“An American wheat ale brewed with Saaz hops. Spicy and fruity, Oberon is the color and scent of a sunny afternoon.”
Bell’s Oberon Ale
Pale Wheat Ale, 5.8% ABV
Sayeth the Guys:
Karl: Oberon will always have a special place in my heart for a number of reasons. I’ve spent numerous afternoons camped out on barstools watching baseball games during the summer, nursing an Oberon or three, afternoons and evenings on porches and patios with Oberon, and other various summer-centric activities where Oberon was close at hand.
Mostly, it was the passion of my Michigan-transplant wife for Oberon, and her nebulous yet very specific rules about timing the first Oberon of the season (pay no attention to the calendar or release date, when it’s time for the first Oberon you’ll know), and her exuberance for Oberon took root in me and sticks around to this day. There’s always a new beer to try, and I’m sure that every midwestern brewer (Michigan brewers for certain) dreams of an Oberon-killer, and yet every time late spring rolls around I start looking forward to that first sunny wheat ale that says “hey, it’s getting warmer out.”
But is Oberon really that good? Or am I being clouded (wheat ale pun intended) by good memories, a pre-craft-beer-website opinion or anything else that might have affected my outlook in the beer? The answer is…well, both. Continue reading
Last month I took a trip up to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to visit some friends. My only requirement for making this trip was that we’d have the chance to go on a brewery tour. I didn’t have a lot of time to research which tour would be the best, so I left it in the hands of my very capable friends to decide. Thus, we landed at Lakefront Brewery, located along the Milwaukee River (Yes, river…not lake) at 1872 N. Commerce Street in Milwaukee. Continue reading
To coincide with Karl’s article in Chicago Magazine, and his subsequent supplemental followup article on this site, he also made an appearance on WGN News to talk suburban brew with anchor Steve Saunders:
Karl made a jaunt to Chicago’s suburbs to look at some of the best brewpubs you may have never heard of. You can find his article in September’s Chicago Magazine, which is now available on news stands and online.
Here’s an excerpt;
Chicago’s beer renaissance focuses on city brewers such as Metropolitan, Half Acre, Revolution, and the soon-to-open Haymarket. But standing on the shoulders of Two Brothers and Three Floyds, suburban craftspeople are quietly closing the gap. Here are five operations that keep the burbs hopping.
Continue reading Beer In The Burbs…
Below, Karl expands on his trips to the likes of America’s Brewing, Lunar Brewing and Stockholm’s.
I read a lot of food/beverage media around town, and for all the conversation about the new brewpubs and gastropubs (still hate that word) around the city, it struck me that there are a fair number of places in the suburbs doing their own brewing as well, without nearly as much fawning over it, likely due to their non-proximity to guys like me that were doing all the writing.
A little pleading, a few emails and a decent amount of luck later, the esteemed Powers That Be at Chicago Magazine allowed me to throw together a short list of microbreweries and brewpubs in the suburbs that you may or may not have heard about. For this audience, I’m assuming you all fall closer to “may have.” Just a hunch.
If you haven’t seen the piece, I chose to check out Limestone in Plainfield, Lunar Brewing in Villa Park, America’s Brewing in Aurora, Stockholm’s in Geneva and Flossmoor Station, in…well, Flossmoor.
And, if you haven’t seen the piece, you can check it out here.
Image courtesy of Chicago Magazine.
New Holland says:
“This Belgian specialty ale has an unfiltered, hazy deep straw colored body. Clove dominates the aroma. The flavor is bready sweet with a spicy clove backbone. The profile has the malt com…plexity you would expect from a big Belgian Ale. It finishes with a slight fruity tartness from the addition of pomegranate. Winner of the 2009 New Holland employee homebrew competition, Congrats to Adam & Mitch!!!”
New Holland B.A.M.B.
Belgian Ale, 6.9% ABV
Sayeth the Guys:
Ryan: When I visit a brewpub for the first time, or any time for that matter, I usually try and pick out obscure our brewpub only offerings. It’s not that I don’t like a particular breweries staple beers. In fact, it’s the opposite. I can get their six packs any day I’d like. But when will I have the chance to try some sort of obscure style of beer that they brew once – and sometimes only once? I kind of hit the jackpot in that respect with the B.A.M.B.. It’s a Belgian ale brewed with cloves and pomegranate. Continue reading
“Old Heathen Imperial Stout is our interpretation of a beer style that originated in the 18th century. Brewed in England and exported to Germany, Scandinavia and Russia, these beers became fashionable among the members of the Czar’s court. In order to survive long voyages they were brewed with high alcohol content to prevent spoilage.”
Weyerbacher Old Heathen Imperial Stout
Russian Imperial Stout, 8% ABV
Sayeth the Guys:
Ryan: Believe it or not, there is actually an end-game to this cellaring that we’re doing. Sure, some projects are more experimental than others, but in the end we just want a beer that tastes good. And, ladies and gentleman, we accomplished that with the Old Heathen.
When I first cracked a bottle of this open last summer I wasn’t overwhelmed by the booze nor was I blown away by the taste. But something in the back of my mind said to sit the rest back for a year and see what happens. A year in a cool, dark place really brought out some intriguing flavors and cooled off any heat that the 8% ABV put off. Continue reading
As much as I love beer, the actual events that revolve around brewing are generally too big for my somewhat anti-social personality. Huge things like conventions and gatherings at places like the Aragon have never been as fun as I want them to be, simply due to the fact that I always find myself running around from place to place in a huge hurry. I never allow myself to enjoy things fully and never really having the amount time I’d like, nor do I really like the jostling for position and fighting for space. (All these are also the same reasons I like hanging out at bars on Tuesday afternoon as opposed to Friday nights).
This is to preface why we (Ryan and I) decided to head over to Sheffield’s in Lakeview to attend the Goose Island Invasion. 38 tap handles changed over to all Goose Island beers. Rare releases. Special brews. VIP passes for the first hour and unlimited tasting for those first 60 minutes. Limited to 100 folks, which was right up my alley. And most importantly, an hour to ourselves to hang out, enjoy some good beer and not a huge throng of humanity.
And a grand time was had by all. Continue reading
Arcadia Sky High Rye
Rye Beer, 6% ABV
Sayeth the Guys:
Karl: Fun name. Pretty lame label. Good beer? Good beer. I know I keep going back to the Rye-on-Rye from Boulevard as a touchstone, but only because it was so damned good. It’s going to be tough to top, and until then, I’ll be revisiting it as often as I damned well please. This rye beer is miles apart from the R-o-R in flavor, but still pretty good and definitely distinctive. Continue reading
Half Acre says:
“We went out on a limb with this beer. Working with a boat load of Guava from Ecuador was “different,” but 40 days & one Ween show later we landed on a beer we’re psyched about; a 7% double dry hopped screamer with some wheat tones and a nose that rings of island life. Our thanks to Joe Short and the fine folks of Short’s Brewing in Bellaire, MI for hooking up here to brew beer, checking out the Ween show and their Jedi fruit tactics.”
Half Acre Freedom Of ’78
American IPA, 7% ABV
Sayeth the Guys:
Karl: Despite being (one of*) my local neighborhood breweries, I can’t honestly say I’ve ever really fallen in love with the beers that Half Acre has produced. Sure, I’ve enjoyed Gossamer and Daisy Cutter and their OverAle and so on, but I still haven’t had that come-to-Jesus moment where everything kicks in and goes “Oh! This is why you should love this.” Continue reading