The 2016 GDB Chicago Craft Beer “Awards”

In Beer News by Karl

Who will win? Who will lose? Does it matter in the slightest?

2016 Chicago Craft Beer Awards

We started this post way back in May, months before the first 39th Annual Illinois Craft Beer Awards event that sorta beat us to this, and they also sorta did it better than we’re doing it here by hosting their own party and having trophies and everything, but whatever, we’ve come this far so let’s see this thing through.

We took a swipe at this back in 2012 and 2013 to try it on for size, but over the past couple years things have progressed 2 Fast and 2 Furious for us to feel like we could encompass the Chicagoland beer scene with any semblance of perspective. Back then, we took it kinda (maybe too) seriously. Now, we feel like things have progressed to the point where we can make fun of some of these guys and they probably won’t dump beers on us at the next Beer Under Glass.

Okay! Let’s begin.

Brewery Most Likely to “Like” a Photo on My Cat’s Instagram acct: Off Color


FWIW, we’re totally down for an Off Color / Pipeworks / us catnip and bottleshare kitty play date. We’ll bring the laser pointers.

Brewery Most Likely to Grow To An Unfathomable Size And Overwhelm Us All, Bringing On The End Times: Lagunitas

Could Lagunitas Chicago get any bigger, you might have asked a few months ago while sipping a New Dogtown and overlooking the largest brewery in Illinois by a scale of eight?

And then, news broke that yes! Yes, it could get bigger! Like, about three times as big, in fact, with a rooftop bar, and a concert venue. And probably in the future a full-service spa, a sensory-deprivation tank space, a climbing wall, a climbing wall above that climbing wall, and a small-batch pilot brewery inside one of their existing brite tanks.

Plus, you know the place is totally wired for a grow space. Like Lagunitas won’t get into the weed business in the next ten years.

Brewery Most Likely To Name a Beer Using the Word “Bitch”


We’re kidding, of course it’s 18th Street. Fun fact! We just learned that “Garce Salee” essentially means “salty bitch” in French, making 18th Street internationally “bitch”-happy.

Another fun fact! BeerAdvocate has 118 different beers with “Bitch” in the name. Sadly, for some reason there’s not a single beer named “Smash the Patriarchy” or anything to do with patriarchy at all. Wonder why that is!

Brewery Most Likely to Revamp their Entire Product Line, Sideline the Founder, Change their Name, Acquire a Brewpub, Acquire a Contract Brand, Walk Away from Said Brewpub and Sell their Production Brewery to go All-Contract:

Ah, wait, sorry — we were going to include all this for Finch Beer in the 2015 awards roundup and didn’t get to it. We totally called the whole thing though. You gotta believe us.

Beer Writer We Wish Would Come Back and Do More Beer Writing: Philip Montoro

If you are one of those dorks like us who pays attention to the beer writing going on around Chicago, you would have realized somewhere midway through 2015 that the indepth, well-thought-out, insightful profiles and stories from Philip Montoro about nacent area breweries (tagged with occasionally-somewhat-associated metal tunes) had slowed to a halt.

The Reader has had its issues this year, and we certainly understand the financial necessities of keeping a free weekly paper going and all, but man, that is a voice in beer writing that we really miss around here.

The “Maybe Goose Island Rare Wasn’t So Rare After All” Award:

Brewery Who Must Have Been Listening to Us In Our 2013 Awards: Short’s

Back then, we named Short’s Brewing the “Brewery we most want to see start distributing to Chicago.” They did, so…we win, we guess? I mean, we get to drink their beer without a 90 minute minimum drive, so yeah, we win.

Best Brewery Taproom Rules: Metal Monkey Brewing

YOU WON’T BELIEVE #5! #clickbait

Beer Website Most Likely to Take a Free Junket to a Goose Island Hop Farm and Not Disclose It On Their Site: __________

Okay, we’re going to wuss out and not point fingers here, but you know who you are.

Seriously, if you’re ashamed of taking a freebie, don’t take it. And if you decide to fly out to Idaho on your own dime to take a look at a big hop farm, then great — you’re free to say whatever the hell you want about it.

But if someone pays your way for something, and you write about that thing that they paid for you to do, you gotta, you know, actually say that in the story. It’s how this whole press-junket thing works. Or at least, is supposed to work, in this new fake-news landscape in which we live.

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Brewery Most Likely To Really Explain Things Really, Really Well to their Facebook Followers: Mikerphone

Lots of breweries are quite well-versed at good social media practices, but only Mike Pallen at Mikerphone explained something so thoroughly and so well to his followers that it literally made the news.

To my followers,I received a private message yesterday in regards to the prices of Imperial Smells Like Bean Spirit…

Posted by Mikerphone Brewing on Wednesday, May 11, 2016

If you missed the piece Fox 32 Chicago tonight, here it is. The Beer Cellar, thanks for taking the time to voice your thoughts and for your continued support.

Posted by Mikerphone Brewing on Thursday, May 12, 2016

Brewery Most Likely to go from an Alt-Alt-Alt-Prop to an Alt-Alt-Alt-Alt-Prop: Ale Syndicate

Between hosting breweries like Arcade and Around The Bend (both making quality beer in their own right) as well as creating beers for nacent breweries like Karetas Brewing, it’s amazing the team at Ale Syndicate gets anything done with their own brand. But they do, and those beers are good, so they can do whatever the sweet hell they want with their space.

Update: A few hours this published, news broke that Ale Syndicate was closing/leaving/forced out of their facility, shuttering Arcade and forcing Around the Bend to move to Burnt City. So maybe they can’t do whatever the sweet hell they want with their space.

Beer Award From That Other Event That We Found To Be Hilarious And Deserved to Be Preserved Here

Dick Move of the Year:

Guys, don’t steal things. Especially don’t steal The Green Lady’s special Chinga Tu Pelo poster. (We understand she got it back.)

Quote of the Year:

A 9-year-old was served a Not Your Father’s Root Beer instead of a regular root beer at a Vegas TGIFridays, who said: “What do you call that? Throw up root beer? Cause that’s what it tastes like.

Feel free to share any other “awards” you care to dole out in the comments or with us on Twitter. See you next year!

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About the Author



Karl has written about food, travel and beer for Chicago Magazine, Thrillist, Time Out Chicago, AskMen and more. His book, Beer Lovers Chicago, is now available via Amazon and other booksellers.If you're buying, he's likely having a porter or a pale ale.

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