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):

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's FestivAle - September 12th

Please allow me to quote myself from last year, post-Festivale: "Festivale is the best of what Chicago festivals can be for two reasons: 1) It's a charity event, which means we're not just being a bunch of geeks and boozers, we're giving back, our passion gets a boost of external meaning 2) It's a well-done event that brings you an assortment of national craft beer from the likes of Stone, Lagunitas, Deschutes, plus our local loves, big (Half Acre and Revolution) and tiny (Forbidden Root, Ale Syndicate), and everywhere in between (rising, busy brewers Solemn Oath, the eccentric and extremely well-made Off-Color, for example)."

Who: Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
What: BEER FEST + AMAZING FOOD, plus raffles, silent auctions, more

When: September 12th, Friday. 6pm start for VIP session, 7 pm for the rest.
How:$65 for regular entry and $100 for the VIP reception.
Why: Did you not read the opening paragraph of this post? Charity! Beer! High Fives!

Participating Breweries below!
On top of all that beer (and Cider):

Collaborations and Releases
Chef Matt Troost from Three Aces + Greenbush Brewery - Collaboration and a release of a double black ale from Greenbrush and a special dish from Chef Matt
Temperance Beer Co will release their barrel aged porter and pair it with food from Popcorn Asylum.

Other Collaborations
• Bottle Fork + Begyle (I've had this beer, it's quite delicious!)
• The Radler + Flesk
• Haymarket beer + food pairing

51st Ward Brewing will release Dave's Dunkelweizen in honor of the brewmaster's brother-in-law who lived with cystic fibrosis.

And finally, check out this video of last year's FestivAle. Amazingly, no appearances by yours truly.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Two brunches two weeks in a row. Egg salad on rye, garden cucumbers, niman ranch breakfast sausage, turnip greens with garlic, plus vermouth caramelized figs and red onion. - Boozy Beggar Pic of the Day. #boozybeggarPOTD #chicagolandbooze #boozypics

via Instagram

Ale Syndicate Beer Dinner @ Bar Pastoral, 8/27

Bar Pastoral and Chef Brooks Hart host Sam Evans of Ale Syndicate for a beer dinner...

6-7 Cash Bar featuring Ale Syndicate Beers
4-course dinner starts at 7.
$50 per person includes tax and gratuity

Thai Style Ceviche with coconut milk and Thai Chili and Crispy Tortilla
Paired with Sunday Session Hopped up Ale

Braised Bacon with Spring Brooke Raclette Flatbread and Butter Roasted Mushrooms
Paired with Petrillo Pale Ale

Pretzel Croissant with Marinated Vegetables and 1655 Gruyere
Paired with Municipal IPA

Omega Midnight Stout Gelato with Olive Oil cake.
Paired with Omega Midnight Stout


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Vera, octopus and sherry pairing!

Two very special friends, who's 13th anniversary is today, once confirmed for me, what I suspected to be true: this spot Vera in a building I once visited for a sports bar experience, is a legit booze and food experience. Vera is a place that simultaneously makes you feel at home and neighborly (I will claim this hood as one of mine until I've live away from it the 7 years I lived around the corner from it). You actually KNOW a comfortable yet elegant dining experience is awaiting you just from the energy of the place.

Sherry, for me, is new, very new. I started learning about it about nine months ago, while making cocktails for a social media and advertising company's event, paired up with a much more experienced bartender. They made a sherry aperitif cocktail that though delicious, didn't really sink in with our crowd (in hindsight, people should have picked cocktails by name, given the point of the event). I went home with a bottle of amontillado sherry, and then along the way, while playing with a different sherry cocktail for another event, ended up with an oloroso bottle. Both were from the Lustau house, which from what I understand, makes very good sherry, but is also one of the larger sherry houses (someone correct me if I get this wrong, please). Anyway, point being, I knew a few cocktails with sherry, and knew a little bit about the characteristics of a small part of the range that is sherry. I'm not going to jump into sherry as a whole here, for that, you should read this:

So my plan for Vera was really simple. Say hi, and ask if they could pair one of their dishes with anything on the beverage list. I didn't actually specify sherry, or wine, as far as I recall.

What I got though, was an amazing amontillado sherry: Valdespino Tio Diego Amontillado, with an earthy/nutty and briny quality that paired beautifully with their grilled octopus with pimenton and olive oil dish. The interplay between the smokiness of the pimenton, the octopus, and the nutty and raisin brine of the sherry made for a lot of overlap in each bite. Some pairings end up being about how each piece stands out while enlightening its partner, where here, the two elements were like a Venn Diagram of flavors, with the center part being "awesome" and the other non-overlapping parts being "other reasons this is awesome." Guess what...that made it...awesome.

Summer isn't over fools! Corn n oil recipe on the blog tomorrow, plus a falernum recipe too. And if anyone can tell me who carries a blackstrap rum, free cocktail for them. - Boozy Beggar Pic of the Day. #boozybeggarPOTD #chicagolandbooze #boozypics

via Instagram

The Final Four Craft Beer Boat Events this week!

The final four Craft Beer Boat Ticket giveaways.
Here's a link to the original post, with all the ways to get a ticket: buying the below beers, sticking around for the raffles, and the twitter/instagram competition as well (not sure if those were picked online after each night, or the day after, etc).

See ya on the boat!

Monk's Pub - 8/20, 5-8 PM

This is my favorite Loop spot for a beer, as noted in my first ever Recommended! post about the Loop.

  • De Proef Fifth Star Raspberry Rye Saison - made with Windy City (who distributes all three companies)
  • La Trappe Trappist Tripel (first time ever on tap in the US!)
  • Seefbier (summer is here friends, it's going to be over 80 again)
  • Allagash White 
  • Allagash Confluence (can't believe how awesomely this is drinking right now)
  • Allagash Curieux
  • Allagash Odyssey (oak aged dark wheat, 10.4% ABV, yum)
  • Surly Mild
  • Surly Furious
  • Surly Bitter Brewer
  • Surly Pentagram (6.66% ABV, obviously, and a WILD ale)

Rockwell's Neighborhood - 8/21, 6-10 PM

I haven't posted my Recommended! Lincoln Square/Ravenswood one yet, but this on the list. Great neighborhood spot doing its part to elevate craft beer and cocktails in a classy, comfortable bar and restaurant environment.

  • Urthel Hop-It
  • St Feuillien Saison (believe it or not, I've never had this beer on tap!)
  • Tripel Karmeliet
  • De Proef Fifth Star Raspberry Rye Saison
  • Seefbier
  • Allagash White 
  • Allagash Confluence
  • Allagash Odyssey
  • Allagash Bourbon Black
  • Surly Furious
  • Surly Bender
  • Surly Hell
  • Surly Schadenfreude (munich dunkel lagers aren't dead)
  • Surly 2012 Darkness (don't be dumb guys, get this one)

Rock Island Public House - 8/22, Blue Island, 7-10 PM

  • Allagash White
  • Allagash Golden Brett (mildly tart and fruity, dark golden in color, AND DRAFT ONLY)
  • Allagash Confluence
  • Allagash Odyssey
  • Allagash Bourbon Black 
  • De Proef Sour Barrel #1
  • La Trappe Trappist Tripel (probably only the 2nd ever keg of this stuff in the US)
  • Seefbier
  • BOM Triporteur Wild & Funky #2 (I don't even know what this is and I work for Artisanal Imports!)
  • St Feuillien Belgian Coast IPA (special stuff, rarely on tap)
  • Surly 2012 Darkness (see what I wrote above, put it in your facehole)
  • Surly Pentagram
  • Surly Furious
  • Surly Overrated
  • Surly 2011 Smoke
Bigby's Pour House, Addison, 7-10 PM
  • De Proef/Surly Long Of Tooth - Had this at the Fountainhead event, and there's a WHOLE lot of awesome going on in here. Mega-complex, holds its own from start to finish.
  • Aspall Dry - fantastic cider, so easy drinking and dry, you can wrack up your tickets with this guy in between all this amazing beer
  • Tripel Karmeliet
  • La Trappe Trappist Tripel
  • St Feuillien Belgian Coast IPA
  • Iron Maiden TROOPER - this beer is so metal, they're actually going to fuel the Beer Boat with it
  • Surly Furious
  • Surly Coffee Bender - the rare coffee bender, I've asked they rename this The Beggar Bender for all the coffee I drink
  • Surly Cynic - one of my favorite beers of all time, actually
  • Surly Schadenfreude
  • Surly Bitter Brewer
  • Surly Asator - something to do with Vikings and hops.
  • Allagash White
  • Allagash Saison - is this the best beer released this year?
  • Allagash Fluxus '14
  • Allagash Odyssey
  • Allagash Confluence
  • Allagash James Bean - I think you can figure this one out on your own...

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

We got a little silly with some of the test bottles of the first round of hot sauce. - Boozy Beggar Pic of the Day. #boozybeggarPOTD #chicagolandbooze #boozypics

via Instagram

Fermented #28 - more beers (for our weird summer)

Orval, Belgian Pale Ale, 6.2 (6.9%?) ABV - a classic, one of the original Trappist beers. Some say the recipe dates back to the 1100s, though the current recipe, says their website, comes from the 30s. Triple fermented beer, they should make a video satirizing Miller Lite. They basically ferment the wort, then add a 2nd yeast (something funky) and hops for dry-hopping, then they run that through a centrifuge to remove any material, add a 3rd yeast for re-fermentation in the bottle. Only thing they make, but it is so damn good. This is one of the world's best beers, and one of my all-time favorites. It's a wonder I've never talked about it before (though I always planned to do a Trappist article on the old blog, and never did, etc).

Ale Asylum Unshadowed, Hefeweizen, 5.5% ABV - delicious, like banana cream pie with a hint of spice. Great creamy body, sweet fruity finish, and very thirst-quenching. Hard to believe this beer does all those things and stands out as a Hefeweizen (especially after having 5 of the originals just a month or so ago, plus other great American versions). Got so into it, I picked up a six pack yesterday for future summer hefeweizening.

Two dark beers for our unusually cool summer nights (and days apparently):

Sierra Nevada Maillard's Odyssey, American Porter, 8.5 % ABV - Maillard is a tribute/reference to the name of the reaction that occurs that darkens sugars and amino acids, causing caramelization and other such delicious things to occur. This beer really deserves the name with a delicious molasses-driven bready body that is balanced with some bracing hop additions. Enough carbonation and zip to drink like a porter, while being 8.5 % ABV.

Left Hand Brewing Black Jack Porter, 6.8% ABV - Another porter that drinks like a porter. If you've heard/read me complain about porters built like stouts, you know this is a big issue for me. Porters are what got me into the nuances of dark malts, and also, I burn out on hopcentric, bitter bombs very quickly these days. A proper porter, lighter in body than a stout, balanced but often with some hop character and bitterness, and a little more effervescent (the American version - the British should be softer, creamier but still not heavy as heavy in body and residual sugar). There's less ROAST in a porter, more hints of chocolate and dessert notes (some roast and coffee is good but in balance). Black Jack is an old favorite, a porter that occupied
my fridge often years ago, and that should find its way back in there as summer wraps up or we keep getting these 70 degree highs...

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Underground Dining Event at Bow & Stern Oyster Bar - 8/14

Looks like a delightful way to spend a Thursday night.
Was $90, now, $45, including tax and gratuity.
This is one of those times I'm living up to the second part of the blog name.

Kind of the ultimate in summer pairings - a strong belgian pale ale, a belgian-style farmhouse, and a belgian-style witte!

630 PM! Tickets here!

Three Course Prix-Fixe w/ Beer Pairings

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Chicago Craft Beer Boat, More Chances to Get on the Boat!

The ticket raffle events for the Chicago Craft Beer Boat continue this week, with two events; one at Firkin in Libertyville, and one at R Public House in Jarvis Square (Jarvis Red Line stop) just north of Rogers Park.

Don't forget that besides the raffles, you can win tickets via Instagram. Rules at the bottom of this page:

Firkin, Libertyville, IL, August 6th, 7-10 PM

  • Tripel Karmeliet
  • Urthel Hop-It
  • La Trappe Trappist Isid'or
  • Iron Maiden TROOPER
  • Allagash Saison
  • Allagash Victor
  • Allagash Victoria
  • Allagash Odyssey- dark wheat with a portion aged on oak for 10 months.
  • Surly Furious
  • Surly Overrated
  • Surly Coffee Bender
  • Surly Schadenfreude

R Public House, Jarvis/Greenview, August 7th 7-10pm 

  • Tripel Karmeliet
  • De Proef Fifth Star Raspberry Rye Saison - collaboration between Windy City Distributors and De Proef, exclusive to Chicago
  • Aspall Dry Cyder
  • Sünner Kölsch
  • Surly Furious
  • Surly Bender
  • Surly Bitter Brewer
  • Allagash Confluence
  • Allagash Curieux
  • Allagash White
  • Allagash Odyssey 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Recommended! Uptown

For my purposes, I'm counting Uptown as a sort of odd shape that goes up Clark and Broadway to Lawrence (I consider North of this intersection on Broadway to be Edgewater, and North of it on Clark to be Andersonville), starting at Irving Park, bordered to the West by North Center and Ravenswood, to the South by Wrigleyville/Lakeview.

What I'm going to do with this list is just regularly update it (as I discover more spots I love, OR, more spots I forgot to include the first time I posted).

Rayan's - reliable liquor stores at Clark/Wilson and Ashland/Montrose (is this east North Center or West Uptown?), owned by members of the same family or by the same family, I forget at the moment. One of these stores is where I often stop to pick up some limited releases from Revolution and Firestone-Walker, limited releases that come in cool boxed bottles. This is sort of that second tier of store where there's plenty of stuff for the average drinker, but impressive finds for those who in a rush, or when something's out at Bottles & Cans or In Fine Spirits, etc.

Demera Ethiopian - my favorite Ethiopian spot in Chicago. Barring someone telling me there's a hole in the wall still open with better food, this place nails it. Quality ingredients, a few wines and beers that work well with the food, and a nice environment. Staff is solid, and there's a lot of smiling and laughing here always. I highly recommend their beets, the red and yellow lentil dishes, and the Doro Wat with Dry Creek Chenin Blanc (a pairing they recommend as well). Their Kitfo, a classic ethiopian version of tartar heavy on herbed butter and chile powder, is a must-have.

Tweet Let's Eat -I'm not huge on brunch as a restaurant concept, but I will be honest and say that Chicago does it better than most cities, especially once you venture away from downtown and river north. Affordable, well-thought dishes with some creativity and solid execution aren't rare at northside brunch spots. Tweet's philosophy " is to prepare and serve, with love, the freshest, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, organic when possible: eggs, dairy, vegetables and fruit, subject to market availability. Pastured pork and beef also subject to availability." That resonates with me (I think some of my other favorite northside brunch spots work under the same umbrella).  You know what also resonates for me? Hollandaise needs execution, and Tweet's stands out.

The Bar on Buena - whiskey and whisky, a craft beer menu curated by people I know and love, silly events, solid food. If you live IN Uptown, you should be a regular here already. If you're visiting Uptown, you should stop here. The beer list balances classics and imports with national and local craft brands, a pretty cozy room. The food meanders down the bar food path with a BoB (as staff and regulars call it) twist, and the outdoor seating takes advantage of a Buena being a quieter street.

The Long Room - a classic chicago bar with a craft beer focus. Rumors have been swirling about some renovations coming up, or maybe they're done, though on my last visit in May, I was too hazy and too overwhelmed with pals to notice. The bar lives up to its name, with a long bar and single row of two-tops behind it, which opens in the front to the windows and some space, and in the back to a section with tables and booths. These folks always surprise me; there's always a beer on their list I've not had or never even heard of, or just recently heard whispered about in the dark corners of bars. I've had many firsts here, and I once turned down a date with someone because they didn't like this place and preferred a different bar in the immediate area.


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Many jars of bitters being made with the guidance of @sofqueenie. Mine obviously had a hop addition. - Boozy Beggar Pic of the Day. #boozybeggarPOTD #chicagolandbooze #boozypics

via Instagram

The Northman Pop-Up Dinners, August 11th and 12th

I'll just answer the hashtag, in case you really don't know. The Northman is a cider bar/cidercentric concept from the folks behind Fountainhead and Bar on Buena. Cleetus Friedman and team went on a trip to Europe to research old world cider culture and cider pairings, and this is a glimpse of how that trip inspired their upcoming spot.

Something really cool (and well, not a surprise to me at all), these two dinners are hosted at Sunday Dinner Club. I love those people. I have to go to more of their dinners just to have an excuse to write about them more (I might make one of those nights sort of last minute, in case anyone's curious).

Tickets ($65) -
Intimate dinner too - only 28 tickets per night!

Location: 3361 N Elston (upstairs, above Honey Butter Fried Chicken)

(items are subject to change based on availability)

homemade charcuterie on the table
apple brandy sparkler cocktail

roasted artichoke, arugula, shaved parmesan, and lemon & fennel oil
uncle john's russet

escargots aux normande - cider butter, goat milk biscuit
tieton dry cider

rabbit & prosciutto roulade, corn grits, haricots verts
christian drouin poire

prairie fruits chevre, petite gres d'alsace, roncol d.o.p.
espanar, etienne dupont cidre bouché brut de normandie

milly fanilly, seasonal fruit, vanilla cream
christian drouin pommeau