“Aged in in 22 year-old Bourbon Barrels for almost two years.”
Arcadia Bourbon Barrel-Aged Shipwreck Porter
Baltic Porter, 12% ABV
Sayeth the Guys:
Karl: This was a fun one simply based on style variation. Almost by muscle memory alone, when you say “bourbon barrel aged,” one almost immediately follows it up with “stout.” Not so much this time. New takes on old tropes are always fun to try but are often hit-or-miss; thankfully it was “hit” this time for this porter. (Minor side note: When it comes to stout versus porter, I almost always pick “porter.”)
Arcadia’s choice to throw this style beer into the barrels seems to be a fairly educated one, as porters always struck me as just baby steps away from stouts anyways. This particular Shipwreck (yarrrrrr) pours with a reasonably light body, tan head, a little chocolate on the nose and a touch of wood on the front end. Then on the back, coffeecoffeecoffeeburn. Aaaaaand done.
The 12% ABV is thoroughly camouflaged, the light carbonation makes this the breeziest porter I’ve had in months, and while I wasn’t completely blown away it was certainly pleasant enough. Continue reading
I’ve often toyed with the idea of doing a straight ahead review of Frank Thomas’ Big Hurt Beer, but to be honest, I figured you-all would think either a) I was trying to be an ironic smartass or b) none of you would take it seriously. But at the beginning of the month, I’ve noticed a couple other people offering their two cents including posts from SBNation and a site called TheClassical*, and I imagine the motivation wasn’t to actually review the beer, but rather just to take the opportunity to take a loose, easy shit on another sports-related promotional cheap put-your-name-on-this marketing device. There’s only one problem: they’re wrong. Which is why I’m finally writing this.
I drank this.
“This year’s Stone Vertical Epic Ale might justifiably be considered the non sequitur edition. We somehow came to the conclusion that adding Anaheim chilies from New Mexico’s Hatch Valley, plus whole cinnamon sticks, to an amber-hued brew fermented with Belgian Flanders Golden Ale yeast (which provides fairly intense character with lots of clove and banana overtones) would create a very tasty result. And we believe it does! The Anaheim chili is known for its rich flavor more than endorphin-inducing heat, and the cinnamon adds a nice twist…part of the promise behind the Vertical Epic Ale series itself. As with any epic, remember that it is not just the destination, but the journey.”
Stone Vertical Epic 11.11.11
Belgian Strong Pale Ale, 9.4% ABV
Sayeth the Guys:
RYAN: When I saw that the most recent beer in Stone’s Vertical Epic series (and by most recent I mean one that we sampled last year and are finally getting around to writing) was brewed with chilies I was pumped. An almost childlike giddiness overtook me.
Chilies? In a Stone beer?
I was expecting magic in a bottle. A beer that would take me to the edge of unbridled spiciness. What I got was a restrained, mildly spicy beer that – while somewhat disappointing – also blew me away with dozens of crazy and unexpected flavors. Continue reading
One of the first posts I wrote for this site was way back in 2010, where we were among the first to report on the opening of North Center’s quite excellent craft beer & whiskey bar, the Fountainhead. Even back then, we were aware of the planned eventual appearance of a rooftop deck. Then last year, I wrote this for Center Square Journal where they said soon soon soon, that rooftop deck will be open! (Just waiting on that damn city permit!)
Last week the moment finally arrived. Fountainhead’s rooftop deck is now open. And it was absolutely worth the goshdamn wait. Because it is glorious. Continue reading
Goose Island says:
“Every year to celebrate the holiday season, we brew up our Christmas Ale, and with each year we change the recipe slightly so that you have something special to look forward to. Traditionally, our Christmas Ale is a complex brown ale that develops well in the bottle for
up to five years.”
Goose Island Christmas Ale
American Brown Ale, 6.4% ABV
Sayeth the Guys:
RYAN: At times we like to think of ourselves as rule breakers – the bad boys of beer cellaring, if you will. Sure, we have plenty of imperial stouts and barleywines in our cellar. But we’ve also been in the midst of a years-long Double IPA cellar experiment. Yeah, we knew going in that cellaring IPA’s was sacrilege, but we wanted to give it a shot, to buck conventional wisdom and see what the hell happens when you cellar an obscenely hoppy beer. Pretty badass, right?
The reasoning behind cellar this beer, however, is about as vanilla as it gets; because the bottle says so. “Ages in the bottle for up to five years,” the back label tells me. Sure, a brown ale may not be a gut instinct cellaring choice, but if Goose Island says it can be done then we’re willing to give it a try.
So we sat down with a bomber of the 2009 and a 12 oz bottle of the 2011. A 2010 offering was absent because it took a year hiatus. Continue reading
Bigwigs from Anheuser Busch InBev are due to go before the Illinois Liquor Control Commission this afternoon. They’re expected to make the case as to why the brewing giant should retain a thirty percent stake – through a wholly owned subsidiary – in distributor City Beverage. City has four locations in the state; Arlington Heights, Bloomington, Chicago and Markham.
Currently Wholesaler Equity Development Corporation, or WEDCO, holds the minority stake in City. But that is in jeopardy after the ILCC cited AB InBev and WEDCO for violating the Illinois liquor Control Act.
We first reported the citation a week-and-a-half ago.
In the citation the ILCC is recommending City Beverage’s distributor licenses be revoked and WEDCO divest itself of its minority stake. The revocation of the license would be put on hold to allow the subsidiary to shed its thirty percent interest.
It’s not clear what exactly will happen at today’s hearing. Initially the ILCC said this June meeting would lay the foundation for future meetings on the matter. But the citation issued to AB InBev told the brewing giant to attend and plan to defend itself against the ILCC’s allegations. It’s also not clear if this citation would mark the end of this year’s long battle for distributor high ground in Illinois. Some insiders have told us privately this could ultimately be decided in the courts.
No decision was made during Wednesday’s hearing in Chicago. Instead, the commission laid out a tentative timeline for this case. Continue reading
UPDATED WITH COMMENT FROM AB INBEV BELOW
As we first told you last week, the Illinois Liquor Control Commission has drafted a citation to send to distributor City Beverage, which is partially owned by a wholly owned subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev.
Late Friday, that citation was released.
It calls for City Beverage’s licenses to be revoked and for AB InBev, and it’s wholly owned subsidiary WEDCO, to divest itself of its minority stake in City Beverage.
You can read the full citation below, but here is the meat and potatoes (link added): Continue reading
The turning over of the calendar to June has signaled the end of the Spring legislative session in Illinois.
Lawmakers wrapped up their work, generally speaking, Thursday night.
While this session closed without any earth-shattering legislation impacting the beverage industry heading to the governor’s desk, there were a number of proposals run up the flag pole over the last few months.
What follows is a rundown of what was introduced and how it fared this legislative session. Continue reading
Meeting under the shadow of the state capitol in Springfield, as lawmakers were wrapping up the legislative session, the Illinois Liquor Control Commission – Thursday – announced it has a draft citation to eventually send to distributor City Beverage.
Citations are generally issued when a business violates the Illinois Liquor Control Act.
While we await specific details as to what the citation is exactly for and what kind of penalties may apply, the move signals one more step towards finality in the seemingly never-ending debate over whether WEDCO, a wholly owned subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev, can retain a minority stake in City Beverage. The dispute centers on a bill, signed in to law last year, that more narrowly defines who can and who cannot self-distribute beer in Illinois and whether holding a stake in a distributor is akin to self-distribution.
Sources at the meeting tell us a hearing is scheduled for June 20th to set the timeline for future meetings on the matter. Continue reading
There is a bill that has been on the fringe of our radar all legislative session, dealing with local liquor control commission’s and their authority to shut down an unruly establishment. The bill has remained on the fringe because it keeps getting shot down. But, Just like a good zombie thriller this bill keeps coming back – and now it’s picking up some steam.
While we were busy celebrating downstate brewers on Tuesday, lobbyists were working feverishly to board up the windows and keep this bill from making it to the full House. But it did. Senate Bill 1531 House Amendment 4, sponsored by State Representative Esther Golar (D-Chicago), passed the Illinois House Executive Committee 7-4.
So what exactly does this measure do and why does it have lobbyists representing bars and restaurants scrambling? For that, we go straight to the bill (emphasis added): Continue reading