Thursday, March 26, 2015

Last Post

So this is now the official last post, and soon, the only post that will be up until Google forces me off blogspot.

The blog's been given a new look, lots of new features, and more coming/more content, and is now over at:

Google was great for the first stage of this blog. Clean looks were easy, ad software included, and I recommend the platform to anyone looking to get started doing any kind of blogging/shared writing.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Beer, Fountainhead, Beer! - Two Delicious Beer Events!

Honestly, I shouldn't even have to tell you about this stuff, this is Fountainhead. This is Top Ten beer bars in Chicago. This is Top 5 Whiskey bars in Chicago. This is funniest GM on the northside, plus chef-driven beer projects, great food, one of my favorite seasonal pickles dishes, and did I say beer?

November 12 - St. Feuillien @ Fountainhead
4th generation St. Feuillien owner Dominique Friart will be in house to answer questions, chat about the historic brewing tradition & mix and mingle with beer lovers. Fountainhead will be pouring the full line of available St. Feuillien drafts for this event and Chef Cleetus will be offering some St. Feuillien inspired food specials.

Belgian Coast IPA - belgian IPA collaboration with Green Flash, tropical!
Tripel - dry finish after apple, pear, peach notes and a nice malty, grain middle
Brune Reserve - St. Feuillien's dubbel, complex spices and dark fruit
Biere de L’Amite - collaboration with Green Flash, strong belgian pale
Saison - a year-round saison, creamier than most, fruitier.
Speciale - brewed once a year, belgian strong dark ale, spiced as all St. Feuillien beers are, hints of nutty malts and a zip in the finish

11.2OZ St. Feuillien Grand Cru


For the last three years, Chef Cleetus has been partnering with Midwest breweries from Michigan to the Windy City. With the help of these amazing brewers, Chef Cleetus has created some amazing, one-of-a-kind beers and he is excited to celebrate these breweries which have opened their doors (and fermentation tanks) to share in the creation of some great brews. This celebration is the perfect time to taste all of these amazing collaborations in one place and learn about the inspiration behind the masterpieces directly from Cleetus & some of the collaboration brewers in attendance.
Chef Friedman’s signature beer-inspired dishes will be on special during the event including charm city crab cakes and fried chicken & whiskey bacon waffles with rosemary syrup. Chef Cleetus will also provide menu pairing suggestions with the featured beers from Fountainhead’s regular menu. Beer prices will range from $6-11 and nips & pints and Cleetus flights will also be available for purchase.

Collab Brews:
Comb the desert—collaboration with Begyle
There Gose the Neighborhood—collaboration with 
Against the Grain
Terminator X—collaboration with 
Barrel-Aged Date Sugar Yeast Magic—collaboration with 
Cabinet of Curiosities—collaboration with 
Two Brothers
27 Blocks—collaboration with Lake Effect

Hilarious pic from last year's The Return of Cleetus

Friday, November 7, 2014

Coming soon to a blogosphere near you. - Boozy Beggar Pic of the Day. #boozybeggarPOTD #chicagolandbooze #boozypics

via Instagram

Bar Pastoral 2 Year Celebration - Premium Wine Dinner, November 11th

Bar Pastoral, the restaurant and bar wing of one of Chicago's best booze and cheese spots, celebrates its second year, with an elegant wine pairing dinner, using Benchmark Wines that highlight the quality and nuance of some of most heralded wine producers.

Tickets here, 116.82 total including tax and gratuity (18%).
Bar open at 6:30, Dinner starts at 7:00.


Arctic Char Tartare, Crispy Fennel Chip, Crème Fraiche
Vincent Dancer 'Les Corbins' Meursault (Chardonnay)


Braised Rabbit Pappardelle, 1605 Manchego
Dom. Pierre Guillemot 'Savigny-Serpentières 1er Cru' (Pinot Noir)


Roasted New Zealand Lamb "Lolly-Pops", Natural Jus, Potato Pave
Andrea Oberto Barolo (Nebbiolo)


Chocolate and Arbol Chili Genoise, Marca Oro Gorgonzola Mousse
Cade 'Napa Cuvee' (Cabernet Sauvignon)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

St. Feuillien Beer Dinner at Trenchermen, Nov. 11

Dominique Friart, 4th generation owner of Brasserie St. Feuillien, visits Chicago next week, and Trenchermen is hosting her for this intimate 4-course beer pairing dinner. Delve into the complexity of Belgian abbey ales, brewing spices, and St. Feuillien's creative spin on both elements of Belgian brewing, alongside carefully crafted dishes by Trenchermen's Pat Sheerin.

Tickets - $75,

Welcome Beer at 6:30, w/Amuse-bouche

Pickled tots, red onion yogurt, caviar w/
Grand Cru, an extra-bodied amber with depth and intrigue 

Dinner starts at 7
Chicken fat roasted carrots, apricot, smoked fried chicken
Saison, a rich and spicy beer that displays true "terroir"

Olive oil poached shrimp, lobster curry broth, quinoa & herbs
Tripel, a distinct maltiness alongside fruit and aromatic hops

Duroc pork, grains, malt roasted vegetables
Belgian Coast IPA, an exciting collaboration with Green Flash

Biere-a-misu, golden raisins, chicory
Speciale, the pinnacle of St. Feullien's beers, a seasonal delight

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Publican and BroVo Spirits

Over a year ago I sat down with Mhairi Voelsgen of BroVo Spirits, to talk about her liqueur distillery's leap into the world of amaros - italian bitter digestifs and apertifs - based on a failed experiment. At that time, what was 7 amaros made by Seattle bartenders, became 16 amaros, made hand-in-hand (or herb-filled sock in hand) with bartenders in Seattle, San Francisco, and 4 Chicago amaros, by Stephen Patrick Cole of Barrelhouse Flat (and now Lone Wolf and Sportsman's Club), Mike Ryan (Sable), Bobby Ryan (Fion Wine & Spirits), and Greg Mietsch (Fion Wine & Spirits).With all the buzz about our city's amazing cocktail scene and the national attention we're getting from the success of places like Scofflaw, The Aviary, Three Dots and a Dash, and more, BroVo concocted a shot back at one of our rival cities, based on the "Second" City name (chosen, because of a piece in The New Yorker about Chicago).

Thus was born Screw Manhattan, Drink Chicago, featuring BroVo's 4 Chicago Amaros, a bevvy of our best cocktail joints, and various twists and reformations and pontifications and altercations to the Manhattan cocktail concept (american rye or bourbon, sweet vermouth, angostura bitters). The Publican chose to celebrate the Amaros by featuring two of them as part of what they're calling UnManhattan Week, shirking the Manhattan for bolder, bitter-driven cocktail magic.

Available tonight through Saturday night:
"The Jegroni" - Brovo Amaro #16 (Stephen Patrick Cole's), Contratto White Vermouh, Letherbee GIn

Available for brunch this weekend and ongoing:
"The Day After Amaro" - BroVo Amaro #14, Medley Bros bourbon, apple, spiced demerara syrup, lemon.

Check back here to hear about other Screw Manhattan/UnManhattan projects around town.

Delicious things I drank last week...

Not retiring the Fermented series, but sometimes you just need a recap of the week's delightful beverages, and next week we can talk more about fall seasonals (no, not pumpkin beer, except for one that's impressed me on this list).

The next time you see a list of drinks (actually, this list, even), it'll be WITH THE ALL NEW DESIGN. I'm so excited, I'm writing in all capital letters. Like a high school kid on instagram. Go drink all of this stuff.

Forbidden Root Shady Character, 6.7% ABV, botanical porter. Fall is porter season, as my friend Julia reminds me every year. The true porter is distinguishable from the stout because of body, and carbonation, and arguably, varying degrees of roast character. There's also hints of other delicious things from the hops and malts used to put this style of beer together, and that often hints at herbs, nuts, spices. So Forbidden Root, Chicago's botanical brewery, gives us Shady Character, a porter brewed with black walnuts, licorice, roasted chestnuts, star anise, and tellicherry pepper. Great with BBQ.

Solemn Oath E-Ville - 7.3% ABV, American Brown Ale. American hops balance sweet dessert chocolate and caramel notes, plus a nutty graininess.

5 Mile Horn - from Luke Andrews of The Berkshire Room, and developed for Eater cocktail week last week. El Dorado 5 year old rum, Averna, Aperol, orange and grapefruit oil. Not sure if I'm missing a juice, but this was fantastic. Rum makes a great base for spice driven cocktails, and this cocktail does a great job at being seasonal without being cliche.

Peloton de La Muerte - At mfk, a small seafood joint that transports you to a different kind of shore, the house Agua Vida (water of life, sort of a whiskey/distilled spirits joke) is just water and Peloton de la Muerte, a delicious and affordable joven mezcal (silver/un-aged). You can just sip on this slightly fruity and delightfully simple mixture while you peruse the menu or in a way, to add a hint of smoke to your food.  Oh yeah, get the ceviche and this together. Thank me later. OR, get the monkfish pate, which made my entire night.

Anderson Valley Fall Hornin - 6% ABV, Pumpkin Ale. This here might be the best pumpkin ale on the market. Easy to enjoy, not cloyingly sweet, not overly spiced, this is still a beer, and not a pumpkin pie in a glass. There's a great pumpkin and malt sweetness balanced against bitter dark chocolate notes, a lively
earthiness, and a deep red-brown hue that speaks to the season. Hints of hops and spice in the nose and finish.

Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald - 5.8 ABV, Porter. Delicious balance of chocolate and roasted coffee nut notes and hop finish (a light, smooth citrus peel hint). This is the Porter that makes me say "ah, it is Porter season (in the fall)."

Temperance Gate Crasher - 6.6 % ABV, English IPA. Malty backbone, aromatic and intense hop flavors that balance between earthy and floral. Silver medal winner at Great American Beer Festival.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Longman & Eagle - Pumpkin Carving and Cider, October 26 (1-6pm)

Longman & Eagle, 1-6 PM, Sunday, October 26th.
Let out your inner ghoul with the help of some L&E donuts, smores, and some offerings from Vander Mill (also, some hot cider + whiskey).

From Vander Mill:
Totally Roasted firkin - Vander Mill's hard cider infused with cinnamon-candied pecans, the firkin will have just the lightest carbonation from the yeast that made this cider.

Chapman's Oaked Cider - this is Vander Mill's Chapman's Blend (Johnny Appleseed's real name?) of all heirloom apples aged in first use American White Oak barrels. They use various levels of toasting to bring out oak and vanilla flavors, plus the cider finishes drier, with a fuller tannic structure.

Pumpkins and carving tools provided!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Women Working in Mixed Media Presents: She's Crafty - Women in Craft Beer (at Chop Shop), 10/22

Women Working in Mixed Media presents an interactive panel of beer industry-related women and a networking event with beers to taste! This is a great opportunity to meet some of the women pushing the corners of the beer industry in new directions, and hear first hand about working in this rather frenetic and growing industry.

Click on the Women Working in Mixed Media link to go over to and learn about this networking and event organization.

All guests also get a swag bag - contents to remain mysterious til tomorrow!

Claudia Jendron - Brewer, Temperance Beer Company
Kate Bernot - Nightlife Reporter, RedEye
Kim Leshinski - Design Consultant and Event Curator, Hail To The Ale
Monica Mooney - Field Sales Representative, Bell's Brewery, Inc. (Official)
Jennifer Faulk - Director of Marketing at Louis Glunz Beer, Inc.

Beer from:
Bell's Brewery
Temperance Beer Company
Great Lakes Brewing Company
O'so Brewing Company - Tap House

 $30 for 1, $50 for 2, $100 for 5!

Bonus: get 10% off dinner at Chop Shop that night by purchasing a ticket and booking your reservation by emailing
Doors open at 6pm, panel starts at 6:30pm.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Bitters class again. Learning a ton about what works and what doesn't. - Boozy Beggar Pic of the Day. #boozybeggarPOTD #chicagolandbooze #boozypics

via Instagram

Fountainhead Harvest Dinner with Metropolitan Brewing & Angel's Envy - 10/15

Say hello to fall, and goodbye to patio season, with Fountainhead's Harvest Dinner, tomorrow night!

There's still some tickets left for this fall-focused pairing meal, blending wine, whiskey, and fall beers, into a family-style celebration.

If I get information on the exact pairings, I'll post them here!
There's going to be at least one special cask from Metropolitan Brewing, and a sneak peek at the hand-picked Fountainhead Angel's Envy blend.

If you breathe Chicago air, you know Metropolitan. They keep us saturated in locally made, well crafted lagers, and if you follow me on Facebook, you know I try to warn you about everything from special casks of Dynamo, to being up on the Doppelbock release every winter (and there's Heliostat, their ultra-fresh, unfiltered zwickel lager coming this week).

Angel's Envy is the fruition of years of training and distilling and blending and tasting by bourbon/american whiskey legend Lincoln Henderson. This changes the way we perceive bourbon, finishing products in special casks that held other liquors, like Rye finished in a Rum cask, Bourbon finished in Sherry or Port, or both, etc. These experiments (arguably borrowed from the Scotch world) add another layer of complexity. My experience with Angel's Envy is that this is the kind of stuff you don't make cocktails with, but rather, you zip, and enjoy, and savor.

$65, tickets here.

Roasted bone marrow, pickled vegetables, fruit mostarda, toast points

Hearty green salad, butter roasted turnips, toasted sunflower seeds, onion frizzles, apple cider vinaigrette

Brussel sprout & delicata squash hash w/quinoa

Sliced herbed roast beef, horseradish cream, sliced baguette

Caramel Apple Bread Pudding

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Skål: A Celebration of Beer - Swedish American Museum - October 16th, 7-9 PM

The Swedish American Museum in Andersonville (5211 N. Clark St) is hosting an awesome fundraiser for the Water Tower Fund, featuring Swedish brewing history, and beer samples from the up and coming Swedish craft beer scene. Also, a short presentation by Jenny Pfafflin, on Swedish brewing history and their own craft beer explosion. As some of you know, the Water Tower had to come down this year, and many consider it a symbol of both the Swedish heritage of Andersonville, and a symbol of the neighborhood's energy.

 Tickets are here:

Here's an excerpt from an interview Jenny did that captures the essence of what's going on in Swedish beer right now:

"What's happening in the Swedish beer scene is very similar to what is happening in the US—much like in the States, the beer market 25 years ago was generally pale lagers (Your Buds, Coors, and Millers here, and your Carlsberg over there). But there was a homebrew movement brewing (pardon my pun!) in both countries...
Swedish beer drinkers were also taking notice of the beer scene in the US. According to the Brewers Association...after Canada, more American beer is exported to Sweden than any other country in the world. And the influence of American craft beer in Sweden has inspired a craft movement of its own—the past few years have produced exciting, young upstarts like Brekeriet, Modernist Brewing, and Omnipollo; brand-new beer bars from Mikkeller, BrewDog, Katarina Ölkafé have arrived in Stockholm (although, one of the world’s great beer bars, Akkurat, has been been around for nearly 20 years); and just this spring, American-based craft beer giant Brooklyn Brewery opened the doors to Nya Carnegie, a Stockholm-based brewery collaboration with Carlsberg Sweden.

Now in Sweden, much like the US, every time you turn your head, you'll hear of a new brewery opening. To keep tabs on Swedish beer, a couple of beer writers to follow is Joel Linderoth at Expressen's Mitt Kök and Tobias Göth at Allt om Mat."

There will be samples of beer from:
Nils Oscar - a barleywine (these guys are like the grandfathers' of Swedish brewing, akin to Sam Adams here)
Omnipollo - fantastic label art, no word yet on which style we'll get to try
Evil Twin Berliner Weisse - technically Danish/Nordic brewery, that brews all over the world
Ölvisholt Brugghús - Icelandic stout
Andersonville Brewing/Metropolitan Brewing collab - Vattentorn Baltic Porter (brewed especially for the Water Tower Fund)0
Brooklyn brewery - Hammarby Syndrome (swedish-inspired strong ale with spelt and hand-foraged spruce fronds made to celebrate opening of sister brewery in Stockholm, Nya Carnegie)


Friday, September 26, 2014

Two Brothers Beer Brunch at Range, tomorrow!

$30 per seat, RSVP
11:00 AM start time.

Welcome: Beer Cocktail

Ebel's Weiss
Banana Split bread pudding french toast-
Bitter end caramel, sea salt, bacon dust, caramelized bananas and peanut butter creme anglaise.

Cane & Ebel
Walnut+ Bacon and fig Omelet-
Walnut-parsley pesto, pepper bacon, figs, brie and breakfast lemon herb potatoes

Side Kick
Pain d' mie, duck egg, rosemary shallot creme sauce, aged sheep cheese and served with blackberry water cress-cantaloupe salad

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Publican/Goose Island, Barrel Aged Beer Dinner, 9/30

Quite the opportunity, some laid down 2013 bottles of Goose Island's finest and rarest, paired with 5 courses of the amazing food of The Publican. This is the kind of countryside, beer paired meal you might actually find in Belgium or Northern France, and not your typical beer dinner. Combine that with the impeccable but friendly service from the Publican, and this is a real treat. If you're going to pay for a beer dinner in this range, this is where you want to do it.

$150 per person, plus tax and gratuity
For reservations, contact Omowale Amoin at or call 312-733-9555

Menu below.
Exciting to see Lilith as the opener, plus a flight of Matilda paired with pork collar. Real treat to see how the Matildas each meld with different elements of the pork dish. To top it all off, some 2013 Proprietor's Reserve BCS. 

My beer for Lincoln Square Lanes bowling. - Boozy Beggar Pic of the Day. #boozybeggarPOTD #chicagolandbooze #boozypics

via Instagram

Monday, September 15, 2014

Wolves in the Farmhouse! (Farmhouse Chicago, w/3 Floyds, Surly, and Solemn Oath), 9/22

6 course dinner at Farmhouse Chicago, featuring
3 Amazing Midwestern Breweries + Farmhouse's farm-to-table fare!

75 seats total, so get your tickets ASAP. Not a dinner to be missed, and it isn't often you get to have this high level of food, amazing music, all paired with great beer (plus the dudes and dudettes of these three fine breweries will be present, for all your questions, high fives, and joint headbanging).

Tickets ($100):

Course 1:
Aged Goat Cheese
Caramelized Cashews, Buttermilk Cracker, Nectarine Butter, Nasturtium
Happy Fun Beer, Solemn Oath

Course 2:
Heirloom Beets, Tomato, Pink Peppercorn, Hibiscus
Fest Beer, Surly

Course 3:
Indiana Shrimp Fry
Charred Long Beans, Grilled Corn, Black Onion Vinaigrette, Shrimp Shell Aioli, Tarragon
Patron Saint of Quality Footwear, Solemn Oath

Course 4:
Tenderloin of Pork
Rose Finn Potatoes, Spent Grains, Lobster Mushrooms, Peppers, Beer Reduction, Citrus Marigold
Permanent Funeral, 3 Floyds

Course 5:
Lamb T-Bone
Cauliflower, Crispy Quinoa & Puffed Wild Rice, Grapes,
Lamb Jus, Mountain Mint
Pentagram, Surly

Course 6:
Coffee Cake, Carmel Corn, Espresso, Anise Hyssop
Zombie Dust, 3 Floyd's

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Swedish Covenant Women's Health Initiative Fundraiser/Charity Beer and Spirits Event - The Bar on Buena, 9/11, 7PM

$40 dollars for drinks and appetizers. Guaranteed a delicious time! I'll be there pouring beer for you as well.

The Bar On Buena -  910 W Buena Ave, Chicago, IL 60613


Read about the Women's Health Initiative/new Health Center

The Beer ridiculous!

Allagash - White, Saison
Lagunitas - IPA, Little Sumpin, Sumpin, Pils
Left Hand - Milk Stout Nitro, Oktoberfest, Polestar Pils
Stone - IPA, Matt's Burning Roses, RuinTen
Two Brothers - Atom Smasher Oktoberfest, Cain & Ebel, Ebel's Weiss
Vandermill - Blue Gold, Hard Apple, Nunica Pine Dry Hopped
Ale Syndicate - Levee Belgian Blonde, Municipal IPA, Sunday Session Pale
Weihenstephaner - Hefe-Weizen, Oktoberfest
Greene King Abbot English Nitro
Saison Dupont
Aspall Imperial Cider
Iron Maiden's TROOPER
La Trappe Quadrupel
St. Feuillien Grand Cru
Evil Twin Falco IPA
Stillwater Brontide Black Saison
Begyle - Blond, Schwarzbier, Euchred IPA, Free Bird American Pale, Zeus Double IPA
New Holland - Black Hatter, Mad Hatter, Oak Aged Hatter, Rye Hatter

Plus beers from...
Local Option

5 Rabbit
Great Lakes
Samuel Smith

And Spirits...
Bulleit Bourbon
Bulliet 10 year
New Holland Gin and Straight Malt Whiskey

Monday, September 8, 2014

Good Beer Hunting, Forbidden Root, final stop on the Beer Cocktail Tour at The Bad Apple

I think the picture below and the menu do all the work for me on this blogpost. Good Beer Hunting (aka Michael Kiser) put together this amazing summer beer cocktail tour, and it wraps up tomorrow night at The Bad Apple with the cocktails below. To quote Good Beer Hunting, Forbidden Root's "botanic beers are entirely unique" and present an interesting challenge to cocktail development (not that you need to worry, the recipes put together over the past few months are amazing, and quite a few if not all can be replicated at home if we just ask nice enough).

You can order a Trio and get a sample of the cocktail, the beer, and the dish. OR, go with an appetite and a deep thirst, and do it all. DO it all, for science, I say...

Redemption rye whiskey, Shady Character beer, house-made Shady Character spiced beer syrup served neat with a walnut rim.
Food pairing: 
Suppli - Roman Risotto Balls filled with smoked pork & fennel

Forbidden Root with 8-year cask aged El Dorado rum and Amargo Angostura Vallet served up with a house macerated cherry
Food pairing:
Short Rib braised with Forbidden Root beer & root vegetables

Ocho Cientos Sotol in a grapefruit beer jam and then topped off with Sublime Ginger and freshly squeezed Ruby grapefruit juice in a salt rimmed glass
Food pairing: 
Lemongrass & Ginger Crème Brûlée

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Small Bar Division's Brewer's Bill of Fare September + Pop Up Tap Room - Featuring Metropolitan Brewing

My pals at Metropolitan Brewing invade Smallbar Division tonight to celebrate all things lager-y with a Pop Up Tap Room, release some special edition beers, while also introducing this month's Brewer's Bill of Fare at Smallbar. Each month Smallbar launches a new Brewer's Bill of Fare, usually with a Pop Up Tap Room celebration featuring the brewers and/or their representatives, plus some rare beers, pairings, what have you.

The Flywheel Firkin - infused with apricots and ground cherries
Oktoberfest 2014 - I had this last week -- yum, friends, yum.
Heliostat - Zwickel lager, fresher than the tears of Pee Kay himself.
plus Dynamo and Krankshaft, for your vienna-style and pilsner-ish bright lager needs.

Here's the Bill of Fare for this month (updated/working when Facebook returns):