Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Winner of The Great Pumpkin Beer Challenge Is...

It's All Hallow's Eve and the time has come to unveil the winner of The Great Pumpkin Beer Challenge. We have tasted through 24 pumpkin beers over the last three weeks, tracked down and traded from across the country. It was an interesting challenge to say the least - exploring a category defined by ingredient versus style. We found many very well made pumpkin beers, our preferences came down to the most balanced, drinkable choice.

And the award goes to....

Saint Arnold Brewing Company Pumpkinator Imperial Stout

What we loved about this beer: In short, everything. It was by far the most delicious pumpkin beer to touch our lips. Notes of cinnamon, chocolate and roastiness were prominent in the aroma. The full bodied stout, when served at the right temperature was smooth, hiding the alcohol well. This beer finishes dry with just the right balance of spice on the end.

Our Tier 3 winner, Steven's Point Whole Hog Pumpkin Ale made it all the way to the finals rising above some steep competition. As far as ales go, this was our favorite, remaining the most balanced and enjoyable for the style. We highly recommend picking some up while it lasts at Bottles & Cans.

Brewing With Spices Event

Join us for an evening at the Savory Spice Shop in Lincoln Square. General Manager David Trout will lead us through a series of spice groups, allowing us to experience the aroma and flavor of each. 

Special guests Brewmaster Ben Saller of Atlas Brewing Company and homebrewer extraordinaire Christian Burdulis of Brew Camp will talk about how they incorporate the use of spices in recipe development from both the homebrewing and production brewing perspectives.

** Advanced Tickets are required as space is limited **

We will have spiced beers available to drink courtesy of Bottles and Cans, as well as snacks from Bee's Knees Food Co..

This is a homebrew friendly event. Feel free to BYOB.

Savory Spice Shop will offer a discount for all purchases the night of the event.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Stone Brewing - 3 New Bastards

Stone Brewing Company is at it again - releasing 3 new Bastards to wreak havoc on shelves nationwide, with the original Double Bastard on November 4th.

We are big fans of the new Gothic, typographic treatment used to introduce Crime, Punishment and Souther Charred and are looking forward to seeing the screen printed versions first hand.

CRIME – Lucky Bastard Ale with an addition of ultra-hot chilies aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels.

PUNISHMENT – 2013 Double Bastard Ale infused with even hotter chilies and aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels

SOUTHERN CHARRED – 2012 Double Bastard Ale aged over a year in three types of barrels, including virgin charred American oak.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Great Pumpkin Beer - Recap

For those of you that haven’t been paying attention to The Great Pumpkin Beer Challenge here is a recap:

Hail to the Ale & CHAOS Brew Club's Ken Getty combined forces and cellars to put together 24 beers and divided them into three tiers of pumpkin domination. Three brackets that incorporated craft beer from across the country to determine Hail to the Ale’s The Great Pumpkin Beer of 2013
Tier 3 - New Jack O'Lantern City, Limited Distribution
Tier 2 - Patch Madness, Regional Breweries
Tier 1 - Pumpkin O.G.'s, the crew that's been doing pumpkin beers before Pumpkin Spice Latte had its own hashtag

The New Jack O'Lantern City tier of The Great Pumpkin Beer Challenge was dominated by 2012 GABF’s Gold Medal winner (a fact that we learned after…promise!) in the pumpkin category, Stevens Point Whole Hog Pumpkin Ale.  This beer has a great sweet malty backbone accompanied with a delicious pumpkin pie aroma that finished slightly dry. A very well balanced beer that we could have drank several more bottles from Bottles and Cans.

The Tier 2 bracket was true Patch Madness style pitting the different regional craft brewers of the United States against each other.  We were intrigued at the thought of adding a barleywine to this crowded field of various styles and Almanac Beer Co. delivered. Their Heirloom Pumpkin Barleywine is a blend of brandy barrel aged and fresh barleywine that delivers big, boozy notes with huge brandy flavor that transition to pumpkin caramel sweetness. Almanac continuously stood out from the pack to narrowly defeat Lakefront’s crisp Pumpkin Lager.

The Pumpkin OG's Tier 1 bracket has two Opening Round matches before the Elite Eight pumpkin beers are decided. Shipyard’s Smashed Pumpkin battles Uinta’s Punk’n and Smuttynose’s Pumpkin Ale looks to upset Brooklyn’s Post Road Pumpkin. Opening round winners will be announced Monday, October 28th 2013.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Chicago Beer Gals - November Event

Hey Ladies! Join us for an evening at the Brew Camp Classroom. This month will be focused on the beauty of lagers. We’ll be providing a special tasting of Metropolitan Brewing beer and vegan snacks.

Special Guests:

Tracy Hurst, Metropolitan Brewing

Alison Cuddy, WBEZ Public Radio Reporter and 
Co-host of the Strange Brews podcast

Limited seats are available, advanced tickets recommended through Brew Camp HERE
Have questions about the event? Want to be a future guest speaker? Feel free to email me.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Great Pumpkin Beer Challenge

As lovers of all things pumpkin, we've teamed up with CHAOS Brew Club's Ken Getty to put together a pumpkin beer tasting of epic proportions. We've compiled 24 beers and will be drinking through the good, the bad and the extra gourdy over the next 3 weeks to determine the ultimate Great Pumpkin Beer winner. 

We'll be posting the results of each tier over the next few Thursdays, with the final winner announced on Halloween Day.

The tiers are ranked as follows:
Tier 3 - New Jack O'Lantern City, Limited Distribution
Tier 2 - Patch Madness, Regional Breweries
Tier 1 - Pumpkin O.G.'s, the crew that's been doing pumpkin beers before Pumpkin Spice Latte had its own hashtag

Which are your favorites vying for the win? Any you'd add or remove? Let us know your thoughts and stay tuned for the results!