DETOUR No. 021: Bright lights, the buzzing of slot machines and an anything-goes-atmosphere tends to wear you out in Sin City. At least it did me. With a hazy memory of overpriced cocktails and half-nude street performers, Tenaya Creek Brewery was a nice change of pace for a slow moving Saturday afternoon in Vegas.
Updated: Here is our best effort to comprise a comprehensive "THR-approved Chicago Beer Bar List." Mind you, there are certainly plenty of places in the city not on this list where you can get a decent beer. In fact, they're all over the city. However this list is curated to those spots where not only is the variety impressive, but the staff is knowledgeable & the atmosphere is unmatched.
We've tasted through the following 15 beers for October, and rated them according to our interpretation of the BJCP scoring guidelines, on a scale of 100 and listed in alphabetical order. This month, Belgian-inspired beers get a look, malt-forwardness is celebrated, single fruits get highlighted and farmhouse funk is king. Plus, a pumpkin beer.
Contributor Kevin Sterne goes on a quest to leave his pale ale/saison comfort zone. His tour led him to a historic brick building that previously housed the Schlitz Brewing Company horse carriages. Here, he spoke with Mike Byrnes about a small South Side Chicago lager brewery's place in an otherwise hop-obsessed scene.
China is the world's biggest beer market, though most of that beer consumption is still relegated to commonly available, mass-market light lagers. Craft beer is inching its way throughout China, however, with Beijing at the forefront of the movement. We sat down with one of those leading the charge, at Beijing's Great Leap Brewing.
CHERRY HILL, NJ
There may not be another brewery with the attitude of NJ's Forgotten Boardwalk. Their quirky triple eye-catching design gets credited to Nashville's Perky Bros. They describe the beermaker as "an artfully devious microbrewery and teller of tales"...
Brooklyn Brewery is on the eve of its 30th anniversary, and much of its success can be credited to a few craft beer titans. But, when you peel pack the surface, you begin to reveal the stories of lesser known stars–like that of Gabe Barry. As the self-initiated 'Brewery Education & Community Ambassador', Gabe has spent years educating drinkers–and doing so in the most creative ways possible, including the MASH.
Evanston, Illinois has a long history with alcohol, mostly spent avoiding it all together. The city is finally seeing changing perceptions and is experiencing its own craft renaissance, now home to a cidery, distillery, and several breweries. One of those is Sketchbook Brewing Co., founded on the premise of bringing together a community that's still not totally convinced beer belongs.
After acting as farriers for 25 years, co-founders Matthew Kiwala and Michael Vallot set out to turn their homebrew side passion into a physical brewery: Bent Shoe. To celebrate the founders' previous careers, SLC-based Kevin Cantrell Studio designed an elaborate identity system with a strong nod to the 'old west'.
We've tasted through the following 14 beers for September, and rated them according to our very own interpretation of the BJCP scoring guidelines, on a scale of 100 and listed in alphabetical order. This month, Märzens are kings of the season, goses get a solid look, citrus profiles are plentiful and large format gets a reconsideration.
WEST LOOP, CHICAGO
Returning to Chicago at the end of September, the Brooklyn Brewery Mash Beer Mansion offers a truly unique and immersive beer experience. We've teamed up with the brewery to give away two tickets to this year's event. Enter for your chance to win....
One new brewery in the UK is taking its inspiration from the city's aesthetic that it calls home. Birmingham Brewing Company launched in late 2016, and from the start staked its claim on a distinctive modern look.
Chicago drinkers now have yet another option to quench their seemingly endless thirst for craft beer. Hailing from Indianapolis, Sun King Brewery brings their much heralded portfolio of canned beers to Windy City refrigerators. We tasted through all the available beers and offer our thoughts on both their core lineup and their barrel-aged The King's Reserve series.
When Greg Smith first contacted CODO Design to brand a new beer project, the team was a bit curious. "We thought he was pulling our leg," says founder, Isaac Arthur. Printer's Ale Manufacturing Co. is a production brewery that honors Greg’s family story: generations of printers-turned-brewers coming to commercial fruition in Georgia.
The history of craft beer in Indiana has been turbulent to say the least. And less than 10 years ago, the state's largest city was nearly void of options. Then, the first brewery since the 40's entered the capital. Clay Robinson is, in part, responsible for the growth of craft beer in the Hoosier state and credits company culture to the success of Indy's Sun King.
CHIPPEWA FALLS, WI
A backbone made up of six generations and 150 years of brewing has afforded the brewery affectionately referred to as 'Leinie's' a great breadth of knowledge and recognition in the beer world. And yes, Shandies.
Besides the happenstance founding of this operation, the other piece of the brewery's identity that catches attention is the branding itself. A true 'less is more' approach that in turn becomes an instantly recognizable brand, and is identifiable at pubs all across the UK. The creative force behind the recent visual refresh is Studio Juice.
In our new series, Re-Tapped, we check in with the subjects of our past interviews to find out how they've progressed since our first visit. First up in our re-visits is Chicago's own Vice District Brewing. We check in on their new Homewood location, the second to their South Loop origins.
In 2007, craft brewer AND UNION began working closely with different brewmasters from small, regional, family-run breweries in Bavaria to create a distinctively curated lineup of craft lagers and ales. Recently, the Bavarian brewery unveiled the first canned beers in its range with a 'ballsy yet restrained design,' in an attempt to stand out on the shelves with a minimalistic approach.
Brewery Count: CITY (71), 'BURBS (116) –– Recently added: MyGrain Brewing Co. (Joliet, IL), Roaring Table Brewing (Lake Zurich, IL), Ram Restaurant & Brewery (Rosemont, IL), Ballast Point (West Loop), Kings & Convicts (Highwood, IL), Englewood Brews (Englewood), Jolly Pumpkin (Hyde Park), Saint Errant Brewing (Elk Grove Village, IL) –– Recently Removed: Mad Mouse (University Village), Southbridge Brewing
We've tasted through the following 16 beers for August, and rated them according to our very own interpretation of the BJCP scoring guidelines. This month, fruits and vegetables are highlighted ingredients, sessionable sours get a look, smokiness plays a key role, and even malt liquor and...popcorn are remixed. Cheers!
There are currently 11 Trappist breweries, all creating some of the most revered beer in the world. THR caught up with the women behind Trappist Beer Travels: Inside the Breweries of the Monasteries–for a closer look at their exclusive journey behind the usually-closed doors of the world's Trappist breweries.
For Austin's Blue Owl Brewing, playfulness and whimsy are what set their brand apart–well that and their sour-mash brews. To achieve this approachable aesthetic, founders Jeff Young and Suzy Shaffer turned to Jessica Deahl to apply her design and illustration skills.
A recap of the Chicagoland's west side favorite, Naperville Ale Fest – the first of two 2017 sessions. These are our impressions and 10 notable beers we had, as shared by THR Contributor Michael A. Hubatch.
Long-time Carlsberg design partner, Copenhagen-based firm Kontrapunkt, recently lent their services again, to help the Danish brewery progress its minimalist design aesthetic. They're back at it, refreshing the look for the dark lager, Carlsberg Black Gold. Matte black with gold accents – yes, please.
THE LOOP, CHICAGO
Of the nearly 90,000 to have gained some level of Cicerone Program certification, only 13 have reached its pinnacle. Known as Master Cicerones, these select few have proven themselves to be veritable walking encyclopedias of beer knowledge. One of the 13 is Jason Pratt, Senior Manager of Innovations at Tenth & Blake Beer Co., the craft division of MillerCoors.
NEAR SOUTH SIDE, CHICAGO
Tour de Fat is coming to Chicago's Northerly Island on July 29 & we've teamed up with New Belgium Brewing to give away 2 pairs of tickets. Expect the unexpected and plan to party with NBB and The Roots at this one of a kind beer festival. Enter for your chance to win...
DETOUR No. 020: Although small in its geographic footprint, Singapore transcends beyond its Little Red Dot nickname. And as craft-beer advocates, Good Luck Beerhouse & Innocence Brewing, along with their patrons, have an unwavering thirst for quality beer and are strong supporters of the emerging craft beer scene in the tiny country.
We've tasted through 18 beers for July, this month unique ingredients are front and center, kettle sours get some attention, barrel-aged beers are sticking around for summer, and...NEIPAs are still here. We considered aroma, appearance, flavor, mouthfeel, overall impression and trueness to style. It's not an exact science–we know this. We just don't like to pass on the opportunity to drink...more beer. Cheers!
DETOUR No. 019: San Francisco's Presidio is as historic as it is expansive. Located in the shadows of the Golden Gate Bridge and Fort Point sits a quickly growing brewing operation: Fort Point Beer Co. We paid a visit to their production facility and then to their Ferry Building taproom.