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Though it may not be considered all that popular, the brown ale is resilient. Craft brewers have been making them for decades, and even now it’s more common to see a hyped-up brewery release a brown as a change-of-pace. To dig deeper into English and American Brown Ales, we drink a mix of five from near and far. Craig also turns this show into his …
 
Starting a sour-focused brewery comes with a unique set of challenges, especially when you enter the market in the midst of a pandemic. But Odious Cellars founder and head brewer Reeve Joseph forged ahead, lucking upon the facility at Pilot Project to help accelerate his beer-school dreams of producing exquisite sour and mixed culture beers. We tal…
 
In a city called Lafayette, somewhat between Denver and Boulder, Zach Nichols runs his farmhouse-focused brewery, Cellar West Artisan Ales. In under five years, the brewery has won two GABF medals, moved to a new location, and expanded their operation, including a side-label focused on trendier styles. Zach was kind enough to send us five of his be…
 
We might as well send off 2020 on an upbeat note and just get wild with the ingredients, so we let it all hang out on this mixed five pack of barrel-aged variant stouts from local breweries. Each of these releases represents a fun little twist on its barrel-aged base, and we’re going to need a new word for “adjunct.” In addition to our reviews, we …
 
The imperial oatmeal stout at the heart of it all, Deth’s Tar may have seemed like a fun little pun back when it first came out of barrels in the early part of the decade, but now it’s clearly the centerpiece of the best barrel-aged series in the city. We enlist the help of Revolution’s own barrel wizard Marty Scott to join us via Zoom to talk all …
 
Coffee was once the only adjunct a good stout needed, until recent years has brought the entire pastry case with it. So finding five barrel-aged stouts with just coffee added was a bit of a challenge - but it’s a welcome reminder that sometimes all you need is coffee. (And love? Probably love, too.) These five locally-made coffee stouts saw a small…
 
Barrel-aged December is now officially underway, and we’re delighted to crack open four medal-winning Illinois beers from this year’s Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beers. Appropriately enough, the barrels are the star of the show, as these four very different styles are presented without additional adjuncts - just wood-made magic. Also, we have …
 
If there’s ever been a month for careless indulgence, it would be December of 2020, so we’re going full-on dessert and pastry beer for this episode. These five entries have us nostalgic for vacation ice cream shoppes, cozy breakfast diners, and gourmet popcorn stores - despite some initial fears. Also, we are stocking our rage rooms, admiring the S…
 
Once more of a niche taproom-only style, the Triple IPA has become a more common sight on the shelves thanks to craft beer customers who never say no to more. Hazy or not, these five beers are aiming for the target between too sweet or too strong, and a few veer a bit off course. But they’re still fun to drink, and we find ourselves in mid-show for…
 
We’re on flavor sabbatical for a week, so we’re looking around for minor trends to cover that we haven’t properly explored. As a twist on the traditional German lager, Mexican-Style lagers usually use maize or corn as part of the grain bill, but we find that no two American-made takes on this style are the same. (Thankfully!) There’s also an ongoin…
 
For a few years running, Cruz Blanca’s Luchador series has been perhaps the most inspired and creative lineup of the holy trinity of Chicago barrel-aged beer special releases. We get a mouthful on this episode, as we drink through all eight of these big and burly beers aged in a seemingly endless number of different barrels. And it’s only half stou…
 
In preparation for a Black Friday like never before, we got a chance to sample through this year’s full lineup of Goose Island’s Bourbon County to help you decide exactly how many online lotteries to enter. Though there are no headline-grabbers like Double Barrel or Rare this year, the seven beer lineup is impressively consistent, even though our i…
 
As if this year hasn’t been cruel enough, we once again try and assemble a tapestry of nightmares out of old and bad beers. Each host brings the three worst beers they could find to this modified remote version of our yearly late October tradition, and the results are not at all what we would’ve expected. Also, Ryan is trying to make his kids not s…
 
In need of a haze hiatus but unwilling to give up our hop addiction, we are ISO IBUs as we sample through five West Coast-style IPAs to travel back to a time of malt, bitterness, and clarity. It was exactly what we needed, as this lineup becomes one of the best front-to-back that we’ve had in a while. Also, we add some utility to our quarantine war…
 
For the first time since this podcast started almost seven years ago, there’s no trip to Denver to drink beer at the Great American Beer Festival - and we’re feeling a little sad about it. So we embark on a gleefully nostalgic and self-indulgent episode, wherein we revisit some favorite memories (and interviews) from the first five years at GABF al…
 
It’s as good a time as ever to take time to chill with some simple and refreshing pilsners, so we try to lower our resting heart rates through a little lager love. We drink five different pilsners that offer a surprising amount of variation for the style, and we try not to let the prospect of arbitrary rankings stress us out. Also, we workshop some…
 
Enshrouded in a dark and mysterious energy, Illuminated Brew Works has become a cult favorite in Chicago - because they are probably an actual cult. Our initial apprehension becomes open-armed acceptance as we ingest Five Sacraments of IBW, and dabble in the mystic arts. (Actually, we just use a really bad online Ouija board, but hey, we’re trying!…
 
In a state chock full of great hazy IPA producers, More and Phase Three still stand amongst the best and most-revered. The fact that they have an intertwined history adds to the stakes of our totally arbitrary blind battle of the haze wherein one brewery will be crowned winner, and the other will be crowned, “still very excellent.” We also attempt …
 
Soon to be celebrating their 4th year in business, Old Irving Brewing has established itself as one of the best brewpubs in the city - with the hardware to prove it. This episode features an interview with owner and head brewer Trevor Rose-Hamblin, who tells the story of OIB, his culinary background and its influence on the brewpub, that GABF medal…
 
We held out so long on seltzers, until the exact moment when we saw some of our favorite breweries releasing their takes on the flavored malt beverage craze. Are they any more refined or impressive than the tacky trendsetters filling a million Yeti coolers and frat house fridges? (And we would know, because we drank five of the highest-selling big …
 
When a brewery releases a double dry-hopped version of one of their go-to hoppy beers, it’s often a surefire hit with consumers. Though it has somehow become synonymous with hazy beers, double dry-hopping has a longer history of adding bombastic hop aromas to beers as far back as the 1970s in the U.S. But does the added “DDH” really level up the be…
 
After delousing in quarantine for 14 days, our Kansas show is ready to bring our State Show series up to #24, with the help of loyal listener Don Kasak. We traverse the state via quaffable liquid as we review five beers from five Kansas breweries - and no IPAs or stouts are in sight! Also, we come to terms with a terrible truth about our listeners;…
 
Quite possibly Chicago’s best brewery, Off Color still doesn’t make an IPA - nor do they have any plans to. And that’s quite alright. Seven years in, this little critter-lovin’ brewery continues to build one of the best brands around while furthering a stellar collection of esoteric small batches and inspired flavor combinations. We catch up with f…
 
Our passion for barrel-aged beers doesn’t disappear in August - it achieves a steady simmer below the surface, always ready to unleash itself when the opportunity arises. For this episode we have five barrel-aged beers - all different styles of beer and all from local breweries, four of which we interviewed when they were just starting out in the C…
 
Recent years have seen a surprising emergence of Chicago as one of the top destinations for hop enthusiasts, bolstered by a few well-publicized national medals and hype-inducing haze makers. But there were those that helped reshape our palates in the early days: the local leaders of hops. For this show, we review five hoppy beers (Oops! All Hazy) f…
 
So, was anyone going to tell us that gose puns weren’t cool anymore? Well, at least the beers are better than they’ve ever been as we sample five enhanced goses from local breweries that only leave us feeling a little salty. Pineapples, coconuts, lavender, lactose - what won’t these crazy breweries put in a gose these days?!? Also, we address the h…
 
Once we accepted the cancellation of beer fests for the foreseeable future, we knew we had a hole to fill. A farmhouse hole. So, we do our best to recreate one of our favorite annual events - our annual Illinois Craft Beer Week event, Saisonathon - by drinking a wide array of saisons from the comfort of our own homes. There are eight wildly differe…
 
If it seems that the string of 90-degree days will never end, well have we got a beer style for you. Berliner weisses experienced a considerable rejuvenation in the last five years, but they’ve also recently become synonymous with overfruited slurry beers that buck any sense of tradition. On this show, we seek five local Berliners that add fruit wh…
 
If it’s been a while since you’ve last visited a craft bottle shop, you’ll likely encounter a whole new slew of labels from local breweries to explore. We pick up five beers from a few breweries we know and from a few we don’t to hopefully help you navigate those crowded shelves. Meanwhile, Ryan’s tenure as the mayor of Hazytown is short-lived; Cra…
 
After months of curbside-only beer shopping, craft bottle shops have opened their doors to customers looking to pluck some single cans off the shelves in hopes of discovering a few new favorites. We did just that at The Open Bottle in Tinley Park, finding five beers from out-of-state breweries to check out, leading us to one mystery after another. …
 
By the time you hit that third Zoom meeting of the day, you’re likely thinking about a beer to drink discretely that won’t get you in trouble. On this episode, we have five very different beers that all land under 6 percent, which should keep you out of trouble with HR. Craig seeks out some movie recommendations, Ryan wishes he had a Willi, and we …
 
Even though people are chasing pre-orders instead of trucks these days, Hop Butcher is still as hot as ever thanks to their consistent schedule of mostly hoppy - and mostly hazy - releases. The variation amongst these six beers is surprisingly significant, despite all being some sort of play on IPA. This episode is a tribute to what this brewery ha…
 
Soothing that early summer heat with big ol’ glasses of lactose and hops, we’re sharing shakes from afar this week with the hopes of better understanding our complicated relationship with this popular style. We have five very different milkshake IPAs from some local favorites and - GASP - there may be a grifter in our midst! Other childish talking …
 
Since you won’t find either of us sitting on some coffeehouse patio anytime soon, we’re bringing the coffee home in the form of five stouts. While they all deliver the caffeine and the booze, each beer stands on its own unique merits - or is a victim of context. But we’re also here to get Craig prepped to audition for the new Supermarket Sweep, inc…
 
Here’s hoping that we can talk you out of attending that backyard barbecue by offering up this refreshing bowl of audio fruit salad to help your summer isolation feel a bit more festive. We have five different fruited beers that really span the range from “pleasant fruit accessory” to “chunky berry sludge” - and they honestly succeed in ways we did…
 
When you’ve been around as long as Stone, you’re bound to take some lumps. And lumps we have delivered in the past by subjecting Stone beers to undeserved spots on our Torture Test episodes. Thanks to Lizzie at Stone, we are finally able to give the brewery its first proper set of arbitrary reviews, and we only ignore one “enjoy by” date in this ep…
 
We were already becoming very good at staying home and drinking copious amounts of lager before this whole mess, so it’s only natural that we shelter-in-place with a rich lineup of bottom-fermenting beers. Featuring six different lager styles from six Midwestern breweries, this episode highlights impressive flavor and mouthfeel variations so we act…
 
This week, we celebrate the resilience of local breweries and bottle shops that are still finding a way to keep getting hazy IPAs into the begloved fans of the juice. Though not necessarily the most hyped haze producers in the area, the five breweries on this show prove to be absolutely worth your contact-free dollar. We have a rare first-timer on …
 
Craig extends his curbside to wherever he may roam, and after a month of quarantine, he hit up Milwaukee, carbound and down to score some more Third Space. After our visit last July, we’ve been thirsting for more from this brewery that’s just a Christian Yelich homerun away from Brewers’ stadium. We have a nice variety of five beers, and we take in…
 
As we continue our shelter-in-place recordings, this time we’ve got a somewhat random mix of dark beers to distract us from *gestures broadly* and get us nearly incoherent by rankings time. Whether teeming with adjuncts or not, these five Midwestern porters and stouts compete in the Pretty Head Competition while the show becomes robust with distrac…
 
We’re sheltered-in-place and slamming way more of some killer hoppy beers than normal, because we don’t actually have to share. In our first remotely-recorded episode, we overcome a brief technical glitch before returning to what feels very normal: Craig and Ryan fumbling through flavor descriptors while distracting each other with random stories f…
 
In lieu of, you know, actual travelling, we’re taking our tastebuds down to Kentucky thanks to our good friend Sarah Rehmer. As our last in-person recording for a while, we couldn’t have expected that a show with five different Kentucky beers would have so many standouts - along with one just hateful beer. We’re building 90s quarantine playlist, cl…
 
We can all use a heaping helping of beer-based nostalgia right now, so we spend an hour drinking and talking about one of the most significant craft breweries Chicagoland has ever known: 3 Floyds. For the first time ever, we have five different beers from the Munster, Indiana-based brewery represented, including three that really get us story-telli…
 
Because, what else are we going to do? A while back, Ryan bought three French presses and was determined to make an absolute mess of some good beers for your entertainment. Craig picked out six beers from local breweries in a range of styles, and we drink and review those beers as normal before cramming a bunch of cookies into them and sampling the…
 
It’s good to have friends back East, as listener Mike Bobal sent us a box of New Jersey delights to reacquaint us with beers of the Garden State. And yeah, we snuck a ringer on. But there are many great beers to celebrate on this show, as we ponder many important questions. What kind of uncle will Craig be? Is a notebook technically a tree? Why doe…
 
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