Wednesday, January 29, 2014


That's right -- this Saturday 5 Rabbit will be hosting LIVE JUDGING of the Iron Brew Homebrew Challenge with an all-star panel of judges, open to the public. Here are the details:

We will be meeting at the brewery this Saturday afternoon, February 1st 1pm-4pm. Judging will be held "live" starting at 1:30pm. The competition entry fee is $10 and drop off locations are Brew Camp and Brew and Grow (before 5pm on Friday) or you can bring them to the brewery on Saturday.

If you are submitting beer, bring your friends with you to celebrate your imminent win! If you are not submitting beer, come on over anyway. There will be no cover charge and we will have complementary snacks. Also, first pint of beer is on us!

Randy Mosher and John J Hall will be at the brewery to judge the homebrew and give brewery tours. Come on out and spend your Saturday with us!

Brewery address:
Narragansett Ave, Bedford Park, IL 60638
(312) 895-9591

Chicago's Cider Con Events

The 2014 Cider Conference is bringing some of the world's top cider makers to our own backyard during the first week of February. While the conference itself is industry only, there are a number of events throughout the city to meet the cider makers and taste some unique offerings, hitting Chicago for a limited time.

Feb 3rd, Anthem Cider at Luxbar 7pm: Kick off CiderCon week with Wandering Aengus Ciderworks/ANTHEM Cider owners James Kohn & Nick Gunn. They'll be tapping a special barrel of Blind Tiger Ransom, a bourbon barrel aged cider.

Feb 4th, Globe Pub Aspall Event 7pm: World premiere tapping of Aspall John Barrington Still cider. Meet Henry Chevallier Guild, 8th generation of the Chevallier cider making family. Taste a wide range of Aspall ciders from both draft and tap.

Feb 4th, Virtue Cider Tap Takeover at Jake Melnick's 8:30pm: As the kick-off event to Cider Con, Virtue will be featuring The Mitten, Cidre and Percheron, as well as the company of industry experts joining the party from around the world.

Feb 5th, Sonoma Cidermaster Dinner at Sun Wah BBQ 6pm: An evening featuring hard ciders hand-crafted by veteran Cidermaster, David Cordtz. Tickets available through Sun Wah.

Feb 5th, How Do You Like Them Apples? at Fountainhead 6pm: Join the cider makers for a tap takeover including E. Dupont, Tieton Cider Works, Vander Mill, Uncle John's, Original Sin, Ace, Farnum Hill and Wandering Aengus Ciderworks.

Feb 5th, Cider tasting dinner menu at tap take over at Longman & Eagle with Virtue Cider. Seatings between 3pm and 8pm.

Feb 5th, Cider Dinner at Publican 7pm: A special menu featuring pairings from Aspall, Farnum Hill and EZ orchards. Cider makers on hand to discuss. Rare draft ciders on draft and bottle.

The folks behind Farmhouse are set to open Nordcider, a nano-cidery and restaurant this fall. They are offering a preview of Nordcider in a series of pop-up dinners on February 6th-7th. Tickets available through City Eats.

Feb 6th, Meet Zeffer Cider Maker Josh Townsend at Binny's South Loop and taste their fine New Zealand offerings - Apple, Pear, Slack Ma Girdle. 6-8pm. No RSVP required.

Feb 6th, Vander Mill Cider Firkin LaunchJake Melnicks 6pm: Join the Vander Mill Cider crew as they launch their firkin program with 3 offerings: Perry Chretien, Totally Roasted and Chapman's Blend. Puff the Magic Cyser and Ginger Peach will also be on tap.

Feb 6th, Revel Room Tap Takeover 7pm: Meet some of the top cider makers in the world. Aspall, Farnum Hill, EZ Orchards and Virtue Cider. Enjoy catering by Bangers & Lace, 4 rare and exclusive cider drafts including super rare Farnum Hill draft, a custom cider cocktail, and sample special bottles from each cider maker in an intimate environment.

Feb 6th, Cider Karaoke! at Emporium Arcade 9pm: featuring a tap take over of all cider makers that distribute in Chicago.

Feb 7th, Jake Melnicks Tap Takeover 7pm: Meet and greet with the cider makers of Aspall, Farnum Hill and EZ Orchards. Enjoy special draft ciders including the all new Aspall John Barrington Still Cider, a world premier tapping for Chicago Cider week! Special bottles from each cider maker will be available. A pair of tickets to Cider Summit will be raffled.

Feb 7th, Meet Virtue Cider Maker Ryan Burk for a mini tap take over at the Red Star Bar, Whole Foods Lincoln Park, 8pm.

Feb 7th, Cider Makers Meet & Greet at Sheffields 7pm: Join cider makers from Ace, Original Sin and Vander Mill while drinking the delicious offerings they have on tap.

Feb 8th, Cider Summit Chicago 11am and 4pm sessions in the Lakeview Terrance Room at Navy Pier: SBS Imports and Seattle Beer Collective return for a second year to produce Chicago's largest cider tasting event. Cider Summit will feature sampling of over 90 ciders from around the world, with cider makers on hand. Advanced TICKETS recommended. Chicago Brew Bus will provide shuttle service starting at 10:30am between the Blue Line Grand stop, Red Line Grand-State stop, and Navy Pier throughout the day. CTA buses also run directly to Navy Pier. Onsite parking is available in the Navy Pier garages.

River North Beer is giving away two pairs of tickets to Cider Summit. One winner will get two tickets to the first session, and one winner will get tickets to the second. To enter, follow @RiverNorthBeer on Twitter and fill out this form:

Feb 9th, Farmhouse's Post Cider Con Brunch with Vander Mill Cider. No tickets required. Contact Farmhouse for more details.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Chicago Beer Gals: Beer & Chocolate Pairings

The Chicago Beer Gals Collective presents perhaps the most delicious monthly event yet on Monday, February 10th at the Brew Camp Classroom - 1826 W Wilson Ave.

We will be featuring 3 satiating treats from Katherine Anne Confections, each paired with a beer selection.

Katherine herself will be joining us to talk about the handmade confections and the growth of her Logan Square shop.

Snacks & beer provided. This is a small, intimate space and advanced tickets are recommended. 

Tickets are available at:

Event produced by Hail To The Ale.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Passport to Cider: Artisanal Pomme Beverages From Around The World
Thursday, Jan 30th, 7pm at the Hopleaf Classroom, 5148 N. Clark St., Chicago 

With the 2014 Cider Conference and Cider Summit approaching, we are pleased to bring you an educational opportunity to learn more about the recent submergence of craft cider in the US market.

Cider expert Brian Rutzen will take you through the history and process of cider making as well as how European trends are influencing how cider is being made in the US today.

We will have folks from Shelton Brothers, Paramount Merchants, Louis Glunz, B. United and Artisanal Imports sampling and talking about cider.

Fountainhead Chef Cleetus Friedman will be stopping by to talk about their latest venture - Chicago's first cider bar, The Northman to open in 2014.

Light snacks will be provided.

This is a small, intimate venue and seats are limited. Advanced tickets recommended.

Facebook event

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Beauty of Bottle Shares

One of my favorite aspects of the homebrewing and beer enthusiast community are the endless opportunities to meet new people and share beer you might not have the chance to try otherwise. Bottle shares have become increasingly popular in Chicago and beyond, between groups of friends as well as through online communities like the Chicago Craft Beer Enthusiasts and Chicago Beer Society's First Thursdays.

The beauty of bottle shares is the ability to try small samplings of a number of beers in one sitting with the objective of broadening your palette versus having to commit to a full pint or 22oz bomber of one beer. This format has truly helped me discover on a deeper level what styles of beer I like and want to try more of.

Over the last few days I've been staring down my beer collection, trying to narrow selections to bring to Wednesday's Chicago Beer Gals bottle share. It gave me a chance to reflect on some of the great beer I've had the opportunity to drink over the last year. Below are a few of my favorites. I've also asked CHAOS Brew Club's Ken Getty, who is much more active with the group tastings and beer trading aspect, for his top 5 as well.

Kim's Top 5:

  • 1) 2012 Barrel Aged Shipwreck Porter - Arcadia Brewing. Rich, dark coffee, toffee, vanilla with a silky smooth finish. Available in 12oz bottles, this is a warmer that might be hard to share!
  • 2) Pumpkinator - Saint Arnold Brewing. When compiling our massive list of competitors for The Great Pumpkin Beer Challenge, we were able to trade for a bottle of this full-bodied stout with notes of cinnamon, chocolate and roastiness which went on to win the #1 spot.
  • 3) Heady Topper Imperial IPA - The Alchemist. One of the most sought after IPAs of 2013, we had the East Coast connection to smuggle a few cans back to Chicago. A hop bomb with layers of citrus, peach and tropical fruit that carries through from the aroma through the full bodied finish.
  • 4) Love Buzz Saison - Anchorage Brewing. This bottle brewed in Alaska was brought to share on Thanksgiving Day. Brewed with hibiscus and peppercorn, aged in pinot noir barrels it satisfied both the beer and wine drinkers at the table and was quite a conversation piece between the two.
  • 5) Straight Jacket Barleywine - Revolution Brewing. Obtained on it's release date in Dec 2012, it took almost a year to break it open for the right occasion with friends. Aged in Woodford barrels, it was full bodied with notes of bourbon, vanilla, dark fruit and definitely worth the wait.

Ken's thoughts:

I am a bit of an old soul and I think I enjoy bottle shares so much because of the fact that everyone gets together for a common purpose, enjoys each other’s company while small talking and when a new beer is poured completely enjoys the moment. 

Most gatherings involving beer when friends get together seems to have either a stereo, sporting event or television nearby vying for your attention…not so, with bottle shares. I find bottle shares are typically about sharing stories, making new friends, and new-shared experiences.

While curating my list of Top Five Bottle Share Beers of 2013, it brought back many memories of good friends & good times. I hope you have similar experiences soon!

  • 1) W.W.B.V . – Crooked Stave: Bottle I brought to an impromptu bottle share. Received in a beer trade and shared with five others
  • 2) 2012 Eclipse Stout Series – Fifty Fifty Brewing Company (Grand Cru, Elijah Craig 12-yr, Elijah Craig 20-yr, Mellow Corn, Rittenhouse Rye, GHS Special Blend, Evan Williams, Old Fitzgerald):  A friend shared this monster Horizontal set from 2012 at a CHAOS Brew Club Bottle Share with close to 40 people!
  • 3) Barrel Aged Last Kiss in Buffalo Trace Barrels – Pipeworks Brewing Company: Strong Mike is the “Master of Barrels” at Pipeworks and he has been knocking it out of the box his first three barrel-aged beers…if you have the chance jump one these beers.  First released to “Friends with Benefits” members in late 2013 and slotted for a 2014 limited release.
  • 4) pseudo Sue – Toppling Goliath Brewing – This was a holiday bottle share put on by members of the Chicago Craft Beer Enthusiasts Facebook group…good times and good people!
  • 5)  Everett – Hill Farmstead: A friend came back with an SUV full of Vermont beer and I happened to be on the receiving end of his generosity when he came back to Chicago.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

4 Hands Brewing Presents a Uniquely Inspired Event

This Saturday, January 11th 4 Hands Brewing presents a unique opportunity to meet many of the the artists and label designers impacting the local craft beer scene in a charity event benefitting the Public Media Institute (PMI). The event will take place at the Co-Prosperity Sphere in Bridgeport, IL from 3-7pm.

A special selection of craft beer will be provided by 3 Floyds, Half Acre, Pipeworks, Solemn Oath and 4 Hands Brewing along side of food pairings from Pleasant House Bakery. St. Louis based brewery 4 Hands, who only started distributing to Chicago as of this month, will be launching 7 beers at this event.

The event will feature work from the following artists:
Dan Grzeca - 3 Floyds, Surly Brewing
Michael Kiser - Good Beer Hunting
Jourdon Gullett - Solemn Oath
Jim Zimmer - 3 Floyd's, Une Année
BJ Olson - Pipeworks
Phineas X. Jones - Half Acre Beer
Josh Rowan - 4 Hands Brewing
Danielle Spradley - 4 Hands Brewing
Peat Eyez Wollaeger - graffiti artist from St. Louis
Kelly Pelka - graffiti artist from Chicago

Participants will receive a free copy of Mash Tun Journal as well as have the opportunity to purchase artwork including signed copies of the event poster featured above.

January 11, 3-7pm
Co-Prosperity Sphere
3219-21 South Morgan Street, Chicago Illinois, 60608
Tickets are $25 and are available at

PMI is a non-profit 501(c) 3, community based, art & culture organization located in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago. Its mission is to create, incubate and sustain innovative cultural programming through the production of socially engaged projects, art festivals, spaces, exhibitions and media.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Chicago Beer Gals January Event

Hey Ladies! Join us this month for a craft beer bottle share at the Brew Camp Classroom -1826 W Wilson Ave. 

Please bring some beer to share. We’ll provide the snacks and conversation.

Special Guests:

Liz Garibay, Beer Historian of Tales, Taverns & Towns
Katie Rains, Beer Jewelry Designer of Katie Rains Designs

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.

Event produced by Hail To The Ale.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Iron Brew Homebrew Challenge - The Rules

Hey Homebrewers! Back in November we held the Iron Brew Workshop at the 5 Rabbit Brewery with special guest, Randy Mosher. He extended the "Homebrew Challenge" and unveiled the secret ingredient - SOUR ORANGES (Seville Oranges/Bitter Orange).

The competition will take place on Saturday, February 1st, 12pm at the 5 Rabbit Brewery. Submissions are open to any local homebrewer (no mail in entries accepted) regardless of whether you attended the workshop. Any style may be brewed, the only requirement is use of the secret ingredient, sour oranges, which your beer will be judged on the application of.

Registration can be done through the 5 Rabbit website and is required to participate. Further information will be emailed to you upon your $10 registration fee purchase.

Below are the Competition Rules. Please contact Kim or Andres with further questions.