South of 80 2014 Tap List

South of 80 2014: A Recap In Photos

In Events by Karl

I think it’s fair to say these things just keep getting better and better, because we had a lot of fun last night.

Thanks to those who joined us – representatives from Urban Chestnut and Destihl along with 4 Hands President Kevin Lemp and Team Triptych were on hand to hang out, and the downstate beer didn’t stop flowing all night.

Everything I had was quality — Ryan got to preview some of the beers, but wasn’t able to attend so I was flying a little blind — but to me, there were three that stood out.

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The Black Berliner from DESTIHL was my first pour, and was a popular selection through the evening.

The Passion Fruit Prussia from 4 Hands was just great — tart, fruity, light and creamy, really refreshing. I talked to Kevin Lemp about their canning plans for the rest of the year; this isn’t part of them but if they packaged this it’d go gangbusters. We’ll have to make do with their Contact High (a nice orange-y buzzsaw of a wheat ale), and their Resurrection IPA later this summer.

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The Black Berliner from DESTIHL was a happy mind-bender and lived up to my expectations — look at it and you see basically a schwarzbier, but taste it and you get the sour, fizz and brightness like you expect from a Berliner. Just a little kiss of roast from the dark malts finishes this off and lets you know there’s more than just camouflage going on.

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Finally, the Triptych team seemed to make a good number of fans last night — everyone was talking about the bourbon-barrel-aged barleywine, but I dug the Dirty Hippy. The well-flavored English Brown Ale was a summery under-4% ABV; it’s a nice break to a darker beer from the many lighter options last night, and would also make a good hot-weather go-to.

I’d add a little more heft to the body if it were me, but not too much; anything over just a touch would edge this back into a spring/fall beer which would ruin the whole damn point, so don’t pay any attention to me, Triptych guys.

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Wirtz’s craft beer ambassador, Phil Kuhl and 4 Hands’ Kevin Lemp discuss the finer points of moving to Wisconsin (or something, I wasn’t paying total attention)

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Mighty fine taplist, if we do say so ourselves.

The Little Egypt APA was happily hopped to the point of dank-itude, the DESTIHL Hoperation Overload was a sweeter Bell’s Hopslam (and you can get it in a can!), the DESTIHL Kriek was as fruity and sour as I’d hoped.

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The strawberry blonde was sharp where last year’s was sweet, dry where last year’s was creamy, and finished with a little strawberry shortcake biscuity-ness. All things considered, I prefer this version.

We weren’t the only ones who thought our third annual South of 80: A Celebration of Downstate Brewers was a hit. craft beer drinkers took to Twitter to trumpet the selection.

And here’s a sampling from folks who checked in on Untappd.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t take a  moment to thank the following:

Melani Domingues and The Green Lady for hosting this event for the third year in a row, our partner distributor Heartland Beverage for getting beers from Urban Chestnut and Little Egypt to Chicago, 4 Hands, DESTIHL, Little Egypt Beer, Rolling Meadows, Urban Chestnut and Triptych for taking part and you for supporting this event and the great brewers in downstate Illinois and St. Louis.

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About the Author

Karl

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Karl has written about food, travel and beer for Chicago Magazine, Draft Magazine, Thrillist, Time Out Chicago and more. His book, Beer Lovers Chicago, comes out in late 2017, and if you’re buying, he’s likely having a porter or a pale ale.

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