What’s been kicked:
The big news: Goose Island is moving half of its production of 312 to an Anheuser Busch brewery in upstate New York and Honkers Ale and India Pale Ale will now exclusively be brewed at Red Hook and Widmer facilities in New Hampshire and Washington.
I’m already sick of the “It’s not brewed in Chicago, it shouldn’t be called 312″ comments. Stop drinking it. There’s better beer out there. In fact, there’s much better Goose Island beer out there. To me, the most compelling facet of this development is that Goose Island is using its new ownership structure to externalize the production of a few standard, staple beers in order to make room in-house for brewing larger quantities of Belgian, sour, and extreme beers. This really throws a wrench into simplistic understandings of what “craft” beer really is, doesn’t it?
Josh Noel, beer and travel writer at the Trib, has been busy. After driving all the way around Lake Michigan and stopping at every brewpub along the way, he had to explain how he got the sweetest job in the universe. More recently, he profiled a bunch of new and up-and-coming Chicago breweries and found a cure for the beer belly.
Goose Island’s head pub brewer Jared Rouben is responsible for releasing a new beer every week. That’s what keeps me coming back to the Clybourn brewpub just about every Thursday night. He also manages to fit in a monthly chef collaboration beer with the likes of Steph Izard and Rick Bayless. Louisville is so proud of their beer-slinging native son that the local paper did an excellent piece on the culinary journey that brought Rouben to Chicago by way of New York. Don’t you just love that we stole Jared away from New York? Suckers!
The Ebel family–Two Brothers Brewing and Windy City Distribution–has officially taken over the west suburbs. Their distribution company is moving into a 173,000 square foot facility in Aurora, the brewery is finishing up a major expansion and the Roundhouse, which the Ebels recently purchased, just launched a new website.
I thought Chick Beer was bad. Then this happened.
One of my favorite local beer blogs is Michael Kiser’s Good Beer Hunting. He has a great eye, which he shows off in the awesome photos in his posts. The chronicle he posted of a recent trip to the old Miller brewery in Milwaukee is his best visual offering so far. Check out the old beer caves–so cool.
Brew Camp officially opened near Lincoln and Irving Park. They’re selling homebrew equipment, including starter kits, and plan to offer classes soon. Jared and Whit are great guys following their passion and they’re happy to help get you started.
Revolution Brewing‘s upstairs bar and dining room have finally opened. They’re also gearing up to open a new production facility on the west side and start canning their beer for retail sale.
Festiv-Ale added Lagunitas to its already awesome list of brewers. I am also teaming up with Scott at Greenbush Brewery to make a special batch of fall-themed beer for the VIP hour.
Rolling Stone magazine called Chicago a beer mecca in its Lollapalooza pre-coverage. Noted.
If you’re interested in homebrewing, check out Jessica Murphy’s great write-up of our homebrewing class on her blog, Girls Like Beer Too. Next month we’ll be at New Chicago Brewing with introductory classes for those who have never brewed before or are just getting into it, or more advanced classes for those who want to make the jump from extract to all-grain brewing.
Last week I published the first Sustainable Craft feature on Goose Island’s sustainability initiatives. Watch for two new pieces next week–one on a local chef working passionately to connect people with the the food they’re eating and the people who produce it, and another on what will soon become the nation’s greenest brewery right here in Chicago.
I’ve already introduced you to the best burger in town and the beer and brat combo that puts your store-bought sausage to shame. Next week I introduce you to another great Chicago beer and food pairing at the Hopleaf. Here’s a hint: quack quack!
If you dig the beer-and-food thing, check out Girl and Her Beer’s gushing writeup about Bad Apple that left me hungry. Also check out 5 Rabbit’s recipe page, which they’ll update weekly with a recipe from a new chef. You should also be aware that Piece was named top independent pizzeria in the nation.
What’s on tap:
Suburban brewpub Emmett’s announced they are beginning distribution to Chicago. McCarthy Red kicks ass, try it.
Finch’s Beer Company will start to appear in cans around the city in early August. Check Whole Foods and Binny’s locations first for their blonde ale and pale ale. They also just kegged and shipped Dirty Bird–a one-off doppelbock. Malty, chocolatey, dark, and delicious, this beer will pop up in a few draft accounts around the city. Check their account list for more possibilities. They also filled three whiskey barrels from their friends at Koval Distillery with Dirty Bird, which will hatch as Dirtier Bird just in time for the Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beer in November. They also plan to release a very limited quantity of 22 oz. bombers. And if you haven’t heard of these guys yet, check out this profile and interview with their distributor.
Word on the street is that Goose Island Belgian Fest is happening in late August. Details to follow.
A local filmmaker is throwing a fundraising party for his documentary on the Plant, home of New Chicago Brewing, this Sunday. When finished, A Sustainable Reality will be a chronicle of an incredibly ambitious and unique experiment to create a non-profit, zero-waste, self-powered, totally open-source, urban vertical farm with profitable, food-producing tenants.
Fountainhead is filling their taps with French and Belgian-style farmhouse ales this Tuesday. Get your fill of saisons.
Wheaton Ale Fest is coming up next weekend. Here’s a local take on the boundary-pushing (for Wheaton, at least) event.
Haymarket is tapping Indignant, a barrel-aged imperial stout, this Saturday at 2 PM.