ABV Chicago Craft Beer Podcast (general)

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

  1. Sketchbook Brewing/Bitter Pops - Catch Me If You Can (Brown ale w/ orange zest, cinnamon, clove, ginger and nutmeg)
  2. Alarmist Brewing - Dorado Fields (New England-style IPA)
  3. Great Lakes Brewing Co. - Christmas Ale
  4. Half Acre Beer Co. - Cape Dune (India Pale Lager)
  5. Penrose Brewing Co. - Blackberry Lemon Rosé (Sour ale)
  6. Stone Brewing - W00tstout 2018 (Partially barrel-aged stout with pecans)
  7. Solemn Oath Brewery - Kidnapped by Vikings (American IPA)
  8. Central Waters Brewing Co. - Cassian Sunset (Bourbon barrel-aged stout w/ coffee, cinnamon, and vanilla beans)
  9. Off Color Brewing - Known Gnome (Porter)
  10. Noon Whistle Brewing - Freshman @ Life (Kolsch)
  11. BrewDog - Choco Libre Nitro (Mexican hot chocolate imperial stout)
  12. Deschutes Brewery - Jubelale (Winter Ale)
Direct download: ABV_Chicago_254_BP_Advent.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

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.

Beers Reviewed

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)
Schloss Eggenberg - Samichlaus Classic (Doppelbock)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_253_Beer_Gifts.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:47am CST

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.

Beers Reviewed

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)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_252_Deep_Wood.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

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.

Beers Tasted

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

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_251_BCBS_2018.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

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.

Gueuzes Cruised

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)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_250_Gueuzn_USA.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am CST

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?

Beers Reviewed

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)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_249_FoBABlin_3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

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

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_248_The_Torture_Test_II.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

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.

Beers Reviewed

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)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_247_The_IN_Show.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

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

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_246_Pumpkin_Chuckin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:45am CST

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!

Beers Reviewed

Keller Pils 2.0

Hefeweizen

Quadruple Dry-Hopped Juicy Bits

Double Peach Milkshake IPA

Medianoche (2018)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_245_WeldWerks.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:35am CST

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

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_244_Hops_We_Did_It_Again.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:46am CST

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.

Beers Reviewed

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

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_243_GABF_2018.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:05pm CST

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!

Beers Reviewed

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)

Direct download: ABV_Episode_242_Milkshake_IPAs.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:05pm CST

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.

Beers Reviewed

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)

Check out the GABF 2018 Illinois Brewery Pour List here

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_241_Road_to_GABF.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:58am CST

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!

Beers Reviewed

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

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_240_Belgian_Sours.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:44am CST

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! 

Beers Reviewed

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)

Interviews Included

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)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_239_The_WI_Show.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:02am CST

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!

Beers Reviewed

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)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_238_450_North.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:09am CST

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!


Brut IPAs Reviewed

Mikerphone Brewing/FinBack Brewery - Brut-ee-licious (Dry-Hopped Brut IPA w/ Citra and Enigma Hops)
Hailstorm Brewing/Arrowhead Ales - Hopsecco (w/ sauvignon blanc juice)
Middle Brow Beer Co. - Art Brut
Miskatonic Brewing - The Cryomancer
Illuminated Brew Works - Radionic Amplifier

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_237_Brut_by_Chicago.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:12pm CST

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.

Beers Reviewed

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
Narrow Gauge Brewing - Meersalz - Apricot/Peach (gose)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_236_St_Louis_Six.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:12pm CST

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!

Beers Reviewed

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)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_235_American_Kriek.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:39pm CST

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.

Beers Reviewed

Homestyle (IPA)
Mood Ring (DIPA w/ blood orange, pineapple, and mango)
Moon Dust (Imperial milk stout w/ chocolate, graham cracker, vanilla, lactose and Moon Pies - collaboration with WeldWerks)
V. Latte (Imperial oatmeal stout w/ cocoa nibs, vanilla bean, lactose, and espresso coffee)
Fresh Baked (Imperial oatmeal stout w/ vanilla, lactose, and chocolate chip cookies)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_234_Bearded_Iris.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:51pm CST

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.

Drinks Reviewed

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

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_233_Rose_Three_Ways.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:47pm CST

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.

Beers Reviewed

Revolution Brewing - Freedom of Speach (Session sour)
pFriem Family Brewers - Peche (Lambic-inspired ale)
Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project - Colorado Reserva Palisade Peach (Golden sour aged in oak)
Casey Brewing and Blending - The Mix: Bourbon Peach Bank (Saison aged in bourbon barrels)
Illuminated Brew Works - Gay Agenda (Double dry-hopped double IPA)
Triptych Brewing - Prairie Peach Picnic (Mixed culture ale)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_232_Just_Peachy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:10pm CST

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.

Beers Reviewed

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)
Hubbard’s Cave - Fresh IIPA V4 (Imperial IPA w/ Mosaic and Simcoe)

Cruz Blanca Brewery - Freetown (DDH DIPA)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_231_Still_Hazy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:16pm CST

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.)

Beers Reviewed

Perennial Artisan Ales - Saison de Lis (saison w/ chamomile flowers)
Middle Brow Beer Co. - Neko (rye ginger saison)
New Belgium Brewing - Belgian Reserve Sour Saison
Solemn Oath Brewery - Larry Powder the Magical Boy (dry-hopped saison)
Hop Butcher for the World - Weirdsmobile (Nelson Sauvin & Vic Secret-hopped saison)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_230_SaisOn_The_Shelf.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:58am CST

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
Firestone Walker Lager
Ballast Point Longfin Lager
Pabst Blue Ribbon
Coors Banquet Beer
Founders Solid Gold Premium Lager
Spiteful Lager
Old Style

*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

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_229_Lager_Me_Blindly.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:05pm CST

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.

Beers Reviewed

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)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_228_Candy_and_Cakes.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:34am CST

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

Beers Reviewed

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)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_227_Chi_Sour_IPAs.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:38am CST

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

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_226_BeerCrimes.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:40am CST

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 CST

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 CST

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 CST

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 CST

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 CST

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 CST

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 CST

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 CST

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 CST

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 CST

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 CST

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 CST

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 CST

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 CST

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. 

Beers Reviewed

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

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_211_The_AR_Show.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:46am CST

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)

Direct download: Best_of_Low_ABV_3_-_Hops_N_Games.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:17am CST

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.

Beers Reviewed

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)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_210_Holy_Mountain.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:32pm CST

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

Beers Reviewed

Logger Rita (Mexican-Style Vienna Lager)

Trash Panda (New England Style IPA)

Baltic Porter

Snake Party (Double IPA)

Nighty Night (Imperial Stout aged in cabernet, bourbon, and rye whiskey barrels)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_209_Lost_Forty.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:12am CST

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.

Beers Reviewed

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)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_208_The_IA_Show.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:48am CST

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.  

Beers Reviewed

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)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_207_New_Taproom_Tour.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:50am CST

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.

Beers Reviewed

Pilsner
Super Saison
Dank IPA
Frambozen
Oud Bruin

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_206_Pfriem.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:06pm CST

The perfect soundtrack to setting your 2017 calendars ablaze over your electric stove, this episode features five beers that are, like, sooooo 2017. We kiss off this s***ty year with a combination of hazy IPAs and sweet/pastry stouts before the World Premiere of our brand new parody song, “We Didn’t Start the Fire (2017 Beer Edition)”. Other topics include Trader Joe’s mysterious Island calligraphy, desecration of a sacred Ullgump, “Pimp My Vape Rig”, and how CBS is Independence Day.  Van Damme Milkshake!

Anchor Brewing/Trader Joe’s - Joe Joe’s Cookie Stout  (Milk Stout)

Trinity Brewing - Hype Forager (East Coast Super Juicy Turbid IPA)

Sierra Nevada Brewing - Hazy Little Thing IPA

Marz Community Brewing - Pastry Boy (Double Milk Stout w/ graham crackers, lactose, cinnamon, and vanilla)

Founders Brewing - Canadian Breakfast Stout (2017) (Imperial coffee stout with chocolate aged in maple syrup bourbon barrels)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_205_FO_2017.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:52pm CST

A shining star led many wise men and women to our place of recording, with each bearing wondrous homages of beer as we give audio birth to this blessed baby podcast. Actually, it’s just our holiday party with a bunch of great guests and stellar beer. Between handfuls of snacks, we manage to record ourselves drinking five beers (with so, so many more off-mic) and persuade a few brewers and loyal listeners to join in the fun. It’s a grab bag of topics featuring waffles with Santana, international brewpubs, exquisite hop rubbings, the new Maplewood Lounge, Craig’s lubricant secret, dank Chicago food, Three Penis Wine, and the Rapsittie Street Kids. Happy holidays to everyone listening!

Segment #1: Jon Naghski (Goose Island Brewhouse) and listener Ross O’Neill drink Goose Island Clybourn’s Night Fights, a “ghost whale” version of their barrel-aged Impervious Stout, with raspberries added.

Segment #2: Jude La Rose (Hop Butcher for the World) and listener Neal taste two collaborations with Colorado’s WeldWerks Brewing: Mikerphone’s Juicy Hits, a double IPA with pink guava and blood orange, and Hop Butcher’s Render the Phat, a double IPA with passionfruit.

Segment #3: Listeners Beck (@a.girl.rates.beer) and Josh try this year’s Coffee Abraxas from Perennial (courtesy of Don Kasak) and Saint Errant Brewing’s newest IPA, Chapter 1: Citra.

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_204_Holiday_Party_2017.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:26am CST

Few things pair with falling temperatures, snow flurries, and holiday stress as well as big roasty and nutty stouts, so we get cracking on five beers that feature unique nut additions. We learn about the awfulness of black walnuts, give credit to the brewery that started pastry stouts, talk strategy for TMNT II: The Arcade Game, and discover some fascinating facts about nuts through the magic of listicles. There’s also a long bit at the beginning about miniature horses, and we end it with Craig trying to get Ryan to understand fecundity. Love this ugly baby.

 

Hop Butcher for the World/DryHop Brewers - Milkstachio (Milk Stout w/ cacao nibs and natural pistachio flavor)

Pollyanna Brewing - Fun Size (Milk Stout w/ peanut, cacao nib, vanilla beans and sea salt)

Jackie O’s Pub & Brewery - Oil of Aphrodite (Imperial Stout w/ black walnuts and dark Belgian candi sugar)

Prairie Artisan Ales - Pe-Kan (Imperial Stout w/ vanilla and pecans)

Odd Side Ales - Hazel’s Nuts (Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels w/ coffee and natural hazelnut flavor)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_203_Nuts_4_Stouts.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:01am CST

Recorded after our return from this year’s GABF in October, we add to our State Show Series by sampling five beers from five Denver-area breweries, completely neglecting the rest of this beer-rich state. We recap our visits to four of the breweries and take our riffing to new above sea-level heights by talking about cask ales, dubstep pedicabs, a bathroom clown, terrible houseguests, Weird Sal, and your grandma’s unsettling Twitter handle. There’s also a little game of “Weed Strain or Colorado Beer Name?” for which Craig is woefully unprepared. (And don’t forget to look out for Schwimmer Vintage Ales in 2019!)

Beers Reviewed

Little Machine Beer - Razz Against the Machine (Tart Raspberry Beer)

Hogshead Brewery - Lake Lightning (English Pale Ale)

Amalgam Brewing - Ascension (Golden Sour Ale)

4 Noses Brewing - ‘Bout Damn Time (American IPA)

Cerebral Brewing - Cheat Code (Double IPA)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_202_The_CO_Show.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:59am CST

Did you strike out on BCBS this year? Is your Black Friday haul picture too pitiful to boastpost to that one Facebook group? Be not dismayed weary barrel-aged beer seekers - we have a whole show of beers that required waiting in no lines to obtain! We found five barrel-aged beers that were both more affordable and available than any Bourbon County variant - and guess what - some of them might be better than that beer that launched a thousand pitched tents. We start this one by reviewing the grisly details of this year’s Black Friday chaos while desperately searching for our roommate Derek. Last we saw him was by the port-o-potties with a paper Dixie cup full of some guy’s warm pour of Bramble, so if you’ve seen him please hit us up. He sometimes answers to DerBear.

Beers Reviewed 

Oskar Blues Brewery - Barrel-Aged Ten Fidy

Revolution Brewing - Deth by Cherries

Nickel Brook Brewing - Cafe Del Bastardo

Moody Tongue - Bourbon Barrel-Aged 12 Layer Cake

Dogfish Head Brewery - Oak-aged Vanilla World Wide Stout

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_201_Lineless_in_Chicago.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:57am CST

To commemorate our big 200, we ditched all of our high concept ideas to bring it back to the podcast’s origins by having a bottle share of random beers that interested us. But we couldn’t stop there, as this star-studded episode also features a ridiculous number of brewers and industry folks as we shout trivia questions at them during FoBAB. Some of the beers we drink are stellar, one is downright terrible, and the episode-long 90’s trivia game of us versus the brewers is a belligerent cabaret of fun and follies. We also talk about our new podcast project, rolled ice cream, the bomber curse, a little show history, and getting extreme. Whether you’ve been there for 2 episodes or 200, we sincerely thank you for tuning in to our show and hope we can continue to delight your beer-loving ears. And thanks to all of the brewers and industry friends for embarrassing themselves for our twisted pleasure on this show. #CARSTAB

Beers Reviewed

August Schell Brewing - North Star Collection: Tidal Disruption (Berliner Weisse w/ blackberries)
Hubbard’s Cave - Fresh IIPA V8 (w/ Citra & Simcoe)
Middle Brow Beer Co. - The Milk-Eyed Mender Oat Whiskey Aged (Imperial spiced milk stout with peppers, orange zest, vanilla beans, and cacao nibs, aged in Koval oat whiskey barrels)
Casey Brewing & Blending/Side Project Brewing - Jammy (Barrel-aged saison w/ blackberries)
Epic Brewing - Triple Barrel Big Bad Baptist (Imperial stout aged in whiskey and rum barrels with cacao nibs, barrel-aged coffee, and barrel-aged coconut)

90’s Trivia Game Subjects (in order of appearance)

Jacob Sembrano (Cruz Blanca Brewery & Taqueria)
Dave Dahl (Lo Rez Brewing)
Brian Krajack (Forbidden Root Brewing)
Chris Betts (Transient Artisan Ales)
Matt Johnsen (Horse Thief Hollow)
Matt LaFleur (@DoodleMatt)
Claudia Jendron (Pipeworks Brewing) & Karina Shimkos (Blue Island Beer Co.)
Chris Kingston (Metropolis Coffee) Peter Anderson & Doug Hurst (Metropolitan Brewing)
Roger Cuzelis & Brent Banks (Corridor Brewery & Provisions)
Neil Fisher (WeldWerks Brewing)
Mike Pallen (Mikerphone Brewing)
Shaun Berns (More Brewing)
Josh Noel (Chicago Tribune)
Brad Pulver (Smylie Brothers Brewing)
Ryan Jacobs & Brent Banks (Saint Errant Brewing)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_200_Extravaganza.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:50pm CST

As Metal Monkey Brewing in Romeoville gears up for the largest release in their almost two-year history, they decided that we should spread the word on the four barrel-aged versions of their huge Asmodeus stout. Was it a wise idea? For us, it certainly was as the beers are damn enjoyable and lead us to the worst game we’ve ever played on this show. There’s also a 15-minute chat with brewers Dan Camp and Jason Janes about the history of Metal Monkey and how the base stout for this beer was almost deemed completely cursed. Within the rest of this audio word cuvée, you’ll hear some talk of kids shows, Ray Romano, lip smacking, coffee roasting, IHOP, and the wall of Mexican chocolate. Also, screw Bon Jovi.

 

Beers Reviewed

 

Barrel Aged Asmodeus (2017)

Barrel Aged Asmodeus - Coffee

Barrel Aged Asmodeus - Maple

Barrel Aged Asmodeus - Mexican Chocolate

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_199_Metal_Monkey.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:24pm CST

Each fall, Chicago holds one of the best beer fests in the country, so don’t blame us for getting all giddy about it. We talk a lot about what we’re excited for at the 15th Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beers and review beers from some of the better breweries set to pour. Yes, a lot of the FoBAB talk has a bit of a relevancy expiration date, but there’s a lot more general beer and festival discussion as we sip five impressive barrel-aged beers. But also, we answer humanity’s best question, take sides on two late 90s teen movies, reveal Craig’s jelly aversion, and get ready for some hot Jeff-on-Jeff action.

Beers Reviewed // FoBABlin’ Segments

pFriem Family Brewers - Pruim (Lambic-inspired ale w/ plums aged in French Oak) // Festival Tips

Atom Brewing Company - Raspberry Harvest (Oak barrel-aged raspberry ale) // Little known breweries to try

Fremont Brewing - Bourbon Barrel Dark Star Coffee Edition (Imperial oatmeal stout) // Known breweries not to miss

Flossmoor Station Restaurant & Brewery - Wooden Hell 2017 (Bourbon barrel-aged barleywine) // Locals & potpourri

Off Color Brewing - Papillon (Gin barrel-aged wild ale) // Festiquette

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_198_FoBABlin_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:47am CST

Be cautious beer audio traveler, there’s a dense fog advisory covering this episode as we blindly taste through six New England-style hoppy beers. We pit murky IPAs and DIPAs from Illinois against the opaque juice bombs from other states in a blind faceoff-matchup-tasting thing, because we’ve run out of original ideas. Despite our presumptuous hazy expertise, we are still shocked by a few of the results. Beyond that, we talk about around-the-house jeans, beard tips, prospective beer names, Rummikub, and papayneapples. Now I just kind of want some Jamba Juice.

 

Beers Tasted Blindly (in order tasted) 

  1. Old Nation Brewing - M-43 (IPA)
  2. Forbidden Root - Night Moth (IPA w/ oak spirals)
  3. Mikerphone Brewing - Super Special Sauce (DIPA)
  4. Weldwerks Brewing - Extra Extra Juicy Bits (DIPA)
  5. Tree House Brewing - Doppelgänger (DIPA)
  6. Corridor Brewery & Provisions - SqueezIt (DIPA)
Direct download: ABV_Chicago_197_Blinded_by_the_Haze.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:55am CST

In what will surely become a Hellish yearly tradition, we get gruesome on this show by trying to break each other by pouring the worst beers we could find. It’s a contest of depravity as we each selected three beers for the other to experience blind, and the results are horrifying. There’s a game aspect to the whole show, wherein punishment points are gathered for a final rankings drinking of The Punishment Cuvée™ (aka The Cuvée of Doom™). If you don’t like two guys being disgusted by a diverse range of terrible beers, then proceed with caution. But if you want to hear us suffer at each other’s hands (kinky!), this will be your favorite episode of this show. Either way, I’m pretty sure we have violated the Geneva Conventions and will be going to forever prison.

The Tortuous Collection

Craig’s Choices

Half Acre Beer Co. - Beer Hates Astronauts (IPA - 2013)

Pipeworks Brewing - A Couple Two Tree (Scotch Ale w/ spruce tips and oak spirals)

Bell’s Brewery - Eccentric Ale (Herb/Spice Beer - 2011)

Ryan’s Choices

Founder Brewing Co. - Mango Magnifico (Fruit Beer - 2013)

Camo Beer Co. - Camo Black Extra (Malt Liquor)

Rinkuškiai - Hell on High (Quad Bock)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_196_The_Torture_Test.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:49am CST

For many years now, vanilla has been the adjunct that takes a beer’s status from gold to platinum, instantly raising its secondary value to ridiculous levels. Not wanting to waste a drop, we invited a bunch of our friends - who brought a whole lot more beer - to taste 15 (!!) vanilla adjunct beers that are mostly stouts. We are joined by MC Johnsen (Worth a Thousand Beers), Matt Johnsen (Horse Thief Hollow), Brent Banks (Saint Errant Brewing), and two loyal listeners and friends - Randy and Daniel. Although some of the beers aren’t solely enhanced by vanilla, we do learn from real brewers how to extract the best vanilla flavor in a brew. But in our long quest to find the best vanilla adjunct beer, we take some diversions to discuss micropancakeries, Craig stink, ice cream safe zones, Tootsie Roll songs, Wafflehouses, sad fruits, and whether or not Ryan should trade a “Prop” for a Nintendo 64 with Goldeneye. (He should.) #VSBS

Beers Sampled

Avery Brewing - Vanilla Bean Stout

4 Hands Brewing - Madagascar (2015)

FiftyFifty Brewing - Eclipse - Vanilla (2016)

Hill Farmstead Brewery - Twilight of the Idols (2015)

Saint Errant Brewing - Tepoztecatl

Transient Artisan Ales - Bark Lord (2017)

Mikerphone Brewing - Imperial Smells Like Bean Spirit Vanilla

Pipeworks Brewing - The Hyper Dog (Elijah Craig barrels)

Transient Artisan Ales - Neckbeard Nectar (2016)

Jackie O’s Pub and Brewery - Bourbon Barrel Vanilla and Coffee Bean Dark Apparition (2017)

Pipeworks Brewing - The Jones Dog (Bourbon barrel aged)

The Bruery - White Chocolate

Cycle Brewing - Rare Dos Double Barrel (Vanilla)

Goose Island Brewery - Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout (2010)

Bottle Logic Brewing - Fundamental Observation (2017)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_195_VSBS.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:57am CST

Our Fourth Annual GABF Recap Spectacular is bursting with content, as we gathered more interviews and drank more beer than ever before! Recorded from our Denver hotel room, this show - featuring MC Johnsen - serves as our recap of the 36th Great American Beer Festival, as we share our overall highlights, favorite beers, and many interviews from the floor. We also drink two area beers - one from Cerebral and the other from Wiley Roots - to help us hold on to the glory days a little longer. We also recap a few of the related events, with focus on the weekend-long Melvin bacchanalia that penetrated the whole city. Also, hear about the Illinois medal winners while hearing from two of them, including Matt Johnsen, who stayed awake for part of this one. Relive the greatest weekend in beer and get mile high with us.

 

Beers Reviewed

 

Cerebral Brewing - DDH Rare Trait (New England IPA)

Wiley Roots Brewing & Outer Range Brewing - Neature Walk (Double IPA)

 

Interviews

 

Great Notion Brewing (Portland, OR) - Paul Reiter & James Dugan (00:08:39 - 00:11:30)

pFriem Family Brewers (Hood River, OR) - Gavin Lord (00:17:00 - 00:24:07)

Hi-Wire Brewing (Asheville, NC) - Chris Frosaker (00:33:19 - 00:37:55)

Green Cheek Beer Co. (Orange, CA) - Evan Price (00:43:08 - 00:52:41)

Prison City Pub and Brewery (Auburn, NY) - Marc Schulz & Ben Maeso (00:57:57 - 01:03:53)

Randy Mosher (01:10:43 - 01:22:46)

Forager Brewery (Rochester, MN) - Zack Dunbar (01:27:36 - 01:33:20)

On Tour Brewing (Chicago, IL) - Mark Legenza & Mark Poffenberger (01:39:14 - 0:1:41:32)

Wolf’s Ridge Brewing (Columbus, OH) - Chris Davison (01:45:11 - 01:50:20)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_194_GABF_2017.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:16pm CST

We broke our self-imposed hop hiatus in spectacular fashion, thanks to listener Mike Rousseau. Five super sexy hoppy cans from the Golden State don’t even stand a chance here, as no drop is left undrank. Thus begins a journey of pure inebriation, as we explore Craig’s doppelgangers, draw up some sick face tattoos, get largely aromatic, and perseverate on label fonts and kerning. There’s a game called “Rap Songs All White Guys Know the Lyrics To”, and we try to hold on to the memory of Pudgy Craig. Long live Pudgy Craig.

 

Beers Reviewed

 

Fieldwork Brewing - Sea Farmer (IPA with sea salt and grapefruit)

Fieldwork Brewing - Pulp (IPA)

Fieldwork Brewing - King Citra (Double IPA)

Monkish Brewing/The Answer - Red Beans and Rice Didn’t Miss Her (Double IPA)

Bottle Logic Brewing - START: Konami Code (Double IPA)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_193_Cali_Cans.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:46am CST

There is a ridiculous amount of options for the Chicagoland beer buyer, but that won’t stop five more established breweries from carving out some shelf space! We try five beers from these new arrivals to try and determine how they will play to the Chicagoland consumer - and some are going to be hard to overlook. We also try to be a beaming light of beer positivity despite our cynical proclivities, talk at length about the proper definition of a New England IPA, discuss the power of the mixed six pack advantage, and play a game called Know Your SKUs! There’s some prognostication about Twenty Kuitteen (and Twenty Schwarty), Craig’s problem with yogurt, and Ryan’s joy-diverting beer-clickbait article rant. Grab a new beer, and let us eat that slime ham for you.

Beers Reviewed

Alaskan Brewing Amber

Sun King Wee Mac Scottish Ale

Trinity Brewing Seven Day Sour

Epic Brewing Citralush New England Style IPA

Perrin Brewing Unfinished Business (Barrel-Aged Japanese Emperor Stout)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_192_Too_Many_SKUs.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:51am CST

The third show in our own Jersey Trilogy (thanks to listener Mike Bobal), we finally get to try more from a brewery that’s blown us away at festivals in the past - Kane Brewing. We have three hoppy cans, two potent bottles, and two irreverent trivia games on this episode as we spiral towards a drunken blackout. Craig extols the majesty of bunting, Ryan works on his interview technique, and we both do a little ghost hop hunting. And don’t listen to this one alone in a room with your vacuum because it could be pretty awkward.

Beers Reviewed

Sneakbox (American Pale Ale)

Head High (IPA)

Overhead (Double IPA)

Morning Bell (Imperial Coffee Porter)

Vengeful Heart (American Barleywine)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_191_Kane.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:47am CST

We’ve been smitten with The Mitten for as long as we’ve loved beer, because Michigan just might be the best beer state in the Midwest. We stick to the western coast of MI as Craig gathered four interviews and five beers for this 11th stop in our ongoing State Show series. You’ll hear from John Lustina from Beer Church about how sometimes a good concept needs to be rushed; David Coyle from Arclight on their hopes for Chicago distribution; David Cockell from Watermark on how his biochemistry degree helps him keep yeast happy; and Mitch Ermatinger from Speciation on deriving character from patience. We also do our best to review these beers before Ryan succumbs to death by heartburn and before the new Pudgy Craig gets audibly winded. There’s also talk of communion wafer smells, cheesecake love, and an update on Ryan’s brewery concept. If you seek a pleasant state show, listen about you.

Beers Reviewed


Beer Church Brewing - Crooked Cross (Cream Ale)

Arclight Brewing - Soursmith Strawberry (Sour Ale aged w/ strawberries)

Watermark Brewing - Wild Vibes (Sour Imperial Stout)

Speciation Artisan Ales - Incipient (Tequila barrel-aged American Wild Ale w/ blood orange, guava, limes, and salt)

Perrin Brewing - No Rules Vietnamese Porter (Imperial Porter aged in bourbon barrels w/ coconut and turbinado sugar)

Interview Segments

Beer Church’s John Lustina (00:09:08 - 00:23:37)

Arclight’s David Coyle (00:30:46 - 00:38:00)

Watermark’s David Cockell (00:47:16 - 00:57:00)

Speciation’s Mitch Ermatinger (01:10:38 - 01:23:23)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_190_The_MI_Show.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:05am CST

This episode will, once and for all, determine which state is the greatest on Earth: Wisconsin or Illinois? We find sort-of equivalent beers in pretty specific styles from each state to vie for our arbitrary love. This episode is soft dystopia for soft adults, with mentions of FroBAB, the ReinheitsgeBot, and drunken Cinnabon. One beer leaves us almost completely speechless, and another blurs style lines unlike any we’ve ever experienced. We also drop some advice on must-hit beer stops on a Chicago visit, and get confused over popular songs from like 4 years ago. It’s brats vs. Polish sausages; cheese curds vs. deep dish; cheese heads vs. ....Ditka mustaches? Whatever it is, it’ll be interesting.

Beers Faced

Buckledown Fritzicuffs vs. New Glarus Hometown Blonde

Hubbard’s Cave El Zacatón vs. Untitled Art/3 Sons Oaxacan Stout

Goose Island Brasserie Blanc vs. Funk Factory Cervino

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_189_Face_Off_WI_v_IL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:44am CST

Taking a much-needed vacation from hops, we let our taste buds travel to five different continents to sample beers from around the world. In addition to an interview with Pete from Garage Project, this episode contains a valuable lesson about getting out of America every once in awhile. How long can we keep up a shaky plane metaphor? What do we have to say about esophageal displeasure, hotshipping with a volcano, and carbonated gravy? Well, grab your passport, hop on the Turbulence, and find out with us!

Beers Reviewed

Garage Project [New Zealand] - Bastard Rye (Imperial Rye Blond aged in bourbon barrels)

Ölvisholt Brewery [Iceland] - Lava (Smoked Imperial Stout)

Kiuchi Brewery [Japan] - Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale (Belgian Strong Pale Ale)

Way Beer [Brazil] - Sour Me Not Caju (Sour Ale)

Tusker [Africa] - Lager

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_188_Around_the_World.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:53am CST

While many of their friends were starting breweries and gaining notoriety, Brent Banks and Ryan Jacobs were honing their craft as home brewers while juggling jobs in finance and the medical field. At the urging of their comrades, the pair finally decided to go pro and start Saint Errant Brewing. Currently, they contract brew out of the Mikerphone space in Elk Grove Village, and as of mid-August, they released their first (solo) offering, Strange Loops, in bottles and kegs. We sat down with Brent and Ryan to taste through several recent brews and test batches to discover that starting a brewery in 2017 isn’t so crazy when the beers taste this excellent. We cover a lot here including the difficulties of beer names, the significance of yeast variables, Chicago’s perplexing lack of love for sours, where to shop for the best peaches, and how those Vermont trips with Fitz helped them dial in their New England style IPA recipes. (Shout out to Julio Rosenstein!)

Beers Sampled

Get It Together (Double IPA with mangos/collaboration with Mikerphone)
Strange Loops (Double IPA)
Mr. Hanalei (Berliner-style sour ale with guava, passionfruit, and naranjilla)
Pitseleh (Sour saison with peaches)
Between Waves (Milkshake IPA with apricot, lactose, and vanilla)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_187_Saint_Errant.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:19pm CST

From the tip of New Jersey’s elbow, Carton Brewing makes beers sometimes born of unusual inspiration that combine culinary artistry with just the right amount of whimsy. Listener Mike Bobal sent us six Carton beers for this one, and the flavors are as big as the alcohol content. We talk about Carton’s namesake leader Augie and his prolific internet presence while tasting through beers that steeply rise in ABV pretty early in the show. Naturally, this leads to asides about drunken oaring, Chupa Chups, sex stuff with oranges, proper nachos, and Craig’s monogamous cereal life. We also hop on the CanniBus to Weed Church before everything goes all orange on us. Don’t put this one in a box! (Because that would be physically impossible as this is a digital medium.)

Beers Reviewed

Wit Whale (Hoppy Wit Beer)
077XX (East Coast Double IPA)
Cosmonaut (Russian Imperial Stout with Freeze-Dried Ice Cream and Spices)
All Orange Everything (Triple IPA - Collaboration with Other Half Brewing)
Regular Coffee (Imperial Cream Ale with Coffee)
Café Y' Churro (Imperial Cream Ale with Coffee, Vanilla, and Cinnamon)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_186_Carton_Brewing.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:59am CST

Ignoring the fact that there are plenty of beers out there that relegate hops to a simple supporting ingredient, we again indulge our insatiable appetites for chronic hop-led tonics by tasting out five super fresh local IPAs and DIPAs. Are we getting too old for this sh*t? Not likely! We do have a hell of a time trying to find critical points that separate these all-hazy all-juicy hop cocktails before they disappear from our glasses. And because our usually-rich lexicon of descriptors (ha!) is limited to a few keywords again and again, we bring back the fan-favorite episode-spanning game Beers Against Humanity to force us to shoehorn dirty and terrible phrases into our normally pristine and knowledgeable beer analysis (HA!) Give in to your temptations, and let the hops take over. (And tell ‘em Bruce Candles sent you.)

Beers Reviewed

Forbidden Root - Radio Swan (Rye IPA)
Hop Butcher for the World - Skrap Metal (DIPA)
Pipeworks/Run the Jewels/Interboro - Stay G-O-L-D (IPA)
More Brewing - Loose Candies (DIPA)
Corridor Brewery & Provisions - SqueezeIt OG (DIPA)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_185_Cant_Stop_the_Hops.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:20pm CST

We love hops - and more importantly, our listening audience loves hops too. So to keep pushing those download numbers higher, we take our palates to the limit with six random hoppy beers. We talk about the wacky world of beer pricing, the shelf life of hazy beers, and the best brewery that Chicagoans aren’t talking about. If those hot takes aren’t enough to get your download fingers twitching with anticipation, then we also tackle the important issues like which deli meat is the stickiest, and why Joey Pants is the best, and what are the most lethal Slip N’ Slides? Plus, Craig trademarks his beer gym idea, and we set straight something very important about Gushy. Thanks for the clicks! #hazybeer #hazyipa #KregTightjacket #LilTeashat #BobUecker

Beers Reviewed

Marz Community Brewing Co. - Jungle Boogie (pale wheat ale w/ rooibos tea)
Haymarket Brewery - Oscar’s Pardon (Dry-hopped Belgian pale ale)
Sun King Brewing - Fistful of Hops (IPA)
Triptych Brewing - Wake Up Neo (New England-style DIPA)
Transient Artisan Ales - Mind to Devour (DIPA)
Untitled Art - Hazy IIPA

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_184_Hops_For_Downloads.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:19pm CST

It’s been a year and some months since Chris Betts made Transient Artisan Ales not-so transient by opening up a brewery and taproom in Bridgman, Michigan. We take the short jaunt around the tip of Lake Michigan to catch up with Chris over some of his world-class beers and talk about some of the big things coming for the brewery. We learn about the brewery’s expansion plans, the truth about the shelf life of hazy IPAs, what he’s doing with a barleywine, why people criticising some of his prices are dead wrong, and how being surrounded by wineries has helped his transition into Michigan. There’s also talk of the future of contract brewing, the odd parameters people use to evaluate beer, the secret to conditioning hazy hoppy beers, the way he avoids lambic faux pas, the odd charm of the Norway beer scene, the influence of local flora on his Michigan Wild Ales, and the possibility of more Transient meads. And stay until the very end for some exciting news about the future of Transient in Chicago. Just don’t mind all the bungholes.

Beers Sampled

Czech Yourself (Czech-style Pilsner)
Big Rip (IPA with Michigan-grown hops)
Ardent (wine barrel-fermented mixed grain and mixed culture saison)
Anachronism (Michigan Wild Ale)
Foeder #2 w/ Black Currants (Michigan Wild Ale)
Purest Expression (Mead made with blueberries in collaboration with Four Fires Meadery)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_183_Transient_Artisan_Ales.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:06am CST

Two Illinois brewing traditionalists inspired us to dig deeper into lagers and hefeweizens, so we pitted a bunch against each other in a goofy Crossfire showdown. Riggs Beer Co. out of Urbana and Dovetail Brewery out of Chicago know the German way and have expertly paid homage to tradition at their year-old breweries. But that wasn’t enough as we brought in other examples of each style, either American or Bavarian. We get caught up in the crossfire as we also lagerjam our way into another potpourri of pop culture word association that you would expect from a typical episode of this show. Tradition, y’all.

 

Beer Combatants //

 

Lagergeddon:

 

Riggs Beer Co. - American Lager

Surly Brewing Co. - #Merica!

Dovetail Brewery - Lager

Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan - Weihenstephaner Original

 

Hefeweight Championship/HefeRock:

 

Riggs Beer Co. - Hefeweizen

New Glarus Brewing Co. - Bubbler

Dovetail Brewery - Hefeweizen

Ayinger Privatbrauerei - Ayinger Bräuweisse

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_182_Dovetail_and_Riggs.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:05am CST

From the basement of an Italian restaurant just outside of St. Louis, Narrow Gauge has started to gain a name in the Midwest and beyond as purveyors of great hazy IPAs - and other outstanding beers, as we find on this episode. We review four crowlers of beer that Craig schlepped back from a recent trip to Missouri, and the mix of quantity and quality has us hurtling towards shambling inebriation. We try to find Narrow Gauge’s place in the current hazy beer wars, and wax philosophical about the Perception of Aqueosity and the Arbitrarity of Rankings. Ryan introduces two new segments, and Craig will just put anything in his mouth.

Beers Reviewed

FloMO Pils

Fallen Flag IPA

Cloud City IPA

Old Town Porter

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_181_Narrow_Gauge.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:52am CST

Mike Pallen opened the doors on the tasting room for his new Elk Grove Village brewery back in March, and the rarest thing - besides some of his beers - is finding an open seat at the bar. We sat down with Mike at the new location to dive deep into what makes Mikerphone Brewing something like a phenomenon. And you’ll find out why opening a tasting room was the best thing Mikerphone has ever done. Over many bottles, we discuss the New England styles that have helped make a name for the brand, how he intends to try and fill the demand for Smells Like Bean Spirit (while creating more demand for some upcoming, crazy barrel-aged versions), the future of packaging for Mikerphone, how he uses Untappd for QC, his plans on establishing a flagship beer or two, what’s to come with distribution of his highly-coveted beers, and much more. At some point, we lose sight of the whole “interview” part of the show, and Mike just slides right into the 3rd host chair by joining us on diversions about New Glarus, Easter eggs on labels, music references, Skittles, and the local “gentleman’s club.” So, open up a few hazy ones because we hope you enjoy this longplayer even a fraction as much as we enjoyed recording it.

Beers Featured

Beautiful Oblivion (Imperial Stout w/ almonds, cocoa nibs, & vanilla)

DDH IPA ABC BBD (Double Dry-Hopped IPA with Mosaic and Motueka Hops)

Spacebar (Galaxy-Hopped DIPA)

Educated Fool (Double Dry-Hopped Double IPA with Ekuanot Hops)

Vinyl Frontier (Lactose Double IPA w/ El Dorado Hops

Creamsicle IPA (collaboration with Untitled Art)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_180_Mikerphone_Brewing_Live.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:22am CST

Whether it’s for a barbecue or a beach, choosing the right refreshing beer for your summer outing is more daunting than ever with so many choices. So, for your benefit, we drink eight Chicago-area beers that are built to pulled from ice and crushed. (For safety purposes, we must advise against you literally crushing beers, unless you own a CraigBot.) We also spend a lot of time with Summer Craig, get ball-punched by Peanut Tillman, conceptualize some mayo beers, bring down the PunGate, push for #NoMoLoMaNoMa, put out a can date mandate, talk about bad Untappd reviews, and slingshot some hams. So, it’s basically par for the course on an eight beer episode. Grab your longboard!

Beers C-C-C-C-CRUSHED

Middle Brow Beer Co. - Copacetic (cream ale with popcorn, lime, and peppers)

Temperance Beer Co. - Greenwood Beach (blonde ale with pineapple)

Pollyanna Brewing - Summerly (wheat ale with raspberries)

5 Rabbit Cervecería - Paletas Guava (wheat ale with guava and pink peppercorns and tarragon)
Hailstorm Brewing Co./The Open Bottle - Boing! (NE-style pale ale w/ pineapple, lactose, and vanilla)

Hop Butcher for the World - AleMerica the Beautiful (pale ale)

Moody Tongue - Peeled Grapefruit Pilsner

BuckleDown Brewing - Grapefruit Belt & Suspenders (IPA w/ grapefruit)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_179_Chicago_Cooler_Beers.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:11am CST

Thanks to listener Mike Bobal, we are able to drop another pin in our map as we tackle the Garden State. We review five beers from five different New Jersey breweries while trying not to offend every single person in that state. Also on the agenda, we try to refresh our tired review language, experience extreme visibility, meet Professor Nosebody, and talk about cat food with cheese in it. There’s a trivia game comparing one of Jersey’s favorite sons to a lunatic cult leader, but we also talk a little Springsteen. And the beers are tasty enough to send this boat hurtling towards the Jersey Shore.

Beers Reviewed

Magnify Brewing - Low Visibility Pale Ale

Jersey Girl Brewing - Rake Breaker IPA

Carton Brewing - Shinshu (cream ale with miso)

Double Nickel Brewing - Marbled Buffalo (bourbon barrel-aged rye beer)

Kane Brewing - Christian Patrick (imperial stout)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_178_The_NJ_Show.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:07pm CST

Starting back in 2005, Jackie O’s has grown from a brewpub to include a production brewery, bakeshop, and farm. Recently, Craig went down to Athens, Ohio and recorded about 20 minutes with the head brewer of the production brewery, Seth Morton, before bringing back a stash of beer for us to review. We try six of their excellent beers, three of which are barrel-aged, and we get completely SlamJammed. There’s also some kettle sour crankery, Dope Ass Doilies, piney beers, and a barleywine intervention. Come on and get SlamJammed.

 

Beers Reviewed

 

Berliner Weisse

Oro Negro (imperial stout w/ cacao, habanero, oak, cinnamon, and vanilla)

Bourbon Barrel Dark Apparition (Russian imperial stout)

Pockets of Sunlight (mixed culture saison w/ honey, coriander, and lemon verbena)

Bourbon Barrel Black Maple (imperial porter with maple syrup)

Bourbon Barrel Brick Kiln Nuts! (English-style barleywine w/ six different nut varieties)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_177_Jackie_Os.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:47pm CST

Over the course of a decade, DESTIHL Brewery has been extending their reach from their home in Central Illinois to sending their cans and bottles to nineteen different states. On this show, we sample an array of what they do: common styles, canned sours, and award-winning stouts. Craig sets us on a path of maximum distraction from the start, but we still manage to spin out some beer reviews before getting just surprisingly snockered. There’s also talk of Summer Craig’s return, banana perfection, new Greek yogurt flavors, and naughty 90’s HBO memories. Spin spin spin spin spin spin.

 

Beers Reviewed

 

Weissenheimer Hefeweizen

Wild Sour Series: Blueberry Gose

Wild Sour Series: Synchopathic (dry-hopped sour)

Amra Mango IPA

Dosvidanya (Bourbon barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout)

Dosvidanya Rye Barrel (Rye whiskey barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout)

 

Thanks to DESTIHL for sending us the Amra, Weissenheimer, and Blueberry Gose!

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_176__Destihl.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:40am CST

We add another pin on our map with a Pennsylvania show that rings our damn Liberty bells so hard that rankings have rarely been drunker. We have five beers to review from Craig’s travels, and a brief interview with East End Brewing’s Brendan Benson. The vibes are good, as we goof on podcast names, Nic Cage, and the Friends timeline. Also, Craig does poorly in two PA-centric trivia games, and Ryan reveals his greatest invention idea. (For the dedicated listeners, play a game of “find all the continuity errors” as we recorded this one back in mid-April, yet have referenced it in many already-released episodes!)

 

Beers Reviewed

 

Brew Gentlemen - General Braddock’s IPA

Forest & Main Brewing - Solaire (Saison)

Lavery Brewing - 1847 Rye Stout

East End Brewing - Gratitude (Bourbon Barrel-Aged Barleywine)

Bullfrog Brewery - Le Roar Grrrz Aardbei (Gueuze-style with strawberry)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_175_The_PA_Show.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:45am CST

We’re not quite ready to let another Chicago Craft Beer Week go, so we grabbed five new-ish canned beers from Chicago breweries to review. This show also serves as our Beer Under Glass festival recap - at least, what we can remember about it. Five highly-drinkable beers and two slightly hungover hosts - what else can we say?

 

Beers Reviewed

 

Hopewell Brewing - First Lager

Around the Bend Beer Co. - Vera (Pistachio cream ale)

Hop Butcher for the World - Grid (APA)

Finch Beer Co. - Plumage (IPA)

Whiner Beer Co. - Miaou (Blended barrel-aged Belgian wheat)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_174_Can_Do_Chicago.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:48am CST

Bring your raincoat and galoshes as there’s bound to be some moisture as we sip six DrippyIPAs© on this episode. We’re simply sodden with delicious hoppy ales, but one beer is the biggest shocker we’ve had in a long time. We also revisit our odd time at the Chicago Beer Classic on Soldier Field, long for a visit to St. Louis, relive Craig’s car accident, pray to Pope Meltivus IV, get horses to talk, and discuss all the 90s commercials that matter. (Sorry to Matt Pinfield on this one.)

Beers Reviewed

Shared - J Dub Fan Club (dry-hopped pale ale w/ passion fruit)

Perennial Artisan Ales - Cave Torch (dry-hopped IPA w/ oranges)

Mikerphone Brewing - I Want My IPA

Tired Hands Brewing - Drippy Church (oat IPA w/ orange)

Bearded Iris Brewing - Double Scatterbrain (double IPA)

Transient Artisan Ales - Honeystone (double IPA w/ honey)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_173_DrippyIPAs.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:44am CST

Sweet creamy delights fill our mouths on this engagement as we savor five adjunct-heavy milk stouts, and most are true to their intentions. It’s a roguish gallery of dessert flavors featuring coconut, chocolate, peanut butter, strawberry, cacao nibs, vanilla, cinnamon, peppers, and orange zest. We announce our big buyout, Craig’s bad creamer decision, proper jelly application, ice cream strategies, and a disturbingly erotic beer label. Bite the Bubble Tape. (BT2)

Beers Consumed

The Brew Kettle - Kitka (Chocolate Coconut Milk Stout)

TailGate Beer - PB&J Milk Stout

Saugatuck Brewing - Neapolitan Milk Stout

4 Hands Brewing - Horchata Chocolate Milk Stout

Middle Brow Beer - The Milk-eyed Mender (imperial milk stout made with oranges, peppers, cacao nibs, cinnamon & vanilla)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_172_Milky_Treats.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:36am CST

For many, wheat beers are summer. So we get tired of waiting for the weather to turn and initiate summer on this episode with five wheat beers from five Midwestern states. Which summer wheat should be on your grocery list? Hear our arbitrary opinions! We find renewed love with some of these wheats, and at least one surprising disappointment along the way. HAKAS!

Beers Reviewed

Bell’s Brewery - Oberon

New Glarus Brewing - Dancing Man Wheat

Boulevard Brewing - 80 Acre Hoppy Wheat

3 Floyds Brewing - Gumballhead

Revolution Brewing - Sun Crusher

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_171_Midwestern_Wheats.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:46am CST

Hot and ready at your ear doors, this episode is all about the Pizza Boy - Brewing, that is. Craig delivers another tasty lineup with five beers from his visit to this Enola, PA brewery. Of course this brewery awakens our appetites and we talk a bit about pizza and breakfast, with a serious diversion into ska. Also, find out Craig’s signature beer-transforming review trick before we get sneak-up drunk on this one. Put it on the pizza!

Beer Slices

Citra Pils

Moonstomp (Berliner weisse)

Sunny Side Up (Bourbon barrel aged stout w/ coffee)

Arck Angel - Peaches (Double IPA w/ peaches)

FLEMboyant (Flanders inspired wild ale aged in oak)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_170_Pizza_Boy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:44am CST

Continuing our intermittent liquid tour of the nation, the Buckeye State is the focus of this one with five beers from five Ohio breweries. Craig regales us with tales of his recent travels through Ohio, and he nailed the lineup here with five damn tasty brews. We also share a chat Craig had with Black Cloister Brewing founder (and Lutheran pastor) Tom Schaeffer to learn more about the divine inspirations that led to the opening of his rising Toledo brewery. Also, there’s an odd dual game of trivia, a plea for malt in IPAs, Craig’s two tongues, and Ryan’s conflicted barleywine feelings. We’re monking our asses off over here!

Beers Reviewed

Yellow Springs Brewery - Captain Stardust (Saison)

Hoof Hearted Brewing - Hot Probz (Double dry-hopped pale ale)

Rhinegeist Brewery - Penguin (Blonde stout)

The Brew Kettle - White Rajah (IPA)

Black Cloister Brewing - Chained Dog (Belgian strong golden ale)

(Black Cloister/Tom Schaeffer interview starts at 57:29)

 

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_169_The_OH_Show.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:30am CST

Hailing from Toronto, Canada, Left Field Brewery makes an array of beers you can suck down alongside nine innings of baseball. The beers lead off strong and hardly let up, as we’re all too happy to bat around some bad baseball metaphors as we sample. The talk is a bit White Sox-centric at times, with Craig’s review of the impressive new Craft Kave (ugh) at Guaranteed Rate Field (UGH). But there’s also talk of racist Spencer’s, Bud’s new ad slogan, Ryan’s glory days, and a shout out to the Diverticuguys. And don’t forget our Saisonathon at Pub Royale is coming up on Monday, May 22nd - it’s going to be a grand run slam! A real home dinger!  

Lineup

Maris* Pale Ale

Anniversary No. 4 Saison

Prospect Single Hop IPA (Hallertau Blanc)

Squeeze Play Sour Ale (w/ blood orange and cherries)

Eephus Oatmeal Brown Ale


Thanks to listener Christopher Nyren for the beers!

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_168_Left_Field.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:20am CST

Chicagoans have long been lucky jerks to be able to call Half Acre their own, and now with the mysterious new Heavy Gem project between Half Acre and Tired Hands, it just got even better. We sample some newer Half Acre offerings before trying to get to the bottom of the mystifying Heavy Gem and their obfuscating, trippy website. We also talk about the awfulness that is Hawk Harrelson, a literal Craig situation, and our upcoming Saisonathon event at Pub Royale on May 22nd. (Saisonathongs not included.)

 

Half Acre - Tuna (Extra Pale Ale)

Half Acre - Double Daisy Cutter (Double Pale Ale)

Half Acre - Big Hugs Salted Chocolate Espresso (Imperial Stout)

Heavy Gem - Humanimal Stasis (Double IPA)

Heavy Gem - Virga (Ale fermented in oak barrels)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_167_Half_Acre_Heavy_Gem.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:47am CST

The show is on the road for this one as we dropped into four Chicago breweries that are all under a year old to chat with brewers and procure some beers to review. Our first stop is at Pilsen’s yet-to-open Lo Rez Brewing to talk with Dave and Kevin about how their tech background led them to opening a non-mainstream brewery focused on malt-forward and Belgian-style brews. Our second stop is at On Tour Brewing on the Near West side to take in their gorgeous taproom and chat with the two Marks about how they both found themselves back in their home state after years away. Our third visit is with our old friend Jacob Sembrano at Cruz Blanca Cervecería to sample styles ranging from culinary-inspired lagers to big imperial stouts and talk about his plans for bottling beers and their upcoming first anniversary. Our final stop is at the German-inspired Dovetail Brewing to talk with Hagen and Bill about how every step of their process pays homage to tradition but creates some of the most stunning clean beers in the city - at least until they unleash their Lambic-ish beers in the future. In addition to all that, we return to the bunker to review four growlers/crowlers and confront Craig’s Zelda obsession, among other things. A huge thank you goes out to everyone that helped make this show possible and spent time with us on a whirlwind day of drinking - Chicago’s beer scene has never been richer with great beer and generous people.

 

Tour Stops (Interview & Review Segments)

Lo Rez Brewing (00:04:50 - 00:27:34)

On Tour Brewing (00:27:35 - 00:49:00)

Cruz Blanca Cervecería (00:50:54 - (01:15:10)

Dovetail Brewing (01:15:11 - 01:41:16)

Beers Reviewed

Lo Rez Brewing - Dæmon (Belgian Golden Strong)

On Tour Brewing - Gin Barrel-Aged It Takes Two (IPA)

Cruz Blanca Cervecería - Larger Than Lager (Double Red Lager)

Dovetail Brewing - Hefeweizen

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_166_New_Brewery_Tour.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:09pm CST

As a peace offering while we ready some hot new content for this week, here’s a compilation of our favorite Low ABV episodes that were previously only available to our Patreon Patrons. We review five beers in total over four segments, and only one is included because you like to hear us suffer. As is the case with all Low ABVs, we spend a significant time gleefully off topic whilst scrapping together passable beer reviews. Hear tales and tangents about my boy Peter Gabriel, Sunny D, bomber fatigue, awful Chicago nicknames, the letter X, and the only (most important) rule at Craig’s brothel. To get a whole lot more stuff like this (and more!), become a Patron by visiting patreon.com/abvchicago to help keep us listener supported! Thank you!

Episodes Compiled:

Low ABV 16 - Mikerphone The Get-Fresh Flow (Recorded 7/6/16)

Low ABV 21 - Hop Butcher Paris on the Prairie (Recorded 9/16/16)

Low ABV 24 - Heady Topper vs. 2x4 (Recorded 11/4/16)

Low ABV 35 - Stone Chocolate Coffee Enjoy By 2.14.17 (Recorded 2/10/17)

Direct download: Best_of_Low_ABV_Volume_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:20pm CST

The general beer aging debate rages on, but barleywines have long been a staple for cellar keepers with the promise of better beer always further ahead. For this episode, we take on a murder of aged barleywines, chiefly American in style, often barrel-aged, and mostly just downright unpleasant. Perhaps we were influenced by our Bracket Fever, but this show brings a lot of lousy old hops and sickly sweet malts, one completely flat beer, and an overflowing Dumpy the Dump Bucket. We do sample some cheese pairings while also discussing Craig’s Shameful Bed Cheese Incident, faded cops, and what killed off the elders of craft beer. Science!

 

Beers Tasted (For Science)

 

New Glarus Barley Wine (2012)

Central Waters Kosmyk Charlie’s Y2K Catastrophe Ale (2013)

Founders Bolt Cutter (2012)

Dark Horse Monster 29 (2012)

3 Floyds Barrel-Aged Behemoth (2013)

Flossmoor Station Fireside Chat (2013)

Stone Old Guardian (2010)

Firestone Walker Sucaba (2014)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_165_Old_Barleywines.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:46am CST

Get ready to journey through time with a nearly 200 year-old Belgian brewery on an episode that took us two weeks to record! Rodenbach makes some of the best sour beer in the world that is often overlooked in favor of those U.S. acid bombs that garner high trade value. We try to figure out why the hell that is, to little avail. But we sample five absolutely perfect beers here, and they give us all the mouthfeels. We also talk about when it’s right to start macerating, breaking down beer borders, the J-man (and the K-man) and that Magic Eraser life. But seriously, THAT MOUTHFEEL.

Beers Reviewed

Rodenbach Original

Rodenbach Grand Cru

Rodenbach Vintage 2014

Rodenbach Caractère Rouge

Rodenbach Alexander

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_164_Rodenbach.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:35am CST

It’s all about those juicy hops on this episode, as we review five beers from larger breweries looking to capitalize on the current juice obsession in hoppy beers. It’s a perilous summit to the top, but we arbitrarily agree on which beer should be on your grocery list. We go over the many other large breweries making similar beers, talk a lot about mixed 12-packs and Costco, and show off our sick snowboard tricks. Also, Craig is a mothball-eating garbage boy who wants a musket. Just to summarize.

BEERS MOUNTED

Stone Ripper Pale Ale

Samuel Adams Rebel Juiced IPA

New Belgium Citradelic

Odell Drumroll APA

Two Brothers Pinball Pale Ale

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_163_Juice_Mountain.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:44am CST

Revolution has done something downright heroic for hoppy beer fans by assembling a mixed 12-pack of their Hero beers that will see variations as a year-round release. We crack into a fantastic foursome along with one rogue Hero and rank them all. We speculate on some hero backstories, imagine the Mt. Rushmore of Chicago beer, and spin the bottle with Randy Mosher. There’s also Craig’s comic book game, nostalgia for Buy the Weigh, and a hot take on Batman Returns. My piney sense is tingling.

 

Heroes Reviewed

 

Anti-Hero

Galaxy Hero

Amarillo Hero

Local Hero

Mosaic Hero

Direct download: ABV_Episode_162_Rev_Hero.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:45am CST

We pop five beers from New Hampshire’s Deciduous Brewing, and it gets a little Gushyⓒ. But the beers are impressive all around, and we finally learn what a “pLambic” is. The tangents are frequent and our talking points include wrestling and the SLAMbic, bizarre aroma descriptors, fruit soup, the Tannic Suggestion, a blood orange crime, Lap Gushy, and Craig’s take on the RenFair. Oh no, the growler boys are back in town. Thanks to David Leshinski for providing beers on this one!

Beer Reviewed

Auranja (pLambic with oranges)

Auroral Batch 4 (Berliner weisse with blood orange and lychee)

Nelson Sylph (Farmhouse ale)

Renascence (Porter)

Predestination (Blended sour aged in armagnac casks)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_161_Deciduous.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:40am CST

Made to cellar and improve with age, this episode was recorded back in 2014, and we release it now to coincide with Odell’s entrance into the Chicago market. The younger version of us tastes through seven (!) different beers from the Fort Collins brewery, and we are pleasantly surprised throughout. There’s also some “interviews”, history on the brewery, very old sours, Craig sniffing plastic, Four Loko, and some good old boat eating. Honestly it just feels good to live back in 2014 again for just a little bit. Do we have to leave?\

Beers Reviewed

Loose Leaf (Session Pale Ale)

St. Lupulin (Extra Pale Ale)

90 Shilling (Scottish Ale)

5 Barrel (Pale Ale)

New Belgium/Odell - Hop Kitchen #6: FOCOllaboration (Pale Ale)

IPA

Myrcenary (Double IPA)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_160_Odell.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:52am CST

Eight years of Bourbon County tells an interesting story about Goose Island as a brewery, so we have the guy who is literally writing the book on it join us for a vertical tasting. Josh Noel from the Chicago Tribune helps us nitpick our way through eight years of BCBS. There’s Goose info galore including the backlash over Josh’s sleuthing on the beer’s true origins, and how the brewery went from nearly out of business to being the juggernaut it is. You’ll also hear about the debate over aging beers, Craig the vanilla locomotive, Loggins Run, and actual news about Josh’s book release date. Don’t live life two ounces at a time, man!

Years of Bourbon County Brand Stout Tasted, Vertically

2009 (22 oz.)

2010 (12 oz.)

2011 (12 oz.)

2012 (12 oz.)

2013 (12 oz.)

2014 (12 oz.)

2015 (16.9 oz.) bottled 11/9/15

2016 (16.9 oz.)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_159_BCBS_Vertical.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:53am CST

Summer Craig is back and ready to fire up the boat and mix up some cocktails! Actually, it’s Ryan’s stupid idea to put a bunch of fruit in these five suburban-brewed beers that were all very good before we screwed with them. We review and rank these diverse offerings, and we also get to know Afterthought Brewing well before they are an actual working brewery: brewer/owner Mike Thorpe endures a brief interview with Craig to tell us what we can expect out of Lombard from Afterthought in the (hopefully) near future. We also muddle it up with the worst Zelda joke, a shocking theory about blood oranges, and other whatnots. Summer Craig, I still believe in you!

Beers Reviewed

Hailstorm & Imperial Oak - LMFAgOse (gose w/ watermelon, blueberry, and salt)

Afterthought Brewing - Saison with citrus zest (mixed culture saison aged in oak)

Noon Whistle - Cozmo Orange (pale ale with oranges)

Middle Brow Beer Co. - Show Me Love (blonde farmhouse aged in wine barrels w/ raspberries)

Buckledown & Haymarket - BA Awkward Exchange (dark Belgian ale with blackberry juice aged in bourbon barrels)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_158_Suburban_Fruit_Basket.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:41am CST

Over the last half-dozen years, Amherst, Wisconsin’s Central Waters Brewing have released a special barrel-aged imperial stout for their anniversary at their annual party. Craig is a loyal attendee, so we have a five-year vertical to tackle with the help of Tom, Jack, and Nick from The Hop Review. Along with trying to discern the differences in each vintage, we talk to the Hop Review guys about some of their favorite interviews and what they’re excited about in Chicago for 2017. We also address Craig’s Mosaic blindness, relive the worst Dark Lord Day experience ever, almost make contact with rock royalty, and finally figure out how to capture the elusive Mosh.

Vintages Reviewed

1414

Fifteen

Sixteen

Seventeen

Eighteen

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_157_Central_Waters_Anniversary.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:20am CST