HopCast Episode 167

Episode 167: Polar Beer Festival

Brad Chmielewski and Ken Hunnemeder brave the Chicago winter and head to the roof of Rock Bottom Chicago to drink and dance at the 2nd Annual Polar Beer Festival. With over 30 beers on tap between the roof and in the downstairs warming room, it was was a great festival. It’s great to see so many craft beer fans coming out for a (mostly) outdoor winter beer festival. Brad and Ken had the chance to chat with Rock Bottom Chicago head brewer Chris Rafferty to find out why he chose to do a winter beer festival and what he has planned for the future. They also had a chance to talk with Bolingbrook Gordon Biersch brewer John Wyzkiewicz who had one of Brad and Ken’s favorite beers of the day. For this Fest only being in its second year and being outdoors in the winter, it was an amazing turn out. We definitely can’t wait for next years.

Having issues watching this video? Try the Quicktime (277.8 MB).

HopCast Episode 166

Episode 166: Barrel Aged Blackout Stout & Firestone Walker 15

In episode 166 of the Hop Cast Ken Hunnemeder and Brad Chmielewski are joined by good friend Charlie Drews. The three of them reach for a couple barrel aged beers Brad has lying around. The first is the barrel aged version of Great Lakes Blackout Stout. The original version is a fantastic beer and is a favorite to order when it’s on tap in Chicago. Sadly this version of Blackout Stout might of been hanging around in the cellar a little too long. But being aged in oak barrels, it makes for a different flavor then you typically see from all these bourbon barrel aged beers. For the second barrel aged beer, they dive into Firestone Walker’s Fifteenth Anniversary. This beer is truly unique, blending together 8 beers; Helldorado, Sticky Monkey, Bravo, Double Double Barrel Ale, Good Foot, Velvet Merkin, Parabola, and Double Jack. If you weren’t able to pick up a bottle when it was released you might have a tricky time getting a taste of this but if you see it or know a friend who has a bottle, be sure to try it if you can.

Cheers and thanks for watching the Hop Cast.

Having issues watching this video? Try the Quicktime (378.4 MB) or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.

Beer Of The Month – February

This tasty beer has been making a huge splash all across the US. so we are making Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro February’s beer of the month. If you’ve ever had this beer on nitro at a bar and wanted to have that same experience at home, here’s your chance. First off, make sure you pour this beer into a glass, you are going to miss a lot if you try and drink this from the bottle. When you do pour it out, follow Ken’s advice and pour it with balls. Don’t worry if you are using a proper glass, it shouldn’t overflow. You’ll get about two fingers of very creamy off white coffee colored head that slowly dissipates into a creamy top. This beer is dark so if you hold it up to the light you’re not going to see anything. The aroma of coffee and chocolate drifts from the glass. It’s a welcome and familiar smell that you really can’t wait to taste. The mouthfeel is smooth and light. Don’t expect a heavy beer here. The flavors of chocolate, cocoa powder and milky sweetness rush through followed by that coffee and roasted malts. You’ll be glad you picked up an entire six pack after that first sip because you’re going to want more. To see a craft brewery invest this much time and energy into developing this beer is fantastic. Cheers to Left Hand and have a great February.

HopCast Episode 165

Episode 165: A Discussion With Pete Crowley On Cellaring

Ken Hunnemeder and Brad Chmielewski sit down with Pete Crowley in the barrel room of Haymarket Pub & Brewery. After a long stout tasting with a group of friends the three of them recall some of their favorites and discuss the issues with cellaring beers. For them the stand out beers of the night were mainly the fresher or newer beers. Most of the cellaring didn’t improve the beers. Pete shares why cellaring your beers really isn’t the best idea for a lot of beers. Although they may age for five to ten years in the bottle you are going to lose some of the qualities that the brewer wanted to achieve when they first brewed the beer.

While cellaring beer can be a fun experiment, it doesn’t always produce great results. Cheers and thanks for watching the Hop Cast.

Having issues watching this video? Try the Quicktime (221.9 MB) or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.

Below is the list of beers we sampled at the Stout Tasting that night.

2010 Bruery Black Tuesday
2011 Bruery Black Tuesday
2009 Surly Darkness
2008 Surly Darkness
Firestone Walker 15
2007 BCS
2011 BCS
2011 Coffee BCS
BCS Rare
Barrel Aged Santas little helper
2008 KBS
2011 KBS
2011 CSB
Brew Dog Paradox
2010 Big Eddy Rye
2010 Big Eddy BBA
Old Rasputin 14
Nebraska Brewing Black Betty
2008 Dark Lord
2009 Dark Lord
2010 Dark Lord
2011 Dark Lord
2011 Brandy Dark Lord
2011 Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Lord
2009 Black-Ops
Heartwood
Fitgers Bourbon Barrel Aged stout
Jackie o’s Kopi Luwak

Hop Cast – Episode 164: Eugene, Weegene & Hugene

In episode 164 of the Hop Cast Brad Chmielewski and Ken Hunnemeder are at The Farmhouse bar in Chicago. They had a rare opportunity to sample Revolution Brewing’s Eugene, Weegene & Hugene outside of the brewery. Eugene is the standard robust porter that you’ll usually find on tap at the brewery. Hugene is a humungous Imperial Porter brewed using the first runnings of wort from a huge mash yielding the darkest and highest concentration of fermentable sugars. And finally Weegene is brewed using the 2nd runnings of wort after collecting the super concentrated liquid to brew the Hugene Imperial Porter.

Cheers and thanks for watching the Hop Cast.

Having issues watching this video? Try the Quicktime (117.0 MB).