Tag Archives: Chicago

HopCast Episode 262

Episode 262: Lord Rear Admiral & Arcade Brewery Final Level

Welcome to the Hop Cast, where Brad Chmielewski and Ken Hunnemeder share their love of craft beer with the world. In episode 262 Brad and Ken dive into two different Midwest Extra Special Bitters. First up is from the behemoth that is 3 Floyds Brewing; it’s their 6.5% ABV Lord Rear Admiral. Shocking enough this isn’t crazy hopped up, something you would typically  see from Three Floyds in many of their beers.Brad and Ken follow up the Lord Rear Admiral with the 6.3% ABV Final Level from Arcade Brewery. It’s great to compare these two beers; one from a brewery that has been around for years and the other from a newer brewery in Chicago. Plus, its fantastic to see a couple ESBs on the shelves next to all those IPAs.

Cheers & thanks for watching the Hop Cast!

Having issues listening to the video? Try the Quicktime (582.9 MB) or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.

HopCast Episode 250

Episode 250: Sublime Ginger & Shady Character

This is episode 250, yeah that’s right 250 episodes of the Hop Cast! In this show Brad Chmielewski and Ken Hunnemeder explore a couple of beers from the Chicago Brewery, Forbidden Root.

The first beer they open is the Sublime Ginger a 3.8 % ABV Herbed / Spiced Beer.Sublime Ginger starts with a dry and creamy wheat beer, then fresh botanicals are added plus a splash of key lime juice for a tangy flavor with a delicious bite of ginger. Next up is Forbidden Root’s Shady Character a 6.7 % ABV American Porter. The botanicals in this beer are black walnuts, licorice, roasted chestnuts, star anise and tellicherry pepper. This beer packs a ton of flavor that’s unique and tasty. What Forbidden Root is doing is fantastic and you really need to try to get your hands on these beers.

Cheers & Thanks for watching the Hop Cast!

Having issues listening to the video? Try the Quicktime (201.0 MB) or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.

Festiv-Ale 2013

Festiv-Ale – “Cure What Ales Ya!”


Looking for a good reason to drink some great local Chicago beer? You probably don’t need one… but when you can drink for a good cause it makes it a little more meaningful.

This past weekend was the 7th Annual Festiv-Ale held at Carmichael’s Steakhouse. This festival supports the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and features a number of items up for silent auction.

The number of breweries at the event was rather impressive, some of your old favorites like; Haymarket Pub, Half Acre, Goose Island, Solemn Oath Brewery and 5 Rabbit. I say old only because the amount of newer breweries at the event was crazy. So even through many of these breweries have only been around for a couple years they’ve become the old standby’s. Some of the newcomers at the fest were; Ale Syndicate, 18th Street Brewery, Temperance Beer Company, SlapShot Brewing, Off Color Brewing, Begyle Brewing, and Forbidden Root. I’m sure I’m forgetting a few but as you can see it was an impressive line-up. That beer list would of been worth the ticket price alone but the folks at Festiv-Ale also had restaurant sponsors too giving out food and helping to make sure no one went hungry. You had; Ta-ki-to, Small Bar, Three Aces, Fountainhead, Frontier and more that I didn’t even get to try. Oh! And how can I forget the White Castle that showed up just as the event was ending, handing out sliders to the somewhat drunk guests. Really, the best time to eat White Castle in my opion.

Half Acre At Festiv-Ale

Back to the beer for the moment. I was glad to sample some beer from these new breweries especially since I haven’t been able to make it to the awesome launch parties so many of them have been having around the city. If you’ve been paying close attention to the beer scene in Chicago I’m sure you’ve heard of all of these new breweries but a surprise for me was Forbidden Root. They are a new brewery working with Randy Mosher and they’re brewing heritage-style “beer botanicals” made with roots and other special ingredients. Forbidden Root was pouring two offerings; their Forbidden Root, a root beer or sarsaparilla flavor, but with the quality of a brewed beer. Their second one was the Sublime, a ginger root, key-lime and honey bush brew. Both fantastic! Another surprise was Temperance Beer Company, the first Evantson brewery in 100 years. Claudia Jenron is the brewster there now. Claudia recently left GooseIsland and is already doing some good stuff at Temperance. Both the Pale Ale and Porter they poured on Friday were rather tasty and I went back for seconds. I could tell you more about all the beer I drank that night but really you should have been at Carmichael’s Steakhouse on Friday!

If this event isn’t on your radar, it should be. Tickets were $65 for regular entry and $100 for the VIP reception. Maeve Price and I grabbed a couple VIP tickets which included an extra hour of drinking and eating before the regular entry showed up. The event ran from 6:00 PM – 11:00 PM; 5 hours of food and beer and all for a good cause. Yes please! The event on Friday was a perfect balance of good people, food, and beer. I never found myself waiting in line for a beer or food; it always helps that I know a lot of brewers who don’t like to see my glass empty but I never saw anyone else waiting either. Although I did see a few familiar faces like Nik White of Chicago Beer Geeks & Steve Mastny of Beer Download, the event brought in a ton of new people into the scene, which is fantastic to see. Seeing all the awesome breweries represented there in one room all pouring for a good cause, being enjoyed by some fine folks; it was a great night for Chicago beer.

Beer Tower

HopCast Episode 217

Episode 217: 18th Street Chloe & 5 Rabbit Huitzi Midwinter Ale

Local beers with hibiscus? Yep! In episode 217 of the Hop Cast, Brad Chmielewski and Ken Hunnemeder crack open two great local beers. First up is the Chloe from one of the newest breweries to find themselves in the Chicago craft beer scene, 18th Street Brewery. This 7% ABV beer has subtle tartness and citrus notes of hibiscus that balance this French Saison in the sweet caress of the blood orange. The Chloe was packaged and distributed by Pipeworks Brewing Company and it’s nice to see the local breweries help each other out as they are getting started. Following up the Chloe is a beer from 5 Rabbit Cerveceria. 5 Rabbit continues to improve and make some interesting beers and the Huitzi Midwinter Ale is no exception. This is a 8.7 % Belgian Strong Golden Ale, brewed with hibiscus flowers, ginger, thai palm sugar and local Chicago honey. Local brewery and local ingredients, that’s something you love to see.

The Chicago beer scene continues to grow and we’re seeing some interesting beers on the shelves. Do yourself a favor and spend a couple bucks on one of these new beers and let us know what you think. Cheers and thanks for watching the Hop Cast. P.S. Sorry about the windy audio.

Having issues watching this video? Try the Quicktime (300.2 MB) or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

HopCast Episode 208

Episode 208: Begyle Crash Landed & 5 Rabbit Missionario

Brad Chmielewski & Ken Hunnemeder crack open a couple Chicago Wheat beers in episode 208. Both of these breweries are petty new but have been growing quickly and making some tasty stuff. First up Brad and Ken open the Crash Landed from Begyle Brewing Company. This 6% American Pale Wheat Ale pours a lovely straw color and the taste is surprising and pleasant, a little different than what you usually see from a wheat beer. Next up they open the newest beer from 5 Rabbit Cerveceria, the Missionario. Missionario is a 6.8% unfiltered wheat beer fermented with muscat grape must and almonds.

A couple tasty beers from Chicago breweries for the summer. Grab yourself some and enjoy the great weather.

Cheers and thanks for watching the Hop Cast!

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furthermore beer

Furthermore Beer In Chicago

I’ve been a fan of Furthermore Beer since I first tasted the Oscura at the 2008 Great Lakes Brewfest in Racine.

For the last four years the only way I could get my hands on their beer was by jumping in the car and making a beer run to Wisconsin. Well those days are finally behind me. Starting this week, Furthermore Beer will be available in draft-only at around 25 bars here in Chicago. Joe Collins, Director of Sales at Furthermore Beer told me that Chicago had always been a market they wanted to expand into since the start of the brewery, but had reached a ceiling in production.

Chicago is a large market and we’ve seen breweries have trouble keeping up with the demand in the past so making sure that they’re able to keep up is an important step. Furthermore Beer now has a new contract partnership with Milwaukee Brewing Co. and right now only Fatty Boombalatty is produced there. So hopefully this increase in production will make sure we’ll all be able to have a pint of Fatty Boombalatty whenever we want.

Fatty Boombalatty is the flagship beer at Furthermore Beer and although I do love Oscura, that won’t be available on draft yet… Right now Joe told me that it will be Fatty Boombalatty, Knot Stock and a limited amount of Makeweight that will available just for the launch. But keep an eye out at the stores because come May you’ll likely be seeing a full lineup of bottles.

Furthermore Beer has new beer in the works too like Full Thicket, a Double IPA that’s made with local Wisconsin grown hops.

For now, grab yourself a pint of Fatty Boombalatty or Knot Stock and let’s welcome another Midwestern brewery to Chicago.

HopCast Episode 194

Episode 194: Revolution Mad Cow & Perennial Fantastic Voyage

When it’s chilly outside all we really want is a tasty stout to warm us up. That’s exactly what’s happening here in episode 194 of the Hop CastBrad Chmielewski and Ken Hunnemeder are joined by Erik Jensen for a couple Midwest Milk Stouts. First up is the Revolution Brewing Company, Mad Cow Milk Stout. This 7.5 % ABV Milk Stout is a smooth and creamy Stout made with lactose. If you live in Chicago you might of been able to pick up a bottle of this and the Very Mad Cow which is the barrel aged version. If the regular version is this good, the barrel aged version must be simply fantastic. Next these three gentlemen move onto the Perennial Artisan Ales, Fantastic Voyage. This 8.8% ABV Milk Stout is brewed with coconut. This beer is well balanced with coconut, lactose and black malts.

There is something about a Milk Stout that just warms you up and brings a smile to your face. Cheers and thanks for watching the Hop Cast

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HopCast Episode 193

Episode 193: Pipeworks Blood Of The Unicorn & Maine Beer Company Zoe

In episode 193 of the Hop Cast, Ken Hunnemeder and Brad Chmielewski are joined by Sergio Salgado to taste a couple hoppy Red Ales. First up is Chicago’s very own Pipeworks Brewing with their Blood Of The Unicorn. This 8.5 % ABV Amber has a killer label that would lead you to expect something extreme from this one. You’d be right because the hops kick you in the face; if you’re a DIPA fan you’re going to enjoy this beer. Next they open a bottle Jake Williams brought back for the show from Maine. The Zoe from Maine Beer Company is a 7.2 % ABV Amber. This is the first beer from Maine Beer Company we’re had and it was quite delicious. A much softer hop aroma and taste than the Blood Of The Unicorn.

Cheers, and thanks for watching the Hop Cast!

Having issues watching this video? Try the Quicktime (204.1 MB).

HopCast Episode 192

Episode 192: Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beers (FOBAB 2012)

In episode 192 of the Hop Cast, Ken Hunnemeder and Brad Chmielewski are at The Tenth Annual Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beers. This festival is held once a year and if you’ve seen the last couple years episodes, you know how great it is. This year it was at a new location in Bridgeport and it was a blast. Its always great to see so many friends and to see all the people excited for craft beer. This year Ken and Brad again attended both the day and night sessions, clocking in over 10 hours of drinking. The two of them took a few breaks from sampling these fine beers to talk with some great people like the folks from Solemn Oath, Avery and Pipeworks. They even managed to grab a few minutes with the man behind this festival, Pete Crowley.

FOBAB continues to evolve and get better every year. Hope you enjoyed seeing the coverage from the event and thanks for watching the Hop Cast.

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HopCast Episode 188

Episode 188: Revolution Oktoberfest & Bridgeport Witch Hunt

The seasons are changing, the harvest and pumpkin beers are in full swing. That’s why in episode 188 of the Hop Cast Brad Chmielewski and Ken Hunnemeder are cracking open a couple great seasonal beers. The first beer they open is the Oktoberfest from Revolution Brewing. Revolution recently opened up their production brewery where they have been packaging 20 oz bombers and cans of their delicious treats. Brad and Ken really should have their steins out for this beer to truly get into the spirit. Next the two of them open the Witch Hunt from Bridgeport. This is a 5.8 % harvest ale that’s sweet and somewhat spiced. Making for a perfect treat as the weather is getting cooler.

Cheers and thanks for watching the Hop Cast!

Having issues watching this video? Try the Quicktime (176.6 MB).