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  1. #111
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    Re: What beer are you drinking? Winter 12/13

    Quote Originally Posted by unclebunk View Post
    For the life of me, I can't understand why my friends and I haven't made the Michigan microbrewery pilgrimage, given how relatively close Bells and a few others are. And now the same can be said for Three Floyds too. One cool thing we're planning on doing soon is heading out to the Roundhouse to drink some Two Brothers, as the train is a block and a half from my house and deposits you right at the brewpub. Not bad, eh?
    Hop Juice Festival is coming up in June -- fine time at the Roundhouse. (Okay, the Roundhouse parking lot, unless you buy the VIP package, which gets you inside the Roundhouse on this day of days.) Lots of great guest kegs in addition to the 2Bros product. Now if only Solemn Oath were train accessible, you'd have a nice double-dip opportunity.

    It's awesome living close to a commuter line -- that was actually one of the top factors that drove our home-buying decision, as easy access to downtown Chicago means we only need one car.
    "Delicious... bourbon. Brownest of the brown liquors... so tempting. What's that? You want me to drink you?" -Lionel Hutz

  2. #112
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    Re: What beer are you drinking? Winter 12/13

    Quote Originally Posted by stevegoz View Post
    Hop Juice Festival is coming up in June -- fine time at the Roundhouse. (Okay, the Roundhouse parking lot, unless you buy the VIP package, which gets you inside the Roundhouse on this day of days.) Lots of great guest kegs in addition to the 2Bros product. Now if only Solemn Oath were train accessible, you'd have a nice double-dip opportunity.

    It's awesome living close to a commuter line -- that was actually one of the top factors that drove our home-buying decision, as easy access to downtown Chicago means we only need one car.
    You can say that again, Steve. We can take a three minute walk to the station and be standing downtown in 25 minutes when we catch the express train. It sure has made life easier when spending the day in the city drinking beer at the music fests for hours on end. As to the Hop Juice Festival, I definitely won't be missing that again this year but is it worth the VIP package?

    Also, I've been meaning to ask you this. Chicago is a great beer city and there seems to have been an explosion of new micros/brewpubs, etc. pop up in recent years. But what puzzles me is that there seems to be a real paucity of cask-conditioned ale and I've never quite understood that. When I talk to friends in San Francisco, Portland and other great beer meccas I turn green with envy when they tell me what's available to them. Any thoughts on why this is? And where do you find the best cca's in our fair city?
    "I distrust a man who says 'when.' He's got to be careful not to drink too much, because he's not to be trusted when he does." Sydney Greenstreet

  3. #113
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    Re: What beer are you drinking? Winter 12/13

    Good question re: cask-conditioned beers. The first place I ever had one was at the 2Bros Tap House about five years ago -- Domaine DuPage and Cane & Ebel on different visits. They used to advertise cask-conditioned ale availability on the weekends, but I haven't noticed any lately. Half Acre does some cask-conditioned beers as well, but I don't know about the likes of Revolution or Pipeworks doing so. Fountainhead and Owen & Engine are among the few places I've been to that serve CCAs.

    VIP package for HJF was $50 on Friday and $75 on Saturday last year -- I copied the info below from the website. If pricing is similar this year, I think my group will opt for it on Saturday to reduce the time spent in the sun....
    * Exclusive Access to the Two Brothers Roundhouse restaurant, tavern and courtyard;
    * Live main stage video and audio simulcast;
    * Exclusive Access to the VIP Bar;
    * Exclusive Access to the indoor Bathrooms;
    * A seat to rest your hop lovin' feet;
    * 5 complimentary beers for single day VIP (weekend pass receives 5 per day, 21 or older with state-issued ID);
    * Unlimited free non-alcoholic drinks;
    * Exclusive Access to Specialty Foods Purveyors inside, including cheese, chocolate and other specialty food samplings;
    * Food all day long including
    ** Friday dinner buffet from 6-8pm
    ** Saturday barbeque lunch from Noon-2pm
    ** Saturday dinner buffet from 6-8pm
    "Delicious... bourbon. Brownest of the brown liquors... so tempting. What's that? You want me to drink you?" -Lionel Hutz

  4. #114
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    Re: What beer are you drinking? Winter 12/13

    Quote Originally Posted by stevegoz View Post
    Good question re: cask-conditioned beers. The first place I ever had one was at the 2Bros Tap House about five years ago -- Domaine DuPage and Cane & Ebel on different visits. They used to advertise cask-conditioned ale availability on the weekends, but I haven't noticed any lately. Half Acre does some cask-conditioned beers as well, but I don't know about the likes of Revolution or Pipeworks doing so. Fountainhead and Owen & Engine are among the few places I've been to that serve CCAs.

    VIP package for HJF was $50 on Friday and $75 on Saturday last year -- I copied the info below from the website. If pricing is similar this year, I think my group will opt for it on Saturday to reduce the time spent in the sun....
    Thanks for the info on the Hop Juice Fest. Sounds like a good deal to get the VIP pass and definitely the way to go. As to the CCA matter, when I lived in England I got addicted to it and would drink nothing else when I went to a pub. If the pub didn't have cask-conditioned ale (fairly rare), I wouldn't stay. With all the fresh beer available in Chicago and a huge homebrewing community, you'd think there would be a demand for it, as there used to be a terrific but short-lived CCA Festival that was very well attended. The organizers ran into some legal hitches with the city, as I recall, and the event just faded away. What a shame. And the last time I called Rock Bottom over by the Yorktown Mall to inquire about it, they transferred me to the bartender and he didn't have a clue as to what I was talking about. Talk about pathetic!
    "I distrust a man who says 'when.' He's got to be careful not to drink too much, because he's not to be trusted when he does." Sydney Greenstreet

  5. #115
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    Re: What beer are you drinking? Winter 12/13

    Quote Originally Posted by unclebunk View Post
    As to the CCA matter, when I lived in England I got addicted to it and would drink nothing else when I went to a pub. If the pub didn't have cask-conditioned ale (fairly rare), I wouldn't stay. With all the fresh beer available in Chicago and a huge homebrewing community, you'd think there would be a demand for it, as there used to be a terrific but short-lived CCA Festival that was very well attended.
    The few CCAs I've had always strike me as "softer" versions of the standard beer (the 2Bros examples, especially Cane & Ebel, which I found to be quite hoppy in my pre-hop head days), which I appreciated. Conversely, one of my beer buds refers to CCAs as "warm drool," which probably isn't the most charitable description.

    What qualities around CCAs do you most appreciate? Have you found that there are particular beer styles that most benefit from this treatment?
    "Delicious... bourbon. Brownest of the brown liquors... so tempting. What's that? You want me to drink you?" -Lionel Hutz

  6. #116
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    Re: What beer are you drinking? Winter 12/13

    Tonight I opened a Pelican Mother of All Storms (bourbon barrel aged English barleywine). Wow. This is one good beer. It picked up some really nice oak influence from the barrel. The heavier malt profile of the English style is nicely complemented with the barrel aging. The nose shows dark red fruits, caramel, coconut, chocolate malt, whiskey, and the barrel. The taste is equally complex and is not overly sweet or sticky as many barleywines are. This is one of the better BA barleywines that I have had.

  7. #117
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    Re: What beer are you drinking? Winter 12/13

    Can't get enough of Lagunitas Sucks right now. Had passed on it years past, but finally pulled the trigger this year due to increasing hype. Holy cow. What a fantastically smooth and well balanced IPA. And for only $10 a 6 pack?!?! Unreal! Went back to the store and bought a case. Gotta be the deal of the century.
    Steve
    "Rye whiskey, rye whiskey, rye whiskey I cry. If a tree don't fall on me, I'll live till I die" - Tex Ritter

  8. #118
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    Re: What beer are you drinking? Winter 12/13

    Quote Originally Posted by stevegoz View Post
    The few CCAs I've had always strike me as "softer" versions of the standard beer (the 2Bros examples, especially Cane & Ebel, which I found to be quite hoppy in my pre-hop head days), which I appreciated. Conversely, one of my beer buds refers to CCAs as "warm drool," which probably isn't the most charitable description.

    What qualities around CCAs do you most appreciate? Have you found that there are particular beer styles that most benefit from this treatment?
    Yes, Steve. All of them!! Well, not lagers of course but all ales really should be appreciated in cask-conditioned form whenever possible. When you consider that nearly all ale styles (excluding Belgians), be they pale ales, IPA's, brown ales, ESB's, porters, milk stouts, etc. originated in England and that cask-conditioning was the sole method of producing these beers for centuries, it is no wonder that an organization like CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale) has become such a vocal activist (and political) group in the United Kingdom, as they are truly trying to preserve a way of life that centered around the village pub, where cask-conditioned ale was the beer of choice. I don't know as much about the history of bottled beer as I ought to know, but even after bottles were first introduced, beer was still "bottle-conditioned" (making it a close cousin of cask-conditioned beer) until mass production took hold and using CO2 became the preferred method of carbonating beer. So, for me anyway, cca (like all homebrew that hasn't been put in a keg) is greatly preferred because it is naturally carbonated, rather than artificially infused with gas, making it smooth and creamy (and less likely to cause a hangover too!).

    Perhaps it is because we have grown up in a nation that historically tends to like their beers minimally hopped and aggressively carbonated that English ales have erroneously earned the reputation of being "warm and flat" by comparison. But when I lived In England and drank the finest fresh ale on the planet, I soon discovered that nothing could be further from the truth. A well-kept cask at cellar temperatures of approximately 45-58 degrees (certainly not warm or room temperature) produces the most flavorful, aromatic ale with a dense, creamy head that you could ever hope for and the furthest thing from "warm drool" one could imagine. The one distinction I would make is that there can be a difference between cask ale in an insulated jacket sitting behind the bar and those that are drawn from a cool cellar via a hand-pull, with the former naturally being at more risk of having a tepid quality than the latter. Check out the link below for more info:

    http://www.camra.org.uk/aboutale
    Last edited by unclebunk; 01-15-2013 at 07:35.
    "I distrust a man who says 'when.' He's got to be careful not to drink too much, because he's not to be trusted when he does." Sydney Greenstreet

  9. #119
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    Re: What beer are you drinking? Winter 12/13

    I'm drinking some Oskar Blues Old Chub Scotch Ale. I poured the can into a mason jar and am enjoying it very much. It's smooth but not overly sweet, and the alcohol provides a nice bite. My only other experience with Oskar Blues was their Yella Pils, which I found very disappointing. The Old Chub is redeeming, and is something I'll buy again to enjoy during "winter" (I use quotations out of respect for those who deal with actual cold, as I'm in Southern California).

  10. #120
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    Re: What beer are you drinking? Winter 12/13

    Drinking some Bells Hopslam with dinner. I'm gonna need to pick up some more of this because its fantastic.

 

 

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