ABV Chicago Craft Beer Podcast

At the foot of the Appalachian mountains just outside of Asheville, Fonta Flora embraces local ingredients while honoring the history of a flooded sharecropping community. For some reason, reviewing four of their beers brings out our feisty side - and the most violent reaction to a beer we’ve ever had. We hope you also want to hear about Spanish Yoda, Craig’s cartoon hands, a little spooning, Byron Allen, sharecropping, and Nazi Fanta. The apology list might be long on this one. But at least most of the beers were good.

Beers Reviewed

Sun Gold Appalachian Grisette

Land Trust Appalachian Apple Saison

Vestige Bloom Wild Ale (aged in wine barrels w/kiwi)

Sal De Gusano Imperial Stout (aged in Mezcal barrels with sea salt & cacao)


Direct download: ABV_Chicago_119_Fonta_Flora.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:55am CDT

Another Dark Lord Day approaches, so we review a vertical of 3 Floyds’ signature special release with a little help from the Chicago Tribune’s beer columnist Josh Noel. Should you ever age a Dark Lord? Is it really just a decent beer? Are the variants worth it? The answers will probably not shock you. But we do our best to contribute to the conversation by talking about the changes to the fest itself, this year’s variants, and 3 Floyds’ place in local beer culture. There’s also some Goose Island talk, thoughts on the next era of beer, Josh’s day of karmic realignment, and the most Indiana story ever. Jud Jud.

Beers Reviewed:

Dark Lord (2012)

Dark Lord (2013)

Dark Lord (2014)

Dark Lord (2015)

Bourbon Barrel-Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord (2015)

Jarring metal music transitions courtesy of the lineup for this year’s Dark Lord Day, which you can find here: http://www.darklordday.com/schedule/


Direct download: ABV_Chicago_118_Dark_Lord.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:08am CDT

Nothing is certain and all of life is a lie. We drink five Midwestern barrel-aged stouts without knowing what they are to test their true quality and our very confidence in ourselves. And it is discovered that we, in fact, are terrible. But major surprises abound as we mostly play a new game we should call “Is This Bourbon County?” And we learn that spotting a fresh stout in a sea of aged beers is not as easy as one would expect. There’s also stuff about Everclear, pro-wrestling, Wu-Tang, the “Clue” movie, Craig’s hog, and Ryan’s newest brewery idea. Is it getting existential in here, or is just me?


Beers Reviewed, Blindly

Wild Onion Drӓgo (2015)

Goose Island Bourbon County Stout (2013)

Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Plead the Fifth (2013)

Bell’s Black Note (2012)

Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Stout (2013)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_117_MW_BA_Stouts_Blind.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:14am CDT

We’re all too eager to try more from Boston’s Trillium Brewing Company as we were positively gobsmacked by their beers last time. This time around, we have MC Johnsen from Worth 1000 Beers to help us review these five offerings and steer us into some serious streams of consciousness. We talk a bit about Trillium’s expanded production and second location, saison brewing, and hop blindness. For the digressions on this one, we go deep on candy (of course), feeling cheese, bad accents, ranch-flavored things, elbow dancing, and The Eagles. There’s an exciting announcement for our Patreon patrons; Craig shares his report on new craft beers at U.S. Cellular this season; MC promotes her “RAW” event at the Metro; and Ryan joins the creamy revolution.


Help nominate us for a Podcast Award by going to podcastawards.com and entering “ABV Chicago” in the Arts category between April 15th and April 30th.





  1. Pot & Kettle Oatmeal Porter
  2. Sleeper St. IPA
  3. Double Dry-Hopped Fort Point Pale Ale
  4. Melcher St. IPA
  5. Free Rise Saison



  1. Melcher St. IPA
  2. Double Dry-Hopped Fort Point Pale Ale
  3. Pot & Kettle Oatmeal Porter
  4. Sleeper St. IPA
  5. Free Rise Saison



  1. Double Dry-Hopped Fort Point Pale Ale
  2. Pot & Kettle Oatmeal Porter
  3. Sleeper St. IPA
  4. Melcher St. IPA
  5. Free Rise Saison
Direct download: ABV_Chicago_116_Trillium_Again.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:17am CDT

Check. Check. Is this thing on? Everybody wants some Mikerphone Brewing, and we find out exactly why on this episode. With a mixed 4-track of Mike Pallen’s beers, we have our asses rocked by a few of the best beers we’ve had in a long, long time. We share an update on Mikerphone’s new location, and discuss New England style IPAs, beers as musical instruments, and the fault of first impressions in craft beer. But then there’s some disgusting stuff about buckets, Gloria Estefan, Halloween masks, and girdles. Also, there’s some weak high fives, Craig’s day of action, and a game about Nirvana lyrics. Goodnight, Chicago!


Beers Reviewed


Nature’s Candy Peach Berliner Weisse

Special Sauce Double IPA

G Funk Era Golden Ale (w/ grapefruit)

Smells Like Bean Spirit (Batch 3) Breakfast Stout

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_115_Mikerphone.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:05am CDT

Somewhat quietly, Jerry Nelson from Une Année has been making some of the best sour beers in Chicago - or anywhere, frankly. On this show, we review the first five beers from the Le Seul series of wild ales and fall in love with the solera method. We also talk about Une Année’s recent news, share some info on the souring process from Jerry, and discuss the challenges of a sour beer membership program. Also, Craig’s voice is eating itself, Ryan gives Chris from Transient Artisan Ales tips on naming beers, and we play another (a)rousing round of Beers Against Humanity. The phrase “canonical dingleberry” has never been so appropriate.

Beers Reviewed:

Le Seul I (Reddish brown sour with tart cherries and cranberries)

Le Seul II (Hoppy golden sour with raspberries)

Le Seul III (Wild ale with blackberries)

Le Seul IV (Blended golden sour with peaches)

Le Seul V (Blended golden sour with kiwifruit)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_114_Une_Annee_Le_Seul.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:12am CDT

Two Michigan breweries enter Illinois; only one will be declared victorious. Well, not really, as we’re sure that both Short’s Brewing and Odd Side Ales will make a lot of new fans in Illinois. We pit six of these Michigan export beers head-to-head on this episode - and the real winner is good taste. But also, we take asides on Craig’s Street Fighter knowledge, offensive beer names, Johnny Cage the Elephant, and that time Ryan almost witnessed Sugar Ray die. (Long live Sugar Ray!) And yes, there will be a little Ween.

Beer Matchups

Round 1:

Short’s Bellaire Brown vs. Odd Side Bean Flicker

Round 2:

Short’s Huma Lupa Licious vs. Odd Side Citra Pale Ale

Round 3:

Short’s Soft Parade vs. Odd Side Flash Golden


Direct download: ABV_Chicago_113_ShortsVsOddSide.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:03am CDT

We disengage our clutches and rev up our car metaphors for a whole show dedicated to the Speedway Stout from AleSmith. Mike Zoller from PorchDrinking joins us to taste five versions of this coffee-fueled, high-octane stout, and it’s a damn good thing we’re not actually driving. We talk about aging coffee beers, infected beers, and barrel-aging’s impact on ABV. But we also discuss Wacky Races, recoil from political talk, step on Craig’s pole, and try not to offend any volcanoes. And someone gets threatened with his own Cicerone pin. There are no friends at 200mph. Got speed? Drive Hard; Get Dirty.

Beers Reviewed

Speedway Stout (2015)

Barrel-Aged Speedway Stout (2015)

Speedway Stout - Vietnamese Coffee

Speedway Stout - Kona Coffee

Speedway Stout - Hawaiian (with coconut and vanilla)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_112_Speedway_Grand_Prix.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:02am CDT

Episode 111 - Stoneface Brewing Co.

Since 2014, the people of Stoneface Brewing Co. have been focused on churning out a small variety of high quality brews. We drink five from the New Hampshire brewery, and there’s nary a complaint to be made about these great beers. But the diversions we take are more, uh, graphic than ever. Expect to hear about a Mozzapocalypse, perfect rimjobs, the genius of Neil Breen, eating babies, Nick Nolte’s Sea Captain period, and Craig’s sexual proclivities. It’s actually not as bad as it sounds. But we do say maybe the worst words we’ve ever said, Craig reveals he’s a Certified Beer Server, and Ryan subjects Craig to a game of “Name That Stone or Face.” Caution: it gets frothy.

Beers Reviewed

Blip (Session IPA)

Rye (India Red Rye Ale)


RIS (Russian Imperial Stout w/coffee and vanilla beans)

BA RIS (Rum barrel-aged)

CORRECTION: Marvin Berry in Back To The Future is actually Chuck Berry’s cousin, not his brother. ABV Chicago would like to formally apologize for this error.

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_111_Stoneface.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:07am CDT

To celebrate the opening of their new bottle shop, Off Color has released a few unique beers that we combine with two other shelf selections for review on this episode. And because Craig spent the day acquiring cideries at the Cider Summit, we try to keep it brief and on topic - which fails quickly. There’s a little talk of food color byproducts, two new Craig characters (John Apple and French Stupid), Ryan’s trouble in the produce aisle, a reappearance from the orgy tarp, and a solid eight minutes on our second favorite subject: candy. Furry little creatures are welcome.

Beers Reviewed

Bare Bear (Sahti)

Le Woof (Biere de Garde)

Whiskers (American Wild Ale)

Space Tiger (American Wild Ale)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_110_Lil_Off_Color.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:55am CDT