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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Founders Brewing is Making a Change: Glunz is Out and Lakeshore is in

New Lakeshore Beverage CEO J.R. Hand has wasted little time beefing up the craft beer portfolio of the newly merged City Beverage and River North Beer. Multiple sources have confirmed that Founders Brewing is leaving its current wholesaler, Louis Glunz Beer Inc, for Lakeshore.

photo courtesy @chicagobars

photo courtesy @chicagobars

The move will be effective once Glunz depletes its inventory of Founders beer, according to a source.

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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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From The Cellar: Bell’s Eccentric Ale 2009

Bell’s says:

“Malt beverage brewed with spices, maple syrup and hawberry syrup.”

eccentric092Bell’s Eccentric Ale 2009
American Strong Ale, 12.10% ABV

(Editors note: we’ve stockpiled enough Bell’s Eccentric Ale 2009 to review it every so often to see how it is developing, aging and changing. Feel free to read through from the fresh tasting to the most recent review. However, if you’d like to jump around, be our guest, and read more about Bell’s Eccentric Ale 2009 fresh, after two years and three years in the cellar.)

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