2011 was a rollercoaster year for craft beer in Chicago. Here at Chitown On Tap we put our drinking and thinking caps on (in that order) and decided the best way to wrap up the year was to give props to the amazing people in our local craft beer community who have made drinking the good suds so damn rewarding this year. This list of “bests” is by no means exhaustive, and represents our best, though inevitably incomplete, knowledge and ethanol-fueled subjective taste. The selection of one person or place doesn’t mean there aren’t other good or even great options. So let’s start with a big “You rock too!” to all the wonderful people and places we left out. And you–we would love to hear what YOU have to say about craft beer in Chicago in 2011. Like our choices? Learn something? Think we missed something big? Let us know. We love hearing from you. Thanks for reading and we hope you stick with us in 2012! For your following pleasure, check us out on Facebook and Twitter.
Best New Local Brewery: Haymarket Pub & Brewery
Haymarket Pub & Brewery kept us warm during the blizzard in February and has wowed us with their excellent Belgian and American ales ever since. Incredibly, they took home a gold medal from the Great American Beer Festival in their first year for Angry Birds, an American-style Belgo IPA. They have already released their excellent barrel-aged imperial stout, Indignant, at three- and six-months in the barrel. Check out the tap list for the first anniversary party on Christmas Eve. I challenge you to find a better single-brewery event list anywhere. These are big moves for a fledgling brewery, but they come as no surprise to anyone who knows Haymarket’s owner, head yeast wrangler, and mastermind, Pete Crowley. He has made Haymarket a first-class brewpub out of the gates, which is a testament to his creativity, experience, and vision. Pete also happens to lead the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild. This year he led the state’s craft beer industry through a legislative battle with distributors and big beer. We recently asked local author, teacher, homebrew legend, and brewery partner Randy Mosher what the best development in craft beer in Chicago in 2011 was. He fired back, “Pete Crowley.”Rumor has it Pete has a side-gig as an Army Ranger and an award-winning needlework hobby. If you’re a Hawks fan, we assure you Haymarket is the only pregame in town. Drink up at the pub, on the free shuttle to the game, and on the free shuttle back.
Runners Up: Two other local breweries had impressive inaugural years in 2011. Randy Mosher’s own 5 Rabbit Cerveceria mingled barley and hops with Latin flavors like piloncillo sugar, passionfruit, and ancho chile. Their unique recipes helped bring home a gold from the Great American Beer Festival for their Latin-style witbier, 5 Lizard. And who doesn’t love Randy Mosher? Any brewery with Mosher writing the recipes is likely to become a Chicago favorite. Watch for Mosher and his partners Andres Araya and Isaac Showaki to ditch the contract brewing and open their own production facility in Pilsen in 2012.
Finch’s Beer Co. took silver at the Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beers for Dirtier Bird, a superb doppelbock aged in Koval whiskey barrels. The monthly specialty beers from Finch’s are always the right choice when you see them on tap. Their Slackjawed Dunkel, a smoked honey dunkelweizen brewed in collaboration with Cleetus Friedman of City Provisions, was especially tasty. Demand for Finch’s flagship beers, Cut Throat Pale Ale and Golden Wing Blonde Ale, has prompted distribution throughout Illinois and to Indiana, DC, and Virginia. Watch out next year as Finch’s starts to can their Threadless IPA, a favorite of ours bursting with juicy fruit flavor and aroma.
Local Brewery Making the Biggest Moves: Goose Island Beer Co.
Goose Island Beer Co. hit the bigtime this March with its $38 million sale to AB-InBev. Controversial among craft beer drinkers, some of whom vowed to abandon Goose Island’s brands, the move provided a cash influx and opened up access to Anheuser-Busch’s unparalleled resources. The progress is in plain sight: just take a look at the three gleaming new 400-barrel fermenters in the alley behind the Fulton Street brewery. As soon as those are operational, they’ll be filled with Matilda. Meanwhile, production of some of 312 and Honker’s Ale has been shipped out to AB breweries in New York and New Hampshire, while IPA production has already left and returned home after trouble replicating the beer’s delicate hop profile in different tanks. The plan is to leverage high-volume sales of those straightforward flagship beers while increasing capacity for and expanding the footprint of big-margin Belgian ales and barrel-aged beers. John Hall’s five-year plan is to push production to capacity in the Fulton Street brewery, then build a world-class production brewery to bring all of Goose Island’s brands home to Chicago. Such a brewery would have to be at least 500,000 barrels to make any kind of sense, but may push 1 million or more.
Here at Chitown On Tap, we side with Michael Roper on the “controversy” surrounding the sale. In a letter to Beer Advocate, he wrote, “It should be about the beer, not how big its maker is.” We also thought Pete Crowley was right on when he said, “Do I want to support AB? No. Do I want to support my friends who are still employed there and making awesome beer? Yes. If my pals are brewing it, I am drinking it…If they go, so does my support.” Goose Island is still very much a Chicago company, and they’ve done some of their best work since the sale. If you attended Belgian Fest this year and tasted their beer alongside virtually every other local brewery, you likely agree. Will that be the case in another year? In five, or ten? We hope so. We think the alternate argument about handing your hard-earned dollars over to a greedy, anticompetitive, international, soul-crushing corporation rings hollow and uninformed when you consider how many of the tiny, local breweries you love distribute their beers through networks made possible by…well…those same damn soul-crushing corporations whose sales volume can support high-powered distribution systems.
Runners Up: Two Brothers underwent a major brewery expansion this year–their 15th, congratulations!–as Windy City Distribution, technically owned by the wives of Two Brothers owners Jim and Jason Ebel, moved into its own digs in Aurora and opened up space in the brewery building. Besides both of those businesses picking up larger footprints, the Ebels added a second brewpub with the purchase of Walter Payton’s Roundhouse.
Revolution Brewing opened its upstairs brewers lounge this year and started construction on a production facility in the city, where cans of their beer will start shipping in 2012.
(Image via facebook.com/gooseislandbeer)
Best Festival: Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beer
The selection of big, rare brews at the Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beer is unparalleled and inexhaustible. Try all you might, you will never taste all the beers you want to taste at FOBAB. Highlights this year included three imaginative riffs on Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout: one a full-body experience made with ghost pepper, one aged in rye barrels on blackberries and raspberries, and one aged in reused BCS barrels that had just been emptied of Manhattans. If memory serves–it often doesn’t after FOBAB–there was also a maple bacon beer. Where else people? Where else? The standout though, was a beer you won’t find anywhere, ever. 15 member breweries of the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild got together to make Heartwood Symposium Ale, a blend of bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout, imperial IPA, Scotch wee heavy, and barley wine. The beer is not labeled for sale and most of it was poured at the Craft Brewers Conference in 2010 and FOBAB. I can’t help but imagine that some brewers have been wise enough to lay some bottles down for posterity. Will a more mature version show up at FOBAB 2012? We can only wait and see.
Runner Up: Festiv-Ale, a production of the junior board of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, kicked ass this year. One local brewer claimed rather loudly towards the end of the night that this was the “Best. Festival. EVER.” We’re going to temper that assessment with the clarity that comes from not being four hours deep into a beer festival, but barely. So where can we find fault with this festival? The lineup of virtually every great local brewery? The smattering of national breweries and importers? The fact that brewers were pouring their own beer? The food included in the ticket price? The chef-brewer collaborations and pairings? The perfect indoor-outdoor venue? No. Festiv-Ale excels in areas where even FOBAB could improve. We can’t say a bad thing about it. We can only say more about FOBAB’s incredible, singular selection. Our final take: Best. Festival. EVER…until FOBAB rolls around in November.
Best Craft Beer Bar: TIE Map Room and Hopleaf
The Map Room sets the standard for beer bars in the city. This neighborhood classic celebrated its 19th anniversary this November. Its longevity is a testament to its quality. Owners Mark and Laura Blasingame have been serving great Belgian and American beer since a time when the market for it–product and consumer–was a sliver of what it is today. The no-frills approach, timeless travel theme, and insouciant clientele make the Map Room a welcome oasis from the in-your-face vibe at newer, trendier establishments. There’s a reason Chicago Beer Society hosts is monthly social gatherings here.
It’s impossible for us to say there’s a better spot in town than Hopleaf in Andersonville. Like the Map Room, Michael Roper and Louise Molnar will celebrate their bar’s 20th anniversary next year. The Belgian-focused draft and bottle selections here comprise perhaps the best-curated beer list in the city. And Michael Roper may just be the most knowledgable, respected and wise publican in our city. The food that comes out of his tiny kitchen and the beers that emerge from his mysterious cellar sometimes make for profound experiences. Two words: Duck. Reuben. All of the kitchen’s ingredients are locally sourced and ethically raised. The upstairs bar hosts excellent events with brewers near and far. No kids allowed. Stellar. This is the archetypal neighborhood bar.
Runner Up: We here at Chitown On Tap can almost always navigate a beer menu on our own. We often feel qualified to help a befuddled fellow patron find something they like. At Local Option, the tables are turned. We are often the clueless fools trying to make sense of the rare Scandinavian and Belgian offerings on the draft list. You know what? We love that feeling. We love that Local Option pushes us out of our comfort zone. We love their defiant individuality. We love that they threw an “Ass Makeover” in response to increasingly regular inquiries about increasingly trendy tap takeover events. If Map Room and Hopleaf are Chicago’s classic beer bars, Local Option is at the head of our avant-garde–pushing the envelope in new and exciting directions.
Best Gastropub: Owen & Engine
In a crowded field, Owen & Engine edges out its peers for three reasons. 1) The burger. It’s the best in the city. 2) The vibe. It’s intimate and cozy and the staff is friendly and knowledgable. 3) The beer. The taps flow with rare, bold offerings from North America and Europe. Four hand-pumps pull beer up from the basement cellar. The concise beer menu descriptions–all described by three spot-on flavors or adjectives–are the best in town.
Runners Up: All of the following are great establishments where we frequently spend way, way too much money. You should too. See you at the Payday Loan Store! Bring some bottles to trade.
- Publican elevates beer in a way no other establishment does. Simply, expertly, without adornment. Publican makes beer and food, paradoxically, a humble and exalted experience.
- Fountainhead has been around a short time, but operates with an expert’s touch. The extensive beer menu is refreshed often by style-focued events like “It Might Get Hoppy” (imperial IPAs), “It Might Get Dark” (stouts), “It Might Get Farmy” (saisons), and this week’s “A Crazy Cluster of Christmas Beer Commotion.” Our food rec: duck mac and cheese.
- Acre‘s farm-to-table, snout-to-tail menu is complemented by a great selection of drafts and one of the most concise, well-organized, and exciting bottle lists in the city. Proximity to Hopleaf: +1.
- SmallBar Fullerton has revamped its menu and hosted some killer events, highlighted by a Goose Island tap takeover that included a four-year vertical tasting of Matilda. Their brunch is one of the best around.
- Jerry’s Sandwiches is doing it right. Excellent service and a great menu. Top notch staff.
- Bad Apple makes great burgers and has the beer list to keep you coming back. Beer cocktails? Not our thing, but try them here if you’re going to.
Food Industry Professional Doing the Most for Craft Beer: Cleetus Friedman
Cleetus Friedman of City Provisions is killing it. His Ravenswood delicatessen should be a favorite on every craft beer drinker’s list. If it’s not on yours, odds are you haven’t been there yet. The deli has the best sandwiches you’ll ever eat. The cooler is full of local craft beer you can drink with your meal or take home with you. The taps flow with beer Cleetus has brewed in collaboration with area breweries like Metropolitan, Finch’s, Greenbush, Flossmoor Station, and Dark Horse. The only out-of-town breweries on his shelves have proven records of environmental sustainability and stewardship, like Stone and Great Lakes. His farm dinners and supper clubs are among the best beer-and-food experiences you will ever have. Cleetus personally knows the people who made every item in the shop and how they made them. Cleetus is evangelical about his passion for local, ethically grown and raised food–including craft beer–and it’s infectious. Talk to this guy for a few minutes and you’re ready to give up the nine-to-five to buy a humble plot in the quiet expanse of the Illinois prairie and live off of the generosity of the land–or at least make frequent visits to his top-notch deli where he’s curated an incredible selection of local, sustainable products.
Runner Up: Paul Kahan‘s portfolio of beer-centric Chicago restaurants has something for everyone. Big Star is the taco shop to end all taco shops. Publican is a farmhouse-style gastropub pairing simply prepared local pork and high-quality shellfish. Blackbird is the critically acclaimed contemporary centerpiece of Kahan’s empire. What do they all have in common? Great beer. In addition to the Publican’s impeccable staff training and impressive list of beers in Belgium’s classic styles, beer director Michael McAvena has started an ambitious house-blending program for lambic beers. The Kahan crew also teamed up this year with Lagunitas Brewing to create Zephyr, a bold, hoppy, faintly spicy American strong ale brewed with lager yeast to pair with the fare at Publican and Big Star.
Best Chef/Brewer Collaboration: Terminator X, Greenbush and City Provisions
This year, local chefs and brewers have pushed the boundaries of the mutual enhancement of beer and food. The best of the best was Terminator X, an American strong ale brewed with blackstrap molasses by Scott Sullivan of Greenbush Brewery from Sawyer, Michigan and Cleetus Friedman of City Provisions. The duo brought the beer to Festiv-Ale, where Cleetus paired it with a barbeque brisket sandwich that picked up on the bittersweet profile of the molasses. Cleetus has continued his collaboration series; the latest is a sarsaparilla stout brewed with Michigan’s Dark Horse Brewing. Greenbush collaborations are also popping up regularly around town; the latest is Mr. Hyde, a Sumatran coffee milk stout brewed with SmallBar chef Justin White.
Runner Up: Jared Rouben’s tenure as head pub brewer for Goose Island has been a boon for chef-brewer collaborations in the city. He has teamed up with an all-star cast from Chicago’s finest kitchens including Graham Elliot, Rick Bayless, Mindy Segal, Paul Kahan, Rick Gresh, and more. It’s no surprise, considering Rouben’s culinary background. His best collab this year was Tingly Tongue, a black wit brewed with Stephanie Izard of Girl and the Goat. The imaginative blend of adjuncts–orange peel, Thai long peppercorns, mustard seed, Thai chilies, and yuzu–makes for a unique flavor and, after a couple pints, tingling mouthfeel.
Best Out-of-Town Arrival to the Chicago Market: Greenbush Brewing
I know, you’re shaking your head and losing faith in our judgment because Firestone Walker is not our winner in this category. Shake away, sucker. Greenbush Brewing is more exciting for three reasons. 1) They’re so close. Go visit the brewery in Sawyer, Michigan if you haven’t been there yet. Meet the wonderful, passionate, approachable people behind the beer. 2) They’re doing great collaborations with Chicago chefs. See above. 3) They embody the independent, local, creative spirit of craft beer without any pretension. They experiment with calculated abandon, brew small batches, defy style boundaries, and make consistently high-quality beers. We never pass up an opportunity to try a Greenbush beer on tap in Chicago, because its likely something we’ll never see again, and it’s definitely something we’ll enjoy. Watch–and hope–for more Greenbush to show up around town in 2012.
Runner Up: Firestone Walker, out of Paso Robles, California, is the most highly regarded brewery to hit Chicago’s taps and shelves this year. Their barrel program is without peer in the nation and the quality and complexity of their Proprietor’s Reserve series (Double Jack, Walker’s Reserve, Parabola, Anniversary) is impeccable. They showed up in January with huge expectations and they’ve delivered.
Honorable Mention: Boulevard Brewing from Kansas City has impressed us with its Smokestack Series. Keep it coming!
(Image: Michael Kiser, goodbeerhunting.tumblr.com)
Best Local Label Art: Half Acre
We’re calling it: Chicago-based printmaker Phineas Jones makes the best damn label art anywhere. He dominates beer labels like Ken Burns dominates documentaries. What’s behind Jones’s prowess? He’s talented. He’s twisted. He’s got more imagination in his toenails than your dad’s craziest acid trip in college. Jones probably wouldn’t admit it, but with his labels he’s tapping into the core of what great beer is all about: experimenting in the tension between the millenia-long tradition of brewing and the creative and physical limits of the craft. Analogously, Jones’s labels disarm you with playful, familiar schemas (i.e. a big, fluffy kitty cat, Santa Claus) while tapping into the darker corners of your mind (i.e. that kitty cat rampaging through the North Pole, cuddling your favorite Christmas figures to death). Let’s be clear that Jones does enjoy a distinct advantage: Half Acre churns out consistently delicious beers with equally inventive names. How can the label for Marty Stouffer’s Wild America NOT be amazing? Come on.
Runner Up: Randy Mosher‘s foray into beer recipe construction with 5 Rabbit is preceded by a successful career as an author, teacher, and graphic artist for breweries such as Three Floyd’s, Two Brothers, and Revolution. Naturally, he does the labels for all of 5 Rabbit’s beers, and he does them well. In addition to the intricate designs, the labels provide a wealth of information including the story of the beer, descriptions of exotic ingredients, food pairing suggestions, and proper serving temperature and glassware. Brewers, publicans, and servers take note: these things matter.
Best Restaurant Beer Director: Phil Kuhl, Fountainhead
The special tappings at Fountainhead frequently pack the Ravenswood joint with beer geeks late into the night during the week. The man behind the madness: Phil Kuhl. This is a guy who knows how to manage his establishment’s reputation and wholesaler relationships to get access to the most exciting kegs coming into the city. Better, he’s a guy with the vision and restraint to sit on his bounty until it’s truly time to tap, usually alongside a dozen or more exceptional beers in the style. Fountainhead’s “It Might Get…” nights (see above) should shoot to the top of every craft beer drinker’s calendar. Here’s looking forward to “It Might Get Sour” in 2012.
Best Chicago Beer Writing: Michael Kiser, Good Beer Hunting
Michael Kiser runs an eclectic portfolio of blogs, and his Good Beer Hunting is on top of our reading list. Kiser is an excellent photographer and his posts often border on beer porn. His writing is sparse and insightful. Good Beer Hunting ventured into new territory, and propelled itself to the top of this list, with an exceptionally thoughtful piece on Tenth and Blake, the craft arm of Miller Coors. We also share a love for Greenbush, so if you’re still pissed about our Firestone snub, you’re going to have to fight the both of us. Bring it.
Runners Up: Josh Noel is the travel and beer writer for the Chicago Tribune. He has such a ridiculous job because he has the rare ability to cut through bullshit and get his readers to a point of clarity. His writing on the Goose Island sale, for example, was measured and grounded–welcome qualities in a community that can sometimes be too grouchy and cynical. Noel also has a discerning palate, a great beer vocabulary, an iron liver, and the industry connections and reputation to do us all a great service as our only big-paper beer writer.
Guys Drinking Beer did an outstanding job leading the charge for the Save the Craft movement this spring. They helped us understand the complexities of the three-tier distribution system and gave voice to the brewers directly affected by the court ruling and legislation. They also helped us get in touch with our lawmakers to make an informed plea to do the right thing. It wasn’t pretty, and the outcome was disappointing, but we’re all better informed because of their reporting and analysis.
Our friends at Chicago Beer Geeks have done some nice coverage of local craft beer events, but the real highlight for them this year was their introduction of a pretty thorough, regularly updated Chicago craft beer calendar.
(Image: Michael Kiser, goodbeerhunting.tumblr.com)
Best Homebrew Shop: Brew & Grow, West Loop
Brew & Grow expanded their empire this fall with the opening of a new store in the West Loop. The new location is a huge timesaver for west-side homebrewers who, before, had to trek up to the Kedzie and Addison location, go even further to get to Brew Camp, settle for the meager selection at Chicagoland Winemakers in Elmhurst, or journey to the south-side to BevArt. Even better, Brew & Grow’s homebrew whiz kid David Kelley has put together the best selection of equipment and ingredients in town. Kelley comes to us by way of Northern Brewer and word on the street is that he’s set up partnerships with local breweries to build recipe kits for some of your favorite pro beers. Upset that Pete wouldn’t let you take home 5 gallons of Mathias in growlers? Get over it and brew it yourself! Watch for more on those kits soon.
Runner Up: Brew Camp has a ton of personality for its small Lincoln Square space. Owners Jared and Whit are two of the most grounded, good-natured guys you’ll ever meet. They exude passion for homebrewing and have quickly made Brew Camp a favorite shop for many. Their custom kit recipes are quirky and fun–s’mores beer anyone?–and their commitment to education has already won scores of converts. They plan to build out adjacent space with classrooms for hands-on brewing classes. In the meantime, they’re offering dry-run classes in their shop and off-site.
Dick Move of the Year: Chicago Magazine
Chicago Magazine gave craft beer the cover treatment in their July issue. Overall, it was an awesome read. But one snarky line from that issue is still rubbing us the wrong way. In a tasting review of 36 local craft beers, the authors started with this low blow: “We limited our search to beers brewed within 50 miles of the Loop, and we skipped all chains [sorry, Rock Bottom].” Ouch. Sure, the Rock Bottom brewpubs are owned by a corporate parent, but the full-time brewers busting their asses and winning medals aren’t just executing the same stale recipes their peers are brewing in Omaha; they’re innovating with the best of them. Give them the credit they deserve.
Best Distributor: Windy City Distribution
We all have our beloved breweries and bars, but they’re only two-thirds of the craft beer industry. Beer distributors are the invisible segment operating behind the scenes. We as consumers never really see the work they do, though we enjoy the fruits of their labor every sip we take. In the invisible world of beer distribution, there are innumerable temptations for greed and sacrificing quality for high-volume margins. One distributor in town has avoided these pitfalls: Windy City Distribution. They bring us out-of-town brands like Stone, Lagunitas, Jolly Pumpkin, Allagash, Greenbush, and Great Divide, all while slinging local favorites Two Brothers, Metropolitan, and Finch’s. When we spoke with Greg Koch of Stone Brewing this year, he was happy to toot the Windy City horn. He said, “Windy City is known for being quality ethical players. Their business model is solid. The quality of their work is solid. The quality of the beer is solid. The quality of their portfolio is solid.” Judging by recent developments like the company’s move into a 175,000-square-foot Aurora warehouse, the business model sure as hell must be solid. Koch isn’t the only one singing Windy City’s praises; we’ve heard it from several local and out-of-state brewers, and we’ve seen it firsthand in the knowledgable commentary their reps have offered right here at Chitown On Tap.
Most Promising in 2012: New Chicago Beer Co.
The most apt word to describe brothers Jesse and Samuel Evans is ‘ambitious.’ They aim to have their New Chicago Beer Co. operating at a clip of 12,000 barrels in their first year, vaulting over several smaller local breweries if they hit their target. But that’s not all. They’re going to do it with virtually zero waste. Their spent grains will feed tilapia, mushrooms, and an anaerobic digester that will power their brewery and the rest of the building they’re in (The Plant–it’s revolutionary. Read more here). Here’s the wild card: nobody knows what they’re going to brew. The Evans brothers have been tight-lipped about their recipes, other than to describe their beers as strong west-coast style ales. They have been very clear, however, that they intend to support homebrewers and help start-up breweries get off the ground by providing access to a small pilot system in the brewery and putting some of those beers on tap in their on-site tasting room, and possibly bottling some for distribution. A partnership with Arcade Brewing is taking shape that will provide a template for how such relationships might work.
Runners Up: Greg Hall’s departure from Goose Island after the company’s sale to AB-InBev this spring was also an arrival of sorts. He has embarked on a journey in the world of cider, hoping to do for the beverage what he did for beer with his pioneering Belgian ales and barrel-aged stouts. We have to be frank: cider in America is in a bad place. The domestic product is mostly cloying, one-dimensional swill brewed from apple juice concentrate. The consumer base is woefully small. If Hall can successfully execute his vision of transforming the industry and its appeal by making a line of artisanal ciders from locally sourced heirloom varietals, we’ll be cheerleading–and drinking–it all the way. Watch for Virtue Cider bottles to start appearing in 2012.
Pipeworks Brewing has made a very public near-entrance into the Chicago craft beer scene with their successful open-source fundraising efforts. They have a lease on a brewery and plenty of stainless already in place. They’ve already released well-received collaborations that are consistent with their expressed vision of brewing small batches of creative one-offs. With progress on the business and licensing side rolling now, Pipeworks is an exciting prospect for 2012. We hope they can avoid hiccups like the late cancellation of their tasting event at Map Room this spring.
Best People We Left Out
Metropolitan Brewing. What a fantastically unique brewery to have in town and call our own. We love their commitment to brewing classic German styles right.
How the hell did we miss Three Floyds?
Flossmoor Station is quietly making some really excellent stuff. Their intercontinental pale lager was one of the most unique and surprising beers this year.
Chicago Craft Beer Week was a blast and brought out the best of craft beer, especially the beer and food events like Rock Bottom Chicago’s Porkin’ Under the Stars. Seven courses of pork, each paired with a house-made beer, on the rooftop? Hell yes. Looking forward to next year.