Monday, January 31, 2011

Founders Dry Hopped Pale Ale

I can admit when  I'm wrong.  I first tried Founders Dry Hopped Pale Ale around a year and a half ago at the Bottom Lounge in Chicago right before a Whigs rock show.  For the first time, a Founders beer was bland to me, so I thought.  It was simply bitter without the brewer's signature flair.  Thereafter, I avoided this beer like the dude ignores the main character in A Bronx Tale whom he owes 20 bucks. If I saw Dry Hopped somewhere I ran the other way.  My running ended this past weekend.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Bell's Hop Slam -Shaun's Take

After I read Mark's review of Bell's Hop Slam it rang a bell of my own. I know my buddy is a man ahead of his time but I didn't realize that includes his beer taste. :) just kidding buddy. Last April Mark gave me my own bottle of Bell's Hop Slam. I wrote up my notes and just never got off my butt to hit the "post" button. Their Hopslam has been getting a lot of buzz on the internet so I figured I'd post up my review from back then. Thanks buddy for getting me one! You're way ahead of the curve in my book! Now on to the review...

Sprecher Brewing Black Bavarian

I don't often write about Wisconsin beers because most of the beers produced in that state that are sent to Illinois tend to be of the milder variety. This is not to say that Wisconsin makes bad beers.  Some people prefer that maltier style; it's just not where my palate has been of late.  Yet there's no question that with the state's rich brewing tradition fueled by its various European heritages, Wisconsin is capable of hitting home runs in brewing.  One of these is Sprecher Brewing's Black Bavarian lager.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Firestone Walker Double Jack

I tried a Firestone Walker Double Jack double IPA last week at the Map Room.  In one of the most famous studies in contrasts, it was said that the month of March roars in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, and nowhere is that more true than here in the Midwest.  Keeping with the analogy, when Stone Brewing arrived in Chicago, there were trumpets blaring, 20 gun salutes, and a Stone event at every bar you can think of.  Firestone Walker arrived here last week to crickets. I'm beginning to see why.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bell's Hopslam Is Back Again And Driving Mail Traffic

Bell's Hopslam has made its glorious return to Chicago.  As many of you know, this beer is Bell's limited production, highly acclaimed, complex-flavored imperial IPA.  The beauty of this beer is that it still manages to distinguish itself.  

Sunday, January 16, 2011

All Tied Up, Do the Seahawks and Bears Go to Overtime??

It's been a bitter battle with heroes and great plays on both sides of the ball. It's down to the wire now at the end of the 4th quarter and, like all great contests, is all tied up. Seattle has the ball but Chicago has stood them up at the 40 yard line and it's 4th down. How is Seattle going to overcome this?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Da Team of Beers That Crushes Shaun's Roster

My, my, are they feisty in Seattle, perhaps from too much coffee.  I guess the gauntlet has been thrown down and Seattle has rallied to even the game, in their minds.  Deschutes Brewery is indeed a fine play call by the city of the 'Hawks, with its fruity notes but sturdy hop belly that far removes it from one-and-done status, like that football first round draft pick who thinks he can rely on his 4.3 speed and Subway commericals to become a star player.  Shaun has even set us up with an audible by calling on several Deschutes IPA's to help tack on a couple of extra points.  I have not tried these IPA's but have no doubt that Seattle's proximity to hop country affords them the freshest bittering cones needed to make those babies knock your palate into the end zone.  It's halftime and Seattle pulls even.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Go Seahawks! - Or how to make Mark cry...

I figured Mark would fire the one bullet he has. You're all out now my friend. The Dark Lord may catch one in the endzone once in a great while but one beer does not win a contest.My Deschutes runningbacks roll deep and rumble all over your puny defense. My Mirror Mirror barleywine easily stands up to even the largest behemoth you put on your D. Smooth with sweet complex flavors that slide right by your backs over and over all day. Or if you prefer I can pound it down your throat with IPA after IPA from just Deschutes. Hop Henge will pound it up the middle and Hop in the Dark will be there on the outside where you least expect it. And Inversion IPA is always good for 3-5 yards and the 3rd down conversion. Seattle just racked up 2 TDs while Chicago is still trying to figure out what to do next.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Touchdown Chicago (First of Many This Week)

This isn't exactly Fort Sumter, but the first shots of this "civil" war have been fired by Shaun.  As his pathetic excuse for a football team prepares for the beatdown of the year on Lake Michigan on Sunday, at the hands of the mighty Bears, Shaun dials things up by pronouncing the greatness of the only thing his perpetually rainy city has to offer: beer.  This is a worthy attempt, I graciously concede, but one doomed for failure, as demonstrated below the jump.

Seattle v Chicago - Countdown to Division Championship

By some grace of god Seattle is still in the NFC playoffs and tee'ing off against Chicago this Sunday. So in the spirit of the playoffs I'm going to kick sand in Mark's face to the best of my ability and state that Chicago beer cannot hold a candle to Seattle beer!

We laid down the rules.
-I get to choose beers from Washington and Oregon.
-Mark gets to choose beers from Michigan, Indiana, and, Illinois.
-I'll pick the first style and beer.
-Mark makes a pathetic attempt to compare his best to mine and loses miserably. :)
-Mark then offers a new style that he has a prayer of beating me in and selects his champion.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Thank You, Haymarket Brewery: Founders Tap Takeover.

I want to thank the good folks at Haymarket Pub & Brewery here in Chicago for the Founders Brewing tap takeover this past Wednesday.  They had some truly excellent offerings across 12 taps; that is, if you could fight through the huddled masses in overcoats that made the brewpub seem as if it were the Ellis Island of bars.  And did the Founders beers they offered make one want to emigrate to Grand Rapids to live off of Founders for one's remaining days?  Absolutely.   Bring us your tired, your poor, and most of all, your thirsty. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

Elysian Brewing -Revving up the Bifröst family

Every winter after the holidays we hit that dreary slump up here in Seattle. You have to lever yourself off the couch and chase every ray of sunshine to make it through to spring. About this time of year Elysian Brewing does their part to give us a reason to go out side in the pitch black that is 5:30pm. They take their Bifröst
winter ale and start going nuts with it...

I think this is how their brewers handle the dark, zero holiday months between now and spring. They dream up crazy things to do with Bifröst.

Well it's begun. They're definitely rockin' out with their umlaut out this year. This week at their Capitol Hill location they had Elk Frost on tap. I didn't get a chance to ask what was in it but it was big, boozy, and all kinds of hopped up. Schooner size only. It was a pretty strong beer for my mushroom burger so next time I think I'll move up to something more suited to stand up to the Habanero chilies.

Here's a little background from what I can remember on some of their offerings last year.

-Brett Frost - Brett Sour bi frost
-Jack Frost - Jack Daniels barrel aged
-bye-bye Frost - double winter ale super hopped!
-Oak Frost - Oak barrel aged

At their winter fest they had a bunch more that escape me right now (no surprise after a few of those). If you're not sure how you're going to make it through the Seattle grey this winter, stop by your nearest Elysian brew pub and try whatever version of Bifröst they have on tap. It will definitely be worth walking out your door into the cold, dark, and rain.

Let's drink to our sanity everyone!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Founders Tasting at Haymarket Brewing In Chicago

If you are in Chicago this Wednesday, January 5th, get ready for a serious Founders Brewing tasting event at Haymarket Brewing.  They plan on featuring several Founders staples, such as the brilliant Red's Rye and Porter, but also several rare gems, including Nemesis and Black Biscuit.  There will be a Newaygo County Cherry that has been maple barreled.  The real star of the show will be Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout, the maple barreled Breakfast Stout brewed with bourbon that I previously wrote about. 

The tasting is at the new Haymarket Brewing at Halsted and Randolph in the West Loop.  It is highly recommended if you wish to try the brews of the Midwest's best brewery.