ABV Chicago Craft Beer Podcast

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

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

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

Sierra Nevada Brewing - Hazy Little Thing IPA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beers Reviewed

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

Hogshead Brewery - Lake Lightning (English Pale Ale)

Amalgam Brewing - Ascension (Golden Sour Ale)

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

Cerebral Brewing - Cheat Code (Double IPA)

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

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

Beers Reviewed 

Oskar Blues Brewery - Barrel-Aged Ten Fidy

Revolution Brewing - Deth by Cherries

Nickel Brook Brewing - Cafe Del Bastardo

Moody Tongue - Bourbon Barrel-Aged 12 Layer Cake

Dogfish Head Brewery - Oak-aged Vanilla World Wide Stout

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

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

Beers Reviewed

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

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

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

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

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

 

Beers Reviewed

 

Barrel Aged Asmodeus (2017)

Barrel Aged Asmodeus - Coffee

Barrel Aged Asmodeus - Maple

Barrel Aged Asmodeus - Mexican Chocolate

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

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

Beers Reviewed // FoBABlin’ Segments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Beers Tasted Blindly (in order tasted) 

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

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

The Tortuous Collection

Craig’s Choices

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

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

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

Ryan’s Choices

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

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

Rinkuškiai - Hell on High (Quad Bock)

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

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

Beers Sampled

Avery Brewing - Vanilla Bean Stout

4 Hands Brewing - Madagascar (2015)

FiftyFifty Brewing - Eclipse - Vanilla (2016)

Hill Farmstead Brewery - Twilight of the Idols (2015)

Saint Errant Brewing - Tepoztecatl

Transient Artisan Ales - Bark Lord (2017)

Mikerphone Brewing - Imperial Smells Like Bean Spirit Vanilla

Pipeworks Brewing - The Hyper Dog (Elijah Craig barrels)

Transient Artisan Ales - Neckbeard Nectar (2016)

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

Pipeworks Brewing - The Jones Dog (Bourbon barrel aged)

The Bruery - White Chocolate

Cycle Brewing - Rare Dos Double Barrel (Vanilla)

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

Bottle Logic Brewing - Fundamental Observation (2017)

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

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

 

Beers Reviewed

 

Cerebral Brewing - DDH Rare Trait (New England IPA)

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

 

Interviews

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Beers Reviewed

 

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

Fieldwork Brewing - Pulp (IPA)

Fieldwork Brewing - King Citra (Double IPA)

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

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

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

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

Beers Reviewed

Alaskan Brewing Amber

Sun King Wee Mac Scottish Ale

Trinity Brewing Seven Day Sour

Epic Brewing Citralush New England Style IPA

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

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

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

Beers Reviewed

Sneakbox (American Pale Ale)

Head High (IPA)

Overhead (Double IPA)

Morning Bell (Imperial Coffee Porter)

Vengeful Heart (American Barleywine)

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

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

Beers Reviewed


Beer Church Brewing - Crooked Cross (Cream Ale)

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

Watermark Brewing - Wild Vibes (Sour Imperial Stout)

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

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

Interview Segments

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beers Faced

Buckledown Fritzicuffs vs. New Glarus Hometown Blonde

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

Goose Island Brasserie Blanc vs. Funk Factory Cervino

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

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

Beers Reviewed

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

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

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

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

Tusker [Africa] - Lager

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

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

Beers Sampled

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

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

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

Beers Reviewed

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

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

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

Beers Reviewed

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

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

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

Beers Reviewed

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

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

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

Beers Sampled

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

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

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

 

Beer Combatants //

 

Lagergeddon:

 

Riggs Beer Co. - American Lager

Surly Brewing Co. - #Merica!

Dovetail Brewery - Lager

Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan - Weihenstephaner Original

 

Hefeweight Championship/HefeRock:

 

Riggs Beer Co. - Hefeweizen

New Glarus Brewing Co. - Bubbler

Dovetail Brewery - Hefeweizen

Ayinger Privatbrauerei - Ayinger Bräuweisse

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

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

Beers Reviewed

FloMO Pils

Fallen Flag IPA

Cloud City IPA

Old Town Porter

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

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

Beers Featured

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

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

Spacebar (Galaxy-Hopped DIPA)

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

Vinyl Frontier (Lactose Double IPA w/ El Dorado Hops

Creamsicle IPA (collaboration with Untitled Art)

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

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

Beers C-C-C-C-CRUSHED

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

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

Pollyanna Brewing - Summerly (wheat ale with raspberries)

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

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

Moody Tongue - Peeled Grapefruit Pilsner

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

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

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

Beers Reviewed

Magnify Brewing - Low Visibility Pale Ale

Jersey Girl Brewing - Rake Breaker IPA

Carton Brewing - Shinshu (cream ale with miso)

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

Kane Brewing - Christian Patrick (imperial stout)

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

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

 

Beers Reviewed

 

Berliner Weisse

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

Bourbon Barrel Dark Apparition (Russian imperial stout)

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

Bourbon Barrel Black Maple (imperial porter with maple syrup)

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

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

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

 

Beers Reviewed

 

Weissenheimer Hefeweizen

Wild Sour Series: Blueberry Gose

Wild Sour Series: Synchopathic (dry-hopped sour)

Amra Mango IPA

Dosvidanya (Bourbon barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout)

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

 

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

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

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

 

Beers Reviewed

 

Brew Gentlemen - General Braddock’s IPA

Forest & Main Brewing - Solaire (Saison)

Lavery Brewing - 1847 Rye Stout

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

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

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

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

 

Beers Reviewed

 

Hopewell Brewing - First Lager

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

Hop Butcher for the World - Grid (APA)

Finch Beer Co. - Plumage (IPA)

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

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

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

Beers Reviewed

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

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

Mikerphone Brewing - I Want My IPA

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

Bearded Iris Brewing - Double Scatterbrain (double IPA)

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

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

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

Beers Consumed

The Brew Kettle - Kitka (Chocolate Coconut Milk Stout)

TailGate Beer - PB&J Milk Stout

Saugatuck Brewing - Neapolitan Milk Stout

4 Hands Brewing - Horchata Chocolate Milk Stout

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

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

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

Beers Reviewed

Bell’s Brewery - Oberon

New Glarus Brewing - Dancing Man Wheat

Boulevard Brewing - 80 Acre Hoppy Wheat

3 Floyds Brewing - Gumballhead

Revolution Brewing - Sun Crusher

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

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

Beer Slices

Citra Pils

Moonstomp (Berliner weisse)

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

Arck Angel - Peaches (Double IPA w/ peaches)

FLEMboyant (Flanders inspired wild ale aged in oak)

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

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

Beers Reviewed

Yellow Springs Brewery - Captain Stardust (Saison)

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

Rhinegeist Brewery - Penguin (Blonde stout)

The Brew Kettle - White Rajah (IPA)

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

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

 

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

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

Lineup

Maris* Pale Ale

Anniversary No. 4 Saison

Prospect Single Hop IPA (Hallertau Blanc)

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

Eephus Oatmeal Brown Ale


Thanks to listener Christopher Nyren for the beers!

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

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

 

Half Acre - Tuna (Extra Pale Ale)

Half Acre - Double Daisy Cutter (Double Pale Ale)

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

Heavy Gem - Humanimal Stasis (Double IPA)

Heavy Gem - Virga (Ale fermented in oak barrels)

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

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

 

Tour Stops (Interview & Review Segments)

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

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

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

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

Beers Reviewed

Lo Rez Brewing - Dæmon (Belgian Golden Strong)

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

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

Dovetail Brewing - Hefeweizen

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

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

Episodes Compiled:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Beers Tasted (For Science)

 

New Glarus Barley Wine (2012)

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

Founders Bolt Cutter (2012)

Dark Horse Monster 29 (2012)

3 Floyds Barrel-Aged Behemoth (2013)

Flossmoor Station Fireside Chat (2013)

Stone Old Guardian (2010)

Firestone Walker Sucaba (2014)

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

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

Beers Reviewed

Rodenbach Original

Rodenbach Grand Cru

Rodenbach Vintage 2014

Rodenbach Caractère Rouge

Rodenbach Alexander

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

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

BEERS MOUNTED

Stone Ripper Pale Ale

Samuel Adams Rebel Juiced IPA

New Belgium Citradelic

Odell Drumroll APA

Two Brothers Pinball Pale Ale

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

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

 

Heroes Reviewed

 

Anti-Hero

Galaxy Hero

Amarillo Hero

Local Hero

Mosaic Hero

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

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

Beer Reviewed

Auranja (pLambic with oranges)

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

Nelson Sylph (Farmhouse ale)

Renascence (Porter)

Predestination (Blended sour aged in armagnac casks)

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

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

Beers Reviewed

Loose Leaf (Session Pale Ale)

St. Lupulin (Extra Pale Ale)

90 Shilling (Scottish Ale)

5 Barrel (Pale Ale)

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

IPA

Myrcenary (Double IPA)

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

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

Years of Bourbon County Brand Stout Tasted, Vertically

2009 (22 oz.)

2010 (12 oz.)

2011 (12 oz.)

2012 (12 oz.)

2013 (12 oz.)

2014 (12 oz.)

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

2016 (16.9 oz.)

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

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

Beers Reviewed

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

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

Noon Whistle - Cozmo Orange (pale ale with oranges)

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

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

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

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

Vintages Reviewed

1414

Fifteen

Sixteen

Seventeen

Eighteen

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

Good news to all our future expats, Toronto’s Bellwoods Brewery is making outstanding light hoppy beers that are bulging with deliciousness. Thanks to listener Christopher Nyren, we sample four fresh brews that cross-check us with flavor. Craig gives a brief overview of Canada’s confusing beer laws and liquor sales, then quizzes Ryan in a round of “Dead or Canadian?” There’s also a Ghostbusters lullaby, proper beer presentation, schnapps talk, Craig’s French mishaps, some mall walking, and the worst Afroman album ever.

Beers Reviewed

Stay Classy (Light Pale Ale)

Wizard Wolf (Pale Ale)

Jutsu (Pale Ale)

Jelly King (Dry-Hopped Sour Ale)

 

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_156_Bellwoods.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:30am CST

Bring your bendy straw, we’re dipping into some juicy, hazy New England-style IPAs made locally. Whether it’s an actual style or not, stores can hardly keep any brewery’s NEIPA in stock - so we evaluate seven of them in a blind tasting. We share everything we know about this trend, say “creamy” a few hundred times, and somewhat fail at recognizing Mosaic. There’s some shoe-eating, retired slogans, Sunny D, and our vow to become brother husbands. Disappear into a glass with us, and let your juice loose. I don’t know what the hell that means.

Beers Tasted Blindly

 

#1 Transient Artisan Ales - The Juice is Loose DIPA

#2 Maplewood Brewery - Son of Juice IPA

#3 Forbidden Root - Snoochie Boochies DIPA

#4 Hailstorm Brewing - Stratus DIPA

#5 Marz Community Brewing - NE MDW Chi PA

#6 Hop Butcher for the World - Reply Hazy, Try Again DIPA

#7 The Ram Restaurant & Brewery (Schaumburg) - Morning Fog DIPA

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_155_Chi_NEIPAs.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:40am CST

A Craig divided against itself cannot stand - especially if he’s drinking a bunch of high ABV coffee stouts. We challenge Craig’s hatred of coffee and love of stouts by opening four flavorful beers on this one. It’ll take a serious horse-breaking for Ryan to teach Craig anything about coffee, so instead we talk about cereal and double barrels and David Duchovny. But we also have a beer that so completely nails its intentions that it is nearly flawless - and another surprising beer brimming with luxurious coffee aroma but sorely lacking in the flavor department. Listen to find out which is which, and be careful with your cheeseballs! (Huge thanks to Eric Nakamoto for two of the beers on this one!)

Beers Reviewed

Short’s Brewing - Cup A Joe (Coffee Creme Stout)

Weldwerks Brewing - Coffee Coconut Stout

Epic Brewing - Big Bad Baptista (Whiskey barrel-aged stout with Mexican coffee, cacao nibs, vanilla & cinnamon)

Revolution Brewing - Café Deth (Bourbon barrel-aged imperial oatmeal stout with coffee)

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_154_Coffee_Stouts.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:40am CST

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