DETOUR No. 022: Two hours in line on a Saturday morning...to purchase beer. It’s basically the opposite of what beer drinking should be. Right? A two-hour wait for any beer is right inside my ‘see ya’ zone, but since I wouldn’t get back to Tree House Brewing Co. anytime soon, I opted to stay and see what all the fuss was about.
UNIVERSITY VILLAGE, CHICAGO
FoBAB 2017 showcased 370 beers, from 206 different breweries, in 11 different categories. Enough to please virtually any beer nerd's palate. And trust us, there were plenty present–clamoring for it all. We picked our favorites from the weekend, as well as the list of medal winners in each category.
The latest release of Deep Wood marks the premier of Revolution's foray into barrel-aged beer, packaged in cans. With no less than eight barrel-aged releases, the brewery hopes to put wood-aged beer in more people's hands. We sat down with Founder Josh Deth and Head Brewer Jim Cibak to taste through the early offerings and hear more about why they made the switch to cans.
"Strong branding is table stakes for a brewery." Those were the first words shared with us by Jordan Bamforth of Beau's All Natural Brewing Co., when asked to describe the importance of design in craft beer. It perfectly echoes the thoughts I had when I first came across the brand a few years ago. Such level of design detail, in the beer industry, is refreshing to see...
Every so often, work brings me just south of Los Angeles to a place called Torrance, California. Which, a few years ago didn’t mean much. Now, however, it means I’m able to visit one of the most rightfully-hyped purveyors of the hazy IPA – Monkish Brewing Co. These are the thoughts & process of a craft beer hunter, by contributor John Doessel.
DOUGLAS PARK, CHICAGO
With more beer available than anyone could possibly hope to drink, we chose 10 beers from BeerHoptacular 2017 that we felt represented the best of the local beer on offer. The diversity of styles throughout our picks prove the incredible depth the Chicago scene has developed. Here are our top beers from the annual festival...
ALPINE, WY/DENVER, CO
Melvin Brewing is here to remind us all that if you take your beer too seriously, you are the definition of blowing it. Yeah, craft beer has gotten a little too hip these days, and it's time to bring beer back into the hands and mouths of the everyman (urban lumberjacks, you can come too).
We've tasted through the following 20 beers for November, and rated them according to our interpretation of the BJCP scoring guidelines, on a scale of 100 and listed in alphabetical order. This month, IPAs run the gamut from the juicy and hazy to black as midnight, as well as the GABF Gold Medal winner in the American IPA category.
Austin-based Helms Workshop has designed plenty for beer. And for one of their latest branding projects, for Utah's Strap Tank Brewery, a brewpub with a distinctly vintage-motorcycle-inspired vibe. Named after the first Harley Davidson to roll of the line in 1908, Strap Tank honors the heritage, passion, and quality workmanship of its namesake.
The London Craft Beer Festival celebrated its fifth year in 2017, and it proved to be their biggest yet. Spread over a full weekend, LCBF pulled in a stellar lineup of 45+ established and on-the-rise breweries– from the UK, Europe and the US. With two days to tackle the fest, contributor Paul King recapped the event and his 10 picks for standout beers...
HUMBOLDT PARK, CHICAGO
Bourbon County is back again...
unofficially kicking off barrel-aged beer season. And this year's offering consists of six variants, instead of the planned seven. For those that will be on store shelves, the lineup is diverse. The staples are there, as well as a few new unique spins, as expected. And we can assure you, 2017's BCBS is as interesting as ever...
YUNNAN PROVINCE, CHINA
Located in China’s far southwest is Yunnan province–its landscape as varied as its residents. It's here that we met up with Songsten Gyalzur, Founder of Shangri-La Brewery. We spoke with him about traveling the world, and how his brewery is a multi-prong effort in creating a beer identity for Yunnan–as well as how it's creating jobs for former orphans...
DOUGLAS PARK, CHICAGO
GIVEAWAY: Chicago's Original Craft Beer Fest, BeerHoptacular, is back on the South Side for it's 7th year. Showcasing 150+ beers from 75 breweries–the vast majority of which hail from the Chicagoland area–2017's fest is better than ever. And we've got a pair of VIP passes for one lucky reader...
HONG KONG, HK
Hong Kong is a world-class city. Yet, it’s still old-world-meets-new, plus their relationship with mainland China is unique. This is what makes beer there so interesting. We caught up with Moonzen Brewery to better understand the 'HK' craft beer scene, how they’re brewing for the local palate, and how their brand pays homage to shared Chinese heritage.
DETOUR No. 021: Bright lights, the buzzing of slot machines and an anything-goes-atmosphere tends to wear you out in Sin City. At least it did me. With a hazy memory of overpriced cocktails and half-nude street performers, Tenaya Creek Brewery was a nice change of pace for a slow moving Saturday afternoon in Vegas.
Updated: Here is our best effort to comprise a comprehensive "THR-approved Chicago Beer Bar List." Mind you, there are certainly plenty of places in the city not on this list where you can get a decent beer. In fact, they're all over the city. However this list is curated to those spots where not only is the variety impressive, but the staff is knowledgeable & the atmosphere is unmatched.
We've tasted through the following 15 beers for October, and rated them according to our interpretation of the BJCP scoring guidelines, on a scale of 100 and listed in alphabetical order. This month, Belgian-inspired beers get a look, malt-forwardness is celebrated, single fruits get highlighted and farmhouse funk is king. Plus, a pumpkin beer.
Contributor Kevin Sterne goes on a quest to leave his pale ale/saison comfort zone. His tour led him to a historic brick building that previously housed the Schlitz Brewing Company horse carriages. Here, he spoke with Mike Byrnes about a small South Side Chicago lager brewery's place in an otherwise hop-obsessed scene.
China is the world's biggest beer market, though most of that beer consumption is still relegated to commonly available, mass-market light lagers. Craft beer is inching its way throughout China, however, with Beijing at the forefront of the movement. We sat down with one of those leading the charge, at Beijing's Great Leap Brewing.
CHERRY HILL, NJ
There may not be another brewery with the attitude of NJ's Forgotten Boardwalk. Their quirky triple eye-catching design gets credited to Nashville's Perky Bros. They describe the beermaker as "an artfully devious microbrewery and teller of tales"...
Brooklyn Brewery is on the eve of its 30th anniversary, and much of its success can be credited to a few craft beer titans. But, when you peel pack the surface, you begin to reveal the stories of lesser known stars–like that of Gabe Barry. As the self-initiated 'Brewery Education & Community Ambassador', Gabe has spent years educating drinkers–and doing so in the most creative ways possible, including the MASH.
Evanston, Illinois has a long history with alcohol, mostly spent avoiding it all together. The city is finally seeing changing perceptions and is experiencing its own craft renaissance, now home to a cidery, distillery, and several breweries. One of those is Sketchbook Brewing Co., founded on the premise of bringing together a community that's still not totally convinced beer belongs.
After acting as farriers for 25 years, co-founders Matthew Kiwala and Michael Vallot set out to turn their homebrew side passion into a physical brewery: Bent Shoe. To celebrate the founders' previous careers, SLC-based Kevin Cantrell Studio designed an elaborate identity system with a strong nod to the 'old west'.
We've tasted through the following 14 beers for September, and rated them according to our very own interpretation of the BJCP scoring guidelines, on a scale of 100 and listed in alphabetical order. This month, Märzens are kings of the season, goses get a solid look, citrus profiles are plentiful and large format gets a reconsideration.
WEST LOOP, CHICAGO
Returning to Chicago at the end of September, the Brooklyn Brewery Mash Beer Mansion offers a truly unique and immersive beer experience. We've teamed up with the brewery to give away two tickets to this year's event. Enter for your chance to win....
One new brewery in the UK is taking its inspiration from the city's aesthetic that it calls home. Birmingham Brewing Company launched in late 2016, and from the start staked its claim on a distinctive modern look.
Chicago drinkers now have yet another option to quench their seemingly endless thirst for craft beer. Hailing from Indianapolis, Sun King Brewery brings their much heralded portfolio of canned beers to Windy City refrigerators. We tasted through all the available beers and offer our thoughts on both their core lineup and their barrel-aged The King's Reserve series.
When Greg Smith first contacted CODO Design to brand a new beer project, the team was a bit curious. "We thought he was pulling our leg," says founder, Isaac Arthur. Printer's Ale Manufacturing Co. is a production brewery that honors Greg’s family story: generations of printers-turned-brewers coming to commercial fruition in Georgia.
The history of craft beer in Indiana has been turbulent to say the least. And less than 10 years ago, the state's largest city was nearly void of options. Then, the first brewery since the 40's entered the capital. Clay Robinson is, in part, responsible for the growth of craft beer in the Hoosier state and credits company culture to the success of Indy's Sun King.
CHIPPEWA FALLS, WI
A backbone made up of six generations and 150 years of brewing has afforded the brewery affectionately referred to as 'Leinie's' a great breadth of knowledge and recognition in the beer world. And yes, Shandies.