Get to the Pint

6 years
ago

 

Go West

There’s late to the party, and then there’s so late to the ball that Cinderella has already turned back into a scullery wench. Case in point: West Lakeview Liquors, ranked the nation’s ninth-best beer store by ratebeer.com and the only Chicago retailer to crack the top 20, celebrated its 20th anniversary this year on the corner of Addison and Leavitt Streets—but I only found it last week. Fortunately, some wrongs can be righted. Get this Cinderella a beer…

6 years
ago

 

Real Good Beer

While Chicago confronted what sounds like a hailstorm of biblical proportions last week, Texas, where I had road tripped, was busy sandwiching the half-hearted tropical storm Edouard with raging, relentless, stick-to-the-car-seat heat. What better way to wash down rain and rampant sweat than with more moisture, in the form of cold beer? If you’re ever in the Texas Hill Country—that incongruous swath of elevation that rides the Lone Star State’s belly like a giant belt buckle—find yourself a bottle of…

6 years
ago

 

Six Degrees of Pierre Celis

If the name Pierre Celis doesn’t ring a bell, maybe his hometown will: Hoegaarden, Belgium—as in the birthplace of the beer that continues to collect trophies from here to eternity, including Best Belgian-Style White at this year’s World Beer Cup. (Hoegaarden, by the way, is now brewed by InBev, the company that just bought Anheuser-Busch. Pay attention. There will be a quiz.)…

6 years
ago

 

Mammas, Don’t Let Your Pizzas Grow Up to Be Beers

Frat boys across the nation, rejoice! The rest of us (spoiler alert): Meh. Behold, Mamma Mia! Pizza Beer. Any resemblance to ABBA or Meryl Streep is purely coincidental.

Thanks to devout garage brewers Tom and Athena Seefurth of suburban Campton Township, we now know the answer to that age-old 3 a.m. question: What would happen if we mated pizza and beer? Hint: Some pairings make better friends than lovers. The beer, now brewed by Sprecher in Wisconsin, earns points for originality (yes, that is basil, garlic, oregano, and tomato you smell…

6 years
ago

 

Brotherly Love

The stars were aligned.

I’d just about given up on a former neighborhood favorite, Kuma’s Corner. There are only so many times you can hear “45-minute wait” before you gather your dignity and look elsewhere for ridiculously oversized burgers and ear-splitting heavy metal. But last night, signs pointed tentatively to yes: A full day of ominous skies meant the patio crowd might have stayed away, and, if we hustled, we could scoot in a hair before 7 p.m., the hour when all bets are off. Plus, I was…

6 years
ago

 

The Odd Couple

We’re in the beer. This summer has seen two new brewpubs pop up in the greater Chicago area, although they couldn’t be more different. Think town and country: One is stationed in an already established bar, smackdab in the midst of Drinktown Central (i.e. Wicker Park); the other is nestled in the idyllic Northwest Indiana enclave of Crown Point. The two brewmasters, however, share a pedigree that includes degrees from Chicago’s Siebel Institute, stints at Goose Island, and a boundless enthusiasm for beer. We talked to both…

6 years
ago

 

My Big, Fat Beer Weekend

New Belgium Brewing’s past is inextricably linked with biking: Then-homebrewer Jeff Lebesch found his beer muse while cycling through the Belgian countryside nearly 20 years ago, and that trip is forever memorialized by the brewery’s signature amber ale, Fat Tire, named in honor of Lebesch’s trusty, big-treaded mountain bike. Today, the Fort Collins, Colorado, brewery’s lean, green, eco-friendly mandate inspires such events as the 11-city Tour de Fat, a traveling-road-show slash bike-gospel-tent-revival slash suds-fest that rolls into Palmer Square this Saturday, the 21st (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; free; intersection of Palmer Street and Kedzie Avenue; proceeds benefit West Town Bikes). The event centers on one person…

6 years
ago

 

Just Say Oui

If, on a map of Wisconsin, you drew one line north from Madison and another west from Green Bay, those lines would intersect, allowing for a degree of artistic license, in Amherst, Wisconsin, home to Central Waters Brewing Company.

Until Memorial Day weekend—the bulk of which I spent shivering at a lakeside campsite in chilly Wisconsin—I’d never heard of Central Waters. For me, the ulterior motive behind any Wisconsin trip is restocking my inventory of New Glarus, the beer that first piqued my curiosity in Midwestern microbrews…

6 years
ago

 

Separating the Schlaf from the Chaff

You’ve got to love the little guy.

Deep in the heart of Bud country, Schlafly is sticking it to The Man one all-American ale at a time. Launched in 1991 and bearing a subtly audacious tagline, “The Saint Louis Brewery,” the microbrew mecca turns out six no-nonsense beers year round (a pale ale, a pilsner—almost as if the brewmasters were trying to prove simple beer can still taste good), as well as a lengthy roster of more adventurous seasonals, including…

6 years
ago

 

Great Scott?

My evil plan is working.

Writing about beer means that globe-trotting friends now feel compelled to lug choice brews—beady-eyed customs officials and baggage weight limits be damned—across land and sea to satisfy my beer tooth. Insert devilish cackle here.

My pal Venus spent the last nine months in Paris eating pastries and writing a dissertation on French agricultural history. I spent the last nine months trying not to kill the plants she left behind. When she returned last week, she came bearing beer as a thank-you. But not just any beer. The one that got away: Adelscott

6 years
ago

 

The Dark Side

The early bird gets the beer. Me, I got a sip.

Saturday was Dark Lord Day, the annual release of Three Floyds‘ Dark Lord, a Russian-style imperial stout that’s earned a cult-like following for its rarity as well as its ability, at 13 percent alcohol, to show casual drinkers the floor. When I visited the brewery in December, our tour guide talked the event up big. People come from Japan, he said. People camp out just to be sure they get their rationed six bottles before the near-mythic brew sells out. Hm, I thought. People travel from Japan to Munster, Indiana, for beer? OK, sure…

6 years
ago

 

That Wheach Doesn’t Kill Us

Turns out you can judge a beer by its six-pack. Meet Wheach, the “peach wheat beer” from Missouri’s O’Fallon Brewery that comes in a big yellow carton with its very own mascot. No, that’s not Pac-Man. It’s a peach.

In honor of four consecutive days of yes-god-there-is-a-spring weather, I went looking for the sunniest beer I could find—and I defy anyone to top this baby, a spiked popsicle of a sipper just released on April 1st ($11.99 at Vas Foremost, 2300 N. Milwaukee Ave.)

6 years
ago

 

For Whom the Bell Tolls

My very first beer was a Heineken from a vending machine in a cheap Amsterdam hostel. At the time, I thought the bitter, swill-like flavor was exacerbated by the sweetness of some dried pineapple I was eating alongside it. Turns out that’s just Heineken. But a few weeks later, I had my first sips of something truly inspiring, Brasserie Fischer’s Adelscott, a complex lager brewed with a secret weapon: peat-smoked malt whiskey. Now that was a beer.

That’s not to say I know much about beer—but I’m learning, and I’ll be chronicling it here, in a new weekly Web feature called Get to the Pint…