbles. Also, there’s a lot of old Batman talk, Craig faces his embarrassing e-mail shame, Drunk Ryan emerges very early, we coin the “pFriem standard,” and we explore the beauty of nunchuk art. Now we toast!
Mikerphone Brewing/FinBack Brewery - Brut-ee-licious (Dry-Hopped Brut IPA w/ Citra and Enigma Hops)
Wed, 8 August 2018
This one’s for all you Breeniacs out there. Listener Don Kasak hooked us up with a mixed bunch of St. Louis goodies, and ranking them does not prove to be easy. This show reinforces why St. Louis is one of the best beer cities in the nation once you look past the Budweiser building. There’s also a lengthy discussion of the trailer for the new film by provocative auteur and actual human Neil Breen (see it here) before we settle on some beers to pair with the movie. We also taste some hoppy beers that happily harken back to simpler times, and have some odd memories of the game Earthbound for the SNES. Welcome to the virtual metaverse. I’ll be right…..here.
The Civil Life Brewing Co. - American Brown Ale
Perennial Artisan Ales - Prism: Mosaic (dry-hopped saison)
Shared - Oranges on Wheat (witbier)
Modern Brewery - Citrapolis (IPA)
Earthbound Brewing - Meteor IPA
Wed, 1 August 2018
A little background noise for your next de-stemming party, this episode has us drinking American takes on the cherry-featuring “kriek” - with four of the five produced in the style of traditional lambic. There’s also a brief chat with Bill and Hagen from Dovetail about their recently-released (but long-planned) kriek beer and some very exciting news about future releases. Elsewhere on this Extra Luxury show, we share a little kriek history, try our hand at defining the style, marvel at the marvelous mouthfeels, and go full-on fanboy on one brewery in particular. Also, we try to solve a dwindling natural resource crisis, Ryan confesses to a 28 year-old crime, Craig wants a canned lambic, and we shame stupid Jeremy for his stupid SuperSoaker taking all the water from California. Damn it, Jeremy!
Arclight Brewing Company - Soursmith Kriek
New Belgium Brewing - Transatlantique Kriek
pFriem Family Brewers - Oude Kriek
Dovetail Brewery - Kriek
Funk Factory/O’So Brewing - Door Kriek (2015)
Wed, 25 July 2018
For the past three years, Bearded Iris has been bringing some exciting flavors to its home of Nashville, Tennessee, and thanks to listener Matt Milam, we get to indulge in some of their hazy and sweet offerings. We sample five beers on this show for our arbitrary review, and one beer is an “all-timer.” Also, Craig has some fresh ideas for the Fast & Furious franchise, Ryan waxes nostalgic about his Woodstock ‘94 necklace, and we hear from the Grumpy Gardener. And then Ryan explains Supreme to Craig, we dream of Teddy Grahams, and Craig relives some Krispy Kreme past. Guard your crepes.
Wed, 18 July 2018
Like diamonds, we have many facets. And on this highly Instagrammable show, we explore rosé as a wine, as a cider, and as a beer. Will our complete inexperience in drinking rosé (or wine in general) skew the rankings towards our “home” style, beer? You will be surprised by the outcome on this one! We talk a lot about rosé - with only one angry rant - and whether or not we’re experiencing “pastry wine.” There’s also stuff about beer trends vs. wine trends, great bar TV, illegal Hi-C dipping, bad clowns with hard seltzer, and two wine-drunk hosts. Our words will evoke the great philosopher Sommelierates.
Union Wine Company - Underwood Rosé Wine
Swish Beverages - Babe Rosé with Bubbles
Virtue Cider - Rosé
2 Fools Cider - Rosé
Anderson Valley Brewing - Framboise Rose Gose
Forbidden Root - Sparkling Rosé Ale
Wed, 11 July 2018
Well this episode isn’t THE PITS! Get it?!? We sample six pretty different beers that prominently feature peaches to pick our favorites. We talk about the secrets to finding the best peaches, how the lambic brewers of the world can come together, and what makes something a “festival sour.” We also explore some new breakdancing names, call for the Peach Police, smack down a ludicrous conspiracy theory, and get caught in a bit of a Looper situation.
Revolution Brewing - Freedom of Speach (Session sour)
Mon, 2 July 2018
We were shocked to learn that it’s been 8 months since our last hazy beer/New England-style IPA-focused show - can we learn to love them again? Well, the six beers on this show certainly make a strong case, as we drink newly canned hazy offerings from a variety of local brewers. We also add to our Wall of Fame with our latest celebrity run-in, Craig explains what the hell “throat hops” are, and Ryan predicts future IPA trends.
Alarmist Brewing - Le Jus (New England-style IPA)
Horse Thief Hollow Brewing - Spoonful (Hazy IPA)
Saint Errant Brewing - Takers & Leavers (DDH IPA)
Noon Whistle - Gummypocalypse (Northeast DIPA)
Cruz Blanca Brewery - Freetown (DDH DIPA)
Wed, 27 June 2018
Our love of saisons runs deep - far deeper than our technical knowledge of them - but nevertheless, we get excited when we see new saisons filling up our local beer stores. We taste five recently released saisons that are all pretty different takes on the style, while figuring out which ones we’ll add to our must-buy list. There are two pieces of important information about Christopher Cross, a story about a mysterious object on a fishing pole, the semantics of band-aid licking, some real flower eaters, and a proposal on napkin taxes. So, you know, the usual. (Also, we are putting it here in writing that we are trademarking the term Farmhouse IPA™ without doing any actual research if it already exists, but you know, just in case.)
Perennial Artisan Ales - Saison de Lis (saison w/ chamomile flowers)
Wed, 20 June 2018
Lagers still represent the most consumed style of beer in the U.S. and it’s not even close. But consumers demand more than the watered-down adjunct-laden fare peddled by the biggest brewers and have pushed slightly less-big brewers to make some tastier options. We blind taste eight lagers - four from “macro” brands, and four from “non-macro” brands* - and try to guess what we’re drinking while ranking our preferences. It’s another one filled with blind surprises and one very unhappy host, but we’ll also take you to Dark Walgreens, toss a few barbs at the band Korn, and introduce you to The Ham Gambler. You can hang your hat on that.
Beers Tasted Blindly (in order of appearance on the show)
Hamm’s Premium Lager
*Founders is 30% owned by leading Spanish beer brand Mahou-San Miguel; Ballast Point is 100% owned by Fortune 500 company Constellation Brands; Firestone Walker is owned by the Duvel-Moortgat brewery; Spiteful is owned by some nice guys named Brad and Jason
Wed, 13 June 2018
It’s like an hour-long cheat day, for on this episode, we indulge in everything sweet and sugary to enrobe ourselves in stouts just in time for the summer. We review five stouts that all feature a bevy of big flavors and adjuncts to create boozy, liquid desserts. There’s also talk about this year’s Riot Fest lineup, a game about candy bar ingredients that Craig is terrible at, and some timely Sega Genesis game reviews. Our diet starts tomorrow.
Lil’ Beaver Brewery - Happy For Pecans (Milk Stout w/ pecans)
Saint Errant Brewing - Cauallier (Imperial Stout w/ chocolate and roasted peanuts)
Hubbard’s Cave - French Toast (Imperial Stout w/ cinnamon, maple syrup, vanilla, and lactose)
Mikerphone Brewing - Smooth Whopperator (Double Milk Stout w/ chocolate malted milk)
Hop Butcher for the World - The Dog House (Chocolate cake shake stout w/ vanilla and lactose)
Wed, 6 June 2018
As an amalgamation of two styles seen as so disparate in their processes, it’s easy to call Sour IPAs a gimmick - a style that cannot nor should not exist - or simply, liquid clickbait. We put our own skepticism to the test with five of our favorite local breweries and their spin on the tart, juicy, and (supposedly) hoppy trend. We learn about the different methods brewers use to create these mashups, all while we’re desperately seeking the IPAness. Hear our Saisonathon night experiences, a fear of disembodied mouths, a call for Gravy IPAs, a plug for Ryan’s old websites, and the reason why we oh so desperately could use some more mugwumps right now. #liqbait
Forbidden Root - Assembly Required V2 (Sour IPA w/ key lime and vanilla)
Marz Community Brewing - tart’n’tangy (Wild NE IPA w/ lactose)
Maplewood Brewing - Fizzle Drizzle (Sour IPA w/ raspberry)
Illuminated Brew Works - Mugwump Brunch (Sour DIPA w/ orange juice)
Corridor Brewery & Provisions/Forbidden Root - New Wave Dance Craze (Sour IPA w/ almond, cherry, cinnamon, and lactose)
Wed, 30 May 2018
In the world of brewing, beer is brewed by two separate yet equally important groups: the independent brewers who make interesting beer, and the corporate brewers who imitate the former. On this show, we investigate six offerings, mostly brand new to the market, that big beer companies want to trick you into drinking. We try to be open-minded - empathetic, even - but some of these crimes can never be forgiven. Can we be accused of being elitist craft beer jerks for spending an hour dumping on big beer’s version of innovation, when so many of these are objectively bad? That’s where you get to be the judge. Hey - you do your job, I do my job, ok buddy? Also, we get nostalgic about murder, upset fans of punishment shots, read some ridiculous marketing copy, and set up an ill-advised beer bong challenge. We also share some of our highlights from this year’s Beer Under Glass, because the whole show can’t just be us throwing the book at bad beer.
BeerCrimes Investigated and Prosecuted
The Plank Road Brewery (MillerCoors) - Two Hats Pineapple
Blue Moon Brewing - Mango Wheat
Guinness - Blonde American Lager
Old Style Brewing - Cooler By the Lake (Radler)
Pabst Brewing - American Pale Ale
Anheuser-Busch - Bud Light Orange
Wed, 23 May 2018
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
Wed, 16 May 2018
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.
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)
Wed, 9 May 2018
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
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
Mon, 7 May 2018
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.
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)
Wed, 25 April 2018
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
Wed, 18 April 2018
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.
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)
Wed, 11 April 2018
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!
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)
Wed, 4 April 2018
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 email@example.com)
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)
Wed, 28 March 2018
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
Wed, 21 March 2018
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!
Wed, 14 March 2018
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.
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)
Wed, 7 March 2018
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?
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)
Wed, 28 February 2018
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!
Guayabera Citra Pale Ale
Invasion Pale Ale
Maduro Brown Ale
Jai Alai IPA
Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout (2017)
Wed, 21 February 2018
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.)
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)
Wed, 14 February 2018
Although Arkansas is known for many important things, brewing beer isn’t exactly one of them, as it ranks near the bottom in the nation for breweries per capita. But of course a passionate few are looking to change that reputation as we sample beer from about 1/7th of the breweries in The Natural State. Thanks to listener Chris Butler, we check off our fifteenth state show, and somehow manage to avoid hazy IPAs, sours, or barrel-aged adjunct stouts - it’s an Ozark miracle! We also give you white-hot takes on the new Timberlake record, corny adjuncts, valuable printing errors, and night showering. There’s also two name games around John Grisham and the Duggar family, and we acknowledge the odd juxtaposition of significant Arkansas historical achievements. And we only make one attempt at a pirate joke, thank god.
Bike Rack Brewing - Urban Trail Golden Ale
Bike Rack Brewing - Slaughter Pen IPA
New Province Brewing - Fallen Queen Witbier
Ozark Beer - Double IPA
Lost Forty Brewing - Forest Queen Milk Stout
Wed, 7 February 2018
Each week for the past two years, we’ve released special mini-episodes for our Patreon supporters that we call Low ABVs. It’s our small way of saying thanks to those who commit even a small amount of money to us each month. To say thank you to everyone else, we’ve compiled some of our favorites that feature both hoppy beers and our irreverent brand of games into a slightly massive release this week. Sure, there are beer reviews. But there’s also all of these tantalizing topics: Ryan’s new career in drums, the world’s most precious prank, playing games with pseudo-celebs, the problem with mass-produced NEIPAs, Craig’s prison future, traumatic childhood movies, a sudden spike in toilet talk, our two degrees of 311, Robitussin lambics, and the absolute best beer label. Thanks to everyone who has listened over these four years, and if you want to support us and gain access to over 26 hours of Low ABVs (with some full “lost” episodes never widely released to the public), go to www.patreon.com/abvchicago and become a valued member of our….uh….Passionate Plenty aka The Cream Team. (The name’s still a work in progress.)
Low ABV 78 - Revolution Heroes Issue 3 + Hops on Urban Dictionary Game (starts at 6:59)
Low ABV 44 - Hoof Hearted ....Best Fwendz + Race Horse Name Game (starts at 32:26)
Low ABV 61 - Narrow Gauge DDH OJ Run + 90’s Timeline Game (starts at 49:30)
Low ABV 68 - Goose Island Juicy Double + “One Week” Lyrics Game (starts at 1:12:05)
Tue, 30 January 2018
This Seattle brewery’s been on our wishlist for quite some time, and listener Raj Shah sent us a heavenly array of Holy Mountain beers to review. Big hops, barrels, and Brett make for some pretty flavorful beer - and almost all of it is impressive and unique. We encounter the ugliest beer we’ve seen in a long time, try to rhyme things with yuzu, share the secret to erudite beer reviews, get mistaken for famous wizard Brian Potion, and express concern over our future beer-related ailments. Put away that copy of EsophaGigli, get the #craigarmy together, and let us be your sherpas on this ascension to Holy Mountain.
Lesser Ritual (Hoppy Pilsner)
Sunroom (Mixed culture saison brewed with Nelson Sauvin and fermented in oak barrels)
Astral Projection (Double IPA)
Wraith (American wild ale aged in oak with blackberries and raspberries)
Midnight Still (2016) (Imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels)
Wed, 24 January 2018
Unknown to most of us Midwesterners but regarded highly in their native Arkansas, Lost Forty Brewing is canning up some stellar takes on a wide variety of styles. We taste five beers from this Little Rock-based brewery thanks to listener Chris Butler. These extremely tasty beers quickly chuck us over the hill and into one of the most far-fetched game ideas Ryan has ever had, in addition to a real rogue’s gallery of diversions: the worst way to ruin your phone, the problem with Spencer’s Gifts, weird sleepovers, the California Raisins, a controversial statement on convertible pants, and a Brazilian butt mystery. #BossBabyisLife
Logger Rita (Mexican-Style Vienna Lager)
Trash Panda (New England Style IPA)
Snake Party (Double IPA)
Nighty Night (Imperial Stout aged in cabernet, bourbon, and rye whiskey barrels)
Wed, 17 January 2018
Our 14th state show is with beers from all over the Hawkeye state, thanks to listener TJ Osborn. We review five beers from five different Iowa breweries and run into our first-ever CrowlerFreak.Ⓡ Ryan gets to relive a little of his college days in Iowa City by drinking too much and wearing an adult-sized onesie; Craig just tries to figure out what the hell we’re drinking. There’s two games on this one that Ryan uses to torture Craig: Name that Slipknot Tune and Dan Gable: Fact or Fiction? And it won’t even cost you a single cheddar cube.
Barn Town Brewing - Hop Skewer IPA (maybe….)
SingleSpeed Brewing Co. - Cocoanut Oat Porter
Franklin Street Brewing - Drugstore Cowboy (New England IPA)
Lake Time Brewery - Peanut Butter Cup Porter
Iowa Brewing Company - Moray (Barrel-aged Scotch Ale)
Wed, 10 January 2018
In the last six months, four hotly anticipated taprooms threw open their doors for thirsty Chicagoans, and we took a day to visit them. We brought back beers from each spot to review while sharing our early impressions of the new establishments. There’s also some necessary Podcasting 101 (for Kidz), Craig’s melty-face fears, the search for Snackwell’s, and a toilet Ghoulie sighting. So pop open a growler, and have yourself a scoop of The Country’s Second Best Yogurt, in audio form.
Half Acre Beer Co. Balmoral Tap Room (2050 W Balmoral Ave) - Wallonia (Saison)
Spiteful Brewing Taproom (2024 W Balmoral Ave) - Spiteful IPA
Off Color Brewing, The Mouse Trap (1460 N Kingsbury St) - Myshka (Russian Serf Stout)
Maplewood Brewery & Distillery Lounge (2717 N Maplewood) - Fluffy Bottoms (Lactose Pale Ale)
Wed, 3 January 2018
The pfabulous brewery with the pfunny name, pFriem Family Brewers out of Hood River, Oregon has been perfecting styles and racking up medals since 2012. We get to try a variety of styles here thanks to head brewer Gavin Lord who sent us a generous package for our reviewing pleasure. And it’s a pleasure, indeed. But we also talk a lot about what Ja Rule has been up to these days, explain both “dankness” and centrifuges with immaculate precision, get the dill out, and receive a terrible nickname from a toddler. Grab your own fish and sit down for a pristine evening with one of the best breweries in the world.