ABV Chicago Craft Beer Podcast (general)

The best yearly barrel-aged release series has hit its halfway point, so we’re using that as an excuse to drink through the five newest releases in Revolution’s Deep Wood series. It takes some real nitpicking to find flaws in any of these beers, so we mostly just talk about why they are all awesome in their own way. Plus, Craig schemes to be the next Everyday Hero, Ryan reveals he’s a real PlumBum, and we order out for some CrunchWraps. We also plan out our social media wall-of-fame and wonder what it would take to convert Craig to drinking actual coffee. There’s plenty of room on our tongue futon.

Beers Reviewed

Deth’s Tar (Barrel-aged Imperial Oatmeal Stout)

Deth By Plums (Barrel-aged Imperial Oatmeal Stout w/ plums)

Café Deth (Barrel-aged Imperial Oatmeal Stout w/ coffee)

Straight Jacket (Barrel-aged Barleywine)

V.S.O.R. (Rye ale aged in Rye barrels)

Special thanks to Revolution Brewing for providing the beers for this show!

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_304_Deep_Wood_2019_Part_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

When a beer festival with national interest comes through Chicago, beer consumers are met with a whole new array of options at their favorite bottle shops, even if only for a short time. For this episode, we take advantage of some FoBAB-influenced “hot drops” of out-of-distribution breweries ending up on local beer store shelves. Is it better for the local beer drinker than it is worse for the local beer producer? The five beers on this show certainly make our response to that complicated. Also, Ryan tries to start the new hot coffee mug phrase, Craig just wants to listen to “Fields of Gold” by Sting, and we struggle through maybe the drunkest rankings ever.

Beers Reviewed

Pure Project Brewing - Fingers of Gold (Murky IPA)

Listermann Brewing Company - Barrel-Aged Chickow! (Hazelnut Double Brown Ale aged in Heaven Hill barrels)

Beachwood Blendery - Funk Yeah (Gueuze-inspired Sour Ale)

Other Half Brewing Co. - Triple Nelson Daydream (Imperial Oat Cream IPA)

Jackie O’s Brewery - Bourbon Barrel Oil Of Aphrodite (Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout w/ Black Walnuts and Belgian Candi Syrup)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_303_Hot_Drops.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:45am CST

We took last week to recover from FoBAB, so this week we dip into our short-storage vault for this episode we recorded back in May with five listener-donated beers. This beer lineup features both minor misses and absolute hits, but we’re feeling genuinely warmed by the listener love. Impending summer makes us looser than ever as we cover the positives and negatives of non-craft beer bars; we imagine Playdoh-aged beers; Ryan draws the line at Baudoinia or Bust; and Craig breaks the podcast through one simple simile. Cream those beans!

Beers Reviewed

Southern Grist Brewing Company - Lemon Meringue Pie Gose (Provided by Matt Milam)

Ale Asylum - Bock’d & Loaded (Maibock aged in Tequila and Chardonnay barrels, provided by Gary Nidetz)

Lo Rez Brewing - Apricot Knockout (Farmhouse Ale w/ apricots, provided by Sarah Rehmer)

Perennial Artisan Ales - Sump Coffee Stout 2018 w/ Ethiopian Roba (Provided by Don Kasak)

Ozark Beer Company - BDCS (Imperial milk stout aged in bourbon barrels, provided by Chris Butler)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_302_Listener_Supported.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

With winter approaching, one might feel it necessary to lament the passing of lager season. But dear listener, never fret! Brewers from all over the world have got your back! On this show, we salute our schwarz as we drink seven different dark lagers, with four coming from our own backyard of Chicago. We learn a bit about the schwarzbier by soaking up the words of the experts, and we’re pleasantly surprised to find variation all throughout this lineup. Also, Ryan’s age is showing, we mourn the brief life of windbreaker season, we try not to throw away any ghosts, and we take a hard stance on beer made with human ingredients. Touch of molasses!

Beers Reviewed 

Metropolitan Brewing - Magnetron (Schwarzbier)

Köstritzer Schwarzbierbrauerei - Köstritzer Schwarzbier

Argus Brewery - Cygnus X-1 (Dark lager)

Budějovický Budvar - Czechvar/Budweiser Budvar B:Dark (Euro dark lager)

Spiteful Brewing - Dark Lager

Krombacher Gruppe - Krombacher Dark (Schwarzbier)

Maplewood Brewing Company - The Shade (Schwarzbier)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_301_Dark_Lagers.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am CST

We’re celebrating our big 300 by treating ourselves to the exquisite (and expensive) beers from one of Belgium’s longest-running gueuze producers, Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen. Despite the occasion, we just do it like we have for the last 300 by reviewing carefully crafted beers as sloppily as possible, only diverting to mini-tangents about Craig’s assassin dog, horse accoutrements, Goozzwords, vacation mouth, forced floors, nighttime TinglersⓇ, and Mosher’s leveled-up skill set. Thanks for listening at any point during our 300 episodes - we hope it’s been entertaining (and just a little informative). 

Beers Reviewed

Oude Geuze 

Oude Geuze Cuvée Armand & Gaston

Oude Kriek

Framboos (2014)


Direct download: ABV_Chicago_300_3_Fonteinen.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:43am CST

The most terrible tradition returns with our third annual gauntlet of gore as we try and outdo each other with the absolute worst-tasting beers we can find. Throw in some Zombie Skittles, and you have a profane exhibition of freakishly-bad flavors. We also try to avoid adding ounces to our Cuveé of Doom by guessing details on our brutal blind pours. We share some Halloween party conversation starters, recreate the general mood of The Deer Hunter, dine at UmamiBloodMeat, and fight against our Pavlovian smelling instincts.

Malignant Beers Reacted To

Mikkeller - Spontanbeetroot (Lambic-style ale w/ beets)

3 Floyds Brewing - Barrel-aged Chevalier 2013 (Barrel-aged Biere de Garde w/ brett)

Stone Brewing - 17th Anniversary Götterdämmerung (Double IPA from 2013)

Rinkuškiai - Crazy Brewski (Imperial Pilsner)

Brewery Vivant - Tart Side of the Moon (Dark Farmhouse Ale)

Goose Island Clybourn - Silver Jubilee (Double Pale Ale from 2013)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_299_Torture_Test_III.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:26am CST

In our yearly tribute to Chicago’s biggest and best beer fest, we continue our tradition of giving our recommendations for the Festival of Wood and Barrel-aged Beers while drinking from a distinguished lineup of attendees - but that’s not all. We introduce the FoBAB Fantasy Draft into the world, give you instructions on how to run your own league, and hold a mock draft between ourselves (before our real league draft). But we don’t forget to hurl some major superlatives at the barrel-aged beers on the show, and talk about sad dinosaur stories. (Keep your eyes peeled on our website for the next week to get more info on running your own FoBAB Fantasy Draft. And buy tickets to FoBAB, if you haven’t already.)

Beers Reviewed

Revolution Brewing - Strawberry Jacket (BA Barleywine w/ strawberries)

Revolution Brewing - Honey Jacket (BA Barleywine w/ honey)

Around the Bend Beer Co. - Proximal (BA Barleywine)

Begyle Brewing - Barrel Aged Imperial Pajamas (BA Imperial Oatmeal Stout)

WeldWerks Brewing Co. - Medianoche Premier Vol. 1 (BA Imperial Stout blend)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_298_FoBABlin4_The_People.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:17am CST

It’s a joyous time in the ABV bunker as we celebrate Craig’s engagement by letting him pick a lineup of seemingly incongruous beers that are as significant as they are interesting. With a mix of cellar dives and recent finds, Craig imbues this episode with a certain personal resonance while also napalming Ryan’s esophagus. Craig shares his creative and beer-related proposal story, but we also expound upon our fat voices, weird produce, Craigaoke, misheard Beyonce lyrics, Zach Afrin, and the worst beer collaboration ever imagined. Congratulations to Craig and Liz!

Beers Reviewed

Hill Farmstead Brewery - Civil Disobedience #6 (Blended wine barrel-aged saison)

de Garde Brewing - Imperial Apricot Bu (Berliner Weisse aged in oak w/ apricots)

Triptych Brewing - And I Think My Spaceship Knows Which Way To Go (Hazy Double IPA w/ Galaxy & Ella hops)

Funk Factory Geuzeria - Framquartet (Méthode Traditionnelle blend aged w/ red, purple, black, and golden raspberries)

The Bruery - Black Tuesday Reserve (Double barrel-aged imperial stout)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_297_Craigs_Choice.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:52am CST

For three whole days, we are the masters of our domain - which is the expansive festival hall in Denver, Colorado for the Great American Beer Festival. We’re double dipping on this episode as we combine interviews from the festival floor with beer reviews and a weekend recap from the comforts of our hotel room. We stop short of two hours on this one, but it’s filled with takes on our favorite beers from the fest, a recap of Illinois medal winners, and highlights from drinking around Denver all weekend. Also, hear about a few surprise breweries coming to FoBAB, a beer that was literally aged on grunge, how the guy who wrote the book on IPAs feels about the haze craze, the actual best chili in Cincinnati, what it means to win it all at Hunaphu’s Day, and which brewery makes the most Seinfeld references. It’s gold, listener! Gold! Here’s to feeling good all the time.

Beers Reviewed

Bierstadt Lagerhaus - Slow Pour Pils

Baere Brewing Co./Mr. B’s Wine & Spirits - The Baeres And the B’s (Sour ale w/ Gewurztraminer grapes and Nelson Sauvin hops)

Great Divide Brewing Company - S’mores Yeti (Imperial Stout brewed with Chocolate, Marshmallow and Spices)

Interviews from GABF

Matt Johnson and Jason Green of IMBĪB Custom Brews (Reno, NV) - [00:14:26 - 00:18:26]

Nick Walker and Max Arndt of Ology Brewing Co. (Tallahassee, FL) - [00:21:23 - 00:25:04]

Kelly Montgomery and John McGarry of Brink Brewing Co. (Cincinnati, OH) - [00:30:34 - 00:35:43]

Mike Czech and Kurt of Pure Project Brewing (San Diego, CA) - [00:44:46 - 00:53:03]

Mitch Steele of New Realm Brewing Company (Atlanta, GA & VIrginia Beach, VA) - [01:00:47 - 01:11:00]

Andy Maben of New Sarum Brewing (Salisbury, NC) - [01:20:37 - 01:29:44]

Steve Pominski of Barrage Brewing Company (Farmingdale, NY) - [01:36:18 - 01:43:51]

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_296_GABF_2019.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:56am CST

Already an established force in IPAs, Revolution was curiously slow to embrace the hazier varieties. Not rushing in has afforded them the ability to learn from others and perfect their approach, starting over the last year through wildly popular test batches at the brewpub. But since this summer, Revolution has jumped in head first by releasing two murky Hero varieties and collaborating with a few of the hottest local haze producers. We sample five beers that represent this new side of Rev, hoping for a new hero to come along. We also recorded this after being at a beer fest all day, so you’ll get a few diversions on odd t-shirts, a pocket full of George, 311 inspiration in the produce aisle, a new solo podcast venture, and what it’ll take to unleash Milkshake Hero. Time for a game wavy.

Beers Reviewed

Northeast Hero (NE IPA)

Base (West Coast-style Pale Ale) - Collaboration with Hop Butcher for the World 

Superstructure (Imperial Hazy IPA)  - Collaboration with Hop Butcher for the World 

Reverrant (DDH NE IPA)  - Collaboration with Saint Errant Brewing

Hazy Hero (NE IPA)

Direct download: ABV_Episode_295_Rev_Against_the_Machine.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:15am CST

In this long-awaited sequel, we are filling our meters with GABF excitement as we talk about the upcoming fest while drinking some local medal winners. We sample four Chicagoland beers that have previously earned medals - and deservedly so. There’s also a lot of tips for the Great American Beer Festival for 2019, including our Illinois brewery picks, which new-to-us breweries we’re most excited about, and all the other breweries that can’t be missed. Also, we develop an emergency plan in the case of a skitching, plead for more care in pug diets, resist feeling the Mitch Steele, and seek the weirdest weird beers. #rebootALF

Illinois Medal Winners Reviewed

Maplewood Brewing Co. - Fat Pug (Oatmeal Milk Stout) - 2017 Bronze in Oatmeal Stout

Smylie Brothers Brewing Co. - Purple Line (Wheat w/ hibiscus, blueberry, and blackberry) - 3-time medal winner 

Piece Brewery & Pizzeria - It’s Your Fault Alt (Altbier) - 2017 Silver in German-style Altbier

Eris Brewery and Cider House - Foiken Haze (New England-style IPA) - 2018 Bronze in Juicy or Hazy India Pale Ale

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_294_Road_2_GABF.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

The number of breweries in or around Chicago has surpassed 200 at this point, deflating the opinions of those that speculated about a major bubble bursting in the last few years. But that market density means that breweries must start strong to gain their footing with consumers. On this episode, we’re sampling five beers from five Chicagoland breweries that have opened or begun releasing beers in the last few months, and this show gives us a lot to be excited about. We also write a tubular eulogy for the 90s, anger a few breweries on the moon, beg for more cask beers, become proud brew daddies, and live out Summer Craig’s dying wish. This one’ll leave you feeling like a head human with the lungs. 

Beers Reviewed

Casa Humilde - Maizal (Mexican Lager)

Is/Was Brewing  - Will Be (Saison w/spelt and triticale)

Midwest Coast Brewing Co. - The Colonies (ESB)

Black Lung Brewing Company - Mr. Willy Sub For A Day (Maltshake Hazy Double IPA)

Riverlands Brewing Company - First Catch of the Day (Imperial Stout w/ coffee, maple, and vanilla)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_293_New_Chicagoland_Sampler.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

Like hooded sweatshirts and nutmeg-dusted coffee drinks, Oktoberfests make the impending colder temperatures much more bearable. Is it beer’s most popular seasonal? Probably! We had no problem finding nine different Oktoberfest/Märzen beers, most of which were brewed right here in Chicagoland. So we put them into a big blind tasting to determine which malty lager rises to the top, and we are desperately seeking jumbo pretzels by the end. Craig has a chicken-wing experiment, Ryan is a BelVita Biscuit Boy, and we do a little urban foraging. If this episode is making you thirsty, you should check out Beer On The Wall’s TRUCKTOBERFEST on Saturday, September 14th! Tell them Craig and Ryan sent you to receive one (1) complimentary quizzical look!

Beers Reviewed Blindly (in order of appearance)

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (w/ Bitburger Braugruppe) - Oktoberfest

Half Acre Beer Co. - Lager Town

Miskatonic Brewing - Oktoberfest

Werk Force Brewing Co. - Werktoberfest

BuckleDown Brewing - Oktoberfest

Banging Gavel Brews - Civil Code

Goose Island Beer Co. - Oktoberfest

Pollyanna Brewing Co. - Fruhauf

Burnt City Brewing - Oktoberfest Lager

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_292_Oktoberfest_Blind.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

Our state show journey reaches New Hampshire, courtesy of listener and friend David Leshinski, who sent us a state sampler box with *record scratch* no hazy IPAs?!? We enjoy this welcome and scenic diversion from our usual (lactose) fare with five different beers from five different New Hampshire breweries, and we’re livin’ free. Also, Craig Pokémons his dog and relives his time at Riverdance U, Ryan has a parenting and superhero dilemma, and we aspire to live like famous treasure hunter Nicolas Cage. But back on the beer side, we get into the complicated story of Smuttynose, remember goses, yearn for more gruits, and get enthusiastic over another new sour program. And shield your Tekus, because Craig’s hitting the high notes.

Beers Reviewed

Schilling Beer Co. [Littleton, NH] - Hanse (Keller Pils)

Liars Bench Beer Co. [North Conway, NH] - Private I (India Pale Lager)

Moat Mountain Brewing Co. [North Conway, NH] - Bone Shaker Brown (English-style Brown Ale)

Earth Eagle Brewings [Portsmouth, NH] - Indian Summer (Gose w/ plum)

Smuttynose Brewing Co. [Hampton, NH] - Baltic Porter

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_291_The_NH_Show.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

The *ahem* hot new yeast on the scene for both homebrewers and professionals alike is actually an ancient and pastoral tradition, propagated by Norwegian farmers and evolved by necessity. Kveik yeast offers undeniable positives for brewers: it ferments fast and clean at unusually hot temperatures, often infusing the resulting beer with a welcome fruitiness that seems to match most styles. To learn more about Kveik, we drink five beers made with different strains of the Norwegeian yeast, and we talk with Ben and John Saller of Burnt City Brewing, hosts of Chicago’s first ever Kveik Fest. It’s refreshingly educational for our brand, as we lean on many different experts to learn about how Kveik differs from other well-known farmhouse yeasts, what brewers can do to prevent bastardizing ancient tradition, and why some Norwegians scream into their fermenters. Also, Craig shares some well-aged Great Taste of the Midwest highlights, we explore some strange fjords, and we consider the end of the Brut IPA. Check it out - we think you’ll kveik it. 

Beers Reviewed

Burnt City Brewing - Li’l Sparky (Meyer Lemon Grisette)

Strange Days Brewing Co. - Two Fjords (Double IPA)

Working Draft Beer Co. w/ Third Space Brewing and Omega Yeast - SMÖRGÅSBORD VOSS (IPA)

Bold Dog Beer Co. - Covered In Fur (Peach and Kiwi Berliner Weisse)

Solemn Oath Brewery w/ Adler Planetarium, Binny’s, Omega Yeast, Et Al. - Project Apollo (IPA)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_290_Kveik_Beers.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

Though it’s been three years since their last feature on the podcast, Triptych has remained one of our favorite downstate breweries while continuing to grow into fine purveyors of all things hazy and beyond. For this one, we sample six different beers from the Savoy-based brewery (and “Memery”) to try and make an arbitrary case for which super flavorful beer is better than the others. It’s a tough job. Also, Craig attempts to fill in some gaps in his 80s movie watching quest; we marvel at the most words ever printed on the bottom of a can; Ryan gives a waffle pep talk; Craig makes a bonkers Taco Bell analogy; and we bring the noise, bring the skunk. The end of this one gets a little sloppy.

Beers Reviewed

Czech, Czech, & Czech (Czech pilsner)

Tarnt: Cherry Bomb (Kettle-soured ale w/ cherry juice and Saigon cinnamon)

The Way Is Shut (Triple Dry-Hopped Mosaic Double IPA)

A Wizard Is Never Late (Hazy DDH IPA)

Once, But Never Again (Blueberry ale w/ vanilla)

Imperial Hawaiian Shirt Day (Imperial IPA w/ mango and passionfruit)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_289_Triptych_Diptych.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

In the three years since we last drank five Georgia beers on the show, there have been significant law changes allowing breweries to sell directly to consumers, resulting in another wave of craft beer growth in the Peach State. Listener Brandon Ramirez sent us a box of tasty treats for our review, and none are short on flavor. We also mark a historic event before it happens, fire up the Aquafier, gain some sympathy weight, and smell some warm hugs.

Beers Reviewed

Arches Brewing - Lloyd’s Light (American Light Lager)

Pontoon Brewing - The Most Humble Pie (Berliner-style w/ strawberries, raspberries, vanilla, and lactose)

Wild Leap Brewing/TrimTab Brewing - Coco Flamingo (Double IPA w/ tangerine, coconut, and lime)

New Realm Brewing Company - Transcendental IPA (Double IPA)

Monday Night Brewing - Sympathy Weight (Maple Bourbon Barrel Wee Heavy/Scotch Ale)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_288_Gaga_for_GA.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

Milwaukee’s great reputation as the home of brewers (and The Brewers) was long built on cheap adjunct lagers. But in three years time, the Brew City has been reborn as a craft beer destination. Ryan and Craig had a torrid affair with Milwaukee’s beer scene in 24 hours, gathering beers and interviews along the way to provide a whole episode that is basically beer tourism propaganda. Listen as we welcome Andy from Third Space to hazetown, and he guides us through a speed-tasting while explaining how they sold their beer to Miller Park and won three GABF medals in two years. Kyle Vetter from 1840 shares a green beer with us while talking about his sometimes unconventional methods of achieving liquid perfection and where he sees the brewery growing in the near future. We also pop open four beers to review while reliving our experiences at Vennture, Good City, Hacienda, Lakefront, and the locally infamous Wolski’s. And you learn the totally relatable ways we manage to stay so fit, and admire Leather David. Remember - there’s more to life than lactose.

Interviews Featured

Andy Gehl of Third Space Brewing (00:08:58 - 00:30:03)

Kyle Vetter of 1840 Brewing Company (00:37:38 - 00:58:36)

Beers Reviewed

Third Space Brewing - Happy Place (Midwestern pale ale)

1840 Brewing Company - Rickety Elevator (Mixed culture saison)

Hacienda Beer Co. - Time Is An Illusion (New England DIPA)

Good City Brewing - Lord Lyon - Rye Barrel Aged (Scotch ale)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_287_Brew_City.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

Even though they’re not even three years old, Eagle Park Brewing Company has already acquired its third location to brew their top-tier beers to serve the Milwaukee area. We chat with co-owners Max Borgardt and Jake Schinker about their explosive growth while sipping through a taproom lineup of flavorful show-stoppers. Everything about the business’ past, present, and future is explored, from how a band of brothers practicing in their parents’ basement and brewing in their garage led to lengthy lines at their Milwaukee taproom releases - and ultimately to their $3 million new facility in their hometown of Muskego. We discuss their first speakeasy taproom, how they are scrambling to meet demand, the rapid acceleration of the Milwaukee craft beer scene, and the dream collaborations that still leave them awestruck. There’s talk of driving albums, what beers not to drink on stage during a concert, the influence (and non-influence) of Untappd reviews, and how Martha Stewart inspired a milkshake IPA. 

Beers Sampled

DDH Goon Juice (Hazy IPA)

DDH Set List (IPA)

Feet Don’t Fail Me (Milkshake IPA w/ lactose sugar, aged on plums, pineapple, and vanilla)

Apricot Peach Sour (w/ apricot and peach)

Booze For Breakfast: French Toast  (Imperial breakfast stout with Vermont Maple Syrup, Cascara Cinnamon, and Madagascar Vanilla)

Bourbon Barrel-Aged Booze For Breakfast (Imperial breakfast stout with Vermont Maple Syrup, Bourbon Barrel Aged Coffee Beans)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_286_Eagle_Park.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

The two great local conquests of the haze-chasers in Chicagoland for 2019, Phase Three and Hop Butcher have built a hype train of hops that has no signs of slowing down. So we do some blatant pandering to the beer geeks by having three double IPAs from each brewery in a blind tasting to finally determine...well, very little, actually. Taste is subjective, our opinions are arbitrary, and we have weird palates. It’s really just a fun experiment diving into these hazy monsters while doing just a sh*t job of guessing what they are, so enjoy the ride! Also, Craig went to an anime convention and has some predictably odd cosplay thoughts; Ryan confuses a beer with some late-night cinema; and we work out our cross-promotion with Trolls World Tour. There’s also font talk, gradient love, topical fruits, a terrible survival plan, and untrue life hacks for getting rid of Bud Light Orange. 

Beers Tasted Blindly (in order of appearance)

Hop Butcher for the World - Green Moss

Phase Three Brewing - Energetic Mind

Phase Three Brewing - Rule of Thirds

Phase Three Brewing - Discipline for Passion

Hop Butcher for the World - Normalize the Signal

Hop Butcher for the World - The Jewels

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_285_P3vHB_Blind.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

Founded in 2017 as the first brewery in Homewood, Rabid Brewing combines mythical lore with artistic passion to bring a diverse and delicious beer menu to their taproom. We sit down with co-owners and co-founders Raiye Rosado and Tobias Cichon, along with brewer Max Sterbenc, to taste through the whole taplist while talking about how Rabid came to be and where things are headed. In the process, we learn what Rabid does to provide a unique experience for their customers while embracing art and music to make an environment welcoming to everyone. But we also go on about goatskin chaps, hop acquisition, The Feast of the Goat Queen, bathroom chalk art, 3 Floyds inspirations, beer cocktails, the Omega Yeast difference, their milkshake IPA resistance, and a long-dead beer style that should probably stay dead. And Max’s dad Joe steps in to talk about how his 35 years of homebrewing inspired some of the recipes at Rabid, and why his head is plastered all over the taproom. 

Beers Sampled

Shadowstepper (Chocolate milk stout)

Dripping Teats (Lactose IPA)
Hexed (Blackberry apricot ale)

Singularity 007 (SMaSH IPA)

Lycan Pils (Dry-hopped American pilsner)

Battle Monk (Belgian Dubbel)

Zuul (DDH Juicy IPA)

Apollyon (DDH Juicy DIPA)

Dwarves of Doom (Chocolate coffee imperial stout)

Horus (Triple IPA)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_284_Rabid_Brewing.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

We’re taking a liquid voyage to the great state of Tennessee for our 21st state show, thanks to listener Matt Milam. There are five beers from four breweries for us to sample, and at least one of us gets injured in the process. We learn a bit about these great breweries, even if one of us refuses to learn how to properly pronounce their names. Craig reports on his scooter experience, Ryan takes a big bite out of the BubbleTape, and we have a sour program. There’s also Corporal Nut, Steven Moist, the canning demon, Alcohol Rich, and Betty White’s eyes. Tennesseein’ is Tennebelievin’! 

Beers Reviewed

Alliance Brewing Company [Knoxville] - Cubano Coffee Brown (Brown ale w/ lactose, turbinado sugar, and cold brew coffee)

Tailgate Brewery [Nashville] - Southeast IPA

Smith & Lentz [Nashville] - German Pils

Yazoo Brewing Company [Nashville] - Funk Fest 2019 (Tripel w/ brett. aged in peach brandy and vanilla bean bourbon barrels)

Alliance Brewing Company - Imperial Centennial IPA

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_283_The_TN_Show.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

Born from a union of Funk Factory’s Levi Funk and Octopi Brewing’s Isaac Showaki, Untitled Art was launched in late 2016 to bring exciting new styles to Wisconsin before everyone was doing them. Now that everyone is doing them, how has Untitled Art grown to establish itself? Well, it certainly helps to have really cool friends. On this show, we gallery walk through five flavorful collaborations and discover we have yet another reason to drive to Wisconsin. Also, we train for our sick scooter tricks, suss out who smuggled the African hops, suffer Untappd-related brain damage, bravely draw the line at congealed beers, and birth Fardar into existence. 

Art Consumed

Pilsner w/ South African Hops (collaboration with TRVE Brewing Company)

Terpene IPA (collaboration with American Solera)

Spritzer Weisse (collaboration with J. Wakefield Brewing)

Hazy IIPA (Version 5) (collaboration with Narrow Gauge Brewing Company)

Espresso Marshmallow Stout (collaboration with Equilibrium Brewery)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_282_Untitled_Art.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

Though we’d all like to pretend Hazy IPAs or pastry stouts represent the most significant trends in beer over the last decade or so, the real big money game-changer is the astronomical growth of Michelob Ultra. So how does craft (or “craft”) beer respond? We find out by drinking a lineup of low-calorie, low-carb beers that will help counter our lactose-enhanced waistlines. We pitch some fitness innovations for beer (and beyond), classify common dad problems as genres of music, master our asses, and put some pressure on our exotic fruit dealer. It’s an episode made for DOING!

Beers Reviewed

Anheuser-Busch - Michelob Ultra Pure Gold (American light lager)

Ballast Point Brewing - Lager (American light lager)

Lagunitas Brewing - DayTime IPA

Deschutes Brewery - Da Shootz! (Pilsner)

Boulevard Brewing - Easy Sport (Blonde ale w/ tangerine peel & sea salt)

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery - Slightly Mighty (Session IPA)

Marathon Brewing Company [Boston Beer Co.] - 26.2 Brew (Golden ale w/ sea salt & coriander)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_281_Diet_Beers.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

For decades, brewers have been harvesting the funk from brettanomyces yeast strains for a variety of purposes. Whether it’s to add some phenolic funk to a sour beer or some fruity depth to an IPA, brett has become a household name in brewing. Chicago’s Lake Effect Brewing and Omega Yeast Labs collaborated on a mixed 4-pack, titled School of Brett, by dosing a wine barrel-aged base saison with three different strains of brettanomyces to help educate about the differences between the strains. For this episode, we have Lake Effect’s founder and owner Clint Bautz along with Omega’s co-founder and co-owner Lance Shaner to talk about the collaboration and what makes these brett strains unique. We also talk a lot about what’s new with both businesses, Craig mines for some yeast puns, Ryan just had to dig up that Brett Trois story again, and we literally bathe in tropical light. Join us and learn more about brett - it’s the yeast you can do.

Beers Tasted

Lake Effect Brewing/Omega Yeast Labs -  “School of Brett”

Base Saison




Direct download: ABV_Chicago_280_School_of_Brett.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

More sustainable and definitely more rustic than your city brewery, these five beer producers also operate in conjunction with a farm, using ingredients grown on their lands for a uniquely artisanal experience. We have a range of styles from Illinois, Tennessee, and Vermont that teach us a lot about ingredients and just basic vocabulary, to be honest. Ryan subjects Craig to a game of Two Truths and a Lie: Farm Animal Edition, Craig clears up confusion about his America’s Next Top Model history, and we get real psyched about gruits. It’s a premium farm to our mouths to your ears experience.

Beers Reviewed

Scratch Brewing Company (Ava, IL)  - Turmeric Tonic (Gruit-style ale with turmeric and nettle)

Big Thorn Farm & Brewery (Georgetown, IL) - Wood Thyme Tart (Kettle-soured gruit w/ farm-grown thyme and aged on charred hickory logs)

Hill Farmstead Brewery (Greensboro, VT) - E. (2014; Dry-hopped barrel-aged saison)

Rolling Meadows Brewery (Cantrall, IL) - Coffee Break (Brown ale w/ coffee)

Blackberry Farm Brewery (Maryville, TN) - Abbey Quad

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_279_Farm_to_Podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

For our 20th State Show, listener and friend Jim Plachy offered to round up five Oklahoma beers, and we said that’d be alright with us. And with a lineup this flavorful, we wish we would’ve done this state sooner. Fill your ears with some word jazz as we talk about movie tropes, melty faces, weird tongue stuff, Chris Elliott, and whipping jerseys at babies. Mmm, Zangy!

Beers Reviewed

Prairie Artisan Ales Brewpub (Tulsa) - Rockets and Dreams (Saison w/ chamomile and plums)

Stonecloud Brewing Company (Oklahoma City) - Chug Norris (Mosaic pale ale)

Heirloom Rustic Ales (Tulsa) - Chapel Visitor (Blended barrel-aged wild ale)

American Solera (Tulsa) - BK...OK (DIPA, collaboration with Other Half)

Cabin Boys Brewery (Tulsa) - The Bearded Theologian (Belgian Quad)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_278_The_OK_Show.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

What’s better than hanging with your buds and sipping on some murky hop suds? We don’t know because everyone’s preferences are subjective! On this episode, we drink five hazy IPAs that happen to be collaborations between local breweries and their cool friends. We start this Sweeps Week out right with the three P’s; we try to make two half-Phase Threes into a whole; Ryan peels back the layers on the punion; Craig enters a meditative tasting state; and we fill everything up with a little zazz.

Beers Reviewed

Brickstone Brewery (w/ Phase Three Brewing) - Brick Phas’d (NEIPA w/ lactose)

Corridor Brewery & Provisions (w/ Phase Three Brewing) - Set Phazers to Stun! (NEIPA)

Pipeworks Brewing (w/ Hop Butcher for the World) - Seismic Positvity (Oat IPA)

Maplewood Brewing Company (w/ Saint Errant Brewing) - Steamless in Chicago (No-boil DDH DIPA)

WeldWerks Brewing (w/ Mikerphone Brewing) - Auto Tune (Hazy DIPA)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_277_Haze_Buds.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:51am CST

For the third straight year - and our first at Forbidden Root - we celebrated Illinois Craft Beer Week by bringing together some of the area’s best saisons and saison brewers. On this episode recorded (mostly) live at Forbidden Root, we sample a wide variety of the style with some of our best friends in beer. There’s a lot of great technical talk for saison nerds, but we also explore the Power of Oak, new shower curtain smells, an odd revelation about Minecraft, and ghost pigs. Also, Randy Mosher takes us to style school as he discusses the beauty of saison, finding synergy in unusual ingredients, and what the hell a kvass and a kuit beer are.


00:07:57-00:26:48 - Mike Thorpe (Afterthought Brewing) & Jacob Sembrano (Cruz Blanca Brewery) tasting Afterthought’s Batch 100 and Cruz Blanca’s Todo Uno

00:26:53-00:40:41 - Adam Cieslak and Adam Smith (Maplewood Brewing) tasting Maplewood’s Cool August Moon and Transient’s O’tay

00:40:50-00:59:03 - Randy Mosher (Forbidden Root) tasting Forbidden Root’s Urban Farmstead II and Middle Brow’s May 4th, 2019

00:59:08-01:11:52 - Kevin Lilly (Lo Rez Brewing) and Brian Taylor (Whiner Beer Co.) tasting Lo Rez’s Voxel and Whiner’s Bumbo

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_276_Saisonathon_Live.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:46am CST

The folks from Angry Chair are not shy to admit that non-locals are likely most familiar with their heavily-hyped stouts. We try and do right by this Tampa brewery by sampling a few other styles from Craig’s recent visit - but of course we didn’t forget about the stouts. We propose a more weather-appropriate spinoff brewery, Craig recaps meeting a famous dog at the taproom, and we are a little awestruck by the oddity that is the dessert Florida Weisse. We also really cram in the verbal adjuncts through a shocking discovery about Tetris, the oddest 90s “it” couple, how to Lawnmower-Man yourself with a Game Shark and a Game Genie, and a whole trivia game about celebrities featured in old video games.

Beers Reviewed

Vodnik (Czech Pilsner)

Evan And Dolly (New England IPA)

On Second Thought [Omnipollo collaboration] (Berliner with pineapple, bananas, coconuts, & tahitian vanilla)

Fudge Bucket w/ Bolivian Cacao (Imperial sweet stout)

Popinski (Rye barrel-aged Russian imperial stout w/ vanilla)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_275_Angry_Chair.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

When Craig vacations, we all win. This show is the result of Craig’s recent trip to Florida for a week of Harry Pottering and beer hopping on the Bay as we drink five different beers from five breweries local to the Tampa & St. Petersburg areas. There are many questions addressed on this show: Why do Floridians love such big, boozy beers? Can you use a coolship in Florida? Which taproom is a front for the Illuminati? Why is the grass so crunchy? Where’s my lactose? We also get another fantastic Dog Tale, feel like old narcs for not understanding CBD, hold a word measuring contest, and have high carb hopes.

Beers Reviewed

Green Bench Brewing - Sauvage Miel (Wild w/ orange blossom honey)

Hidden Springs Ale Works - Zero Fucks Given (Dry-hopped-only pale ale w/ Citra, Mosaic, and Motueka)

Late Start Brewing - Colorbars (Mint coffee chocolate imperial stout)

7venth Sun Brewery - Vultures From the Past (Whiskey barrel-aged barleywine)

Cycle Brewing Company - Roadtrip Series: Don’t Know What I’m Gonna Do (Barrel-aged stout w/ barrel-aged coffee, cocoa nibs, and cinnamon)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_274_Tampa_Bay_Beers.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

For more than three years, we’ve been releasing weekly one-shot episodes - Low ABVs - exclusively for our Patreon Patrons. In addition to interesting beers reviewed, these short shows are home to some of our goofiest asides, weirdest games, and hysterical disasters. This week we’ve compiled four of our very favorites from the last year with beers that span the country while representing the diverse range of styles from adjunct stout to hazy IPA to adjunct stout to hazy IPAs. They’re not all good. There’s also a very timely Game of Thrones-based trivia game, LARPing for Pizza, misquoted Eleanor Roosevelt, the answer to an important 311-based question, a little too much about Sonic the Hedgehog, our favorite goth sushi place, the unwanted return of the Bathroom Boys, and the most niche Calvin Peeing sticker ever made. And that’s just about half of it. For more content like this every single week, plus annual holiday gifts, bottle share invites, a special offer (as mentioned in the intro), and early access to each week’s episode - support what we do and sign up on our Patreon today!

Lows Compiled

Low ABV 142 - Dancing Gnome Dead Sleep (starts at 7:51)

Low ABV 130 - Abnormal Hazy Dreams (starts at 23:19)

Low ABV 135 - Dragon Banana (starts at 42:43)

Low ABV 122 - SciPAs (starts at 1:03:45)

Beers Reviewed

Dancing Gnome - Dead Sleep - Chocolate (stout w/ chocolate)

Abnormal Beer Co. - Hazy Dreams (IPA)
New Holland Brewing - Dragon’s Milk Reserve: Banana Coconut (BBA stout w/ real banana and natural flavors)

Pipeworks Brewing Company - Unicorn Vs. Science (NE IPA)

Hop Butcher For The World - Traveling Scientist (NE Pale Ale)

Direct download: Best_of_Low_ABV_4_Flavor_Adventures2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:08pm CST

It’s that magical time of year again where the warm weather and budding flowers necessitate the enjoyment of saisons - and it’s also when we have our annual Saisonathon event during Illinois Craft Beer Week on Tuesday, May 14th at Forbidden Root! Outside of a few other shameless plugs for the event, this show is one we’ve always wanted to do. We take seven saisons, mostly representing more “classic” interpretations, and we review and rank them in a blind tasting. As usual with our blind shows, the results are a total surprise, and our guessing abilities are....limited. We also talk about Spring Break Craig’s wardrobe, Big League Chew, ultimate buffet pairings, That Beer Craig Had In Germany, and Saison Detectives. (Pssst….go to that thing we mentioned.)

Saison Reviewed Blindly (in order of appearance)

Brasserie Dupont - Saison Dupont

Brasserie St. Fuellien - Saison

Funkwerks - Saison

Off Color Brewing - Apex Predator

Allagash Brewing Company - Saison

Boulevard Brewing Co. - Tank 7

Forbidden Root - Saison

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_273_Blind_Saisons.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

Mike Pallen and his crew at Mikerphone are some of the most prolific collaborators in the business, and each year they expand their Cool Beer Friends Club by throwing an invitational they call Smells Like A Beer Fest. So to ready ourselves for this year’s shindig on April 27th, we drink five collaboration beers between Mikerphone and five other excellent breweries. Craig also gives us his White Sox Beer Review for the year, Ryan serves up a game of “Did They Duet?,” and we fixate on one of the worst songs and videos of all time. There’s also a new Beer Crank Bucket (inspired by Twitter), a little beer negging, and some real irie vibes. Stumble down the palate with us.

Beers Reviewed

Windmill Brewing & Mikerphone - Feel Good Inc. (Milkshake-style IPA made with passion fruit, coconut, lactose, and vanilla)

Cerebral Brewing & Mikerphone - Just The Two Of Us (Blonde ale w/ marshmallow fluff, raspberry puree, cacao, and lactose)

Lil Beaver Brewery & Mikerphone - Cupcakes, Cookies, & Rainbows (Imperial stout with milk sugar, chocolate and vanilla)

The Bruery & Mikerphone - Icky Thump (Imperial stout w/ Tugboat coffee)

WeldWerks Brewing Co. & Mikerphone - Sweet Disposition (Imperial Stout brewed with maple syrup, Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans, and Papua New Guinea vanilla beans, aged in a mix of bourbon and rum barrels for 18 months)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_272_Mikerphone_Duets.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:30am CST

It’s a high concept week in the bunker as we gamify our cellars by letting a roll of the dice determine the show’s lineup. Both Craig and Ryan dug deep into their closets to offer up a range of twelve interesting offerings that go from forgotten oddity to valuable rarity. Each host rolls a six-sided die three times to determine the six beers for the show, and the tension is more than could’ve ever been imagined. This was a crazy fun time to record, and we hope you enjoy the results - you’ll have to listen to find out the final lineup. There’s also some stuff about Doomsday Preppers, perpetually wet floors, Pappy Kong, and a cuvee of dolphins. (Also, mark your calendars for Tuesday, May 14th as we bring Saisonathon to Forbidden Root!)

Our Twelve Cellar Offerings, in order of dice value


  1. Transient Artisan Ales - Sporadic #2 (Wine barrels)
  2. Hoppin’ Frog Brewery - Barrel Aged B.O.R.I.S. Van Wink Oatmeal Imperial Stout
  3. Evil Twin Brewing - Imperial Biscotti Break Bourbon Barrel-Aged
  4. Hill Farmstead Brewery - E.
  5. Cycle Brewing Company/Mikkeller - DOS Brunch
  6. Cigar City Brewing - Double Barrel Hunahpu’s


  1. Avery Brewing Co. - Mephistopheles (2011)
  2. Draai Laag Brewing Co. - R2 Koelschip
  3. Paradox Beer Co. - End of the Beginning Vol. II
  4. De Struise Brouwers - Cuvée Delphine (2013)
  5. Firestone Walker Brewing Co. - Double DBA (2013)
  6. Goose Island Beer Co. - Proprietor’s Bourbon County Stout (2013)
Direct download: ABV_Chicago_271_Cellar_Roulette.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

Though the name suggests a more rustic approach, Forager Brewery out of Rochester, Minnesota is finding an audience with their adjunct-laden stouts and mixed-culture sours. We get our hands on four dark beers and one barrel-aged sour to learn more about this brewery that wowed us at GABF in 2017. Succumbing to the fudge giggles, we also find ourselves considering cereal smells, questioning our broken palates, and getting stickier than ever before. (Also, we share the big news about Saisonathon 2019, so tune in to this one for some details - or keep an eye on our website for more!)

Beers Reviewed

Sherpa’s Survival Kit (Imperial stout)

Pudding Goggles (Imperial porter w/ coconut, cinnamon, vanilla beans, and cacao nibs)

Obscurely Referenced (Sour blonde ale aged in gin barrels - collaboration with Fair State Brewing)

Happiness Layer (Imperial milk stout w/ roasted pecans, toasted coconut, vanilla beans, and cacao nibs)

Mexican Mocha (Imperial stout w/ vanilla beans, cacao nibs, habanero, guajillo, ancho, and mulato peppers, ceylon cinnamon, and coffee)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_270_Forager.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

A sequel almost five years in the making, this episode reunites us with the beers of Sante Adairius Rustic Ales thanks to listener Mike Rousseau. Recognized by RateBeer as the 10th best brewery in the world, SARA may have built its legacy on oak-aged saisons, but here we get to sample some of their recent forays into IPA. Craig seeks out some dog walking advice, Ryan shares the smartest snack, we practice a little tantric sipping, and we explore themes of the next films in the Expendables franchise. Decanting suggested!

Beers Reviewed

Woven (Oak-aged blonde ale - collaboration with Half Acre)

Tomorrow, Today (IPA)

Then Again (Blend of 1-, 2-, and 3-year old barrel-aged saisons)

Of This World (Triple IPA)

Cask 200: Batch 2 (Solera-style saison)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_269_SARA_Revisited.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

An ancient prophecy foretold of a legacy brewery that would make a baffling number of IPAs to be available all at the same time, and that those IPAs would remind two lowly podcasters about why they fell in love with beer in the first place. Yeah, the Sierra Nevada love is strong on this one, especially from Ryan, whose CostCo shopping made this show possible. But we do find a lot of interesting variation in the seven IPAs in this lineup. Craig tries not to lean too hard into the “tastes like a beer” angle, we explore the next frontier in cooking shows, and there’s a bunch of bizarre stuff about dinosaurs. Dig those whiffs!

Sierra Nevada Beers Reviewed

Resilience IPA

Torpedo Extra IPA

Tropical Torpedo IPA

Brut IPA

Hop Solo IPA

Sidecar Orange IPA

Ruthless Rye IPA

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_268_Legend_of_Seven_Sierras.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

To help push us through the last bits of this awful Chicago winter, we drink beers from paradise to tackle our 19th state show. This episode features five beers from five Hawaiian breweries, and they taste pretty great even without the tropical background. We also introduce our extremely on-brand Sweet 16 bracket challenge, give you Something Else to Complain About Ⓡ, and explain how Craig’s mom is awesome (and better than Ryan). You’d expect us to say “aloha” here, but we didn’t. Ha.

Beers Reviewed

Lanikai Brewing Company (Kailua) - Route 70 (Saison w/ hibiscus and honey)

Waikiki Brewing Company (Honolulu) - Hana Hou Hefe (Hefeweizen w/ strawberry puree and orange peel)

Big Island Brewhaus (Kamuela) - Overboard IPA

Mehana Brewing Company (Hilo) - Volcano Red Ale

Maui Brewing Company (Kihei) - Imperial Coconut Porter (w/ toasted coconut and cacao nibs)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_267_The_HI_Show.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

Like a lucky slot machine pull, we have a winning lineup of cherries on this show as we try five different styles of beer from five breweries, all featuring cherry. We learn quite a bit about these versatile drupes while we rank this group that has a few transcendent flavor experiences. This one is also ripe with diversions that include Zen gardens, Dairy Queen flagships, screaming lemons, the worst Sunday alibi, Al Borland Cosplay, hateful Hobby Lobby aromas, Dan Cortese’s filmography, and a BuzzBall the size of a baby’s skull. It’s certainly not…..the pits.

Beers Reviewed

Casey Brewing & Blending - Casey Family Preserves: Golden Cherry (Oak-aged Saison)

Sketchbook Brewing Co. - Ripe Now Farmstand Porter w/ Cherries

Transient Artisan Ales - Cherry Anachronism (American Wild Ale)

Hop Butcher for the World - Circumpolar Cherry Cyclone (Milkshake Double IPA w/ lactose, vanilla, and cherry)

Pipeworks Brewing Co. - Barrel-aged Cherry Truffle Abduction (Imperial stout w/ cacao and cherry, aged in bourbon barrels)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_266_Cherry_On_Tap.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

With a secondary price tag higher than our mortgage payments, this show is an embarrassment of riches in flavor and in rarity. But will we be embarrassed by our blind rankings of eight barrel-aged vanilla stouts released in 2018? You bet your sweet tooth we will. We are joined by Ryan Tracy at his Park Ridge establishment, Beer on the Wall, as we fumble through our guesses and evaluate these high gravity beers based only on what’s in the glass. It’s a fun way to hear our beer careers come to an end. If that’s not enough, we talk about confusing road signs, classic Chi-Chi’s commercials, the best doorbells to lick, and waffles. And it’s totally not scripted, we swear.

Beers Tasted Blindly (in order of appearance)

  1. Transient Artisan Ales - Gray Skies Barrel Aged Neckbeard Nectar
  2. Bottle Logic Brewing - Fundamental Observation: Batch 4
  3. Goose Island Beer Co. - Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout (2018)
  4. Angry Chair Brewing - Barrel Aged Ultra Violence
  5. Voodoo Brewing - Big Black Voodoo Daddy (Aged in Bourbon barrels w/ vanilla beans)
  6. More Brewing - Barrel Aged Henna (Vanilla Caviar)
  7. 3 Floyds Brewing Co. - Dark Lord: Marshmallow Handjee
  8. Revolution Brewing - Vanilla Deth
Direct download: ABV_Chicago_265_BA_Vanilla_Blind.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

Whether you see it as beer’s #version of Record Store Day or as a viral marketing ploy to drive sales for struggling brands, we here at ABV Chicago embrace these classics with open arms. And our arms are very open on this episode as we sample 12 of the most important beers in American craft beer, all of which either launched or propelled legacy brands. No one in the world really needs our take on these beers, but here you go! Before pronunciation becomes a problem, we share the plagiarised stories of these beers’ varied histories, Craig accidentally ends up in a porn, Ryan forgets about Fat Tire, and we workshop some stuff for Spontaneous September. We also try and sell Jim Koch our palates, Craig yearns for the Days of Malt, and Ryan reviews Baker’s Square from the 90s. Come for the classic beers; stay for the Moist Steven.

Flagships “Reviewed”

Anchor Brewing Company - Anchor Steam Beer

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. - Pale Ale

Boston Beer Company - Samuel Adams Boston Lager

Bell’s Brewery - Amber Ale

Great Lakes Brewing Company - Dortmunder Gold

Yuengling Brewery - Traditional Lager

Deschutes Brewery - Black Butte Porter

Lagunitas Brewing Company - IPA

Allagash Brewing Company - White

New Glarus Brewing Company - Spotted Cow

Oskar Blues Brewery - Dale’s Pale Ale

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery - 60 Minute IPA

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_264_Flagship_February.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

Deep in the heart of Wisconsin, there exists a not-so-secret society of like-minded artisans - specializing in beer, liquor, and wine - that have formed a collective to bring more tourists to the area. And for some reason, they thought that giving us a bunch of booze would be a good idea to promote their brand. Well luckily the liquids are all tasty-to-impressive, and we have a hell of a time lining them up on this show. In addition, Craig shares his week of Final Destination-style close calls, Ryan shares his notes on 20WineTeen so far, and then there’s stuff about robot cereal and socially-anxious vampires. We also play the very literal new hit game, Name Ten Badgers, and we try to stay on the good side of Seagram’s Jim. And hey, next time you’re up North, say hi to Gary Koziak for us.

Craft Liquids Reviewed

Sunset Point Winery [Stevens Point, WI] - Northern Lights Blackberry Midnight (Merlot infused with blackberries)

McZ’s Brew Pub [Rosholt, WI] - Campfire Rauchbier

O’so Brewing Company [Plover, WI] - Bruin in a Bramble (Black raspberry sour Oud Bruin)

Whole Hog/Stevens Point Brewery [Stevens Point, WI] - Casper (White stout)

Central Waters Brewing [Amherst, WI] - Black Gold 2018 (Barrel-aged imperial stout)

Great Northern Distilling [Plover, WI] - Herbalist Gin (used in a Ginger Smash cocktail)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_263_Central_WICC.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

Since our first encounter with James and Sarah Howat’s Black Project back at GABF in 2015, we’ve wanted to dedicate a show to their spontaneously-fermented wild ales. So we’re understandably jazzed about this whole deal, and the lineup of five beers on this show go beyond our expectations. In addition, Craig does the following things: quizzes Ryan on government conspiracies; solves the mysteries of The Shining; invents the worst Slip-n-Slide; and starts his Soundcloud rap career as Must Buoy. We also look into chipmunk storage, face tattoos, horny cats, Prilosec murders, dank basement cheese, and sopping wet corks. That’s what happens when the beer is this good.

Beers Reviewed

FOXBAT (Spontaneous ale w/ with peaches, rosemary, sage and sea salt)

TAGBOARD (Wet-hopped Méthode Traditionnelle ale)

CLOUDMASTER (Spontaneous sour wheat ale)

CYGNUS: Cherry [Blend A] (Méthode Traditionnelle ale w/ cherries)

ROSWELL: GRUDGE (Lambic-inspired ale w/ raspberries)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_262_Black_Project.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

Now that bottles of Afterthought beers are starting to leave Lombard to reach more drinkers in the Chicagoland area, we celebrate by popping five elegant saisons from Mike Thorpe’s small-yet-acclaimed brewery. Using mostly Midwestern ingredients, Afterthought’s saisons are about as diverse as they come, while being mistakable for some of the bigger-name farmhouse-made beers from around the country or world. Amidst our appreciation of these top-tier beers, we somehow find time to debate about horse diapers, determine the right application for gummy worms in beer, take our parts in the Chili’s theme song, and - gulp - go into the Mosherverse. Zangy!

Beers Reviewed

Saison Illinois (Saison w/ all Illinois ingredients)

Raspberry (Ale refermented w/ raspberries)

Black Currant (Saison fermented in oak w/ black currants)

Saison Amer: Galaxy (Hoppy saison fermented in a Sauvignon Blanc barrel)

Bière De Pieces #7 (Blend of Saison Meer: Buckwheat, Faible: Passion Fruit, and barrel-aged Faible with paw paw)

Direct download: ABV_Episode_261_Afterthought.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

After the first five Deep Wood releases, Revolution Brewing could’ve taken the rest of the season off and enjoyed a victory lap. Instead, they drop five more barrel-aged beers that might be collectively better than the first half. We taste through this colorful - and strong - array of styles with an early appearance from joyful inebriation. We work through the tingles by proving our age through technology, coming up with secret beer orders, weighing the seriousness of a high fudge tolerance against fudge fatigue, suggesting a legitimate new FoBAB category, and by sipping on that session bourbon. Should’ve asked for a Cherry Coke.

**Correction: The Beer on the Wall event we mentioned, the Deth’s Tar Crawl, has NOT yet happened, so you should go and do it on January 31st. Check the events page on their website for more info!**

Beers Reviewed

Gravedigger Billy (Bourbon barrel-aged Scotch ale)

Ryeway to Heaven (Ryewine aged in rye barrels)

Vanilla Deth (Imperial oatmeal stout aged in bourbon barrels w/ vanilla)

Straight Jacket (Bourbon barrel-aged barleywine)

Boss Ryeway (Ryewine aged in Armagnac barrels)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_260_Deep_Wood_Deeper.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

In almost three years, Cruz Blanca has quietly become one of the city’s best breweries, churning out everything from lagers that pair perfectly with a smokey tlayuda to wild ales that will captivate even the nerdiest bottle share. Now with 6-pack cans of three crowd-pleasing beers out in the market, Cruz is poised to build a bigger fanbase than ever. We sat down with brewers Jacob Sembrano and Todd White to sample a broad array of their beers while exploring why they’re ok with being the sleeping giant that they’ve become. The discussion ranges from brewing technique, craft maltsters, Brut IPAs, and barrel blends to the history of Mexican lager, the surprising origin of Cruz Blanca, and the inspiration behind their distinctive artwork. There’s also some truly unfortunate nicknames, freestyle Tetris, crunchy water, a little P.F. Chang’s inspiration, and just a little yelling about bière de gardes. Don’t tell your friends!

Beers Enjoyed

Corn Grisette (100% corn malt mixed culture grisette)

Blood of the Flamingo (Black raspberry Brett Berliner)

Amigovio (Oak-aged wild ale w/ peaches)

Crushada (Wine barrel-aged Flemish Red Ale)

Brut Suit Riot (Brut IPA)

Three Kings (Hazy DIPA w/ guava and tamarind)

Loco Dinero (Imperial coffee blonde ale w/ lactose, aged in rye whiskey and Barbados rum barrels)

Rey Gordo (Imperial stout aged in Barbados rum barrels)

Senor Incognito - (Imperial stout w/ toasted coconut, pecans and Mexican cinnamon, aged in rye whiskey barrels)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_259_Cruz_Blanca.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

Opinion on Brut IPAs seems to be passionately divided between love and hate. But many brewers are banking on it gaining traction with the hopes that their version of this wildly inconsistent style will come to define the Brut as we know it. On this episode, we attempt to find out exactly what makes a Brut IPA and carve out our own subjective idea of what makes the good ones stand out. Through a blind tasting, we sample six Brut IPAs - three local, and three from afar - with the added challenge of guessing the lineup. We also plot out the next Neil Breen film, discover why tiny bubbles aren’t always good (and it’s not Don Ho’s fault), and indulge in some more bad puns. Hackback!

Beers Tasted Blindly

Stillwater Artisanal - Extra Extra

New Belgium Brewing - Brut IPA

Stone Brewing - Enjoy By 01.01.19 Brüt IPA

Sketchbook Brewing/Illuminated Brew Works - Resistance W.I.T.C.H.

Middle Brow Beer Co. - Trademark Brut

Hopewell Brewing Co. - Clique

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_258_Blind_Bruts.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CST

We’re truly in Beer Country now as our States Series takes us to the home of the most breweries in the nation: California! We have six beers on from six breweries, split evenly between the halves of the state, and we are shook by the unfaltering quality. Craig makes an impossible sacrifice for 2019, Ryan educates you on the brewing facts you won’t find in textbooks, and we both enter rankings less clear and less sober than we’ve been in a long time. Come to basketball land, you get dunked on.

Beers Reviewed

Fall River Brewing Company (Fall River Mills, CA) - Blood Knot IPA (NE-style IPA w/ blood orange)

Cellador Ales (North Hills, CA) - Berlinerish Blueberry (Barrel-fermented Brett Berliner w/ whole organic blueberries)

New Glory Craft Brewery (Sacramento, CA) - Wakey Wakey (Oatmeal Coffee Porter w/ vanilla beans)

Highland Park Brewery (Los Angeles, CA) - Twiced Pinot (Barrel-Aged Saison with Pinot Noir Pomace)

Moksa Brewing Co. (Rocklin, CA) - Cape of Good Hops (NE-style DIPA)

Bottle Logic Brewing (Anaheim, CA) - Fundamental Observation: Batch 4 (Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Vanilla Stout)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_257_The_CA_Show.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am CST

When you are gifted a mix of beers from Hill Farmstead and The Alchemist, you stop everything and drink them. Thanks to listener/Patreon supporter/forever friend Josh Sissman we have five canned beers from both nü-classic Vermont breweries, and we review them with a tactical precision unseen for nigh on 50 episodes. But we still find time to announce our most exciting brush with fame, the last place you want to find pine needles, our wildly different perception of the Mosaic hop, check the creamy chart, ask for a percent on every unit sold - in perpetuity, and fear the inevitable naked Craig torture.

Beers Reviewed

Hill Farmstead Brewery - Society & Solitude #5 (Imperial IPA)

Hill Farmstead Brewery - Society & Solitude #12 (Imperial IPA)

The Alchemist - Alena (American IPA)

The Alchemist - Beelzebub (American Imperial Stout)

The Alchemist - Luscious (British-Style Imperial Stout)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_256_The_Full_Vermonty.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am CST

When Neil Fisher crushes your porch with a big box of WeldWerks beer for sampling, you don’t hesitate to revel in the flavorful delights contained within. Recorded in October, this 2nd edition (in ten episodes) of us marvelling at the expertly-crafted hype-machine beers from the Colorado brewery includes likely the best beer either of us have had all year. But there’s also some important contributions to the ABV Chicago canon, like “flerbals” and “flavor aliens,” so you can hear what that’s all about. And to really bring the magic to this sequel, there are two games: one about WeldWerks beers, and one with an unmentionable name about discontinued snack items. #keepinitflerbal

Beers Reviewed

Fake Item Box (New England-style Milkshake Session IPA w/ lactose and vanilla)

Blackberry Cobbler Berliner (Kettle sour w/ blackberry puree, vanilla, graham crackers, and lactose)

Piña Colada Milkshake (New England-style Milkshake Double IPA w/ toasted coconut, pineapple puree, and vanilla)

Cosmic Torero (New England-style Double IPA)

Mexican Medianoche (Imperial stout aged in Woodford Reserve barrels for 20 months, aged on vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks, and cacao nibs)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_255_WeldWerks_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:05am CST

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


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