Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Wednesday, June 19

Gapers Block

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Beer Thu Dec 10 2015

Some Like It Dark

Three big stout events this week, beer fans.

Tonight at Fischman Liquors, 4776 N. Milwaukee Ave., Lake Effect Brewing and Superdawg celebrate the release of SuperShake, a chocolate malt milkshake-inspired stout that joins the line of collaborations between the brewery and hot dog stand. Starting at 6pm, stop by to sample SuperShake as well as SuperBier and WhoopskiBier. There will be Superdawg and Whoopskidawg samples to pair with their respective beers, ice cream to make SuperShake floats, and a raffle for branded glassware and other stuff.

Continue reading this entry »

Andrew Huff

Openings Wed Oct 07 2015

Corridor to Open on Southport Corridor

corridor brewery

The team behind DryHop Brewers open their newest project, Corridor Brewery & Provisions, on Thursday Thursday, Oct. 15 at 3446 N. Southport Ave. The new spot, just a few doors north of the Southport Brown Line stop, will be open from 5 to 11pm on its first day, and 11am to midnight daily from there forward.

Continue reading this entry »

Andrew Huff

Beer Tue Sep 08 2015

Crafting Deals with Big Beer

heineken-lagunitas.jpgIt's difficult to scale up in the beer (and cider) world without losing some of that indie cred. Two examples came up in the past week.

First, Greg Hall of Virtue Cider Co., announced that he'd sold a majority stake in the cider company to Anheuser-Busch InBev, the same global conglomarate that bought Goose Island Beer Company, the brewery he ran with his father, John Hall, for 23 years. Virtue will use Goose Island's brewery to bottle, keg and distribute its ciders. The agreement gives Virtue a big cash infusion and access to better distribution channels than it had on its own.

And today, Lagunitas Brewing, based in Petaluma, California but with a large brewery and increasing presence in Chicago, announced a 50-50 partnership deal with Heineken International. The deal provides the sixth largest craft brewery in the country access to Heineken's global production and distribution network; owner Tony Magee will continue to as president of Lagunitas, and operations will apparently stay basically the same.

Andrew Huff

Bar Thu Jul 23 2015

The "New" Villains Prevails

villains01.jpg"Where's Printers Row?" my friend--who works in the neighboring West Loop--asked me. I jumped to explain, throwing out some vague geographical tidbits and something about the annual Printers Row Lit Fest (which I love and have attended regularly ever since moving to Chicago about five years ago). However, I struggled to truly pin an identity to the area. I don't know, it's nice? There's a lot of student housing around there?

Villains, originally debuted in 2007 as a neighborhood bar on Clark Street across from its current "resurrected" incarnation, is doing the work for me by giving us out-of-neighborhooders something to remember Printers Row by. The updated Villains wants to stand out, and does so by pairing an out-of-the-box beer selection with beautifully executed food that excels far beyond the realm of typical "pub grub." There was some love put into this place, and it shows: the interior is spacious and plush, with thoughtful features such as a knob placed next to each booth by which guests can control the intensity of the lighting over their particular area (!!).

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Danielle Snow / Comments (2)

Beer Tue Jul 21 2015

Beer Briefs: Barrelhouses, Festivals & Home Brews

micro brew reviewUne Annee is building a barrelhouse and tap room, expected to be open in early 2016. Following in the footsteps of many other small breweries, including Begyle and Breakroom, Une Annee is implementing a membership program to help bootstrap the project. Join Le Grand Monde for $100 and you'll get a t-shirt, six 750ml bottles of the brewery's sour beers throughout the year, a bottle each of the special Quad and Airing of Grievances brews, and a 10 percent discount at the barrelhouse. A "platinum" option is available for $300 that includes quite a bit more swag, double the beer and an invitation to the soft opening.

Tickets are on sale now for the eighth annual Oak Park Micro Brew Review in downtown Oak Park on Aug. 15. More than 70 breweries will offer over 200 different beers, and there will also be food from local restaurants and live music on four stages. $50 gets you 40 beer samples and a souvenir tasting glass. Tickets for the Replicale Project, in which breweries create their own interpretations of a specific beer style (this year it's saison) are $60.

Mash Tun Journal has announced the call for entries for the 2015 Homebrewer's Ball, which will be held Aug. 23 at the Co-Prosperity Sphere. Only 25 beers will compete, and the grand prize will be brewed and distributed by Marz Community Brewing.

Andrew Huff

Bar Mon Jun 15 2015

Gone South at Hideout's "A Day in the Country"

hideout1.jpgSunday's "A Day in the Country" at the Hideout looked like it was plucked straight out of a summery, smoky day in the south and dropped right in the middle of an otherwise gloomy Chicago--warm weather, lawn chairs, and plenty of dancing late into the night.

The music, of course, was the main event. A wide array of country-rooted styles including the punk rock-tinged jams of the Siderunners and the velvety crooning of Sarah Potenza drew a devoted crowd. Event organizer and local musician Lawrence Peters played one of the liveliest sets of the night, transforming the Hideout into a swirling dance floor.

htbbq.jpgThe food included Honky Tonk BBQ's pulled pork sandwiches and corn on the cob, and Bang Bang Pie provided dessert (which disappeared very quickly). Lagunitas Brewery was featured on tap.

If you were unable to make the event, or simply looking to find out more about the music you heard, check out the following links to transport you back to A Day in the Country.

The Lawrence Peters Outift

Derek Hoke
Chuck Mead and his Grassy Knoll Boys
Sarah Potenza

For upcoming events at the Hideout, click here.

Danielle Snow

Event Wed Jun 10 2015

Escape to A Day in the Country at the Hideout

ADITC_poster.jpgIt'll be a pie-eatin', beer-guzzlin' good time at the eighth annual "A Day in the Country" music extravaganza, this upcoming Sunday at the Hideout.

Presented by Chicago-based musician Lawrence Peters, the all-day event will feature brews from Lagunitas Brewing Company, pies from Bang Bang, and barbecue from Honky Tonk BBQ-- representing the best of Chicago's picnic-ready food and drink.

Peters has also invited an array of bands representing a wide spectrum of country music genres, including bluegrass and honky tonk. Artists such as headliner Chuck Mead and His Grassy Knoll Boys, Derek Hoke, Sarah Potenza, and Peters' own The Lawrence Peters Outfit perform throughout the day across two different stages.

ADINTC.jpgStop by the Hideout on Sunday, June 14 to be a part of the action. Doors open at 1 pm and performances continue until 11 pm. Click here to see the full lineup. Tickets are $10 and the Hideout is located at 1354 W. Wabansia.

Danielle Snow

Beer Mon Jun 01 2015

Get 'Cha Drink On at Twisted Spoke This Thursday

Twisted Spoke.png
Twisted Spoke often gets overlooked as just a biker bar, but for over the past two decades it has been offering Chicago good food, arguably one of the largest brown liquor selections and an attention to craft beer that goes way beyond what has emerged in the past few years.

And they are inviting you this Thursday, June 4 as they tap 20 rare beers in celebration of their 20th birthday. Beers include New Belgium Twisted Spoke 15th Anniversary Collaboration, Three Floyds Alpha Kong, Bells Le Contrebassiste, Surly Pentagram, Sierra Bourbon Barrel Aged Bigfoot, Arcadia Bourbon Barrel Aged Cereal Killer and others. Additional specialty beers and exclusive whiskeys can be found, along with bites from the menu like The Fatboy, Twisted Spoke's signature burger.

The boozing starts at 6pm and goes into 2am. There is no cover charge and drink prices vary.

Twisted Spoke
501 N. Ogden Ave.

Brandy Gonsoulin

Beer Tue May 05 2015

Rub Shoulders with Brewers at New "Beer Social"

beer-and-big-shoulders.jpgIf you're passionate about beer, you like to talk about it. But rarely does the opportunity arise to talk directly with the people who make that beer. A new event series at Hopleaf hopes to change that.

On Tuesay, May 12, bartender Mark Bullock premieres Beers and Big Shoulders, a monthly "beer social" that introduces beer lovers to local craft brewers in an intimate setting. The special guests will be Ed Marszewski, founder and owner of Marz Community Brewing, and his brewers, Eric Olson, Tim Lange, Eli Espinoza and Alex Robertson. Bullock will conduct a brief interview with the brewers about their beers, plans for the future and the local craft beer scene in general, then open it up for audience questions.

"It'll be a loose interview scenario with a Q&A session to follow -- and then you can hang out afterwards and talk to everybody and drink some more beer," Bullock said.

Continue reading this entry »

Andrew Huff

Beer Thu Apr 30 2015

Best Beer Brewing Classes in Chicago

rsz_events-friends.jpgAs food and drink trend towards artisanship and simplicity, craft beer is leading the movement in Chicago. Numerous breweries have opened in Chicago during the last three years, and booze fests become larger (and drunker) each year. Brewing beer is complex chemistry, as there are multiple ingredients and steps that must be executed carefully to create the perfect product. The process isn't easy, and that's why I've listed five educational resources that will help you brew your first beer:

Brew Camp
Brew Camp is a small homebrew shop in Lincoln Square and Evanston. Their mission is simple and straightforward: "We have everything you need to make great beer & wine. We teach classes, We throw private events, We talk about brewing." Their introductory Making Beer at Home class goes over the basics (equipment, ingredients, techniques) and costs only $20 dollars for 1.5 hours of instruction. Brew Camp also has more advanced classes, like all-grain brewing ($20 for 2 hours) and kegging workshops ($10 for 30 minutes).

Continue reading this entry »

Judy Wu

Beer Tue Mar 31 2015

Brewery Openings & Other Beer Fun

Breakroom Brewery officially opens tonight at 4pm at 2925 W. Montrose Ave. It's come a long way since the Gapers Block Microbrewery Crawl toured the space back in November -- where there were once bare studs there is now a beautifully finished tap room befitting a brewery run by a bar manufacturing company.

This Friday, April 3, at noon, Begyle Brewing releases its "Maybe Next Year" barrel-aged imperial brown ale, in 22oz bombers for $15 a bottle. The brewery at 1800 W. Cuyler Ave. will be open from noon to 9pm, and regular hours this weekend.

Continue reading this entry »

Andrew Huff / Comments (2)

Beer Mon Feb 23 2015

Vote, Then Drink: Election Night Beer Events

it might get dark 2015Once you do your civic duty tomorrow, there are a couple of beer events you might be interested in attending -- assuming you can pull yourself away from election coverage.

Beer and candy go together, as you will find at Katherine Anne Confections, 2745 W. Armitage, tonight from 5:30 to 8:30pm. Caramels, truffles and marshmallows infused with beers, liquors and liqueurs will be out for your enjoyment, such as honey caramel infused with Daisy Cutter and FEW bourbon-infused marshmallow swirled with banana caramel. Your $25 ticket gets you samples, savory bites and drinks.

The Paramount Room, 415 N. Milwaukee Ave., hosts a Forbidden Root beer dinner from 6 to 9pm. For $65 a person, you'll be treated to a four course meal paired with the brewery's current beers: oak-aged Forbidden Root, Sublime Ginger, Shady Character porter, and Heavy Petal, the first in Forbidden Root's Divine Mud Imperial Stout series, brewed with pecans, magnolia blossoms and single-origin West African chocolate. For reservations, call 312-829-6300 or reserve online.

Starting at 7p, Fountainhead, 1970 W. Montrose Ave., hosts its fifth annual celebration of dark beer and dark music, It Might Get Dark. More than two dozen dark beers will be on tap, including Half Acre Big Hugs, Goose Island 2013 Bourbon County Stout, Three Floyds Blot Out the Sun, Lake Effect Espresso Gone Stout, Perennial 2013 Abraxas and more. And to match, there'll be heavy metal on the stereo. No cover, pay as you go -- beers will cost $6-12.

Andrew Huff

Beer Wed Feb 11 2015

New Craft Beer Map Makes Hop Chasing Easy

Craft beer lovers now have another way to satisfy their hop addiction with a new online craft beer map, launched by Guys Drinking Beer earlier this year. The website and media project that started off from -- well -- several guys drinking beer, that has grown to being a definitive source of information on the Chicago and surrounding area's craft beer scene, has recently taken all its local drinking knowledge and put it on a map.

gdb.pngBuilt off of Google maps, it includes a curated selection of breweries, brewpubs, beer bars, tap rooms and bottle shops available in the Chicago-land area. Features include an option to filter your selection between categories and a link back to the venue's website and Google+ page for more information. Question marks signify gypsies (i.e. transient brewers without a home) and contracts (beer that is contracted out to a host brewer) that don't have homes. They live off-shore in Lake Michigan in a futuristic floating craft beer destination (I said it first.)

The project took several months from start to finish, with the majority of the work coming down to figuring out who to include from places that are producing beer and still associated with Chicago.

"The hard part was deciding where to draw the line with the map," said co-founder Karl Klockars. "At the end of the day I asked myself, what is a reasonable amount to ask people to drive or travel to?"

The map isn't the first of Chicago beer maps, but Klockars posits that it is the most up-to-date, curated map out there. Since launched, they did miss a couple of things and say the map will be a living document that changes and updates with the times, which should be often considering how fast the Chicago craft beer scene changes. GDB would eventually like to put this map into a guide that includes more editorial information, a model in-line with their current site. There are currently no plans for building it into an app, but for now, if you want to know what craft beer is available in your neighborhood, you can find it with one click.

"Hopefully the magic of SEO does its work," said Klockars.

Brandy Gonsoulin

Event Tue Jan 20 2015

Soup, Poutine, Bacon & Beer Vie for Your Stomach

baconfest poutinefestSo many food festivals these days -- and let's not even mention the endless schedule of beer fests that now litter the calendar. But you know what? They all taste good, so let's keep on having them.

The Chicago Soup Takedown, an offshoot of the popular Bacon Takedown that also spawned a mac'n'cheese takedown last year, is happening this Sunday, Jan. 25 at Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln Ave. For $20, attendees sample soups from a combination of amateur and professional chefs, and vote on their favorites. Apparently there are still a couple spots open for additional chefs, so if you have a killer soup recipe and a competitive streak, sign up for battle by emailing

Continue reading this entry »

Andrew Huff

Beer Mon Jan 05 2015

Heyoka Goodbye, Hello Senita

Half Acre Heyoka Senita

Half Acre Beer Co. announced today that it is renaming Heyoka, its canned IPA rolled out in November 2013, to honor requests from the Lakota tribe.

Heyoka is a Lakota Native American word. Recently, some members of the Lakota community reached out with disappointment in our usage of the word and requested that we stop. We didn't and aren't going to spend any time defending or explaining our use of the word. We're simply making the right choice and respecting their wishes.

The beer's new name will be Senita India Pale Ale. New packaging will be rolling out soon.

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Andrew Huff

Beer Mon Dec 01 2014

An Interview with the Barley's Angels


Kylie Snowaert Bunting and Shannan Hofman Bunting became organizers of the two-year old Chicago chapter of Barley's Angels back in June, and have since continued to expand the women-focused craft beer group with educational events and beer tastings, including a field trip to Penrose Brewing in Geneva and a tasting featuring fall-inspired brews. In an email interview, they discussed their goals for Barley's Angels, events, and women and craft beer.

How does the Chicago chapter fit into Barley's Angel's mission to "serve women who seek a comfortable environment to explore and learn about craft beer"? Do you have any specific goals?

Kylie: We try to make every meeting as laid-back as possible while still providing a great, educational, and fun event. Basically, it's craft beer-loving women getting together to talk about beer, the brewing process, food pairings and more. This includes women who have never drank craft beer before and want to dabble to those who consider themselves experts.

One of our other major goals is to be sure all our meetings have an educational component to them. Our meetings have a guided tasting with an industry professional (a brewer, bartender, craft beer expert, etc.) where they discuss the brewing process of the specific beers we've selected and what sets this brewery apart from others. This gives our members a chance to listen, learn, ask questions and then form their own educated opinion about the beer. It's a great opportunity for our members to grow their knowledge of craft beer through conversations with professionals, as well as like-minded beer lovers.

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Christina Brandon

Beer Thu Nov 13 2014

Get a Share of Moody Tongue's Black Truffle Pilsner

moody tongue truffle
Jared Rouben's Moody Tongue Brewing has created something very rare and special indeed: a beer loaded with black truffles.

The Shaved Black Truffle Pilsner is brewed with Austrialian black truffles from Truffle & Wine Co.

"We used more truffle than I have ever had the opportunity to use before -- or, for that matter, more than I have ever seen in a kitchen," Rouben said in an email. "The truffle was not just 'infused' per se, and there are no truffle oils in the beer. I used several different techniques throughout the brewing process to incorporate and showcase the truffle flavor and aromatics."

Five hundred 22-ounce bottles will be sold via an online lottery this Friday, Nov. 14. From 10am to 3pm, enter your name and email address on the site. Names will then be chosen at random and offered the opportunity to buy one bottle for $120. A few additional bottles will be made available in December at a few area restaurants, including Grace, GT Fish & Oyster, RPM Italian and RPM Steak.

Andrew Huff

Beer Fri Oct 10 2014

Your Perfect, Beer-Filled Weekend

Beer Hoptacular at Aragon BallroomVery rarely do the stars align to offer not one, but two amazing beer festivals in one weekend. But thankfully, there's no need to choose between them-- here's how to do both:


Head down to the Beer Hoptacular after work and sample more than 150 small-batch beers from 70 breweries from around the country to get a birds eye view of the craft beer movement. While you're taking a break from sampling all 150 beers you can get tips on home brewing, check out the epic facial hair in the BeardHoptacular, and vote on your favorite brew for the 2014 Beer Of The Year.

Friday 6:30pm - 10pm and Saturday 1pm - 4:30pm or 6:30pm - 10pm at the Aragon Ballroom. Regular tickets $45, VIP $85 and Designated Driver $20.


Drag yourself out of bed and get some bacon to recover from the many, many beers you tasted last night in the name of thoroughness. Then make it to Lagunitas Brewery by 11 am to start the Gapers Block Microbrewery Crawl. This boozy meander across the city will take you on a deeper dive into the Chicago beer scene, including tours of Goose Island's new barrel house, BreakRoom Brewery and Begyle Brewing. GB even tops it off with a beer-friendly dinner from ManBQue.

Saturday, 11am - 7pm. Tickets $60. Starts at Lagunitas, 1843 S. Washtenaw Ave .

Annie Conway

Beer Mon Sep 22 2014

Announcing the Gapers Block Microbrewery Crawl Oct. 11

Gapers Block Microbrewery Crawl Oct. 11 2014In the last couple of years, Chicago's craft brewing scene has exploded. To help acquaint you with the breadth of the industry, we at Gapers Block put together a "microbrewery crawl" showcasing some of the great beers being produced in the city.

The Gapers Block Microbrewery Crawl on Saturday, Oct. 11 kicks off at the new Lagunitas Brewery and travels by bus to Goose Island's brewery and new barrel house on Fulton Street. From there we'll head to the brand new BreakRoom Brewery and finish up at the Begyle Brewing, where we'll learn what "community supported beer" is -- and also enjoy freshly grilled food from Manbque.

Continue reading this entry »

Andrew Huff / Comments (1)

Openings Fri Aug 29 2014

Vice District Brewing Opens in the South Loop

Today at 4pm, Vice District Brewing opens to the public for the first time. Located at 1454 S. Michigan Ave., just south of Roosevelt Road, the taproom's initial draft lineup will feature Vice District's black IPA, extra special bitter, IPA, blonde and molasses porter, as well as a collaboration with Finch's Brewing. Eventually there will be 14 beers on tap at all times.

Like many involved in the craft beer renaissance in Chicago, Vice District cofounders Quintin Cole and Curtis Tarver II started out as home brewers.

Continue reading this entry »

Andrew Huff

Beer Fri Jul 18 2014

Celebrate Belgian Independence with Belgian Beers

rsz_1rsz_450px-belgian_beer_glass.jpg As Belgium, home of the Red Devils, luscious chocolates, and saison-style beer, observes its independence from the Netherlands on Monday, July 21, Maria's Package Goods & Community Bar (960 W. 31st St.) will celebrate by featuring beers from Belgian-style brewer Brewery Ommegang.

From 7 to 9pm, Maria's will serve the one-time, limited-release 2014 Belgian IPA along with other selections from the Cooperstown, NY-based brewer, such as Fleur de Houblon and Rare Vos, for $1 off the usual price. Other Belgian-style beers will be on special while Belgian-inspired savory pies from Pleasant House Bakery will be available for noshing.

Photo via wikimedia

Christina Brandon

Beer Thu Jun 05 2014

Assorted Beer News & Events

oldchicagobeer.jpgThis Friday, Half Acre will be tapping a firkin of Strawberry Rhubarb Kölsch in the Tap Room. Bang Bang Pie will be on hand selling mini ham biscuits with rhubarb mustard and vanillla bean cheesecake topped with rhubarb compote. Sounds delicious.

Go on a tour of Metropolitan Brewing this Saturday, June 7, with the Windy City Rollers. Tickets are just $10.

Local band the Jordan Years collaborated with Gary's 18th Street Brewing to create Homemade Hustler, a session IPA named after the band's 2013 album. Each bottle has a download code for a free copy of the album, and they're celebrating with a release party at the brewery and a concert at Tonic Room on June 14.

Beermiscuous, a new "craft beer cafe" with a coffeeshop vibe and retail component, is aiming to open in Lakeview at 2812 N. Lincoln Ave. on June 28. They're currently hiring "beeristas."

Two homebrewing couples are joining forces to launch Rude Hippo Brewing Company, focusing on Belgian-style ales and sours. They're crowd-funding to buy equipment.

Andrew Huff

Beer Mon May 19 2014

New Brew in Town: Lagunitas Comes to Chi

lagunitas.jpgThis past weekend saw Chicago roll out the welcoming committee (i.e., a bunch of beer-guzzling revelers) for Laguintas Brewing Co.'s new Pilsen brewery. Lagunitas' annual Beer Circus, usually held in the Lagunitas home base of Petaluma, California, made its way to Chicago for a weekend-long celebration featuring burlesque acts, carnival rides, live music, and-- of course-- beer.

Those who were able to snag tickets to the sold-out event were among the first to get a glimpse at the new brewing facility, located in an immense warehouse on Washtenaw that was previously used as set space for a few Chicago-based television shows. Now, with the title of Chicago's largest brewery under their belt, Lagunitas is set to open a taproom sometime over the next few months. In the meantime, check out their website and Facebook for news and upcoming events.

Danielle Snow

Beer Mon May 12 2014

Chicago Craft Beer Week Kicks Off May 15

rsz_1rsz_ccbwlogo.pngChicago Craft Beer Week starts Thursday and continues on through May 25 with as many as 300 bars and bottle shops in the city and suburbs celebrating Chicagoland's massive selection of creative, awesome beer. Events range from the Beerfly Alleyfight, which fuses art and beer, to pub crawls to $4 beer specials.

See the full schedule and the map of events, dinners, tastings, and beer releases. For Chicago pride and beer inspiration, see the We are Illinois Craft Beer video below.

Christina Brandon / Comments (1)

Beer Mon Apr 28 2014

Craft Beer, Community and Creativity: An Interview with Locally Brewed Author Anna Blessing

rsz_locallybrewed.jpgIn the introduction to Locally Brewed: Portraits of Craft Breweries from America's Heartland, author and photographer Anna Blessing writes that she wants "to tell the story of the people behind the beer." She provides glimpses of 20 Midwestern craft breweries and their oft-tattooed brewers, their music, their humble beginnings and cult-like followings. These breweries make anything from lagers to sours, from beers inspired by Latin America to beers inspired by candy bars.

They represent a sliver of an industry that has continued to grow while the overall U.S. beer industry has declined. This is an exciting time for craft beer, especially in the Chicago-area where there is no shortage of something new and creative to try. Even the neighborhood grocery stores and Targets stock some of the beers noted in Locally Brewed. I spoke with Anna Blessing on the phone about what she discovered while writing and interviewing for Locally Brewed and of course, about what she likes to drink.

Continue reading this entry »

Christina Brandon

Beer Tue Mar 25 2014

When Brewers and Chefs Meet: A Love Story

Jesse Valenciana knew what he wanted his mole-inspired stout to taste like, but he was a cook and home brewer, not a professional brewmaster. The co-founder of ManBQue, the local men's grilling and social club, and recent author needed a brewer with the same depth of skills for manipulating flavors in beer as he could in the kitchen. To create his first craft beer collaboration, Valenciana called upon Clint Bautz, co-founder of the Northwest side Lake Effect Brewing Company.

Lake Effect Unholy Mole Beer Collage.jpg

An avid fan of Bautz's work, Valenciana was unsatisfied with the mole stouts on the market, as they were not "authentic enough." Bautz, equally as passionate about food and someone familiar with working with chefs in beer making, jumped on board to create the Unholy Mole, a seasonal milk stout inspired by one of ManBQue's recipes, and infused with various roasted chilies. The beer made its debut at Dimo's Pizza in Bucktown and select taps around the city late last year and was so popular that the two men recently met again in the brewery to revive the recipe and bottle it for distribution.

Little did Valenciana know, however, that he and Bautz were contributing to the vanguard of one of the curious partnerships coming out of Chicago's exploding craft beer scene - the intersection where chefs and brewers meet. This time, however, it's more than just beer and food pairings.

Continue reading this entry »

Brandy Gonsoulin

Beer Mon Mar 24 2014

Chicago Beer Festival: A Craft Beer Dream

dsc_0825.jpg Oh Midwesterners and their beer--no relationship is more fierce, loyal, and impervious to destruction. Which is why the Chicago Beer Festival was utterly packed this year, filled with attendees toting mini pints and pretzel necklaces. Wandering through the enormous frat house that was Union Station, I was overwhelmed by the 60+ domestic and international breweries offering samplings of their delicious beer. Interesting sips included:

Continue reading this entry »

Judy Wu / Comments (1)

Beer Wed Mar 12 2014

Goose Island Declares Today "312 Day"

Goose Island 3/12 dayToday is March 12, aka 3/12, and Goose Island has decided it's the perfect day to launch its latest beer. The new 312 Urban Pale Ale is described as having a balance of malt and citrusy hops, and comes in a green variation on the recently redesigned 312 Urban Wheat Ale labeling. The beer is 5.4% ABV and 30 IBUs, available nationally on tap and in bottles and cans, and will be brewed in parent company AB Inbev's Baldwinville, NY brewery.

This new Urban Pale Ale takes the Goose Island's popular 312 Urban Wheat Ale and turns it into a brand family, which may raise some issues for the brewery. It's a risky move to take a popular brand and dilute it like this, especially when the full name of the original is mostly ignored by consumers. Now when someone walks up to the bar and asks for a "312," the bartender is going to have to ask which kind -- requiring customers to remember that the original is an "urban wheat ale" and recognize the difference between that and "urban pale ale." And are the two similar enough to be considered part of a family?

Continue reading this entry »

Andrew Huff

Beer Mon Feb 17 2014

Craft Beer Comes to Kendall College

Earlier this month, beer educator Siebel Institute of Technology opened their new teaching hall at Kendall College (900 N. North Branch St.), a move that verified what many of us Chicagoans knew already: this city loves beer.

redbeer.jpgThe craft brew scene has exploded in recent years, and it's not all about just drinking. You don't order "a beer" anymore. Even at a party, you're asked, "what kind?"

Chicago is crafting pretty much every kind of beer under the sun, from the German-style lagers of Metropolitan Brewing to the Belgian-inspired ales of Haymarket, and this city has the brewpubs, restaurants, tap rooms, and bars to serve them. With shops like Brew Camp hosting beer-making classes, it's easier than ever for beer lovers to experiment making their own home brews.

Continue reading this entry »

Christina Brandon

Beer Tue Feb 04 2014

Beer Specials: Metal & the Dude

Two local microbreweries have fun new projects this week.

First, DryHop Brewers launches Metal Beers & Burgers, its collaboration with Kuma's and the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild, this Wednesday, Feb. 5 with the release of Reverse Thunder, an 8.0% ABV imperial red, named for a song by the metal band Red Fang. The beer will be tapped at DryHop at 6pm, and will be available at DryHop, Kuma's Corner and Kuma's Too for the next month.

Continue reading this entry »

Andrew Huff

Beer Wed Jan 22 2014

Brew News: Ale Syndicate, Forbidden Root & Begyle

Ale Syndicate's new brewhouse equipment arrived at on Monday, following the brewery's successful fundraising campaign.

This Thursday, Jan. 23, at 6pm, Forbidden Root is hosting a community meeting to discuss its plans for a brewery and tap room in the former Hub Theater space at 1746 W. Chicago Ave. Forbidden Root's niche will be "fine botanic beers" brewed with herbs, spices and other natural ingredients. It's incorporating as a benefit corporation, intending to donate all profits from non-consumable merchandise to nonprofit causes, such as the Green City Market. Opening the brewery in East Village will require a zoning change and moratorium exemption, so neighborhood support is going to be necessary for them to proceed.

begyle brewing growler fillerBegyle Brewing, best known for its "beer CSA" concept and bold dark beers, leaped over its final hurdle and will open to fill growlers and sell bombers at 11am this Saturday, Jan. 25. The brewery is located at 1800 W. Cuyler Ave., just west of Ravenswood on the west side of the Metra tracks.

Andrew Huff

Event Thu Jan 09 2014

Imbibery and Artwork for a Wintry Afternoon

Looking for a way to combine your two loves -- beer and art -- this Saturday? Look no further! 4 Hands Brewing Co. presents Artists N' Ales: A Winter Brew Event, an exploration of artwork inspired by the aesthetics of craft beer and how it intersects with food, culture, and society. All attendees will receive a copy of the Mash Tun Journal, the world's only journal about craft beer and the culture that surrounds it, as well as pours of the ales that inspired the work and some tasty culinary delights.

Enjoy beer and art by: 4 Hands, Half Acre, Pipeworks, Solemn Oath and others. Artists exhibiting work include: Dan Grzeca (3 Floyd's, Surly, Black Keys, Alabama Shakes), Michael Kiser (Good Beer Hunting), Jim Zimmer (3 Floyd's, Une Annee), BJ Olson (Pipeworks), Josh Rowan (4 Hands Brewing), Danielle Spradley (4 Hands Brewing), Peat Eyez Wollaeger (graffiti artist from St. Louis), Kelly Pelka (graffiti artist from Chicago), Phineas X. Jones (Half Acre) and more.

Artists N' Ales is on Saturday, Jan. 11 from 3 to 7pm at Co-Prosperity Sphere, 3219-21 S. Morgan St. in Chicago. Tickets are $25.

Jeanne Newman

Beer Wed Nov 13 2013

Highlights From The Beer Hoptacular


Judging by the crush of beer lovers in Pilsen last weekend, the third annual Beer Hoptacular was a rousing success. The Hoptacular is a must for in-the-know beer nerds trying to get their hands on unreleased beers and meet the people behind their favorite craft brews, and this year did not disappoint.

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Annie Conway

Beer Thu Oct 17 2013

Une Année Makes Belgian Beer Local, Seasonal

Une Année beer samplesUne Année Brewery sounds fancy, and its beers are indeed sophisticated. But the brewer of French and Belgian-inspired ales is based in the gritty Kinzie Industrial Corridor near Grand and Ashland, and its founders are committed to connecting with Chicago's seasons, releasing new beers annually, seasonally and quarterly.

Une Année, founded in 2012, recently announced a distribution deal with Wirtz that will bring them to more restaurants and bars, and celebrated the partnership with a tapping at Jerry's Sandwiches in Wicker Park Tuesday night. I had the opportunity to sample three of the brewery's current roster of beers.

Less Is More Session Saison is a farmhouse beer with a relatively low (for craft brews) 4.6% ABV. It's brewed with 20% wheat and a little caramel sugar, with orange zest and juice added later in the process. It features plenty of the grazzy, pollen-y flavor of your typical saison, along with a hint of citrus and sort of a sweet, funky yeast. The finish is bitter from the Ahtanum hops comes through at the end. It's light and very bubbly, and would pair nicely with food.

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Andrew Huff

Event Thu Aug 08 2013

Taste of Andersonville: A Culinary Scavenger Hunt

2013_DinnerCrawl_Banner_horizontal.jpgIf I could move to any neighborhood in Chicago, it'd be Andersonville. It's a little microcosm of diversity, with its Swedish roots, fabulous LGBT community, 2-kid-n'-dog families, and thriving Middle Eastern population. Where else can I finish a Turkish pide dinner with a few Toska tarts and glögg? Andersonville. Where else can I experience Lakeview without actually having to live there? Andersonville. Where else can I hit up Edgewater elotes and Argyle pho without having to drive more than five minutes? That's fucking right--Andersonville.

So when I got invited to the Taste of Andersonville, I wept in glorious happiness because not only did it give me an excuse to dine in one of my favorite neighborhoods, but also because the event is an interactive experience. You see, it's like a culinary scavenger hunt, where participants meander up and down North Clark Street for restaurants mapped on their "passports." Diners chose between three "routes": the Salt Route (vegetarian-friendly), the Pepper Route, and the Enchilada Route (a combination of the salt and pepper routes):

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Judy Wu / Comments (1)

Beer Thu Aug 08 2013

Moody No More at Moody Tongue Brewing Co.

moodytongue.jpg"Culinary beer?" Sounds like two of my favorite words wedded together, and if you feel the same, you're in for a treat this upcoming winter.

Pilsen's upcoming Moody Tongue Brewing Company, the brainchild of former cook Jared Rouben, specializes in applying culinary techniques to the brewing process: think steeping, macerating, infusing, baking, extracting. This hybrid method-- honed through Rouben's collaborations and experiments with over 50 different chefs-- promises traditional-style beers with amplified, unexpected flavors.

Seasonality and top-of-the-line (most often local) ingredients are the guiding forces behind Moody Tongue's unique approach. For example, a recent collaboration with Chicago chef Rick Bayless produced the Marisol, a Belgian golden ale accentuated with green tea, grapefruit and lime peel. Rouben also makes good use of his local resources, citing the Green City Market as an inspiration and sourcing ground for fresh, unusual ingredients such as bubblegum plums and green strawberries.

Rouben earned his brewing chops as the previous pub brewmaster at Goose Island and creator of two of its experimental brewing programs, Chef Collaboration Series and Farmers' Market Series. He opens Moody Tongue's doors in winter 2013, located at 2136 S. Peoria Street.

Danielle Snow

Store Thu Aug 01 2013

Independent Spirits Opens in Edgewater

20130727_154509_1.jpgIt's pained me that the closest thing to a wine shop walking distance from my apartment in Edgewater is the liquor section in Dominick's. There, you'll find the usual suspects you can find most anywhere: Columbia Crest, Lindeman's, Cupcake. I'm not knocking those wines because I can, and frequently do, grab a bottle while grocery shopping. But seeing the same labels all the time is boring and makes the huge and varied world of wine and spirits seem like it's owned by a handful of megabrands.

The drink gods heard my prayers. Earlier this summer, Independent Spirits, Inc. (5947-49 N. Broadway) opened. And it wasn't only me who wanted a neighborhood booze shop. I first stopped in two days after opening and already a bunch of wine had been sold, leaving only a scattering of bottles here and there, mostly of French and German wines, plus a mishmash of others, including Greece and Argentina. Proprietor Scott Crestodina assured that the shelves would be stocked next week.

And boy, were they, plus a new table of wine at the front of the store. Eyeballing all the wines I wanted to buy, prices were incredibly reasonable, with a significant portion under $20. And there wasn't one bottle of Cupcake amongst that red, white, and pink.

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Christina Brandon

Beer Tue Jul 23 2013

Summer Drinking Series: 5 Rabbit Paletas

5 Rabbit PaletaI first caught sight of a 5 Rabbit six-pack in the cooler case at my local minimart last year and have been following their always inventive releases ever since. Despite some legal growing pains that culminated earlier this year in the departure of co-founder Isaac Showaki, the nation's first Latin-themed brewery has continued to crank out interesting brews with an Aztec inflection from their newly built Bedford Park headquarters.

This summer (May through September), they're offering a series of draft-only options called Paletas, name-checking the Mexican popsicles that have long been one of our city's favorite summer street foods. The low-alcohol wheat beers are to feature different fruit and spice pairings, though the only one I've been able to track down (thanks to the Bad Apple) was the guava with pink peppercorn and tarragon. With the cloudy, pinkish color of a melted popsicle, you would be forgiven for thinking this beer might be another questionable "with flavor added" shandy knock-off, but the brew is actually light and sour, much more bitter than sweet, despite a heady, tropical fruit nose. On a mild summer day, like the ones we've been having this week, it's quenching but not cloying. I'm curious to try other flavors, which might include watermelon and tamarind--which I guess means I'll just be hanging around the bar until they change the keg out. There are worse ways to spend a summer vacation.

BONUS: The 5 Rabbit Collective section of the website features a recipe for pairing the brewery's 5 Rabbit brew (a golden ale with no ties to popsicles, oh ye of little faith) with fish tacos from Chef Grayson "Jam Out With Your Clam Out" Schmitz! Final Score: +1,000 food nerd points.

Andie Cavedo

Bar Tue Jun 25 2013

Summer Drinking Series Returns!

Sofie Paradisi @ HopleafThis past Friday was the first official day of summer, as you could probably tell from the stickiness of the air since then. And I'm happy to announce that along with the humidity and heat, the summer drinking series has returned to Gapers Block! We kicked things off on Friday with a few beers at the Hopleaf, that venerable Chicago drinking establishment, which is benefiting from its 2012 expansion to include a second dining room. A less packed bar makes grabbing a beer and frites much more bearable in the heat, especially since the air-conditioned rear dining rooms escape the wet gasp of air every the door opens--which at Hopleaf, is often.

For my inaugural summer quaff, I ordered a Sofie Paradisi, one of over 60 possible drafts, and a spin on my very favorite Goose Island offering. For this special summer beer, the usual saison-style Sofie is aged in its requisite wine barrels with grapefruit peel and juice, rather than the more traditional orange peel. Grapefruity beer is a trend I first noticed last summer, with Steigel's Grapefruit Radler, and which I heartily endorse. The bitterness of the grapefruit esters seem perfectly suited for a lightly sour saison, and with Sofie Paradisi, the resulting brew is a lovely addition to the beer drinker's ever-expanding fruity summer palate. It paired nicely with Hopleaf's sweet crab and smoky endive salad (with grapefruit segments! it was meant to be) as well as the giant pile of fries I lovingly dunked into aioli all night. Aaaaahhhh, summer. Welcome back.

Andie Cavedo / Comments (2)

Beer Wed May 15 2013

Ready for Beer Bingo?

What with Chicago Craft Beer Week kicking off tomorrow and what looks to be our first string of three 70+ degree days, we didn't think you needed more excuses to find an adult beverage on the patio of your choice, until this popped up in our inbox.

Yep, you read that title correctly, a game of beer bingo is popping up in Lincoln Square starting today. All you need do is stop into one of the establishments listed below, pick up a card and play on.

• The Bad Apple, 4300 N. Lincoln Ave.
• The Grafton, 4530 N. Lincoln Ave.
• DANK Haus, 4740 N. Western Ave.
• Fountainhead, 1970 W. Montrose Ave.
• Brew Camp, 4639 N. Damen Ave.
• Bottles and Cans, 4109 N. Lincoln Ave.

Five in a row vertically, horizontally or diagonally will win you a custom pint glass with original artwork by Sarah Morton, and bragging rights that you sloshed your way through all of 60625.

Bonus: they have a handful of other prizes should someone fill out the entire card -- a "blackout" as it were. As always, first come, first served.

Check out the bingo card and more details online and support one of Chicago's best beer-friendly neighborhoods.

Joanna Kanakis

Interview Mon Apr 22 2013

Bad Apple's Got Good Ketchup

North Center's Bad Apple, like so many restaurants, has jumped on the all-natural bandwagon. The restaurant is free of chemicals, pesticides and preservatives, and has been since it opened almost four years ago. Everything has been all natural and as-local-as-possible since the day the restaurant opened its doors. Well, everything except for the ketchup.

Chef and owner Craig Fass opened Bad Apple with a mass-produced ketchup but quickly converted to making their ketchup in-house.

This housemade ketchup is made two to three times a week, 15 gallons at a time, producing over 120 gallons a month. The pot, larger than most toddlers, sits on the stove for six hours. If you're a cook at Bad Apple, here's your routine: put a burger on the stove, stir the ketchup, flip the burger, stir the ketchup, put the burger on a bun, stir the ketchup, add toppings to the burger, stir the ketchup. Get the idea? It's a time-consuming process.

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Elisha Marshall / Comments (9)

Event Thu Mar 28 2013

Gapers Block's Microbrewery Crawl is Back April 6

Gapers Block Microbrewery Crawl - April 6, 2013Back in November, Gapers Block put together a "microbrewery crawl" to celebrate the great beers being produced in the area, taking advantage of the close proximity of so many breweries and distilleries to showcase how Chicago has become one of the centers of the craft brewing and distilling scene. It was a big hit with attendees, who clamored for another go. So next Saturday, April 6, we're doing it again.

The Gapers Block Microbrewery (& Distillery!) Crawl kicks off at noon at Andersonville's great Metropolitan Brewery and travels by foot and bus to three more stops. After learning about Metropolitan's beer and process, we'll head next door to Koval Distillery where we'll get a look at how their liqueurs and whiskey are made. We'll find out what "community supported brewing" is at Begyle Brewing and how a brewery can operate in under 500 square feet from Spiteful Brewing (whose space is so tiny that they're talking to us over at Begyle), then finish up at Atlas Brewing Company in Lincoln Park.

For $45, participants will get multiple samples at each stop, and get tours of and info about some very unique and different breweries. Capacity is limited to 60 people, and last year it sold out well ahead of time. Be a part of this unique experience -- get your tickets now!

Questions? Requests? Email or comment below.

Andrew Huff

Beer Wed Mar 13 2013

Coming Soon: the American Beer Classic

americanbeerclassic.jpgThe American Beer Classic is coming to Chicago -- specifically, Soldier Field -- on May 11, giving beer lovers access to more than 50 breweries -- as well as a couple of cider-makers and a meadery or two. Attendees will have the opportunity to sample hundreds of beers and ciders, learn more about the brewing process in seminars and demos, and enjoy live music.

Early bird tickets just went on sale for $40; the price will go up in $10 increments as more tickets are sold, until they're $70 at the door. VIP tickets are $110 and include a tour of the stadium. Designated driver tickets are just $30.

Andrew Huff

Beer Sat Jan 19 2013

Cask Ale: First Impressions

Being a cask ale virgin, I wasn't sure what to expect from Thursday's Cask Night at Smallbar. All I knew was that cask ale was a very old, traditional method of making beer, which is why it is referred to as "real ale." For me, that meant an association with medieval England and bearded men in dark, cave-like taverns.

So naturally, I half expected to walk into a scene from the Canterbury Tales, complete with corrupt clergy, vernerial diseases, and drunken knife fights. While none of these were immediately obvious when I arrived, I took the number of bearded men as a sign that at least I was in the right place.

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Annie Conway

Beer Thu Jan 10 2013

More Beer to Go with Dinner

In addition to Cask Night at Small Bar Division next Thursday, there are a couple more beer events you should know about.

On Monday, Jan. 14, DMK Burger Bar (2954 N. Sheffield Ave.) and Oskar Blues Brewery are teaming up for a four-course dinner benefiting the Chicago Recycling Coalition. Guests will have a spicy beet soup paired with Ten Fidy Stout; a caraway-scented pork burger, Granny Smith apple sauerkraut and potato pierogi paired with Dale's Pale Ale; an "unstuffed cabbage" burger and fries paired with Mama's Little Yella Pils; and a caramel caraway beer float made with Old Chub Scotch Ale. The dinner is $40 per person; there's an encore on Jan. 28. Reserve a spot by emailing

Then on Wednesday, Jan. 16, Deschutes Brewery will host beer and food pairings at Bangers & Lace (1670 W. Division St.) and Sheffield's (3258 N. Sheffield Ave.) as part of its series of Chicago launch events. At Sheffield's, you'll be able to meet Deschutes founder Gary Fish while nibbling barbecue.

Andrew Huff

Beer Tue Jan 08 2013

Cask Night @ SmallBar Divison

We've been telling you about how Chicago's beer scene has made serious headway, but it may be time for you to get out there and get a good smattering of local options yourself next Thursday, January 17. Head over to SmallBar Divison, 2049 W. Division St., at 7pm to taste a pretty stellar looking sample size, replete with newly distributed beers and new breweries on their cask pulls.

Three Floyds: Zombie Dust
Solemn Oath: Kidnapped by Vikings
Jolly Pumpkin: Maracaibo
Half Acre: Daisy Cutter
Oskar Blues: Double Dry-Hopped G'knight

SmallBar Division is also making available 30 VIP tickets whereby the tastings will come with food pairings and a chance to mingle with the brewers from Three Floyds, Half Acre and Solemn Oath. That portion will run from 5 to 7pm and you can get those tickets here.

Joanna Kanakis

Beer Mon Dec 31 2012

Half Acre's Champagne of Beers

champagne_daisycutter.jpgIf you're a beer snob and for some reason you don't have New Year's Eve plans yet, Half Acre Beer Co. has a serious proposition for you.

Ring in the new year at the Half Acre Tap Room, 4255 N. Lincoln Ave., and enjoy some of the brewery's favorite short-run beers of the year on tap. At midnight, they'll be popping the tops off 48 bottles of Daisy Cutter bottle-conditioned with Champagne yeast -- the only chance you'll get to taste this extreme rarity.

The only price of admission is a donation of a non-perishable food item to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

Photo courtesy of Half Acre.

Andrew Huff

Beer Mon Dec 24 2012

Preview: DryHop Brewers coming to Lakeview

DryHop Brewers has been making its way into the Lakeview neighborhood. Before the gastro-brewpub doors are open, the gents behind DryHop are churning out quietly complex, I-can-make-new-friends-over-this beer. Last Wednesday night, Northdown Cafe and Taproom was packed with beards and brewers all there to celebrate the tapping of DryHop's newest collaboration beer. But before we get ahead of ourselves, an introduction is in order.

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Joanna Kanakis

Beer Thu Dec 13 2012

Ceci n'est pas un Cidre Brut

Lapinette.jpgVirtue Cider's latest release, Lapinette, could not come at a more perfect time. Despite our lack of snow, winter is coming, and this cidre brut, aged in French oak barrels, is a perfect companion to the rich dishes of the season.

The debut party at Lula Cafe featured pairings with all things creamy: cheeses such as comte, brie, and of course blue (perfect with a chunky fruit jam); meats prepared in the form of rilettes, pâté (chicken liver and cherries?!), and mousse; seasonal puréed vegetables on toasts; and hazelnut-cream-filled puffs. The dryness and low carbonation of Lapinette provided a wonderful balance to these rich bites.

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Jen Bacher / Comments (1)

Beer Wed Nov 28 2012

Not Just Another New Brewery

Fans of Goose Island's legendary Bourbon County Stout will simultaneously weep and rejoice. The company's barrel-aging brewing expert is starting a new brewery with a former Two Brothers brewer. Look for Off-Color Brewing to open sometime in early 2013 (but don't expect much from their blog).

Sunny McDaniel

Beer Tue Nov 13 2012

Stop The Presses: Beer Nerds On The Rise In Chicago


There are those who enjoy drinking beer on weekends, and then there are those who enjoy sniffing, tasting, and waxing poetic about the provenance of hops in their beer on weekends. If last weekend's Beer Hoptacular is any indication, the scale of drinkers in Chicago is tipping towards the latter.

The Beer Hoptacular was every beer nerd's dream--over sixty breweries in one tent, pouring more beers than even the most determined connoisseur could taste in a night. The breweries represented a large part of the growing Midwest craft brewing industry and many local favorites, as well as some of the more interesting small breweries on the East and West coasts.

Although there was no shortage of aficionados typing tasting notes into beer apps, the Hoptacular was also a great place for newbies to learn about a variety of craft beers in one place. The main tent offered an interesting mix of standard-bearers, cult favorites, and brand-new breweries.

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Annie Conway / Comments (3)

Beer Fri Nov 09 2012

Your Stein Runneth Over

November's a particularly great month for craft beer lovers.

Sunny McDaniel

Beer Tue Oct 16 2012

Local Brewers Bring Home Medals at Great American Beer Festival

gabf2012.jpgSeven Chicago-area breweries and brewpubs brought home medals in the 2012 Great American Beer Festival this year, Brewers Association's annual award competition. More than 600 breweries entered a total of 4,300 entries in 84 categories; local breweries and brewpubs won nine medals in eight categories.

Revolution Brewing brought home a gold medal in the English-Style Summer Ale category for its Cross of Gold, and a bronze in the American-Belgo-Style Ale category for A Little Crazy.

Piece took home silver in the American-Style Pale Ale category for its customer favorite, The Weight, while Three Floyds won bronze for its Zombie Dust.

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Andrew Huff

Beer Mon Oct 15 2012

Barley's Angels Wants You, Ladies, To Drink More Beer

When Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts were creating Charlie's Angels, the infamous television series showcasing women in roles traditionally reserved for men, little did they know they would be inspiring a future club of beer lovers called Barley's Angels to do the same -- toss out their cosmopolitan's and pina colada's and say "We want beer!" Self-defined as "a growing collection of individual chapters around the world that work with craft beer focused breweries, brewpubs, restaurants, alehouses and other public beer establishments to advance the female consumer craft beer enthusiast," it's obvious that Barley's Angels is adding to a growing trend in the Chicago consumer beverage scene. Given that Chicago is no stranger to craft beer and breweries, it's fitting that Chicago would have its own chapter that will be kicking off their first meeting this Wednesday at Local Option (1102 W. Webster Ave.) where beer is pronounced bier and skulls and the color pink combine in a beautifully strange collaboration that just may give Kuma's Korner a run for its money.

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Attendees will taste five stylistically unique beers focused primarily on wheat-based styles paired with artisanal cheeses from Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine. For all you hop-loving, barley sipping ladies, if you like it you better go buy a ticket; a limited number ($25 each) are available and can be reserved at Local Option's webshop.

Brandy Gonsoulin

Event Thu Oct 11 2012

Get Tickets Now for Gapers Block's Microbrewery Crawl Nov. 3

microbrewery_crawl_450.jpgIn the last couple of years, Andersonville, Ravenswood and North Center have become one of the centers of Chicago's craft brewing scene. We at Gapers Block thought it would be fun to put together a "microbrewery crawl" to showcase the great beers being produced in the area, taking advantage of the close proximity of so many breweries and beer-oriented venues.

The Gapers Block Microbrewery Crawl on Saturday, Nov. 3 kicks off at 1pm at Andersonville's Metropolitan Brewery and travels by bus to Half Acre Beer Co. Along the way, we'll peek in at Koval Distillery to find out what a microdistillery looks like, stop at City Provisions to try their unique collaborations with area brewers, and find out what "community supported beer" is at Begyle Brewing. After Half Acre, we'll head across the street for an afterparty at Gannon's Pub.

For $60, participants will get samples of at least one beer at each stop, and get a tour of three very different breweries. This is the first tour Metropolitan has offered since May, and we'll get one of the first tours ever at Begyle. Be a part of this unique experience -- get your tickets now!

Andrew Huff / Comments (2)

Beer Wed Oct 10 2012

Bring on the Beer

BeerFest.jpgLast Saturday Union Station was transformed into Brew Station for Chicago Beer Festival.

Roughly 4,000 beer enthusiasts united in the Grand Hall for three hours of taste-tasting fall seasonal brews from all across the country and around the world. In total, there were 54 breweries, offering around 200 different brews.

There were two sessions scheduled for attendants to get their drink on. The first round was from 1 to 4pm and the second round was from 6 to 9pm. Some brave, beer-loving folks opted to do both.

Tickets were $40 and had to be purchased ahead of time. There was also an option for designated drivers to attend Chicago Beer Festival for $10. I volunteered with Eventbrite, scanning tickets, and was lucky enough to be able to enjoy all of the hoppy glory -- and silly drunken people -- all day long.

There was plenty of activity to entertain the attendees in between swigs of beer, including a DJ and a free photo booth. There was a lot of tasty bar food available for purchase, through Stefani Catering. I had a very yummy Italian sausage with peppers and onions on top.

It was easy to tell who was experienced with beer tastings by their level of preparedness. Many people wore pretzel necklaces to munch on in between different brews to cleanse their palate. One lady even adorned hers with jewels to make it fashionable as well as functional.

Though all of the brews were tasty in my opinion, there were a few that really stood out.

Destihl's Pumpkin Porter was exceptional! It was full of in your face fall flavor. Destihl is a gastro-brewpub with two locations in Illinois, pairing craft beer and artisan food.

The Widmer Brothers' SXNW (South by Northwest) brew also made for a very unique kick to my taste buds. It is an interesting combination of pecans, cocoa nibs, spice, and green chilies. It was as dark as black coffee and tasted like a spicy chocolate beverage.

There were a few different ciders to wet your whistle. I tried out Virtue Cider's Redstreak, which tasted extremely sour after drinking so many dark, rich beers.

Many familiar breweries, such as Goose Island, Bell's, Summit, Shock Top and Anchor Steam, were also on site.

Despite the cold, all in all, it was a fabulous day at Union Station -- especially after I got a few beers in me!

Brianna Kelly

Beer Wed Aug 22 2012

Oskar Blues Beer Hits Chicago

Thumbnail image for blues 004.jpgLast night Fountainhead hosted a Colorado tap takeover benefit for Colorado shooting victims and folks who were displaced by the wildfires that have been ravaging the state this summer. Taps flowed with only Colorado beers; piled near the door were bags and bags of clothing, to be shipped back to Colorado in empty casks; and the back room was filled with beer-centric silent auction items. Sneaking in amongst the din of drinkers who were doing good by drinking, a new beer hit the Chicago market.

Oskar Blues, the self-proclaimed first canner of crafted suds made it's debut in a city that knows beer. "As craft beer, as a craft bar, and as a great craft city, we had to be here." said brand representative Chad Melis last night. "We started in a town of 1400 people, are now distributing to 27 states and took a four year break to build up infrastructure in order to satisfy Chicago." We must be thirsty y'all.

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Joanna Kanakis / Comments (1)

Beer Mon Aug 13 2012


Red state, blue state, drunken state: the folks at Two Brothers are ready for election season.

Sunny McDaniel

Beer Mon Jul 30 2012

Two Brothers Celebrates its 15th with a Tap Takeover

When two passionate, talented establishments come together to throw a party, and you find yourself interested in the same subject matter, you had best represent.

Two Brothers Brewing Company has been celebrating their 15-year anniversary all summer by releasing 15 artisan beers to represent each year they have been successfully brewing. Warrenville's crowning jewel has made a name for itself with its ubiquitous Domaine Dupage but there are a quite a few other sweet suds that are worth sampling.

Fountainhead, Ravenswood/North Center/Lincoln Square's epicenter for difficult to find craft brews and one of the city's finest rooftop bar, is hosting a tap takeover on said rooftop starting at 1pm on Saturday, Aug. 4. Two Brothers will tap six of their brews, many of which were limited edition releases over the past 15 years and have been brewed again to celebrate the occasion: Pahoehoe, Anni beers, Hop Juice, Weiss, Cottonwood IPA, Testudo, and Diversey & Lill(e).

See you all there.

1970 W. Montrose Ave.

Joanna Kanakis

Event Thu Jul 26 2012

Haute Cuisine Avec Bière pas Cher: Vie Holds "Shitty Beer" Dinner

On the website of chef Paul Virant's Vie, the event is called the "Old Standby Beer Dinner II," but the restaurant's newsletter puts it more bluntly. Vie is holding its second annual "Shitty Beer Dinner" next Tuesday, July 31.

The $85-per-person dinner brings five Chicagoland chefs -- Johnny Anderes of Telegraph, Paul Fehribach of Big Jones, Leonard Hollander of Marion Street Cheese Market, Tara Lane of the Hull House Kitchen (formerly pastry chef at Blackbird), Justin Large of Big Star and Jared Wentworth of Longman & Eagle -- out to Western Springs to create one course that is paired with the chef's favorite crappy beer.

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Andrew Huff

Beer Tue May 29 2012

This Brewery Map is not Normal

Pop Chart Labs, Brooklyn-based makers of awesome maps, diagrams and other cool things to hang on your wall, just released their latest: Breweries of the United States.

The map marks the locations of more than 1,000 breweries big and small, including Chicago's own Argus, Finch's, Goose Island, Half Acre and Metropolitan. There are more in Chicago, of course -- I'd have included 5 Rabbit and Revolution, at least, and perhaps northwest suburban Wild Onion -- but that's relatively good coverage. Not comprehensive, but good.


However, there are two prominent nearby breweries that somehow got left out. Three Floyd's and Founders are missing, despite taking first and second place, respectively, on's 2012 Best Brewers list. Their beers are coveted by beer geeks across the land, and it's impossible for a conversation about craft beer to not reference one or both of these great breweries. It makes you wonder what other important breweries were missed. UPDATE: I can't believe I didn't notice earlier: Two Brothers is also missing, and Flossmoor Station arguably belongs on the map as well.

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Andrew Huff / Comments (4)

Beer Fri May 18 2012

Chicago Craft Beer Week Has Begun


Last night the Garfield Park Conservatory hosted Chicago Craft Beer Week's kickoff event, Beer Under Glass. Dozens of local breweries poured tastes both inside the greenhouses and outside in the crisp evening air, and a handful of local restaurants provided snacks. At the end of the evening, food trucks were lined up outside at the end of the event to top off stomachs.

Our favorite sips, in no particular order:
Virtue Cider's Red Streak - Greg Hall's new venture, it's a perfectly crisp and dry cider
Half Acre's Chocolate Camaro milk stout - like the Left Hand favorite, but local and chocolatey
Flossmoor Station's Wallonian Saison - we're a sucker for "brewed with ginger"
5 Rabbit's 5 Lizard - a witbier brewed with spices and passion fruit
Goose Island's Scarlett - a tart n'n sassy saison/farmhouse ale made with my favorite fruit, raspberries
Uncommon Brewers' Siamese Twin - a Belgian-style double seasoned with lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves

A brief photo essay on the evening by David R Munson, after the jump.

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Jen Bacher

Event Fri May 11 2012

Half Acre is Partying on the Beach & Opening a Taproom

halfacre_thesands.jpgHalf Acre Beer Co. is celebrating Chicago Craft Beer Week with "The Sands," a beach party from 6pm to 10pm on Friday, May 18 at The Dock at Montrose Beach, 200 W. Montrose Harbor Dr. There will be plenty of beer of course, but also food from Big Star and Belly Shack, and unspecified musical entertainment. And, hopefully, lots of heat lamps.

Tickets are $45 each, and will go on sale at 11am this Sunday, May 13, at the Half Acre brewery store, 4257 N. Lincoln Ave. Only 350 tickets will be sold, two per person. Expect a long line.

Also this week, Half Acre announced plans to open a taproom at the south end of its brewery in North Center. There will be 10 beers on tap, including taproom-only experimental stuff, guest-brewed beers and a rotating cask beer. The taproom is expected to open sometime in August.

Andrew Huff

GB store

Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
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Drive-Thru is the food and drink section of Gapers Block, covering the city's vibrant dining, drinking and cooking scene. More...
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