Stone Brewing Company launched a week-long onslaught of malt and hops on the palates of Chicagoans Thursday with a number of tastings and special tappings. The premier event was at Twisted Spoke (501 North Ogden Avenue, Chicago, IL). The bar gutted every one of its tap handles to make way for TWENTY different offerings from Stone.
The beers ranged from staples like Arrogant Bastard, Levitation Ale and Ruination IPA to rare and wondrous offerings like a bourbon barrel aged Imperial Russian Stout, a 2005 Double Bastard Ale and a 2007 Old Guardian Barley Wine Ale.
The crowd was just as diverse as the beers. You had a melting pot of sorts; craft beer enthusiasts in Arrogant Bastard shirts sipping on a rarity and scribbling down notes while chatting up a couple that popped in to check out, “some new brewery from California.”
Full reviews will be up over the next few days but the Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Russian Stout and 2005 Double Bastard Ale really stole the show. The IRS was such a boozy, chocolaty monster while the ’05 DB was as sweet as a southern belle. I would highly recommend either one if you ever happen across them.
Among the liquor stores holding tastings was the Armanetti Wine Shop (3530 N. Lincoln Ave Chicago, IL). There, they were pouring Stone’s core beers; Arrogant Bastard, Ruination, Levitation, IPA and Pale Ale. I got a chance to talk with Aaron, the Stone rep to the Midwest. He’s an awesome guy who seemed just about as excited to have Stone in Chicago as we were.
Armanetti’s did have all of the above available in six packs and/or bombers as do almost all of the liquors stores in and around Chicago.
A night of Stone beers wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Sheffield’s (3258 N. Sheffield Ave Chicago, IL).
While the bar is waiting till Tuesday, April 6th to break out the big guns, like a Double Dry-Hopped Stone IPA with Centennial and Amarillo Hops, they did have the likes of Ruination, Levitation and Arrogant Bastard on tap. The Ruination is such a spectacular imperial IPA. Truly a hophead’s dream come true. And the Levitation may be, hands down, the tastiest low alcohol content beer around. It packs a ton of malt and hops into a 4.4% ABV beer. Easily sessionable and also makes for a great beer bread.
For those of you who have never been to Sheffield’s, go. They have a phenomenal beer selection and a great beer garden.
If you missed any of the above events, no worries. There are a TON happening around Chicago and the suburbs over the next week. The fine folks at Chicagoist have kindly put together a great rundown of what is happening and where.