Beer Of The Month – May

Summer can’t get here soon enough! Even if summer isn’t here yet we can still drink like it’s summer. So for the May beer of the month we have picked Ska Brewing’s True Blonde Ale. This 5.3% ABV Blonde Ale is light and crisp which is perfect for getting in the spirit for the warmer weather. Most of the time you’ll see this beer in a can… got to love those can beers. If you pour it out into a glass you will be presented with a hazy, golden color and just a slight head. The aroma of yeast, lemons and grains drift from the glass and begin to brighten up your day. The full essence of summer fills your mouth when you take that first sip. Flavors of sweet malts, lemon and a slight hop presence brings a smile to the face. Drinking this beer you can easily knock back a few cans and just enjoy the afternoon.

If you’re just looking to get in the summer mood or looking for something to quench that summer thirst then True Blonde Ale from Ska Brewing is an excellent choice.

Hop Cast – Episode 136: Red Poppy Ale & Vuja De

In episode 136 of the Hop Cast, Ken Hunnemeder and Brad Chmielewski are joined by Greer Davis to sample a couple interesting sour ales. The first one they open is the Lost Abbey Red Poppy Ale, a 5.5 % ABV Flanders Oud Bruin. The Red Poppy is brewed from a brown ale base and then aged in oak barrels for over 6 months with sour cherries. An excellent beer but the price is kind of expensive on this guy so go in with a couple of friends if you want to give it a try. They next move onto the Vuja De from Cigar City Brewing. The Vuja De is a 9.96 % ABV American Wild Ale. Surprising to see such a high ABV sour beer since many of them are around 5 %. The Vuju De is an ale with black currants, locally foraged lemon leaves, hibiscus, cane sugar and elderberries. A very interesting beer from Cigar City. As more breweries get into doing sour beers you can expect us to keep checking them out.

Thanks for watching the Hop Cast and may your pint glasses stay full.

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Hop Cast – Episode 135: Saison Athene & Cigar City Papaya IPA

Brad Chmielewski and Ken Hunnemeder are joined by two special guests in episode 135 of the Hop Cast; Charlie Drews and Greer Davis. The four of them decide to open up two different beers from a couple Florida breweries. If you’ve been watching the Hop Cast for a while you might remember Brad and Ken were trying to highlight beers from every state in the US. The journey continues in this episode. First up is the Saison Athene from Saint Somewhere Brewing. This beer has an ABV of 7.5% and is incredibility balanced. They then follow the Saison Athene up with the Cigar City Jai Alai IPA with Papaya. Cigar City has a number of beers that use the Jal Alai IPA as the base which always makes for a great starting point. This American IPA has an ABV of 7.5% and isn’t one to pass up if you get a chance.

Thanks for watching the Hop Cast.

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HopCast Episode 134

Episode 134: Westvleteren 12 & Rochefort 10

In episode 134 of the Hop Cast, Ken Hunnemeder and Brad Chmielewski are joined by Charlie Drews to taste one of the most sought after beers in the world, Westvleteren 12. But before jumping into that one they open two bottles of the Rochefort 10. Both had been aging for different lengths of time and it was very fun to see how the beer evolves. Both the Westvleteren 12 and the Rochefort 10 are Belgian Quad’s made by Trappist monks. The Rochefort 10 is an excellent beer; its more easily available and one that you should be able to find at most higher end beer stores. After enjoying the Rochefort 10, the three of them open two bottles of five year old Westvleteren 12. This beer has a lot of hype around it since most people in the states have a difficult time getting their hands on it. After five years in the bottle it still tasted great and is worth trying (if you can get it). Be sure to share with friends.

Thanks for watching the Hop Cast.

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HopCast Episode 133

Episode 133: 21st Amendment Brewery

While in San Francisco for the Craft Brewers Conference, Brad Chmielewski and Ken Hunnemeder had a chance to sit down with brewer / owner Shaun O’Sullivan at 21st Amendment. Over a year ago Shaun O’Sullivan was in Chicago and was on episode 67 of the Hop Cast talking about the new release of Monk’s Blood. This time Brad and Ken got to hang out in Shaun’s town and taste the awesome beers 21st Amendment has on tap. During the episode Shaun O’Sullivan shares some stories about the brewery and talks about the latest beer release from the brewery, Bitter American. 21st Amendment isn’t available in Illinois but it is available in many other states. So if you live in or are visiting one of those states, grab a can for us.

Thanks for watching the Hop Cast.

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Hop Cast – Episode 132: Untappd

In episode 132 of the Hop Cast, Ken Hunnemeder and Brad Chmielewski sit down with Untappd co-founder Tim Mather to talk about his highly successful service and craft beer. The three of them open a couple beers that Ken and Brad picked up at a corner liquor store in Santa Monica. The first one is the Highway 78 Scotch Ale which is a collaboration ale from Stone Brewing, Green Flash and Pizza Port. They follow that beer up with the Islander IPA from Coronado Brewing. While the three of them taste these great beers they talk about Untappd and what Untappd has planned for the future. Be sure to follow Ken and Brad on Untappd and keep up with what they are drinking. Thanks for watching the Hop Cast.

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HopCast Episode 131

Episode 131: Bison Brewing

While in San Francisco for the Craft Brewers Conference, Brad Chmielewski and Ken Hunnemeder had a chance to sit down with Daniel Del Grande from Bison Brewing. Daniel is the perfect guest to have on for the first episode of April since it is organic beer month. The three of them sample four different beers from Bison Brewing; the Imperial Brown, Chocolate Stout, Belgian-Style Scotch Ale and an IPA. Bison is an all organic brewery and is working hard to push the benefits of using organic products. Daniel expains why he chose to go organic and how the beer community can make just as quality a product with organic ingredients.

Grab yourself an organic beer and enjoy. Thanks for watching the Hop Cast.

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Hop Cast – Episode 130: New Brew Thursday

In this episode of the Hop Cast, Ken Hunnemeder and Brad Chmielewski are in California at The Bruery. Joined with them at The Bruery are John Holzer and Stephen Johnson from New Brew Thursday. This episode was filmed a few days before the Craft Brewers Conference so most of the staff of The Bruery were busy getting ready for that. So Ken and Brad weren’t able talk to anyone there. Lucky for them John and Stephen know a thing or two about The Bruery and are huge fans and advocates of the California beer community. Which made them the perfect people to share a beer with and talk about what The Bruery has going on. We also talked to them about other great things happening in their state.

Going to The Bruery tasting room was a treat, they are offering up some great beers that you aren’t likely to see in bottles. If you’re lucky enough to be there when a food truck rolls up you can eat some great food and drink some excellent beer right next to a barrel of Black Tuesday.

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#SaveTheCraft

If you like craft beer and support small-batch brewers in Illinois, here’s a campaign you might want to get behind.Call your state legislators and support “Save the Craft,” a campaign to revise the Liquor Control Act to make it easier for small, craft brewers to get their beers to the drinkers who want them. Bills are before the Illinois State House and Senate right now, and they need your support. Save the Craft is run by the fellows at GuysDrinkingBeer. They have been watching the progress of these bills for a while now, and they have decided to take action. The advocates behind Save the Craft are very clear about one thing – this is about competition, not subsidy. They simply want consumers to have access to all beers.

Hop Cast – Episode 129: Xoco

Ken Hunnemeder and Brad Chmielewski are at Xoco with Dan Jones talking local ingredients and local craft beer. Xoco is one of Rick Bayless’s restaurants and prides itself on providing that feeling you’d get if you were eating great Mexican street food. At Xoco you get to pair those great flavors with fine craft beer. Dan Jones wanted to make sure he picked a wide variety of local beers to work with all the flavors you can find in each dish at Xoco. If you’re in Chicago, make sure you check out Xoco for some tasty eats and excellent craft beer!

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