For beer enthusiasts, the best holiday of the year is here: Chicago Craft Beer Week! CCBW starts on May 16th and ends on May 26th and is stocked full of awesome events. It's hard to believe that it's only the 4th Annual Craft Beer Week here in Chicago, but the wide variety of events featuring breweries from not only Chicago, but around the country as well, shows Chicago's growing might as a true craft destination. A closing party at Half Acre at a previous CCBW via Buba69
To help you prepare, here is a brief overview of resources:
- Website. Here is the website for the event. Perhaps more importantly, here is the schedule. There are so many events, but you are able to search it by items like neighborhood, bar, and brewery. Finally, here is a link of featured venues with corresponding featured breweries.
- App. We live in a digital age, and guess what? There's an app. You can download the app here. It will list events, give you directions, and allow you to buy tickets if it's a ticket event. Now you can get all of your good stuff on the go, so you won't be lost and can hit up multiple events at a time.
Need to get even more pumped up!? Here is an awesome video!
- There are so many events...what do i do!? I know that there are so many events that it can be intimidating. What event should you go to? I think the best way is to use the official website or app listed above to either pick a particular neighborhood, bar, or brewery you'd like to see, and see what you can find. If you still can't seem to make up your mind, Blogger The Boozy Begger has compiled a list of his favorite events split up into 3 parts chronologically: part 1, part 2, and part 3. And Zagat has compiled some of the best foodie events here. Look for more resources from local media as the week begins.
So, prepare your livers, go forth, and conquer! And if you see me out at the events and I may have over-consumed...that wasn't me...that was my evil twin brother. I swear.
Via Addam Hassan
It's finally spring here in Chicago! And with spring and summer, we are able to enjoy the great outdoors. Recently, an article on thestreet.com choose the 10 best lawnmower beers in the country, including Revolution's Bottom Up Wit. I decided it would be fun to do so highlighting the best that we have here locally. Now, what do we mean by lawnmower beers? A few things. 1) I usually joke that they are lower in alcohol so you won't get drunk and run over kids and pets when mowing the lawn. But they also should be 2) refreshing on a hot summer day. Finally, they should preferably be 3) canned for ease of transport, although I want to make sure I grab the most of them. Here are my favorite Chicago area lawnmower beers:
What do you think? Have I missed any? Regardless, enjoy the nice spring sunshine! Cheers, Bruce
- 3 Floyds Gumballhead. This is one of my all-time favorite beers in general. Unlike most wheat beers, this one is not overly sweet, and the hop presence adds delicious citrus notes, such as grapefruit, to balance out the wheat and give it a refreshing edge. A little higher in alcohol compared to the others, but well worth it.
- Half Acre Gossamer. I call this beer Daisy Cutter's younger brother. This blond ale has a lower alcohol and hoppiness, making it easier to drink. The 16 oz. cans will last over larger lawns, too.
- 5 Rabbit 5 Lizard. This wheat beer is from the Latino-inspired 5 Rabbit brewery here in Chicago, and they add passion fruit to this beer to make it a very interesting, citrusy sweet, low abv wheat ale. Quite sweet but still delicious.
- 3 Floyds Pride and Joy. I feel like this beer is one of the least respected 3 Floyds beers, but it has it's place. This mild ale with a nice little hoppiness and it's lower alcohol would be perfect mowing that lawn.
- Founders All Day IPA. I know this isn't a Chicago beer, but I still wanted to put this on the list, and it is from that great Midwestern state of Michigan. In case you need that full IPA hoppy flavor but don't want to overdue it in the sun, then this sessionable IPA with a lower alcohol (4.7% abv) is the answer for you.
Via Josh Mishell
Have a great weekend everyone!
Via Rhys Asplundh
One of the most satisfying feelings in the world for me is when I take that first sip of beer. It turns out that this feeling might not just be psychological. According to an article on Smithsonian.com, just a taste of beer can triggers a chemical response leading to pleasure in the brain. According to an experiment: "When the men tasted the beer, their brains released much higher levels of dopamine within minutes, compared to when the same test was conducted on the subjects at other times with both water and Gatorade. They were also asked to rate how much they “craved” a beer at several points during the experiment, and perhaps less surprisingly, their cravings were generally much higher after tasting beer than Gatorade or water."But you should be wary: "People who had a family history of alcoholism (as reported on a survey) showed notably higher dopamine levels after tasting beer as compared to others."
I wonder if the same effect occurs in women, although it would surprise me if it didn't. I would like to volunteer for further studies! Cheers, Bruce
Eric, your skilled Delilah's bartender!
I'd like to introduce your Delilah's bartender and artist extrodinoare: Eric Rosentreter. When I first started the beer tours in 2011, one of the enjoyable yet nerve wrecking parts was getting to know the bartenders and servers along the tour route. I just prayed that they'd be okay with me bringing in groups of sometimes rowdy people into their bars and ask for quick service at sometimes inopportune times. And Delilah's, that incredible punk/whiskey/dive bar that's been around since 1909 and has anchored our Lakeview & Lincoln Park tour, was perhaps the most intimidating of all. I was terribly nervous and wanted to make sure everything went well. And then I met Eric Rosentreter. Eric bartends at Delilah's on Friday's, Saturday's, and Sundays; if you've been on our Lakeview & Lincoln Park tour, he's been your bartender. And he's been the most gracious host to us ever, always serving us, even amidst total chaos. He's always a gentleman.
Also awesome - you also may have seen the art on the walls at Delilah's. When I found out that he was the painter of some of the works being shown last year, I asked him about it. It turns out he's got quit the tale to tell. I asked him some further questions and posted them below.
Motorcycle art...aww yeah.
1. How long have you been bartending at Delilah's? What is your favorite part of the job?
I've been working at Delilah's for about 8 1/2 years. I cannot honestly say one thing about my job is a favorite. What I've come to realize is that Delilah's is just as much a brand as it is a bar. I see myself not only as an ambassador for Delilah's but also all it represents. We are a globally renowned whiskey bar, neighborhood joint rock house and social hub. Everyday I get to host any number of guests and represent one of the best bars in Chicago. I love the social aspects of it as well as continuing to expand my personal knowledge about what we offer as well as passing that knowledge on to our patrons. Plus, I get to listen Mto kick ass music and host a great party, what's not to love?
2. How long have you been an artist? How did you get started?
I've always been somewhat of a doodler but never really thought much of it. I guess I just did it as a hobby. A few years ago a former co-worker was injured whilst on vacation in Jamaica. A few months prior to this accident I decided to actually try and paint. The culmination of these two separate events was a fundraiser we held to help alleviate the financial stresses of our co-worker. I donated my first two paintings (Joey Ramone and Ray Charles) to try and help raise whatever money for him. Shortly thereafter I began receive praise for my contributions and decided to pursue as many opportunities to showcase my skills as I could.
The mural right outside of Delilah's that inspired him.
3. What is your biggest challenge and what inspires you? What is your favorite piece of work?
I guess the biggest challenge I have is getting into the practice of being creative. I've always been a creature of habit and thrive on schedules and deadlines. Getting a gallery always provides me with the deadline I need. My inspiration comes from my surroundings. I love people and they always fascinate me and that is where my inspiration is mostly found. Be it friends, family, musicians or other artists I always draw from my experiences with them. I've adopted the phrase "without people, you're nothing" as said by Joe Strummer of The Clash.
A few years ago I painted a mural outside of Delilah's for Joe Strummer's birthday. His music has always inspired me and listening to an interview shortly before he passed he said those now famous words. I guess that mural, and one of my earliest works, would be my favorite. I like murals and hope to do many more. I guess murals are a special kind of art. They are publicly displayed and remain as such until somebody decides to remove them, they aren't for sale nor will they be tucked away in a personal collection. I started the mural at midnight on his birthday outside the bar. One of my co-workers peeked outside and simply asked why I was doing it. (it was a busy Saturday night) "Because I'm afraid to" was all I could say. I wanted to perform this mural as an homage to one of my heroes and I wanted to create something in front of people. Joe loved people and I've always been very shy and private about things that matter to me. This mural changed me. It took away my fear and with that I feel I honored a legend.
4. Where can we find your work? Any plans for the future? Since those early experiences I have taken part in several co-op type galleries and continue to strive to push my own limits and face my own shyness. As of right now some of my works are hanging in a cocktail lounge in New Orleans and on the last weekend of Jazzfest a friend of mine and I will be hanging all new works at a designer cocktail lounge in NOLA named "Victory". This all came about through a friend of mine and fellow artist Antonio Ancona, a New Orleans native. I am also currently being courted to design event posters as well a potential candidate for a national Red Bull sponsored event. I have started my own website where my works can be viewed/ purchased and I can also be contacted.
Eric@EricRosentreter.com is my personal email.
5. Anything else you'd like to add?
My father, James Rosentreter, once told me that "It's not how high one gets, but how many people he brings with him." If it weren't for the generosity and opportunities offered to me I would not be capable of any of this or anything else I might do. I thank them everyday by simply trying my best.
Whether you are just stopping in Delilah's for a drink, or are interested in his art, Eric is among the best at what he does and adds to the character and vibrancy of Chicago and the Lincoln Park/Lakeview neighborhoods. If you are in New Orleans, find his work at Victory Lounge at 339 Baronne St. And you can check out his website here. Cheers, Bruce
To get you in the mood for the weekend, today's Beer Porn Friday post features Goose Island's 312. Named after Chicago's primary area code, this American wheat ale is a very light way to enjoy a beautiful spring or summer day. Behold!:
Via Todd Wade
Have a great weekend everyone!
All of the rain we've had in Chicagoland this spring has us thinking about beer...and Chicago is abuzz with a ton of new info on our booming craft beer scene! Here is the rundown:
- According to Patty Wetli of DNAinfo, a new brewpub called Band of Bohemia has applied for a zoning change to open a 6,000 square foot facility at 4700-12 N. Ravenswood Ave. in the Ravenswood neighborhood. By the way, it looks like the Bucktown-Logan Square-North Center/Lincoln Square-Ravenswood-Andersonville neighborhoods are become the "beer belt" in Chicago, doesn't it?
Owner/Brewer Doug Hurst and Metropolitan Brewing; photo via spablab
Lagunitas truck under L; photo via get directly down
- Guys Drinking Beer reports that Lagunitas is expanding already, even before completing their original brewery in Chicago. When it's done it will be a 1.7 million barrel facility and the combined production will be second only nationally to Sam Adams!
As you can see, there is a lot going on. Cheers to warmer days and great beers ahead!
To get you in the mood for the weekend, and man do we need it after a week like this one, today's Beer Porn Friday post features Harpoon IPA. This is one of my favorite beers out of Boston, and our thoughts are certainly with them right now. Behold!:
Via Matt Pettengill
Be safe, love and respect each other, and have a great weekend.
No longer a laughing stock, via Justin Kern
I grew up on the border with Canada, and I can't tell you how many times that my parents and their friends drank Labatts or Molson Canadian while taking potshots at American beer - which at the time was bland, generic mass-produced American lager. And if any Canadians were around, well, they'd pan American beer like covering a waffle in their maple syrup. Our domestic beer reputation was so bad that it was often joked about. Here's a not-safe-for-work joke that you may have heard about American beer and a canoe and...well, you'll have to click here if you are willing. Of course, the American craft beer revolution of the past 40 years has changed the game.
No longer the laughing stock of the world, American craft beer has revitalized the industry, creating variety and quality never seen before. And other places are more than taking notice. The BBC recently posted an article about how our beer is influencing them in the UK (thanks to friend and former tour guide Ariana, who brought this story to our attention). In part, they note:
"According to the Brewers Association, exports of US craft beer rose by 72% in 2012, with Canada, the UK and Sweden making up the largest international markets."
And it's not just exporting. Now American craft beer and brewers are actually influencing European brewers in production overseas: "Known for their potent, hoppy flavours and high alcohol percentages, and often comprising unusual ingredients like chilli and chocolate, American craft beers have inspired a host of imitators, especially in the UK. British firms like Darkstar, Meantime and Marble have all manufactured drinks influenced more by California and Colorado than Cornwall or Coventry."In a sense, the trend is coming full circle. Many, if not most, of the styles of beer brewed here are European. But since American craft brewers are not bound to the same traditions...in fact, quite the opposite, in many cases...the new, bolder styles are finding fans back in the Old Country. Regardless, I believe it will be good for drinkers, and is likely just the beginning of this trend. Cheers, Bruce
Have a great weekend - here's to 65 degrees and sunny on Sunday.