ABV Chicago Craft Beer Podcast

Wherein we consume over a gallon of Bourbon County, this episode attempts to balance detailed reviews with what is basically stunt drinking. We enlist the help of Beer on the Wall’s Ryan Tracy to try all eight variations under Goose Island’s 2019 Bourbon County brand. We spend a lot of time dissecting the annually most-argued-over beer release while also planning our 311 heist, uncovering box-related conspiracies, checking to see if our wort is fully worted, and tearing away our pleather pants. Absolute. Fudgebomb.

2019 Bourbon County Beers Reviewed

Bourbon County Brand Stout

Bourbon County Brand Wheatwine

Reserve Rye Bourbon County Brand Stout

2-Year Reserve Bourbon County Brand Stout

Bourbon County Brand Mon Chéri Stout (w/ cherries, oats, granola, and brown sugar)

Bourbon County Brand Café de Olla Stout (w/ Intelligentsia coffee, cassia bark, orange peel, and panela sugar)

Proprietor’s Bourbon County Brand Stout (w/ toasted pecans, coconut, cocoa, and vanilla)

Bourbon County Brand Double Barrel Stout

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_307_BCBS19.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am CDT

To continue Barrel-Aged December, we track down five beers that brought home medals from this year’s Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beers. (We swear this isn’t a month-old FoBAB recap show.) We put on our judges’ hats and try to find the secret to what makes a beer medal-worthy at Chicago’s premier beer competition. Craig lazily tries to shoehorn Baby Yoda into the show, Ryan just wants to be recognized for his cake, and we act like a couple of drinking cockswains. Pour it on your ham!

Beers Reviewed

Church Street Brewing Company - Holy Moly (Barrel-aged milk stout) - Bronze in Classic Styles

Hacienda Beer Co. - L’hiver (Foeder-aged Brett. saison w/ ginger, orange peel, and green cardamom) - Silver in Wild Beer/Brett

Crystal Lake Brewing - Boathouse Reserve Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged Imperial Stout - Silver in Strong Porter/Stout

Pollyanna Brewing Company - Orenda Volume 02 (Belgian-style quadrupel aged in grape brandy barrels) - Silver in Other Strong Beer

Cerebral Brewing - Vanilla Rye Here Be Monsters (Rye barrel-aged stout w/ vanilla beans) - Gold in Specialty Strong Porter/Stout

Direct download: ABV_Chicago_306_FoBAB_Winners.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CDT

At some point, these guys can’t stay “underrated” or “under the radar” with the ridiculous blends and adjunct-enhanced beers from barrels they release every year. Cruz Blanca’s Luchador series may still be young in the Chicago specialty release annual tradition, but the resulting beers are outpacing their seasoned competitors in quality and accessibility. In what is likely an ill-advised move, we sit down and drink through all six of these high-ABV barrel-aged beers to review and rank them. The episode is also an extended tribute to Challenge Butter, Your Intimidating Kitchen Friend. We also get on about noseburns, flowereaters, The Simpsons arcade game strategy, and Bourbon County sharkjumping. Listen to us wrestle with sobriety!

Beers Reviewed

Rey Gordo (Imperial stout aged in Basil Hayden bourbon barrels)

Santa Cruz (Oatwine aged in rye whiskey & red wine barrels)

Tarzan Boy (Imperial stout aged in rum barrels with banana, coffee, & vanilla)

Señor Incognito (Imperial stout aged in rye whiskey barrels with toasted coconut, pecans, & cinnamon)

Loco Dinero (Imperial blonde ale aged in rum & rye whiskey barrels with Sparrow coffee)

Lady Luminada (Imperial blonde ale aged in rum & rye whiskey barrels with chocolate, strawberry, cherry, & blackberry)

Direct download: ABV_Chicag_305_Cruz_Luchadors.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT

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 CDT