Hop Cast – Episode 46

For episode 46 of the Hop Cast, Ken Hunnemeder  and Brad Chmielewski are joined by Dale and Chuck. Dale came all the way from South Dakota with a few cold ones for Ken and Brad to sample and review on the Hop Cast. The first beer the four of them sample is the canned classic Dale’s Pale Ale from Oskar Blues. Dale’s Pale Ale is an American Pale Ale coming in at 6.5% ABV. This is Dale’s favorite beer and since he knew Ken and Brad couldn’t get it here in Chicago he thought he would share it with them. The second beer them sample is the amarillo hopped Odell IPA from the Odell Brewing Company.  A big thanks to Dale and Chuck for being on the show and for sharing some beer that are difficult to find in the Chicago area.

Download the Podcast (250.2 MB).

Hop Cast – Episode 45

Brad Chmielewski and Ken Hunnemeder are at it again with episode 45 of the Hop Cast. This time the two of them are joined by Aggie Gilmore. Aggie said her favorite style of beer is the stout, so Brad went down to the cellar and pulled out a couple Russian Imperial goodies for them to try. Russian Imperial Stouts aren’t usually what you may reach for on a warm summer day but Brad, Ken and Aggie go for it anyway. The first beer they sample and review is the Rabid Duck from the fine folks at Duck-Rabbit. Duck-Rabbit it out in North Carolina and this Russian Imperial Stout comes in at a big 10%. They follow up the Duck-Rabbit with a Happy Ending. Sweetwater is no stranger to the Hop Cast. Brad & Ken have enjoyed pretty much everything they’ve been able to get their hands on from this brewery in the ATL.

Download the Podcast (201.6 MB).

HopCast Episode 44

Episode 44: Ninkasi’s Spring Reign & Deschutes Red Chair

Ken Hunnemeder and Brad Chmielewski are joined by Steve Siwinski for episode 44 of the Hop Cast. In this episode the three of them sample and review a few beers from the fine state of Oregon. The first beer they knock back in the Spring Reign from Ninkasi Brewing. Ninkasi’s Spring Reign is an American Blonde Ale coming in at 6.0% ABV. After that they move onto something Ken and Brad are no strangers to… a nice American IPA. This IPA is the Red Chair from Deschutes Brewery coming in at 6.4% ABV.

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Beer Of The Month – June

Half Acre - Daisy Cutter

Ken Hunnemeder and Brad Chmielewski have decided to start a beer of the month feature. For the month of June, the Hop Cast is going local and declaring Half Acre’s Daisy Cutter Pale Ale the beer of the month. The Daisy Cutter is a West Coast Strong Pale Ale with a blend of five different hops that creates a powerful nose and a dynamic flavor. It should pour a hazy golden amber with a small to average frothy white head. The aroma of hops, grapefruit and pine should come out nicely. Hop lovers should be ready for a treat as soon as they take the first sip. The bitter taste from hops will hit right away but never seem to take over and make it too bitter, it stays somewhat light. There are also some good citrus notes that help to balance out the sweet malts. All around a great beer and after a few drinks you will see why Ken and Brad declared it June beer of the month. A few people have compared the Daisy Cutter to Alpha King so, if you’re a fan of that fresh hop flavor you get from an good APA then Daisy Cutter is worth checking out! Finding it is the tricky part, according to Andy Farley (seeandyspin) Half Acre is having a hard time keeping up with demand for this. So the 22 oz bombers are going to be hard to find, but the good news is that you can find it on tap around Chicago. A few places we know have Daisy Cutter on tap are Quenchers and Hopleaf.

A big shout out to Half Acre and for what they are producing at their brew house at 4257 N. Lincoln Ave.

For The Love Of Hops 2009

For The Love Of Hops Ticket

Being a Two Brothers Brewing fan and a lover of the Hops, I was really excited to go to the For The Love Of The Hops festival. Before going I somehow built up the festival in my head. I think it was due to the fact that Two Brothers was posting facebook and twitter updates for weeks before the thing kicked off. They posted every new guest keg that they were getting and with each post I was getting more and more excited. Also since Three Floyds Dark Lord Day was an incredible event a few months ago I thought For The Love Of The Hops might be just as good.

On Saturday afternoon I drove out to Warrenville with Maeve Price in the front seat, and Ken Hunnemeder and Charlie Drews riding in the back. The Two Brothers brewery isn’t too far from Chicago and its right off the expressway, so it makes for an easy trip. The parking at the brewery wasn’t as bad as Three Floyds but we did end up having to park about two blocks away. When we first walked in we had our IDs checked and were given wrist bands. Then we had to wait in the line to buy tickets for the beer and food. This was one of the slowest lines we had to wait in all day. The tickets seemed like a good idea, it keeps the people pouring the beer from having to deal with cash and should speed up the pouring lines. Each ticket cost $6 and got you one beer. Some of those beers came in 9 oz glasses and some came in 20 oz glasses. Overall $6 for a beer felt a bit expensive, especially when all of the beers I wanted to try came in a 9 oz glass. On any other day you visit the Two Brothers Brew Pub, most of the beers are only $4 and the other ones like the Northwind are $5. Charging two extra dollars for a beer brewed on site is ridiculous, if anything all the Two Brothers beers besides the Hop Juice should of been on special for like $3 for the event, not marked up in price.

So we got our tickets and then went to get a glass of beer, the four of us ended up getting a Hop Juice right away since that was what this festival was for. The Hop Juice was good and a damn fine DIPA. It is smooth and thick at the same time with a the booze burn bringing up the rear. Being 10 % ABV this guy packs a huge punch. The four of us ended up finding a table inside and basically planted ourself there. About 45 minutes after we showed up and one Hop Juice into the festival Stephen, Selina, and Brad Stark showed up and joined us at the table. From then on every 45 minutes a few of us would go wait in the guest tap line for the next beer to be released and then bring 9 oz glasses back. Just about every guest beer would run out 10 minutes after the keg was tapped. So we made sure to get there extra early especially for the Avery Voltron and Surly Darkness. To be honest I’m not a sour beer fan so the greatness of the Voltron was lost on me. But Ken, Stephen and Brad Stark loved it and declared it best in show. My personal two favorites were the Surly Darkness, and the almond cream soda from Two Brothers. I know, a cream soda. But is was really good and both Maeve and Selina agreed it rocked.

We ended up leaving just after the Surly Darkness was tapped since the last couple guest beers didn’t interest us as much as the Avery Voltron  and the Surly Darkness. For this being the Hop Juice release party I was kind of shocked I only had one 9 oz glass of Hop Juice. Unfortunately Ken and I didn’t get any video at the For The Love Of The Hops festival, so you will just have to enjoy the photos. Maybe we will review a bottle of the 2009 Hop Juice on an upcoming episode. Overall the festival was fun, good beer – even if it was a tad expensive, tasty food, live music and not too crowded. If Two Brothers has the event next year I might check it out but I won’t be expecting as much next time. Finally, if you’re in the area be sure to check out the brewery they have tours every saturday at 1:00 and 2:30.

Hop Cast – Episode 43

Brad Chmielewski and Ken Hunnemeder bring you episode 43 of the Hop Cast with special guest John Burkett. The three of them take a look at two beers JB brought back from Real Ale Brewing on his recent trip to Texas. The first beer they sample is the Fireman’s #4 which is an American Blonde Ale coming in at 5.10% ABV. They follow that up with another brew from Real Ale, the Full Moon Pale Rye Ale which comes in a tad higher at 5.60% ABV. Real Ale Brewing is doing some good things down in Texas and both beers are a recommended pick up. Big Thanks to JB for bringing these back to share on the Hop Cast.

Download the Podcast (147.3 MB).