We pick up right where we left off in Part 1 of our exclusive sit-down with outgoing ABDI President Bill Olson.
In this installment, Olson claims he was mislead about Revolution Brewing’s plans for its production brewery and brewpub during the SB 754 talks, he also offers some insight into the HB 2606 negations, which forced Anheuser-Busch to sell its ownership interest in Illinois distributor City Beverage and the possibility of a “craft beer bubble,” in Illinois.
Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois President Bill Olson is stepping down at the end of the year ending a nearly 30-year run at one of the most powerful lobbies in the state. The man has seen a lot and done a lot and has been at the forefront of some of the most important pieces of legislation impacting the craft brewing industry in Illinois. And we wanted to hear all about it.
So, at the end of the first week of the legislature’s fall session I was granted unfettered access to Olson to talk about his time at the ABDI, the changes he’s seen in the distribution industry and Illinois politics and what really went on behind closed doors when those key bills were negotiated.
In an over hour-long conversation Olson talked quite candidly about the negotiations on SB 754 (self-distribution) and HB 2606 (prohibiting a brewer from owning a distributor). In the first of this two-part, Guys Drinking Beer exclusive, Olson looks back at his time under the statehouse dome, the changes he’s seen in Illinois politics and the distribution industry as well as a sneak-peek into the early negotiations into SB 754. We know this is going to come off a bit wonky and it’s not all about beer — but this does play into the bigger of picture of how beer legislation works in Illinois.
This weekend the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild hosted their 11th annual Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beer, or FOBAB. Dozens of brewers were on hand featuring all sorts of barrel-aged creations including stouts, porters and sours. Join us, won’t you, as we take you a beer-soaked photographic journey through FOBAB.
(Disclaimer: This is a rather short journey because barrel-aged beer)
Guys Drinking Beer has learned Schlafly co-owner Dan Kopman is coming to Chicago this week to visit possible sites for a brewpub and to meet with local brewers. A brewery spokesman confirms Kopman will be here Tuesday and Wednesday.
The planned buyout of wholesalers City Beverage and River North Beer still have a hurdle or two to clear before the two can become one: including approval from the Illinois Liquor Control Commission. On October 31st — one year after the Commission rendered the controversial decision allowing Anheuser-Busch to retain a minority interest in City Beverage — the Hand Family in Tennessee and BDT Capital Investments, based in Chicago, announced plans to buy City Beverage and River North. Anheuser-Busch gave the deal its blessing a few days later.
Beer labels approved, so far, during this partial government shutdown month of October from Big Muddy, Goose Island, Only Child & Penrose.
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:
New Glarus says:
“A bold rich smoky nose is created naturally with a blend of smoked malts from Bamberg, Germany and Chilton, Wisconsin as well as robust Wisconsin Rye. Special Ale yeast ferments this hazy deep amber brew in the bottle. This is a big smoked beer fermented with Turbinado sugar and appropriate for sipping slowly today.”
New Glarus Unplugged Smoked Rye Ale
Smoked Beer, 8.5% ABV
(Editors note: We took a chance in cellaring the New Glarus Unplugged Smoked Rye Ale. Feel free to read through from fresh to the most recent review but if you’d like to jump around, be our guest, to read more about New Glarus’ Unplugged Smoked Rye Ale after one year and two years in the cellar.)
Ryan: You may notice that we have categorized this as a “Cellared Beer Review” and tagged it as a “Cellar Review.” And if you didn’t notice, well, now you know. Normally I would protest cellaring a smoked beer because I’d expect the smokiness to simply fade off leaving much of nothing behind. But I thought, with the addition of the Ale yeast and the sugar used in the brew, it might be worth the experiment.
Is it just us, or has there been an influx of Wisconsin brewers making their way into the Chicago market this year? There was Furthermore and then O’so and now 3 Sheeps. We’re familiar with the former two but 3 Sheeps was new to us, so we reached out to owner Grant Pauly to find out more about his brewery, his beers and what separates 3 Sheeps from all the other beers you see on store shelves — Wisconsin brewed or otherwise.
“Black, dense, and rich, this is a great ale for the cellar.”
Bell’s Batch 9,000
American Strong Ale, 12.5% ABV
(Editors note: we’ve stockpiled enough Bell’s Batch 9,000 to review it every six months to a year to see how it is developing, aging and changing. Feel free to read through from the six month old tasting to the most recent review. However, if you’d like to jump around, be our guest, and read more about Bell’s Batch 9,000 after six months, one year, two years, two-and-a-half years, three years and three-and-a-half years in the cellar.) Continue reading