Hop Cast – Episode 151: Flossmoor Station Collaborative Evil & Beelzebeer

In episode 151 of the Hop Cast Ken Hunnemeder and Brad Chmielewski are joined by Brad Stark . The three of them crack open two beers that were sitting in the cellar for a while. Both beers are from Flossmoor Station and were brewed by former head brewer Bryan Shimkos. Bryan is currently brewing at Half Acre and we personally look forward to seeing what he brings to the team there. While Bryan was at Flossmoor he brewed some fantastic limited edition beers. These are two of them. The first beer they open is the Collaborative Evil. The Collaborative Evil is a very interesting project. In 2008, three brewers decided to create a beer recipe and then brew it at their respective brewhouses. Then in 2009, six more breweries and brewers were brought in including Bryan from Flossmoor Station. The base style for this year is a Belgian-inspired Strong Pale. It was intended to get all the beers to the Great American Beer Festival in Denver so that they could be served at the same time under one roof. After tasting this deadly collaboration ale the three of them move on to the 11 % American Strong Ale called Beelzebeer Batch #666. With Halloween right around the corner it seemed like the perfect time to pull these devilish brews from the cellar.

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Hop Cast – Episode 150: Great Lakes Brew Fest

Ken Hunnemeder and Brad Chmielewski are back on location in Racine, Wisconsin for the 2011 Great Lakes Brewfest. But this year the location has been moved to the Racine Zoo. For the past three years Ken and Brad have been to the Great Lakes Brewfest and recorded an episode each time. The two of them couldn’t miss a chance to go again and being at the zoo this year made it an easy decision. In this episode, they feature some great beers from the state of Wisconsin. Brad and Ken also had a chance to talk with the folks behind a new brewery in Indiana, Devils Trumpet. If you’re in the midwest, the Great Lakes Brewfest is a good time and worth checking out next year.

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Bike The Breweries 2

Join Brad and Ken as they bike 20 miles and try and stop at 12 of the Chicago brewpubs and breweries. All locations are not yet confirmed and depending on operation hours, stops may not be made. Either way it should be a fun ride. At each stop we are allowing 30 – 45 minutes for beer, water or snacks Be sure to bring extra bike tubes and tools in case you run into any flats on the way.

Due to the overwhelming response for last years Bike The Breweries we had to limit the amount of people who can attend. We really appreciate the positive response from everyone on this event but we need to limit this event. There are a few reason we had to limit the amount of people, first and foremost it was a safety concern, with such a large group of people biking together we wanted to make sure no one gets hurt. Second there is no way we can show up to a bar or brewery with 100 people or find enough places for everyone to lock up their bikes at each location. Finally due to the tight schedule we are on if we have to wait for 100 people to get a beer then we don’t think the event will be very fun for everyone or would we be able to stick to a schedule. Be sure to RSVP on the twtvite page, spaces are limited so if you don’t think you’ll make it please do not confirm. Also Brad is working on getting some shirt printed and we will have them for sale for $10.00 each. What better way to remember the ride then with a great shirt.

Hop Cast – Episode 149: Black Star Double Hopped Golden Lager

Ken Hunnemeder and Brad Chmielewski are still enjoying beers in the backyard on the couch in episode 149. Rather than reaching for more hopped up ales the two of them reach for a lager. This episode they try the Black Star Double Hopped Golden Lager from Great Northern Brewing Co. This 4.6 % ABV beer is a nice treat to drink instead of those low quality macro-lager cans which seem to dominate the market. Definitely a beer both Ken and Brad wouldn’t mind seeing on tap in Chicago to cool down those warm summer days. What was really fun about this episode was getting to see if the bottle beer and canned beer taste any different. There are a lot of different factors that could effect the taste of the beers but it was great to see the outcome. Drinking in the back yard, the can makes for the superior choice and is the winner for us.

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Hop Cast – Episode 148: Dogfish Head Olde School

Its time for a little vertical tasting in episode 148 of the HopCast. Ken Hunnemeder and Brad Chmielewski have been sitting on these two bottles of Dogfish Head Olde School Barleywine for quite a while. They picked up the 2004 and 2008 bottles while they were out at the Dogfish Head brewery a few years ago. This beer was a perfect example of what proper cellaring can accomplish. Keep an eye out for this beer, its usually available in November. Olde School is around 15% ABV so when you are ready to taste it, either cellared or fresh, make sure to share some with others!

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Beer Of The Month – September

It might not be October just yet but it’s right around the corner and all those Oktoberfest beers are already hitting the shelves and selling out fast. For the September beer of the month we are picking the Two Brothers Atom Smasher. Originally released last year and named after the largest particle accelerator laboratory in US Fermilab, which is right down the street from the brewery. This beer from Two Brothers blasts aways what you typically think of when you think of those big steins of Oktoberfest beers being passed around.

The Atom Smasher pours out a cloudy light pumpkin color with almost no head. The aroma is sweet and funky with a slight bit of oak. When you first take a sip be sure to take a couple before making up your mind about this beer because there is a lot going on and your palate needs to adjust to that oak aged flavor. That rich malt really comes through and then the oak washes in welcoming something new to a familiar style. The hops are a nice dry and bitter finish. At 7.7 % ABV, it’s sweet but overall well balanced and put together. It’s an easy one to knock back but watch out that 7.7 % ABV can sneak up on you.

If you’re looking for something that is creamy and smooth and has a bit more flavor than your typical Oktoberfest beer then this one is worth picking up.

Hop Cast – Episode 147: Sixpoint Sweet Action & Bengali Tiger

For episode 147 Brad Chmielewski and Ken Hunnemeder are joined by Jake Williams. The three of them crack open a few cans from Sixpoint that Lee Williams, aka Hoptopia was nice enough to drop off with us on his way out west. Both of these beers are lower in ABV and meant to be session ales. So you’ll have little trouble knocking back a few of these tall boys and then going about your day. The first beer the three of them open is the Sweet Action. This is an extremely well balanced Cream Ale, which is exactly what you want to see from this style. Next up was the 6.4% Bengali Tiger IPA. After seeing so many hopped up IPAs and Pale Ales it was great to see a beer that was balanced and not overly hopped. Both were decent beers and it makes sense why this brewery has taken off. If you’re in New York, enjoy!

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