ABV Chicago Craft Beer Podcast (general)

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

Beers Sampled

Avery Brewing - Vanilla Bean Stout

4 Hands Brewing - Madagascar (2015)

FiftyFifty Brewing - Eclipse - Vanilla (2016)

Hill Farmstead Brewery - Twilight of the Idols (2015)

Saint Errant Brewing - Tepoztecatl

Transient Artisan Ales - Bark Lord (2017)

Mikerphone Brewing - Imperial Smells Like Bean Spirit Vanilla

Pipeworks Brewing - The Hyper Dog (Elijah Craig barrels)

Transient Artisan Ales - Neckbeard Nectar (2016)

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

Pipeworks Brewing - The Jones Dog (Bourbon barrel aged)

The Bruery - White Chocolate

Cycle Brewing - Rare Dos Double Barrel (Vanilla)

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

Bottle Logic Brewing - Fundamental Observation (2017)

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

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

 

Beers Reviewed

 

Cerebral Brewing - DDH Rare Trait (New England IPA)

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

 

Interviews

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Beers Reviewed

 

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

Fieldwork Brewing - Pulp (IPA)

Fieldwork Brewing - King Citra (Double IPA)

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

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

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

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

Beers Reviewed

Alaskan Brewing Amber

Sun King Wee Mac Scottish Ale

Trinity Brewing Seven Day Sour

Epic Brewing Citralush New England Style IPA

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

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

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

Beers Reviewed

Sneakbox (American Pale Ale)

Head High (IPA)

Overhead (Double IPA)

Morning Bell (Imperial Coffee Porter)

Vengeful Heart (American Barleywine)

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

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

Beers Reviewed


Beer Church Brewing - Crooked Cross (Cream Ale)

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

Watermark Brewing - Wild Vibes (Sour Imperial Stout)

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

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

Interview Segments

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beers Faced

Buckledown Fritzicuffs vs. New Glarus Hometown Blonde

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

Goose Island Brasserie Blanc vs. Funk Factory Cervino

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

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

Beers Reviewed

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

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

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

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

Tusker [Africa] - Lager

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

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

Beers Sampled

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

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

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

Beers Reviewed

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

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