Toast of the Midwest
I made the trip to Navy Pier in Chicago on Sunday for Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp Across America, an awesome traveling beer fest that is scheduled to hit just seven cities this summer. It was a great chance to try beers from Midwest breweries and a few that you just can’t get around here, like Tampa’s Cigar City (their Jai Alai IPA is delicious).
There were plenty of standouts at Beer Camp, but the best beer I tried was easily Pipeworks Citra Saison. Pipeworks Brewing is a relatively small brewery in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood. But keep an eye on these guys. They have plans for expansion. Here’s hoping they make it up to Milwaukee in the relatively near future.
Having a choice of dozens of regional breweries was nice, but I was equally impressed to see Milwaukee well represented by MKE Brewing, Lakefront Brewing, Sprecher Brewing, Horny Goat Brewing and local beer guru Mike Romans (owner of Romans’ Pub).
Ideally, brewing beer is about combining several ingredients to create a complex and flavorful result. It’s a natural fit for those with a solid culinary background to try their hand brewing beer.
A local example is Sanford chef Justin Aprahamian. The James Beard Award winner recently teamed up with John Lavelle to start Like Minds Brewing Company. The first offering from the duo is Serre Rhubarb Saison.
A similar story is happening in the Windy City. Jared Rouben employed his restaurant background to create Moody Tongue Brewing Company in Chicago. Rouben refers to Moody Tongue as “culinary brewing” and one of his first brews is a Belgian that includes paw paw fruit for moderate sweetness.
Odd ingredients are nothing new in the brewing business (see: Wynkoop’s Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout), but those with extensive knowledge of food flavors add a new twist to the creativity. Check out a great article by Joshua Bernstein from Draft Magazine that touched on the topic in December. And, keep an eye out for Like Minds brews in Milwaukee.
Barley Pop of the Week
Summer has been a hit-or-miss proposition so far. But some beers work well regardless of the temperature. New Glarus Serendipity is a prime example. Apples used to brew the beer are front and center when it comes to flavor. But there are also hints of cherries and cranberries that give the brew a nice tart finish. If any brewery does fruit beers better than New Glarus, I’ve yet to hear about them.
Keep August 7 open. Central Waters is bringing some rarities to Sugar Maple (441 E. Lincoln Ave.), but Central Waters has also convinced other breweries, some that don’t distribute to Milwaukee, to bring a few barrels as well. The first four confirmations are from Surly, Toppling Goliath, Indeed and Perennial. Not a bad start.
The tasty Black Husky Sparkly Eyes IIPA is coming to town this week. But the release is limited, so plan accordingly.
Wednesday, July 30: Milwaukee Beer Society tastes ambers/red beers at Best Place (901 W. Juneau Ave.). The tasting starts at 6 p.m. and costs $10.
Wednesday, July 30: Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Across America brews make it to Romans’ Pub (3475 Kinnickinnic Ave.) at 7 p.m. Try the Maillard’s Odyssey Imperial Dark Ale (a collaboration with Bell’s) and the Three Floyds collaboration, Chico King Pale Ale.
Thursday, July 31: The release party for My Turn Andy Pub Ale is at Palomino Bar (2491 S. Superior St.) from 6 to 8 p.m.
Friday, August 1: Founders Brewing takes over the taps at Ray’s Growler Gallery (8930 W. North Ave.) from 5 to 8 p.m. I recommend getting there well before 5 p.m.
Saturday, August 2: Taste German style beers at Three Cellars (7133 S. 76th St.) from 1 to 4 p.m.
Saturday, August 2: Stubby’s Gastrogrub & Beer Bar (2060 N. Humboldt Ave.) is hosting one heck of a four-year anniversary party. Cheese-a-palooza starts at 3 p.m. The food will be loaded with cheesy options, but it’s the beer list that deserves a mention here. Rarities abound, including the Avery/Russian River Collaboration not Litigation Belgian Ale, Black Husky Sparkly Eyes IIPA and a little beer called Founders KBS. Those are just a few notables, there will be many more. Congrats to Stubby’s on year four.
Sunday, August 3: Renowned Sanford chef Justin Aprahamian brings brews from his new venture, Like Minds Brewing, to Ray’s Growler Gallery.