Review: The Alchemist Heady Topper

The Alchemist says:

We love hops – that’s why our flagship Double IPA, Heady Topper, is packed full of them. Heady Topper was designed to showcase the complex flavors and aromas these flowers produce. The Alchemist has been brewing Heady Topper since 2003. This Double IPA is not intended to be the strongest or most bitter DIPA. It is brewed to give you wave after wave of hop flavor without any astringent bitterness. We brew Heady Topper with a proprietary blend of six hops – each imparting its own unique flavor and aroma. Take a big sip of Heady and see what hop flavors you can pick out. Orange? Tropical Fruit? Pink Grapefruit? Pine? Spice? There is just enough malt to give this beer some backbone, but not enough to take the hops away from the center stage.


The Alchemist Heady Topper
Double IPA, 8% ABV

Did the internet need another review of perhaps the most famous, infamous, lusted-after DIPA on earth? Judging by the near-70,000 responses that result when you search for “Heady Topper review” the answer is a resounding “no.”

But since we got our hands on one and drank it and took notes on it, screw it: here’s one more. Continue reading

What the Firk: Cask Beer and Pinball Make a Good Pairing

This past Sunday, I was invited to serve as a judge at the first “What the Firk” festival held at Headquarters Chicago, a barcade that’s doing its best to force Depaul students to drink good beer even though they may not want to.

What the Firk 10
Casks were set up on bars and tables around the space — any spare shelving that wasn’t too close to a pinball game or an arcade console seemed to have a barrel (or two, or four) perched on it, with staffers ready to distribute 2-oz. pours as needed.

It was pretty excellent. Here’s what I found:

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Brewery Handoff: Ten Ninety Acquires Big Chicago

Ten Ninety Imperial Porter

Ten Ninety Imperial Porter

If 2012-2013 saw the expansion of the brewing balloon, 2014 and forward will probably see some of those breweries go through shakeouts, acquisitions, ownership transfers, outright sales and other ways of handing off a lot of stainless steel. One of those was announced to us over the weekend, with Ten Ninety taking over Zion’s Big Chicago Brewing.
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“It’s Dangerous To Go Alone” – Join Us To Drink It at Atlas Brewing Company

Sometimes you make jokes on Twitter and your wit goes out into the great unknown, unseen and unappreciated. (Or worse, unfavorited.)

Sometimes you joke around and someone decides to let you help turn it into a beer.

About a month ago, the latter happened.

Atlas Brew Day 2

Test-steeping hibiscus in hot water, hops in the background. All to hopefully come up with a good-tasting beer.

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Review: Wynkoop Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout

Wynkoop says:

A meaty foreign-style stout, Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout is made with Colorado base malts, roasted barley, seven specialty malts, Styrian Goldings hops, and 25 pounds of freshly sliced and roasted bull testicles. Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout is an assertive, viscous stout with a rich brown/black color, a luscious mouthfeel and deep flavors of chocolate, espresso and nuts. The beer sports a savory, umami-like note and a roasty dry finish. Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout is 7.5% ABV and 3 BPBs. (That’s balls per barrel.)

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Wynkoop Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout
Stout, 7.5%ABV

This review is long overdue, to which I have to apologize to my brother, Pete.

One of the benefits of having family that travels and lives in far-flung places is that sometimes they come home with new and interesting beers. It’s how I’ve learned to fall in love with the beers from Odell’s, and also that not all beers that hail from the Mile High state are worth falling all over yourself to get.

Also, sometimes, they’ll come home during Thanksgiving and slam down a 2-pack on the table and say with no lack of threatening tone in their voice, “Go ahead and try that.”

Thanks, Pete. Continue reading

From the Cellar: Stone Imperial Russian Stout 5 Year Vertical (2009-2013)

While we were hanging out with the folks at 4 Paws (which you can read more about here), we thought we’d take the opportunity to crack into something fun from the cellar.

Something like five bottles of Stone Imperial Russian Stout:


Ryan had a few bottles of this high-powered beer from Stone that had been burning a hole in his pocket. See what happens after a full 5 years in the cellar:

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Perennial Virant and Virtue Cider Dinner? Sounds Good to Us

Remember when we told you about the really awesome time we had at the Perennial Virant and Perennial Beer dinner we had a few months back?

Well, the PV team is putting on another show, this time with the folks at Virtue Cider. Having just visited a Michigan cider mill this weekend, we’ve kinda got cider on the brain, and autumn/harvest/apples/all of that definitely plays into the seasonal aspect of Chef Paul Virant’s culinary outlook. Continue reading

More on the TTB Shutdown: Penrose, Two Brothers and a Call To Action

Yesterday saw a number of publications distributing an AP piece about how the TTB shutdown is affecting craft brewers. We saw it first yesterday on the Daily Mail site, so that’s the one we’ll link to here. Today, the Beacon News in the west suburbs goes a step further to get some specific — and troublesome — info on how it’s hitting home in Dupage County.TTB logo

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