Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Beer-Centric Holiday Gifts - 2014 Edition

By guest contributor MC Johnsen

The holiday season is upon us again! In search of beer-centric gifts for (myself and) others, I visited Chicago’s Renegade Craft Fair last weekend, held at the beautiful Bridegport Art Center. There I came across the following artists & makers who all had beverage-centric wares for sale, perfect for design and beer lovers alike:

Swoon Glassware from 3-Switch (starting at $48)
Patrick Fitzpatrick, Alex Zimmerman, and Brent Rogers create beautiful hand-blown glasses and decanters out of their studio right here in Chicago. Perfect for beer, wine, or spirits, you can purchase them in various sets, which include a wooden base to house the pieces. These glasses are special because of their pointy base; when placed on the table, they spin (or swoon, if you will) around on a point, without spilling the contents. The rotation of the glass also provides the perfect amount of agitation to release the flavors and aromas of the beverage held inside. Available on their website or Etsy store


Magnetic, Wall-Mounted Bottle Opener by Drop and Catch (starting at $50)
A bottle-opener attached to a smooth slab of stained wood, this piece uses magnetic power to catch bottle caps as they are popped off. One unit will catch as many as 60 bottle caps which accumulate below the release mechanism, or you can go big and get the opener that catches 100 caps. This piece, created by Joe Walsh, can be wall-mounted or will magnetically attach to the fridge. He also creates wooden 6-pack carriers and handheld openers, all available on his website.


Illustrated Beer & Food Pairings, Pint Glasses, and Tea Towels from RedCruiser ($4–$44)
If you’re looking for illustrated, handmade home goods with a focus on beer, look no further than RedCruiser, created by Heidi Schweigert of Minneapolis, MN. Heidi’s beautiful and playful beer and food illustrations can be found on tea towels in black & white, on a set of four pint glasses, or as full-color, frameable prints. I purchased the Beer & Food Calendar so I could enjoy her illustrations all year. All items, plus more are available in her Etsy shop



Dirty Dishes Beer Steins from My Only Regret Besides Dying ($20)
Emblazoned with phrases that would make a pirate blush, these oat-colored 22oz. steins are not for your grandmother, unless your grandmother loves dirty words. The steins’ original illustrations of hilariously humanlike animals come from the mind of Julie R. Madison, and can be purchased from her Etsy shop


Beer Soaps from Rinse Bath & Body ($6.95)
After those beer steins, you’ll need to wash your mouth out with soap… beer soap, that is! Heather Swanepoel hand-makes these beer soaps in a variety of scents, including Orange Blossom Pilsner, Pumpkin Ale, and even Blue Ribbon! I tried their Chocolate Stout soap, and found that the chocolate and roasted aroma of the stout really came through in the soap’s thick, bubbly lather–very nice! Available on her website


Single Bottle Caddy, Coasters, or Bottle Opener from RxMade ($6–$25)
Rebuilding Exchange here in Chicago uses reclaimed materials to create unique home goods with remarkable character. They made a variety of products, including furniture, and even teach building workshops. Available for purchase from their RxMade Store is a beautiful large-format bottle carrier with a leather strap, or you could opt for their bottle opener or wooden coaster set. All available on their store website

Monday, December 1, 2014

Holiday Cards for Beer Lovers

The holidays are rapidly approaching and we've launched a holiday series of our 3D beer cards.

Orders must be placed by December 16th, 2014 to guarantee pre-holiday arrival.

Head to our shop for the full spectrum of cards and apparel, perfect for the beer lovers in your lives!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Evanston’s Sketchbook Brewing Company Opens for Business

From homebrewer, to Sam Adams "Longshot" winner, to professional brewer, Cesar Marron and his co-founder and business partner Shawn Decker will celebrate the Grand Opening of Sketchbook Brewing Company tonight – Friday, November 21, from 4p.m. to 8 p.m. Evanston’s first nanobrewery, Sketchbook is located in the Main and Chicago Business District, behind the orange door in the alley of 825 Chicago Avenue.

Below is a list of their current offerings for this weekend's event:

Snowy Owl Rye Amber, American Amber Al
Primo, Session IPA
Bud's Corvus, Dry Stout
Cheerio!, Oat and Wheat Porter
Smokey Jack, Pumpkin Saison
Sparta Tarta, Cherry Cider

The first 50 customers TONIGHT will receive a free growler with a beer fill purchase.


Sketchbook Brewing Company
825 Chicago Ave (Alley entrance)
Evanston, IL
Hours: Fri 4-8pm, Sat 12-6pm, Sun 12-4pm

Goddess Thanksgiving with Revolution Brewing and Chef Stephanie Izard

By guest contributor MC Johnsen

On Wednesday, November 12th, at Goddess and Grocer’s newly renovated Damen location, I had the pleasure of attending “Goddess Thanksgiving” dinner with beer pairings featuring the culinary talents of well-accoladed Chicago chef Stephanie Izard and the beers of local favorite, Revolution Brewing. Izard is also a local favorite – she was the first female to win Bravo TV’s Top Chef (2008) and is the Executive Chef of well-loved local restaurants, Girl and the Goat and Little Goat. Izard comedically narrated four demos of her cooking process to a lively crowd of fifty, which showcased her new line of three sauces and three rubs branded “The Flavor.”

Chef Stephanie Izard demos recipes featuring her product line, "The Flavor."
Throughout the course of the evening, we enjoyed Chef Izard’s dishes which were each thoughtfully paired with a Revolution beer. Stephanie only pressed pause to sip these delicious (and generous) three ounce pours, and to turn the floor over to Revolution Head Brewer, Jim Cibak, for some off-the-cuff beer schooling. Cibak explained the impetus behind each paired beer, and aptly reminded us all that brewing and cooking share a common key ingredient: balance.

Welcome Beer: Oktoberfest Marzen Style beer
We were each greeted with a pour of Revolution’s Oktoberfest, a well-balanced, bready beauty made from malt sourced entirely from Germany. Über-authentic and easy-drinking, this was a perfect gateway into the rich abundance of flavors we were about to experience.

1st Course: Fist City American Pale Ale, Holiday Brussels Sprouts + The Saute
After Cibak enumerated the aromatic qualities of this hoppy american pale ale – powerfully floral and citrusy in aroma, a creamy head of white foam, clear as a bell and golden orange in color with a citrusy hop bite – Stephanie regaled us (all while preparing the Brussels sprouts) with her own personal experience surrounding the uses of commercial hop pellets: “Don’t ever throw a hop pellet into your mouth.” The crowd roared.

Our Brussels sprouts arrived charred, quartered, and gleaming in butter, piled on the plate with purple radicchio leaves and crunchy Marcona almonds. “The Saute’s” fish flavors really came through as a fatty, quenching, umami sensation, which contrasted delightfully with the Fist City APA. Its citrusy floral elements were highlighted beautifully by the saltiness of the dish, and even some spicy herbal notes came forward to compliment the subtle, building heat from The Saute sauce.

2nd Course: Red Skull Imperial Red Ale, Butternut Squash Kimchee + The Chee
Next came butternut squash “quick kimchee.” Stephanie used The Chee sauce to speedily impart a fermented soybean flavor to paper-thin squash shavings. Half-moon slices of fennel bulb and basil chiffonade completed this richly flavorful dish, which was expertly paired with an equally rich beer.

A ruby red color, Red Skull’s sweet aroma contrasted perfectly with the spicy, pickled scent coming off the bright orange plate of salty squash. The sweet malt of the boozy beer stood up strongly next to the powerful kimchee flavors, tasting similarly spicy and herbal in comparison.

3rd Course: Eugene Porter, Peking Style Roasted Turkey + The Marinade,
Croissant Turkey Gravy, + Rub #1, Spiced Apple Sausage Stuffing + Rub #2
My favorite pairing of the night came third. Nothing could have prepared my taste buds for the utter salivation and joy they experienced when Izard plopped the tray of just-prepared spiced apple and sausage stuffing with peking-style roasted turkey, smothered in croissant turkey gravy onto the table I serendipitously chose as mine. Yes, it was as good as it sounds. Yes, I gobbled more than I should have. No, I did not care – it was #goddessthanksgiving, dammit.

This particularly decadent dish was paired with Revolution’s Eugene Porter, a dark black beer with garnet highlights, this opaque brew was smooth and barely bitter with hints of coffee and caramel and a slightly fruity, roasted chocolate finish. When paired with the dish, the beer’s fruity sweetness was really brought to the forefront, its roasted malt finish effortlessly melding with the flavors of the roasted meat and the sliced apples. Absolutely delightful… and I’m drooling just thinking about it.

4th Course: Gravedigger Billy Barrel Aged Scotch Ale, Pecan Not Pie + The Marinade
Chef Stephanie left us with a scoop of sweet vanilla gelato topped with warmed pecan pieces smothered in browned butter, sugar, and cream. The decadent dessert was paired with Gravedigger Billy, a 10.4% ABV Scotch ale aged in Old Forrester Woodford Reserve barrels for 6 months. This boozy, sweet, strong beer was a caramel brown hue that tasted like a maraschino cherry dipped in bourbon. This beer, quite literally, was the liquid cherry on top of a mound of gooey pecan goodness, its candied flavors in perfect harmony with the sweet, creamy treat. 

Jim Cibak, MC Johnsen, Stephanie Izard

Stephanie Izard truly put on a cooking clinic, giving us all a delicious taste of what it’s like to observe someone in their element, doing what they’re meant to do on this planet earth. Goddess and Grocer was the most gracious hostess, and the Revolution beers were the icing on the cake (or the topping on the not-pie). Cheers to all, and thanks for a night my taste buds and tummy won’t soon forget. 

MC Johnsen is a professional graphic designer and illustrator based in Chicago, IL. She is also the artist and author behind beer blog Worth a Thousand Beers. In her spare time MC enjoys homebrewing, taking on DIY projects, CrossFit, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix. Her favorite coffee beverage is an Americano, and she shares a home with her husband Matt and their dog Dallas in Lombard, IL. You can find her on Twitter @worth1000beers.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Barrel-Aged Beer-Filled Week In Chicago

This weekend marks the Annual Festival of Barrel Aged Beers (FoBAB), here in Chicago, drawing breweries from around the nation to our fine city with kegs of delicious, wood-aged beer. If you did not get tickets to the sold out fest, have no fear, as Chicago's craft beer bars are filled with opportunities to get your lips on some of these award-winning beers throughout the week, and meet the brewers behind them.

Upland Brewing Co., Tour de Sour - Five events held over four nights, each featuring super rare (and surprise) sour and barrel aged beer that rarely make it to Chicago.
Nov. 12th - Bangers & Lace (1670 W. DIVISION ST), 6PM
ov. 13th - Logan Arcade (2532 W. FULLERTON AVE), 7PM
ov. 14th - Old Town Social (455 W. NORTH AVE)
ov. 15th - Maria's Packaged Goods & Community Bar (960 W. 31ST ST), 7PM
ov. 15th - Moxee Kitchen & Madmouse Brewery (724 W. MAXWELL ST.)

Goose Island Clybourn Brewpub
Nov. 10-16th – "3rd Base," Oak Aged Belgian Triple, aged in oak barrels with Brettanomyces (11.2%)
Nov. 14th (Friday only) –
2013 Bourbon County Brand Stout on draft all day and bottles of 2013 BCBS Backyard Rye (dine-in only).   
Nov. 14-15th – "Cran-Bruin," Flemish Style Sour Brown Ale with Cranberries, aged in oak barrels with Lactobacillus and Brettanomyces (5.2 %).

Surly Beer Dinner and Tap Takeover - Surly's return to Chicago: 1 Year Anniversary Dinner featuring 5 courses and 9 Super rare beers, 20 seats only. Tickets. Nov. 12th, 6pm

Local Option, Jonny Coffman's Bottle Rockets' Autumn Bottle Share - Epic bottle share, keg of Metropolitan Brewing Magnetron, as well as an ever-impressive tap list of stouts and barrel-aged beers. Nov. 12th, 7:30pm

Thanksgiving Dinner with Stephanie Izard and Revolution Brewing - Chef Stephanie Izard will be preparing recipes featuring products from her line of sauces and spices. Each course will be thoughtfully paired with a beer from Revolution Brewing, including their barrel-aged Scotch ale, Gravedigger Billy. Tickets and more info here. Goddess & Grocer Bucktown location. 
Nov. 12th, 6:30pm 

Hopleaf, Tri-Coastal Beer Dinner - Join the chefs of Hopleaf in collaboration with The Bruery's Jonas Nemura, Allagash, and Penrose for a 6-course beer pairing dinner. Tickets and more info here. Nov. 12th, 7pm 

4 Hands FoBAB Pre-Party, Maria's Packaged Goods & Community Bar
Featuring barrel-aged drafts including Cuvee Diable and Late Harvest Saison plus Ca$h Mony, Passion Fruit Prussia and 2013 Bana Fide. Food by Won Kim – Gochujang chorizo chili, fingerling potatoes, beer cheese, leeks and sweet onions that pairs nicely with the featured beers. Nov. 12th, 7pm

SmallBar Division, THE WRAP PARTY - After 10 years, SmallBar Division is set to close after one last night of the very best beer. Brewers on hand with tappings from Allagash, Avery, Firestone Walker, Goose Island, Half Acre, New Belgium, Three Floyds, Perennial and more! Nov. 13th, noon - close

The Village Tap, Second Annual “Couldn’t get a Ticket to FOBAB Barrel Aged Beer Event” - featuring 20+ barrel-aged beers from breweries such as Allagash, Central Waters, Deschutes, Firestone Walker, Goose Island, Revolution, Surly and more!
Nov. 13th, 5pm through Nov. 16th (while supplies last) 

Against The Grain Brewery/Takeshi Brew/Marz collaboration release, Maria's Packaged Goods & Community Bar - Tapping of "Umami," Barrel-aged Imperial Stout with 80's Youtube Karaoke!
Nov. 13th, 8pm 

Northdown, Baller Barrel-Aged Beer Bash - Meet the brewers and enjoy draft rarities from: Jolly Pumpkin Brewery, Perennial Artisan Ales, Off Color Brewing, Side Project Brewing. Nov. 13th, 6pm

Whole Foods Kingsbury, Red Star Bar - Stone's Arrogant Birthday - Join Stone Brewing Company's Steve Gonzales for some barrel-aged beers and Q&A to celebrate Stone's Arrogant Birthday.
Nov. 13th, 5pm 
The Beer Temple, Abraxas Day - Perennial has chosen The Beer Temple for their annual Abraxas Day release. Abraxas, an Imperial Stout brewed with Ancho chili peppers, cacao nibs, vanilla beans, and cinnamon sticks, is one of America's most delicious stouts and a highlight of Perennial's many offerings. Nov. 14th, 2-5pm
  • Bottle sales begin at 3:00PM
  • First 100 people will get a chance to win other Perennial beers, store discounts, glassware, clothing and more!
  • A small bottle share will take place the hour before from 2:00 - 3:00 at the back entrance of the shop.
  • Small Bar Logan will be serving Abraxas 2013, Abraxas 2014 and Coffee Abraxas in coordination with our event.

    Upland Brewing Presents a Winter Warmer, Maria's Packaged Goods & Community Bar - Featuring their Bourbon Barrel-Aged Warmer, Dragonfly IPA and Dantalion Wild Dark Ale. To compliment these specialty brews, Chef Won Kim will be cooking in our outdoor patio grill a complimentary menu consisting of platters of barbecue chicken, potato salad, grilled vegetables and hot links.
    Nov. 15th, 7pm 

    Other exceptional spots to keep an eye to the taplist this week:
    Jerry's (Wicker Park and Andersonville), Fountainhead, The Map Room, Half Acre Taproom, Revolution Taproom, Binny's South Loop and Lincoln Park Tasting Rooms.

    Looking for something different...

    Kaiser Tiger's Lagerfest - Drink your way through lager history with their "Evolution of the Pilsner flight" featuring 8 lagers on tap including Pilsner Urquell and Weihenstephaner.
    Nov. 14th, 7pm

    Paddy Long's Barrel-Aged Malort and Cheap Beer Festival -  featuring 12 Cheap Beers from around the country $3 each, Regular and Barrel-Aged Malort shots.
    Nov. 15th, 8pm

    Don't forget about the upcoming #GooseIslandBlackFriday release of the 2014 Bourbon County Brand Stout variants. Events hit Chicago on Wednesday, Nov. 26th. For more information visit the event website.

    Sunday, November 2, 2014

    Penguin Hops Release Party at Shedd Aquarium

    By guest contributor MC Johnsen

    On Thursday, October 30th, the Shedd Aquarium and Revolution Brewing hosted a release party at the aquarium for their annual collaboration beer, "Penguin Hops." For the last three years, the Shedd Aquarium has partnered with Revolution to brew this beer with the organically grown hops from the grounds of the aquarium itself. This beer is not to be missed because for each pint sold, $1 will be donated back to the aquarium to support their conservation efforts.

    The event kicked off at 5pm with a keg-tapping of "Penguin Hops". The beer, an American Pale Ale, was remarkably clear with juicy grapefruit notes and a creamy, smooth finish. A sessionable beer, this nicely hoppy, but not-at-all-bitter, beverage clocked in at 5.5% ABV and 30 IBUs. Most notably though, it was a beautiful amber-orange color with reddish highlights – both delicious and pleasing to look at. 

    Each year, the beer recipe has actually included a combination of the unknown variety of the whole hops gathered from the Shedd, some others harvested from Wil Turner’s home-grown hop garden (the vines of which are rumored to cover his entire house), and some commercially-produced hop pellets. Hops were added mainly for flavor and aroma, and the known varieties included Warrior, Crystal, and Centennial. This year, because of its past success, Revolution actually brewed a double batch (about 60 kegs) of Penguin Hops, which is great news for beer lovers and supporters of the Shedd Aquarium alike. 

    After some mingling and tasting, the crowd filed into the aquarium’s 4D-Experience theater for a presentation dubbed “Science Pub.” Revolution Head Brewer, Wil Turner, gave a thorough description of how the brewing collaboration came to be. He recounted how the Shedd had been renovating a portion of their building and had decided that they needed to cover the unsightly construction with a fast-growing vine. Shedd Horticulturist, Christine Nye, choose to plant hops – known for their voracious ability to climb quickly. When the hop cones eventually matured and began sprouting a few years later, it became apparent that the they needed to be harvested. As the Shedd is always focused on sustainability, they looked for a local solution to this (what I would call convenient) problem and decided to reach out to Revolution. A partnership was immediately born, as was a delicious pale ale that highlighted the Shedd’s accidental crop.

    Science Pub continued with a slideshow presentation by Lana Vanagasem, the Shedd’s resident penguin expert, highlighting her time spent at the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB). Lana worked there with a team of other penguin specialists to rehabilitate injured birds and worked toward releasing them back into the wild. The star of the slideshow was the rockhopper penguin, the type of penguin after which Penguin Hops was named. Rockhopper penguins are diminutive in size only; they have a spiky mohawk of black and yellow feathers which matches their spunky attitudes. Their blood-red eyes and orange beak were a perfect compliment to the color of the beer we were all imbibing in honor of her species.

    Photos of Christine Nye and the Rockhopper Penguin courtesy of The Shedd Aquarium.
    Following Science Pub, the visitors returned to the Penguin Hops tap or dispersed to visit the other bars that were placed throughout the aquarium. Wil Turner had brought along a couple of small containers of some whole Centennial hop cones for show, giving visitors the opportunity to smell and touch actual hops. I asked Wil what his best guess was as to the kind of hops the Shedd had planted, and he told me that because of their aroma and resulting flavor profile he initially thought they were Centennial, however this year’s hop cones were so huge that he’s no longer sure what they really are.

    The party came to a close with a spirited performance from American Idol winner Caleb Johnson, to whom attending Shedd members had been given the chance to say hello during a VIP meet-and-greet session earlier in the evening. 

    All in all, the Penguin Hops Release Party was a lively, family-friendly celebration that I would happily attend again. It not only provided a unique opportunity to explore the aquarium after hours and to learn about their specific penguin-related conservation efforts, but also gave party-goers a chance to learn about brewing by talking to the actual brewer regarding the creation of a truly one-of-a-kind beer.

    The Penguin Hops official tap list will be released sometime during this first week of November, so keep your eyes peeled for your chance to sip on a very drinkable, pleasantly hoppy beverage brewed in the name of sustainability. In the meantime, you can find the beer on tap at Revolution’s Logan Square brewpub (2323 N. Milwaukee Ave.), at their Avondale taproom (3340 N. Kedzie Ave.), or you can enjoy a taste of this beer this coming Wednesday, November 5th at Whole Foods Market Chicago in Lincoln Park (1550 N. Kingsbury St.) starting at 5:30pm. 

    MC Johnsen is a professional graphic designer and illustrator based in Chicago, IL. She is also the artist and author behind beer blog Worth a Thousand Beers. In her spare time MC enjoys homebrewing, taking on DIY projects, CrossFit, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix. Her favorite coffee beverage is an Americano, and she shares a home with her husband Matt and their dog Dallas in Lombard, IL. You can find her on Twitter @worth1000beers.

    Saturday, November 1, 2014

    Hail To The Ale on Etsy

    If you follow us it is no secret that our passion revolves around art + beer. We've launched an Etsy store to showcase some of our favorite design work and apparel.

    Our latest addition is a series of 3-dimensional "slide cards", which are assembled from three pieces, allowing the "beer foam" layer to pull up, revealing an area to write your own message. They are a custom design that we have created using various high quality paper, card stock, and embellishments, featuring a variety of beer glassware. All card designs are created and assembled by hand and are not mass produced.

    For more information and to see the full spectrum of designs please visit our store.

    Tuesday, October 28, 2014

    Halloween Candy and Craft Beer Pairings

    Trick-or-treating may be reserved for the kids, but the kid in all of us can't resist indulging in those bite-sized Halloween treats. We know you're going to steal a few from the company candy bowl or your kids' loot when they're not looking, so why not fully indulge by pairing those candies with some craft beer?

    SideDoor Chicago’s Beverage Director, Jeff Van Der Tuuk channels his own child-like side with pairings of his favorite Halloween candy and a range of the restaurant’s large format beers offerings.

    “Malty beers tend to have chocolate tasting notes, they pair with a variety of candy bars. Additionally, fruit-forward candies mellow out the tartness in sour beers, which will create a balanced flavor profile on your palate,” says
    Van Der Tuuk.

    Photography: SideDoor Chicago
    For the chocolate lovers -

    Kit Kats 
paired with Evil Twin Biscotti Break Imperial Stout, Denmark (22oz, 11.5% ABV)
    Beer tasting notes: coffee, chocolate 

    M&M’s paired with Uinta Oak Jacked Imperial Pumpkin Ale, UT (750ml, 10.3% ABV) 

    Beer tasting notes: oak-aged, pumpkin, spice 

    Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups 
paired with 3 Floyds Moloko Milk Stout, IN (22oz, 8% ABV) 
    Beer tasting: milk sugar, vanilla, roasted sweet malt 

    Photography: SideDoor Chicago
    For those with a sugary sweet tooth -

paired with Rodenbach Caractere Rouge, Belgium (750ml, 7% ABV) 

    Beer tasting notes: cranberry, raspberry, tart cherry, oak 

    Starburst paired with The Bruery Oude Tart, CA (750ml, 7.5% ABV) 

    Beer tasting notes: tart cherry, black currant, toasted oak 

paired with Duchesse de Bourgogne, Belgium (750ml, 6% ABV) 
    Beer tasting notes: black cherry, oak, dry finish

    About Jeff Van Der Tuuk, Beverage Director of SideDoor: Jeff was pairing craft beers with a variety of dishes long before “craft beers” became a trend. He credits this long-time interest in beers, spirits and wines—and how they subtly interact with the food we eat—as being the driving force of his career. Jeff brings this hands-on approach to SideDoor’s beverage program with carefully selected beers, wines and spirits perfectly matched to the gastropub’s menu, which utilizes sustainable, artisanal ingredients. Most notably, he initiated a large format beer program and created a roster of original craft cocktails certain to please his guests. Following the inauguration of SideDoor’s monthly craft beer ‘Tap Takeover,’ Van Der Tuuk looks forward to launching like-minded brew programs, including a series of upcoming beer dinners.

    Drink Like A Belgian With The Boozy Beggar

    On Wednesday, October 29th join The Boozy Beggar's Seth Feldman for a special beer and cocktail event, "Drink Like A Belgian," featuring unique Belgian spirits and liquors from Distillerie Biercée. Rockwell's Neighborhood Grill, 4632 N Rockwell St. 6-10pm 

    Featured spirit:
    Peket de Houyeu Genever - Belgian Gin distilled with juniper berries, hops and grains.

    Featured beer:
    Kwak - available on draft 
    Tripel Karmeliet - available in 11.2 oz bottles

    Featured liqueurs:
    eau de villee (lemon)
    orangine (orange and cocoa bean)
    griotte (cherry)
    noir d'Ivoirie (belgian chocolate)

    SPECIAL Distillerie de Biercee's spirits & Belgian beer pairings:
    Tripel Karmeliet with the Peket de Houyeu Genever
    Kwak with Biercee Eau de Ville

    Featured cocktails:
    Three unique Peket de Houyeu cocktails will be featured - 
    The Belgian Dude: Orangine cocoa Belgian liqueur, Kahlua topped with cream and garnished with a candied orange peel
    The Sloe Press: Plymouth Sloe Gin, Biercee Griotte, fresh lemon and Original Sin Cider.  
    The Work Horse: Peket Genever, Biercée Eau de Ville, fresh grapefruit, chai-tea simple syrup and Imbue Bittersweet vermouth.

    Featured food pairing:
    Chicken and Kwaffles - Kwak laced waffles
    topped with Kwak honey butter, fried chicken and a Chipotle-maple syrup.

    About Distillerie Biercée

    Thursday, October 23, 2014

    Fountainhead's Harvest Dinner with Metropolitan and Angel's Envy

    By guest contributor Eric Zeigler

    Recently I had the opportunity to attend a dinner to celebrate the onset of Fall and all of the delicious foods and libations that accompany the season. Fountainhead is a Ravenswood neighborhood gastropub that perfectly exemplifies this feeling in both décor and ambiance. I was a guest for the Harvest Dinner on the Roof Deck: A Night with Angel’s Envy and Metropolitan, and it was a splendid way to enter "comfort food" season.

    Chris Kafcas (Front of House Manager) and Cleetus Friedman (Executive Chef) at Fountainhead gave a warm welcome and relayed their reasons for having such a dinner. Everyone has a fondness for Fall, but one of the special attributes the season imparts is a warmth and fellowship in gathering people together around comforting foods and perfectly-paired libations.

    With that in mind, and the plates of food beginning to arrive from the kitchen, Chris first introduced Doug Hurst from Metropolitan Brewing. Doug gave a quick synopsis of Metropolitan and its German lager-style brewing philosophy. In fact, Metropolitan has been instrumental in guiding many of the new Chicago craft breweries as they have been starting out.

    As Doug was speaking the plates were arriving and set before us. Piles of bone marrow with Herbes de Provence, pickled vegetables and fruit mostarda. This was paired with Metropolitan’s Dynamo Copper Lager. Its copper hue comes from a wonderful balance of 2 kinds of hops and Vienna malts.

    The next two family-style dishes were superb! Hearty strips of kale, butter-roasted sunchoke, toasted sunflower seeds and onion frizzles coated in an apple sunflower vinaigrette. Also, a brussel sprout and delicata squash hash in a warm drizzle of nutmeg brown butter. These two sides were perfect examples of what Fall vegetables provide in terms of freshness and flavors.

    For this particular dinner, three of our beer pairings would be served at cask temperature. Normally I am not partial to this, but suffice it to say, I would be a complete convert by the end of the dinner. A Metropolitan dry-hopped cask with beautiful notes of grapefruit and a collaboration American IPA cask with Lake Effect Brewing called 27 Blocks. Last but not least, a black pepper cask version of Dynamo that was, in my humble opinion, one of the best session beers I have ever tasted. It was a sublime pairing with the herbed roast beef and horseradish cream, which was the main entrée.

    It was at this point, nearing the dessert phase of the dinner, when the representative from Angel’s Envy, Joe Nelson, was introduced. He gave an impassioned story of the founder of Angel’s Envy—Lincoln Henderson—who recently passed away and was the guiding passion behind this exemplary whiskey. We tasted their cornerstone bourbon,
    Angel’s Envy Port Finished Bourbon, which is aged in port casks – along with a Fonseca tawny port to compare and contrast subtleties of flavors imparted in each. Paired with the delicate caramel apple bread pudding as the last course of the dinner could not have been a wiser choice.

    As the plates were being cleared from the tables, Joe invited all of us to sample some rarefied examples of their cask strength bourbon flagship which won the Best Spirit in the World in 2013 by the Spirit Journal. Also, a particular highlight for me was their Rye finished in Plantation XO barrels. To a rye and rum aficionado such as myself, this was a perfect ending to a spectacular evening.

    All in all, the attendees of this dinner were left with not only the warmth of the spectacular food and libations, but also the embracing atmosphere created by Fountainhead, Angel’s Envy and Metropolitan. Rest assured if they collaborate again, it will surely be an event not to be missed.

    Wednesday, October 22, 2014

    Fight Breast Cancer with Green Flash Brewing

    On Monday, October 27th join Jerry's-Andersonville for a night of amazing beer, great food & good company while supporting a great cause with Green Flash Brewing, Jerry's and Pintley. Event starts at 7pm. 5419 N Clark.

    This event is showcasing Treasure Chest, a Barrel-aged Belgian-Style Saison with Plum. This beer was fermented in red wine barrels with house Brettanomyces, then conditioned with plums for six months.It is extremely rare; you will not be able to get outside of the Treasure Chest Events. 

    Also for each Treasure Chest pour, Green Flash will donate $1 to charities fighting against Breast Cancer.

    Also featured:
    8.8% Double Stout, a brew that's a twist on19th Century British Stout recipes, it has delicious hints of bittersweet chocolate & coffee.

    8.1% West Coast IPA, a beer with a myriad of hops: Simcoa, Columbus, Centennial, Citra, and Cascade.

    Hang out with Mario from Green Flash & take home a Green Flash pint glass (free with purchase while supplies last)! And make sure to pair your beer with delicious food –

    10% of all dinner sales will be donated to the Susan G. Koman foundation!

    This is THE LAST keg of Treasure Chest in Chicago! Free event, please RSVP HERE.

    Monday, October 20, 2014

    The Great Pumpkin Beer Bread Recipe

    For the lover of all-things-pumpkin, we've taste tested and approved The Great Pumpkin Beer Bread Recipe, designed to incorporate your favorite pumpkin beer. We tried the recipe with a traditional ale with spices, but would also highly recommend a pumpkin porter or stout if one is available, as the darker beers provide an extra layer of roasty richness.

    4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
    1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
    1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract (we like Trader Joe's Bourbon Vanilla Extract)

    1 1/2 cups sugar
    1/4 cup vegetable oil
    15 oz canned pumpkin (for more bready, less dense/chewy bread use 1/2 a can)
    2 large eggs 

    12 oz bottle of pumpkin ale
    (For a list of some of our favorites, check out The Great Pumpkin Beer Challenge article).

    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9-inch loaf pan. 
    2. Whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a small bowl. 
    3. In a second bowl, with electric beaters, combine the butter, sugar and oil on high speed in the bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until combined. 
    4. In a third bowl, combine pumpkin puree, beer, vanilla and spices. Slowly add the pumpkin mixture to the butter and sugar mixture until smoothly incorporated.
    5. Continuing to mix on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture in three parts, until combined. 
    6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool completely.

    Thursday, October 16, 2014

    Goose Island Clybourn Releases A Seasonal Brett Bruin

    Goose Island Clybourn Brewpub Brewmaster, Nick Barron and team have continued to impress us with a wide range of flavorful and experimental small batch beers over the past few years. Their latest brewpub-only release, Cran Bruin – a seasonal interpretation of an Oud Bruin, is no exception.

    Large amounts of Munich malt provide a full body, complimented with caramel malts for color and residual sweetness. The Belgian Abbey yeast strain provides nice spice and candy characteristics. Aged in oak wine barrels for a year with Lactobacillus and Brettanomyces, Cran Bruin shows off mild tart flavors, true to the Flanders Brown/Oud Bruin style. After being removed from the barrel, the beer was blended with 200lbs of cranberries and clarified for a beautiful end result.

    Tasting Notes:
    Appearance - Vibrant ruby red color, brilliant clarity
    Aroma - Rich malt aroma, earthy spices, sweet sugar/cotton candy, slight tart fruit aroma
    Flavor/Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, sweet caramel malt upfront. A fruity tartness quickly introduces itself, rounding out to a smooth, dry finish. Prominent cranberry and jammy notes linger.
    Overall Impression - Well balanced and layered with enjoyable flavors from beginning to end. For the beginner sour enthusiasts and non-pumpkin beer fans alike, this is a very approachable, seasonal beer that would pair exceptionally well with the rich meats and starches of holiday meals.

    Cran Bruin releases today, October 16th at the Goose Island Clybourn Brewpub and will be a draft only offering, available throughout the holiday season.

    Thursday, October 9, 2014

    Goose Island's New United Center Pub

    At this Saturday's Chicago Blackhawks home opener game Goose Island will unveil its latest endeavor – a dedicated pub inside of the United Center. Matt Tanaka, Lakeshore Beverage's Digital Marketing Manager had the opportunity to get a sneak-peak of the space, sharing his photos and experience via their blog.

    From the Lakeshore Beverage blog:
    Goose Island's Ken Stout showed me around as he explained, with an obvious excitement, the vision for the space. "We wanted to bring the brewery into this space and make people feel that same experience of being at Goose Island. A lot of the materials we're using here we use at the brewery."
    All of the materials used to build the pub were locally sourced and installed, reinforcing the the importance of creating a uniquely Chicago space. The pub is filled with stories and nods to Goose Island's 26 years of history, from the sections of wood made from Goose Island barrel staves to the lit photos adorning the walls. We highly suggest taking a look for yourself.

    Goose Island plans to have 6 beers available on draft including the IPA, Green Line, 312 Urban Wheat, Matilda, and Sofie, as well as a special rotating draft. 

    And now for the visuals:

    A section of the bar constructed from barrel staves direct from the Goose Island barrel warehouse.

    All photos courtesy of Lakeshore Beverage

    Wednesday, October 8, 2014

    New Glarus Pumpkin Pie Lust Review

    This past week New Glarus Brewing quietly launched a brand new offering to their seasonal portfolio, a Pumpkin Weiss beer, "Pumpkin Pie Lust". We were able to get a hold of a few bottles to see how the fanboy favorite brewery would line up against the abundance of pumpkin beers on shelf.

    From the label:
    "It is a fact that Dan, our New Glarus Brewmaster, loves pumpkin pie. So it was inevitable that one day beer and pie would collide. No holiday is complete at our home without home baked pumpkin pie. Just as Dan once baked this pie for Deb, he now creates this brew for you.

    First, Wisconsin grown wheat simmers with German Munich Malt. Then he thoroughly stirs in Idaho grown Celeia Hops. Fresh Bavarian Weizen yeast is then ladled into the open top fermentors and a final bottle conditioning makes this beer 100% naturally carbonated. This rich brown Weiss beer pours an elegant spicy nose with a thick creamy head. This Pumpkin Weiss is sure to satisfy your soul’s Pie Lust. "
    Our review:
    Appearance - hazy, burnt amber color, thick tan-colored head, tight bubbles, lacing
    Aroma - earthy spice aroma: allspice, nutmeg. Sweet malt, cream/creme brulée
    Flavor - creamy wheat malt, fruit forward, tangy/citrus/orange rind bitterness, pie spices, dry finish. It is unclear whether pumpkin was used in the brewing process. No pumpkin/vegetal notes present, spices are prominent.
    Mouthfeel - slightly thin body, high carbonation - almost sparkling
    Overall - Smells like pumpkin pie but the bright, citrusy flavor throws of the balance of what we'd expect to be a smooth, wheat-forward, pie spice finish. Not a bad beer, but not the best pumpkin seasonal we've had.

    Available at select stores in Wisconsin for $9-10/12oz 6 pack.

    Friday, October 3, 2014

    Chicago's Authentic German Food and Beer Scene

    By guest contributor Eric Zeigler

    My name is Eric Zeigler, and if you can’t surmise from my last name, I am of German descent. Even though my family has been in America for many, many generations, I’ve always been fascinated – enthralled if you will, with all things Teutonic. Whether you are talking of cars, the people, or medieval castles, my fascination with Germanic culture has no bounds.

    This is especially true when it comes to German food and libations. As a self-proclaimed foodie and hospitality student at Kendall College, I take great pride in seeking out many of the excellent choices that Chicago has to offer in terms of ethnic German restaurants and bars.

    One of my favorites is Laschet’s Inn. Far and away, this low-key tudor-style restaurant serves out amazing examples of common German dishes such as Rouladen, Schnitzels and Sauerbraten. Their sausages – Thüringer, Bratwurst and Weisswurst among them are phenomenal examples of basic, hearty fare. If one chooses to eat “lighter”, a perfect meal at Laschet’s would be one of their flown-in-from-Bavaria pretzels and a rare dish called Hackepeter, essentially steak tartar spread over rye bread with chopped onions and capers. All of this can be washed down with what is certainly one of the best selections of imported, on draught German beers in the city. In fact, they recently added one of the rarest – Kloster Andechs, a beer that wasn’t available in America for the past 15 years and is, in my humble opinion, sublimely wonderful.

    Lachet's Inn. Photos courtesy of

    Those seeking a more “elevated” experience should give The Radler a try. Two established partners in the Chicago scene, Chef Partner Nathan Sears and Managing Partner Adam Hebert, decided to try their hand at elevating German cuisine to a new level, and they have succeeded admirably. Their pickling of vegetables, curing of meats and hand-baked pretzels are all done in-house. They are great supporters of local food purveyors and farmers, and utilize a local suburban brewery to make their house beers. Try the German Onion Pie, a twist on an English shepherd’s pie that is out-of-this-world. One should never pass up house-made charcuterie, and The Radler never disappoints. Venison, pork and boar are transformed into savory delights and are always accompanied by perfectly balanced accoutrement.

    Photos by Baskin-White Photography. Courtesy of
    There are many more too numerous to mention, but all worth (multiple) visits. Resi’s Bierstube, Mirabell, Huettenbar and the historic Brauhaus round out more of Chicago’s offerings. In the suburbs, the illustrious Hofbrauhaus in Rosemont is astounding, The Bavarian Lodge in Lisle, Schniztelplatz in Glendale Heights. The list goes on and on. 

    All in all, the Germanic food and beer scene is well-covered in Chicago, and one would be remiss to pass on an opportunity to experience some authentic Gemütlichkeit.

    Courtesy of