Sunday, March 29, 2015

New Beer Card Designs and Retail Placement

We're excited to announce that a selection of our handmade 3D beer slide cards and folded cards can now be found on our Etsy shop, as well as in our first retail location at Bottles & Cans 4109 N Lincoln Ave in North Center. We hope you'll stop by and check them out.

We've included a new selection of spring designs including the return of our "West Coast IPA" series, made with repurposed California-area maps.

XOCO Bistro's Pop-Up Beer Dinner Series

This spring Rick Bayless' latest restaurant, Xoco Bistro, announces the “Yucatan Pop-Up Series” to some of Chicago's favorite breweries for a three-course dinner and beer pairing. 

The beer-themed dinners will take place at ​Half Acre Beer Company​, ​Temperance Beer Company​ and Revolution Brewing. The brewmasters will pair craft beers with Xoco Bistro’s spicy menu 
inspired by the Yucatan, where the flavors of achiote, citrus, smoke and habanero prevail.  

“All of the flavors in this dinner are really bold. They’re not delicate flavors,” said Maurizio Fiori 
of Half Acre Beer Co. “And in our beer, we get ingredients to shine in a bold way. We saw the 
same approach in the menu Xoco Bistro presented to us.” 

Xoco’s menu will be highlighted by Cochinita Pibil tacos, made with suckling pig slow-roasted 
in our wood-fired oven, and topped with black beans, pickled red onions and habanero salsa. 

Guests at these one-of-a-kind dinners will also sip on a special beer cocktail, nosh on Sikil 
Pak, a Mexican pumpkin seed dip, and dive into a ridiculously good coconut rice pudding 
dessert. Each brewery will feature a beer for each course. 

April 6​th​: Half Acre: 4257 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago 
April 27​th​: Temperance:  2000 Dempster St, Evanston 
May 7​th​: Revolution Brewery: 3340 N Kedzie Ave, Chicago 
Tickets for the first pop-up at Half Acre are on sale now:​ ​ $40 includes 
three-courses and four beers. Tune into Xoco Bistro’s Facebook​ ​page for announcements on 
future ticket sales. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Second Annual What the Firk? At HQ Beercade 3/29

Firkin Fest returns to Headquarter Beercade’s new River North location (213 W. Institute) on Sunday, March 29, 2015. Capacity Bar Group announces the return of an event of epic ale proportions. For the second year in a row, Headquarters Beercade will host Firkin Fest, a unique tasting event that celebrates the city’s craft beer community. Last year’s sell-out event was attended by over 500 brew buffs and this year’s battle will be even bigger than before. 

So, what in the firk is a firkin? It’s considered “real ale,” one that is cask conditioned but has not been cold-filtered, pasteurized, or carbonated by outside equipment. The cask barrels preserve the taste in its most wholesome state, while the interior beer harbors active yeast, which means the flavor profile will evolve over time. At Firkin Fest, craft beer connoisseurs will have the chance to taste fifty unique brews through an unadulterated process of consumption. Top breweries will battle in a fight for the finest firkin with ales that have never been sipped before – and may not be savored ever again!

50 Breweries - 50 Firkins!
Sip on offerings crafted by a variety of vendors, including Illinois favorites: Goose Island Beer Co. (winner of the 2014 Firkin Fest “People’s Choice Award;” Chicago, IL); Begyle Brewery (Chicago, IL); Desthil (Normal, IL); Half Acre Beer Company (Chicago, IL); Metropolitan Brewing (Chicago, IL); Off Color Brewing (Chicago, IL); Penrose Brewing (Geneva, IL); Revolution Brewing (Chicago, IL); Solemn Oath Brewery (Naperville, IL); and Two Brothers Brewery & Taphouse (Warrenville, IL). Respected regional breweries will also include: 3 Floyds Brewing Co. (Munster, IL); 3 Sheeps Brewing Co. (Sheboygan, WI); Brewery Vivant (Grand Rapids, MI); Green Flash Brewing (San Diego, CA); Founders Brewing Co. (Grand Rapids, MI); Left Hand Brewing (Longmont, CO); Oskar Blues (Lyons, CO); Surly Brewing Co. (Brooklyn Center, MN); SKA Brewing (Durango, CO); Tyranena Brewing (Lake Mills, WI); Vander Mill Brewery (Spring Lake, MI); and Victory Brewing Company (Downingtown, PA).

Attendees can enjoy their fill of firkins, but only one firkin will command the crown of the “People’s Choice Award” at the end of this satisfying Sunday. In addition, guests can mingle with an esteemed panel of hand-picked industry and media experts. From beer bloggers to brewery reps, this event will be packed with top ale professionals from Chicago and beyond.

Advanced General Admission Tickets are $75 and can be purchased online.

Use the code HAILTOTHEALE and receive $10 off your ticket!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Urban Chestnut Brewery Joins the Chicago Craft Beer Market

St. Louis based brewery Urban Chestnut recently announced plans to enter the Chicago market with their German-style portfolio via Lakeshore Beverage Distributors.

Urban Chestnut is committed to both its traditional German roots as well as to modern American craft beer, which is reflected by splitting their portfolio into two series: the Reverence Series – paying homage to classic European-style beers and the Renaissance Series – celebrating where American craft beer is headed.

We received samples of Zwickel Bavarian-style Lager and Fantasyland IPA and wanted to share our tasting notes.

Zwickel is part of the Reverence Series. It poured a golden color with a bright white head, tight tiny bubbles and beautiful lacing on the glass. We expected some haziness, but found the clarity to be quite clear. The aroma displayed Pilsner malt notes of toasted bread, floral and spicy Noble hops and some mild DMS sweetness. The mouthfeel was full-bodied, creamy and sweet up front with strong malt character and a crisp finish. Clocking in at 5.2% ABV and 20 IBUs, this is a smooth, easy drinking beer.

Fantasyland Midwest Coast IPA is part of the Revolution Series, Urban Chestnut's artistic take on an IPA with a Midwest twist. It poured hazy dark amber with a frothy off-white head, large bubbles and lacing. Citrus fruit and grassy hop aroma. Medium body with notes of citrus fruit, tropical fruit, pine and resin. There's a good deal of lingering malty sweetness, missing the dry, hop forward finish. At 6.5% and 60 IBUS, it's a drinkable beer with refreshing aroma, but not quite the balance one would expect from an IPA.

Zwickel, Fantasyland and Schnickelfritz (German Hefeweizen) are available on draft ($5-7 a pint) and in 4-pack bottles ($8.99-10.49) around the city.

For more information on their launch into the market, check out this article on Lakeshore Beverage's blog.