Tag Archives: Rock Bottom

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).

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.

Having issues watching this video? Try the Quicktime (50.6 MB).

HopCast Episode 105

Episode 105: Pop! Fest

In episode 105 Ken Hunnemeder and Brad Chmielewski are back in the suburbs of Chicago. This time they are at Rock Bottom Warrenville for Pop! Fest. Pop! Fest was the brain child of brewer Davin Bartosch who decided to unleash the world’s first popcorn malt liquor. Rather than only having this one beer on draft he decided to have an event and invite other local brewers to bring a beer to be paired with popcorn. Many local breweries brought different styles of beer that were paired with one of the many flavors that Popcorn Palace’s gourmet popcorn offers.

If you live in the area be sure to make it out to Rock Bottom Warrenville to try this uniquely brewed beer.

Thank you for watching the Hop Cast!

Having issues watching this video? Try the Quicktime (245.4 MB).


I wasn’t planning on attending the 2nd annual RockFest this past Saturday. But a few friends who had tickets ended up not being able to go so there were some tickets up for grabs. I’m glad I was able to snag one of them because Rockfest was a solid beerfest. The event was held at the Rock Bottom in Chicago located at 1 W. Grand. It featured about 48 beers from seven of the midwest Rock Bottoms. The seven Rock Bottoms were Chicago, Des Moines, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Orland Park, Warrenville and Yorktown. Since all of the Rock Bottoms have their own brewmaster with their own recipes it was really interesting to try what should be the same beer from two different brewers. For example four of the brewers brought their version of the Naughty Scot and each one was slightly different. Which I guess is the whole point of RockFest, showcasing the differences in each beer by the brewmasters. The two Rock Bottoms that I thought brought their best to RockFest was the Chicago location and the Yorktown location. The Double Diamond Double IPA that Pete Crowley brewed just rocks! If you haven’t seen our interview with Pete be sure to check it out. Yorktown had a couple stand outs but the Cuvee du Sharon which is a Belgian Ale just had a nice creamy smooth taste. I believe the Yorktown Rock Bottom won the coveted golden bung hammer… not sure which beer they won the award for but they all were good so it was well deserved.

Rock Bottom might be a brewpub chain but this sort of festival shows that each one is doing something a little different. If you have a Rock Bottom in your area be sure to check it out, I’m sure you will find something you like. Next year if you can make it be sure to try and check out RockFest, I’ll be going again if I can.

Hop Cast – Episode 33

In this episode of the Hop Cast Ken Hunnemeder and Brad Chmielewski are at Rock Bottom Chicago talking with Senior Brewer Pete Crowley. The night this was shot was the release of the Double IPA. Pete explains how brewing at Rock Bottom works and shares his thoughts about the local Chicago beer community. Unfortunately there were some audio issues, so the sound isn’t quite up to standards.

Download the Podcast (138.5 MB).

Night of the Living Ales

Saturday March 7th marked the annual Night of the Living Ales festival at the Goose Island Wrigleyville location in conjunction with the Chicago Beer Society .  The festival involves cask/real ales from many local breweries as well as others from around the country.  This is one of my favorite events of the year.  There were quite a few standouts this year including last years’ winner, Surly Tea-Bagged Furious.

Much hype surrounded the premier of Popskull , a collaboration between Three Floyds and Dogfish Head.  This brown ale was aged on the famous Palo Santo Wood and will also be available at Dark Lord Day according to rumors.  Goose Island also had quite a showing with their Madam Rose(Kriek), Bourbon Sherry Beer, and Saison Le Chance. 

There were some great IPA’s tapped that night and the Hop Cast wouldn’t have it any other way!  Rock Bottom Chicago impressed with their Neil Diamond IPA and Flossmoor Station’s Ore Gone IPA was wonderful as well.

Rock Bottom Orland Park brought their experimental ShamRock Stout.  Looking at the name, I was hoping it was a take on the delicious Shamrock Shake from McDonald’s.  They didn’t disappoint!!  This mint stout was delicious and would probably make a damn fine beer float.

Overall this was a fantastic event, especially since this was the first year that they split into two sessions.  I would certainly say this was a success because the crowd was much more maneuverable than years past.  It’s a wonderful opportunity to experience so many great craft beers.  Don’t miss it next year!!