Tag Archives: Goose Island

HopCast Episode 219

Episode 219: Upright Fantasia & Goose Island 25th Anniversary Flanders Red

Brad Chmielewski and Ken Hunnemeder are joined by Sergio Salgado in episode 219 of the Hop Cast. In this episode the three guys open a couple funky beers. Not funky bad, but funky good. First up is the Fantasia from Upright Brewing in Portland Oregon. This 5.7% ABV America Wile Ale is in the vein of a Lambic style of wild beer. What makes it really unique is that it was fermented entirely in oak barrels that are filled with fresh peaches from Baird Family Orchards. Yum! It’s one that should be shared with friends because everyone should have a chance to try this one. Next up is a special release from Goose Island Clybourn for their 25th Anniversary. This one is a 7% ABV Flanders Red ale that was fermented with lacto and Brett and aged in wine barrels to give a distinct tartness to this very deep red, malty beer. If you didn’t get your hands on a bottle when they were released, you might be out of luck. But if you know a friend who has one make sure you’re around when they open it up.

Cheers & Thanks for watching the Hop Cast!

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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

Great Taste of the Midwest

The Great Taste of the Midwest

Great Taste of the Midwest

I hope at this point everyone has recovered from the Great Taste of the Midwest last weekend. After hearing about GTMW for years this was the first year I was able to go and I finally scored tickets and made my way up. Getting tickets for the most part was pretty easy. The Chicago Beer Society each year gets a block of tickets that they sell to members. It costs $25 for individuals or $40 for couples a year to join the Chicago Beer Society and you get access to a number of great events including GTMW. The tickets for GTMW cost $60 through the Chicago Beer Society because this includes the price of the shuttle bus there and back. The tickets they get for GTMW do go fast so you have to respond quickly with your money.

Now, everyone will tell you that you need to go up to Madison on Friday before the festival and go to all the bars. Most of the breweries sponsor a different bar and put their beers on tap with special tappings, brewer meet-n-greets and other fun events. Unfortunately or maybe fortunately, Maeve and I couldn’t go up early. When you get tickets from the Chicago Beer Society you need to ride the bus to Madison with them and they give you your ticket once you get up there. I’d say its a pretty good deal, you don’t have to try to figure out how you’re getting to Madison and since the bus takes you back to Chicago that night you don’t have to worry about booking a hotel, driving or bumming a ride back that night. A pretty good deal over all so if you live in Chicago or in the suburbs and you aren’t a Chicago Beer Society member, fix that right now.

Our bus left from Goose Island Clybourn around 9:30 (there’s a separate bus that leaves from the west suburbs) and we ended up at the festival at about 12:30. Doors / gates don’t open till 1:00 PM so you spend a little while waiting in line thumbing through the fest booklet they hand out that lists all the beers and brewery locations. This was the first time I had even seen the list for the day. The only thing I had heard about beforehand was what Ken mentioned that Goose Island had planned. Ken has been to GTMW for the last several years working the event and went up earlier in the week to help set up for the booth this year. These days I’m not one to plan much when I go to a beer festival. Planning might allow you to try some of those rare, hard to get beers but by not planning you may get to stumble on a new beer or brewery you’ve never heard of. And that’s how Maeve and I handled the festival. With over 1000 beers you’re going to find something new you’ve never heard of or tried before.

Great Taste of the Midwest

This wandering and lack of planning can often backfire which it did for us when we first walked in. We grabbed a couple of beers from a brewery we don’t often drink and instantly had to pour them out. First beers and they all got dumped, not a good start to the day. We quickly grabbed another beer we were familiar with and moved on. Making a quick stop at Goose Island to say hi to Ken and all the folks over there. Goose Island and Revolution Brewing both had some of the biggest and most elaborate set ups at the festival. Goose Island with their barrels all lined up helping guide people in a line and then Revolution Brewing with a halfpipe, skateboarders and a DJ out. Extremes for sure but pretty awesome to see how both these big names make a splash at the festival.

Great Taste of the Midwest

As Maeve and I wandered around we ran into a ton of great people like Gary Gulley of Panic Brewing, Mike Rybinski of ZwanzigZ Brewing (can someone do a video so we all know how to say this) Deb & Wil Turner of Revolution Brewing, Justin Maynard from the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild, The crew from Haymarket, Tom Korder from Penrose Brewing, Jess from Revolution Brewing, Nik White of the Chicago Beer Geeks, Mike of Beer Genome Project and many of the Chicago brewers we’ve gotten to know over the years.

Walking around this park is crazy, in the 5 hours we were only able to do one big drunken circle. The thing is massive and overwhelming. If you did make a plan I don’t know how you kept it all straight, especially after a dozen beers. I would say I wish we had a couple other friends with us throughout the day so we could have tasted and shared more beers; it’s difficult with just the two of us. Walking around I noticed a ton of people with chairs and blankets laid out, they were just enjoying the day. Which to me seems like a waste, I mean come on people there is beer to drink, get moving. Ha!

Great Taste of the Midwest

Overall the day was fantastic and the Great Taste of the Midwest is a lot of fun. I know I had more than my fair share of great beer that day but that didn’t stop Maeve and I from stopping in at Goose Island Clybourn for some food and more beer after the Chicago Beer Society bus dropped us off. For all the hype of the Great Taste, it’s a lot of fun and it’s great to see so many people out supporting craft beer. The special tappings are good if you want to wait in line and the set ups Goose Island and Revolution Brewing do are cool to see. There’s a ton of great breweries at this fest but in the end its really just a big beer fest. Mostly it’s nothing you haven’t seen before if you’ve been to another beer festival. Be sure to go if you have the opportunity to but don’t beat yourself up about not being able to make it. It was a ton of fun but there’s a festival almost every weekend in the summer. I for one missed the Oak Park Micro Brew Review and I hear that’s good too.


Videos From Breweries


I don’t think it’s any surprise that I’m a big proponent of video marketing. I talk about it on my blog often and my company LooseKeys helps businesses reach larger audiences by working with them to tell their stories. Being a craft beer fan, I love it when a brewery releases a new video either about a new beer release, a special event or simply an interview. These videos range in quality but that doesn’t typically stop me from watching them. I love learning about what these breweries are up to and I know others do too because most of these have hundreds of views on YouTube.

The two breweries I see more often than any others release videos are Goose Island and Stone Brewing. These two breweries put out a video for many of the events they do and for every beer they release. These guys are making killer videos. Both of the breweries have great in-house teams working for them, which is the reason they are able to do these sort of projects. I’m sure these breweries have widely different marketing budgets but that doesn’t stop either from taking the time to make great creative content.

Both breweries have put out some notable recent videos. Stone’s video about the Stone Farking Wheaton w00tstout collaboration beer was very well done and I’m sure helped build the buzz even more about that beer. Goose Island put out several videos last week showcasing their involvement as beer sponsors at this years Pitchfork Music Festival. The video showing the Goose Island collaboration with Killer Mike and EL-P for their beer Run the Jewels was pretty funny too. These breweries are smart to put out these kinds of videos often because not only will it help to promote them and their beers but the videos also help people to connect to these breweries. When you impart humor in a video, have a brewer talk about a new beer release or show some of what went into the making of a beer, it personalizes the brewery for the person buying their beer.

Each one of these videos also has the opportunity to be seen by new customers as well. After I watch a great video about a beer I’m looking forward to tasting, I’ll hit that share button and let everyone else on Facebook or Twitter know about it. That’s getting the brand and the beer in front of more people. Videos shared by friends have even more power than the big commercials you might see during the Super Bowl.

Smaller breweries don’t have to have a big marketing budget or in house teams to keep people informed about what’s happening. Creating more online content that promote new beers or brewery events should be on every breweries to do list.

Goose 25 Years

Congratulations On 25 Years!

Last night Goose Island celebrated 25 years with a great event at the Goose Island Clybourn Brewpub. The event featured over 60 beers that had been brewed on and off since 1988. The event cost $75 and gave you access to all those beers as well as some amazing food. You also had the chance to chat with people like John & Greg Hall if you wanted.

It’s hard to believe that Goose has been around for 25 years and it’s exciting to see everything they have done in really such a short time. Some of those have been more liked than others but still it’s amazing to think about the impact Goose Island had on the American craft beer scene. Such as barrel aging beers and cultivating wild yeast. There was a number of breweries that started around that same time like Great Lakes, North Coast and Deschutes and we’re seeing them all release special beers to celebrate this, as well as putting on some great events. Of course, since I’m from Chicago and Summertime was the beer that introduced me to the craft beer world, Goose Island means a great deal to me. By seeing the amount of people at the event you realize how much Goose Island also meant to them. This wasn’t a beer fest, although you could drink as much as you wanted, everyone was there to give their well wishes to John Hall and Goose Island.

With Chicago Craft Beer Week starting later this week, the Goose Island party was sort of like the pre-party to the whole week. Rather than getting lost in all the other events of the 10 days, they were able to position it a few days before everything gets started and remind people how much influence Goose Island has had on the Chicago beer community and the American beer community.

HopCast Episode 203

Episode 203: Penrose Brewing

In episode 203 of the Hop Cast, Brad Chmielewski and Ken Hunnemeder sit down at the Hopleaf with Tom Korder and Eric Hobbs to talk about their new Chicagoland brewery, Penrose. Penrose Brewing will be brewing Belgian inspired beers in Geneva, Illinois. Both Tom and Eric were with Goose Island for a number of years and have a ton of experience with what it takes to make quality and unique beer.

Right now Tom & Eric already have their 40 barrel brewhouse but are dealing with all the fun paperwork that goes into starting a brewery. Their goal right now is to have beer this summer for Chicago and the Fox Valley area. Penrose Brewing will be a production brewery with a tasting room.

I can’t wait until we’re able taste some more of their beers; if the beers we had during the episode are any indication, we have some good beers to look forward to from these guys. If you’re looking to get an early taste of what Penrose is all about, keep an eye out for a collaboration that they’re doing with Perennial Artisan Ales. Welcome Penrose!

Cheers & thanks for watching the Hop Cast!

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HopCast Episode 200

Episode 200: Firestone Walker Double DBA & Driftwood Singularity

We’re doing a bit of celebrating in this episode, we’ve reached 200 episodes! Thank you all for watching each and every episode.

To celebrate Ken Hunnemeder and Brad Chmielewski are in the barrel warehouse at Goose Island sipping on a couple barrel aged beers. First up is the Firestone Walker Double DBA, this 12% ABV is an amazing example of how the barrel effects and changes a beer. If you love DBA as much as Ken does then Double DBA is going to be right up your alley. At 12 % ABV this beer is dangerous because all you want to do is knock back the entire bottle yourself. Next Ken and Brad crack open a bottle of the 2013 Driftwood Singularity. This beer was sent to us by a Hop Cast fan and it was a real treat to get to sample it. This 14% ABV Russian Imperial Stout spent 4 months in Kentucky bourbon barrels and those barrels really added some great flavors.

Do you have a barrel aged beer that you love?

Cheers & thanks for watching the Hop Cast, we hope you’ve enjoyed all 200 episodes.

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Hop Cast – Vanilla Bourbon County Stout

Brad Chmielewski and Ken Hunnemeder are at Goose Island Clybourn with John Laffler talking about the latest Goose Island release; Vanilla Bourbon County Stout. John gives Brad and Ken a bit of insight into what went into making the the Vanilla version of Bourbon County Stout. If you haven’t already seen Vanilla Bourbon County Stout in the store, keep an eye out and pick up a bottle fast because they are not going to last long on those shelves.

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Beer Of The Month – November

This month Goose Island is releasing three different versions of the Bourbon County Brand Stout. The 2010 Bourbon County Brand Stout, Vanilla Bourbon County Stout and the Rare Bourbon County Stout which is aged in 23-year old Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrels for 2-years. We figured it was only fitting to make November’s beer of the month, Bourbon County Brand Stout.

Brad and Ken reviewed this great beer back in November of 2008, if you’re looking to see their reactions to it on camera, it’s worth checking out. This beer is a Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout that weighs in at 13% ABV and pours black as night. With a one finger of thick dark frothy tan head. A wonderful aroma of coffee and alcohol fill the air mixed with dark chocolate and cherries. Definitely a big punch in the face. When you finally dive in for the sip, the bourbon packs a big kick. But don’t get turned off… have a few more sips. You start to taste the oak, coffee, some dark chocolate and fudge. There is also some toasted coconut and vanilla to round it all out. This is a hot beer but it has a ton of great flavor. It’s a sipper not something to slam like Steve McKenna did in episode 102. Hopefully you won’t spill any because this beer is sticky. Which isn’t a surprise because it’s sweet. This is simply an amazing stout and only gets better with age. So when the latest vintage hits the shelves be sure to pick up a bottle for now and a bottle to age. Darkness, Black Tuesday & Dark Lord may get all the big hype but this beer holds it’s own against any of those.

Hop Cast – Bike The Breweries 2010

The first Hop Cast’s Bike The Breweries was a huge success. We biked 16.5 miles and stopped at 10 Chicago breweries over the course of about 10 hours. Thank you to everyone that game out and enjoyed the day with us. We had a group of about 40 great people at one point and by the end of it we finished at Revolution Brewing with about 15.

With the success of this ride we are already looking forward to another ride next year so if you missed this one hopefully you can make it to the next one. As always thanks for watching the Hop Cast.

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