Hop Cast – Episode 37

Ken Hunnemeder and Brad Chmielewski serve up episode 37 of the Hop Cast with special guest Shannon DeWolfe. The three of them take another look at cherry beers. The first beer is the Lips of Faith Dark Kriek from New Belgium. The Lips of Faith, is a lambic coming in at 8.0%. They follow that up with the Cherry Stout from Bell’s Brewery. The Bell’s Cherry Stout comes in a tad higher at 8.50% ABV.

Download the Podcast (177.3 MB).

A Look At Dark Lord Day 2009

This years Three Floyds Dark Lord day was much better then last year. I’m not just saying that because Ken & I ended up leaving with some bottles of Dark Lord this year. The line to buy Dark Lord moved so much quicker. We ended up getting there at about 12:00, Don and Mitchell Radlund had gotten there before us and already had a place in line. Ken and I dropped off the beer we brought to trade and share and ran off to get a sample of the Dark Lord 09. The golden ticket allowed a free Dark Lord sample of the 09 version. The line for this took about 30 minutes to make it through and that was around 12:30 pm. At that time they hadn’t tapped any of the guest beers so the choices were Dark Lord or the standard Three Floyds line. So I could understand why everyone was in that line. Once we finally had our Dark Lord we got back in the main line to share the samples. The beer was great! Much more drinkable and more balanced then last years. While drinking the sample we traded a few beers and bought some tamales from a lady selling them. If you didn’t get tamales from this lady you should feel lucky, some of the worst I have ever had. But it was food and I didn’t want to wait in the food line until after I had bottles of Dark Lord in my hands. The line was moving pretty quickly. Maeve and Mitchell said they would hold our spot in line while Ken, Don and myself went to buy some Popskull. Having a separate place to buy the other beers was a great idea. There was no line for this so it was very easy to walk up and get a few other beers you wanted to pick up that day. At this point our spot in line was only about 100 people away from the Dark Lord bottles… I quickly ran back to the car to drop off some of our stuff and then as soon as I got back they were walking in to buy Dark Lord. All of us got out Golden Ticket limit of four bottles. They had a lot more people taking cash and giving out beer this year which I think was helping the line move faster. Dark Lord was now in hand and it was time to drop it off at the car and enjoy some more of the festival.

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The beer continued to flow all day. Along with the Dark Lord 09 sample we were able to sample the oak-aged and Vanilla Bean 2009 Dark Lord. These were on tap at the same place as the guest beers. The guest beer area was in a terrible location and was just a crowed mess. Some of the guest beers we were able to try were the Vintage Harvest Ale, Canadian Breakfast Stout and Oak-Aged with cherries Behemoth. I didn’t get to try any of the Stone beers which was a bummer, but there was so much other stuff I don’t think I missed it. One of the worst lines we stood in was the line to get into the brewpub but the payoff was huge. Inside the Three Floyds brewpub they had the 2008 Dark Lord and the Vanilla Bean and oak-aged version of that. Unfortunately the Vanilla Bean 2008 was gone by the time we got in. But the oak-aged 2008 was fabulous. They also had a ton of other beers inside to try… I could see why this line was so long and moved so slow. Around 4:00 / 5:00 pm they started selling more Golden Tickets to buy more Dark Lord. I still had some cash so figured I would grab another four to trade and share with people. In the end I walked away with a good amount of Dark Lord. Very happy with this years event. Three Floyds stepped it up big time after the disappointment of last year.

Something Three FloydsThree Floyds should think about is moving the food tent and line away from the brew pub line. All the lines got very confusing at points, something to separate things might of helped. Next year I might hang out and drink and then just grab my beer before I leave. No real need to wait in the line when you have a golden ticket.

HopCast Episode 36

Episode 36: Black Bear XX & Siberian Night

In Hop Cast episode 36, Ken Hunnemeder and Brad Chmielewski enjoy a couple different stouts. The first beer they sample and review is again, another one thanks to Maggie from Portland, OR and it is the Black Bear XX stout from Alameda Brewing. The Black Bear XX Stout comes in at a ABV of 6.8 % and an IBU of 50. The second beer they sample is a Russian Imperial Stout and it is the Siberian Night from Ohio brewery, Thirsty Dog. The Siberian Night has a ton of flavor and comes in at a ABV of 9.0% and an IBU of 58. Both these beers have won awards at the Great American Beer Festival, so you know its just not Ken and Brad who liked them.

Having issues listening to the video? Try the Quicktime (166.1 MB) or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.


I wasn’t planning on attending the 2nd annual RockFest this past Saturday. But a few friends who had tickets ended up not being able to go so there were some tickets up for grabs. I’m glad I was able to snag one of them because Rockfest was a solid beerfest. The event was held at the Rock Bottom in Chicago located at 1 W. Grand. It featured about 48 beers from seven of the midwest Rock Bottoms. The seven Rock Bottoms were Chicago, Des Moines, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Orland Park, Warrenville and Yorktown. Since all of the Rock Bottoms have their own brewmaster with their own recipes it was really interesting to try what should be the same beer from two different brewers. For example four of the brewers brought their version of the Naughty Scot and each one was slightly different. Which I guess is the whole point of RockFest, showcasing the differences in each beer by the brewmasters. The two Rock Bottoms that I thought brought their best to RockFest was the Chicago location and the Yorktown location. The Double Diamond Double IPA that Pete Crowley brewed just rocks! If you haven’t seen our interview with Pete be sure to check it out. Yorktown had a couple stand outs but the Cuvee du Sharon which is a Belgian Ale just had a nice creamy smooth taste. I believe the Yorktown Rock Bottom won the coveted golden bung hammer… not sure which beer they won the award for but they all were good so it was well deserved.

Rock Bottom might be a brewpub chain but this sort of festival shows that each one is doing something a little different. If you have a Rock Bottom in your area be sure to check it out, I’m sure you will find something you like. Next year if you can make it be sure to try and check out RockFest, I’ll be going again if I can.

Hop Cast – Episode 35

Buckbean Brewing, straight from Reno, Nevada sent Brad Chmielewski and Ken Hunnemeder a couple of their tasty canned beer for episode 35 of the Hop Cast. The first is Original Orange Blossom Ale which is a red ale. The second beer is the Black Noddy Lager which is a Schwarzbier or black beer. Both beers were unique and extremely tasty. The Hop Cast is very happy to spread the word about the good things Buckbean Brewing is doing.

Download the Podcast (125.6 MB).

HopCast Episode 34

Episode 34: Hair Of The Dog Blue Dot & Green Flash Imperial India Pale Ale

Ken Hunnemeder and Brad Chmielewski serve up episode 34 of the Hop Cast with two guests and two IPAs. Ken and Brad are joined by Brian Gallagher and Katie Sirles for this adventure in IPAs. The four of them sample and review the Blue Dot from Hair Of The Dog, which was specially brewed for earth day. They then move on to the Imperial India Pale Ale from Green Flash Brewing. Special thanks to Maura and Ted for the special beer from Hair Of The Dog.

Having issues listening to the video? Try the Quicktime (219.4 MB) or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.


Hop Cast – Special (Black Butte XX)

In this Hop Cast special Brad Chmielewski and Ken Hunnemeder sample and review the Black Butte XX from Deschutes Brewery. The Black Butte XX is an imperial version of their Black Butte Porter. It was brewed as part of the 20th anniversary Reserve Series. The Black Butte XX was brewed with Theo’s Chocolate cocoa nibs, 100 pounds of Bellatazza’s roasted coffee, and then a portion of it was aged in bourbon oak barrels. This big guy comes in at 11% ABV and 55 IBUs. A special thank you goes out to Maggie and Maeve for letting us enjoy this on the Hop Cast.

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Hop Cast – Episode 33

In this episode of the Hop Cast Ken Hunnemeder and Brad Chmielewski are at Rock Bottom Chicago talking with Senior Brewer Pete Crowley. The night this was shot was the release of the Double IPA. Pete explains how brewing at Rock Bottom works and shares his thoughts about the local Chicago beer community. Unfortunately there were some audio issues, so the sound isn’t quite up to standards.

Download the Podcast (138.5 MB).