Thursday, June 14, 2012

Weekend/Day Beer Adventures

I'm going to try a new line of posts for this blog that will typically revolve around my weekend activities and how they relate to beer. More often than not, these posts will be composed in a "Brewery Review" but for the days when I hit multiple breweries/bars/drinks, I cannot post on them all. So, my "Weekend Beer Adventures" will take the form of everything I did/drank/ate/who-I-met/how-I-got-there kind of heading, compiled with pictures too. These posts are meant to log down some of the fun I have, to retain some good memories and for you to relate to. Enjoy!

Friday (6/8/12): I got off work around 4:00 and headed home to pack. With only 25 minutes before my bus (Indian Trails) left for Chicago, I figured that was enough time to get in a quick post (See: Bedlam). Done. I walked the half mile to the bus with a nice buzz and arrived 4 hours later at the Greyhound Station on the South-Central side of Chicago. After several minutes of figuring out where I was, arranging a ride and seeing who else was in town, I figured I'd walk to Rock Bottom. Definitely a difficult 2 mile walk carrying a backpack full of beer! I got there and started with their Brown ale ( I forgot the name, though it started with "Amazingly") standing at 4.0% ABV. I recognized some of the bartenders there too. Oh, and I didn't mention this, but I was wearing my New Holland Long sleeve work shirt...for an extra credential. I talked with a lady about beer and running a bit. Tasted RB's Wit, and both IPA's. The normal one was a bit grassy, while the Belgian, well, I got a pint of that soon after too. I was there a bit over an hour until Jeff came and picked me up and we headed back to Lincoln park. Discussion of going out for another pint commenced, but I was too tired.
Saturday (6/9/12): Woke up early, downed 3 cups of tea and packed Jeff's car. We were heading to Evanston to move the remainder of his belongings into the new apartment. Didn't take very long, and I got a measly workout in carrying stuff up and down the stairs. Upon finishing, I decided to test out the foot and go for a run (My foot has been hurting for about a month and a half from my work boots). It was about 85 degrees and humid. Got in 7 though and a quick 6:15/mile clip. Rounded out the run with cracking open the growler of New Holland's Sundog though for some replenishing recovery.
A couple hours later Jen arrives with a $17 Growler (ridiculous) of Emmett's Red Ale and a couple bottles of Pale Ale. Here we contemplated our next stop. The decision landed on Half Acre, my favorite brewery in Chicago. We got there and waited for the tour to finish, whereupon Adam enthusiastically showed us around. I've been to HA a couple times and each time it is slightly different - something you can expect with all microbreweries these days. They had renovated their back room to become their production area, while it made room for the new 60 bbl fermenters that were to arrive in the next couple weeks. We were served pints of their new Shogun Wheat and talked to a couple of the remaining tour participants. I wish I had brought some beer to give them, but as we headed back to their tasting room, Adam handed me a case of lowfills of the New wheat! (It was shared with the NH crew, which was held in high regard). Down the street was "Chicago Ribfest" but it was already 3:30 and we needed to head to my sisters.
We arrived, unpacked, shared the rest of the Sundog growler with Monte, who just moved back from Colorado Springs, CO. He was gracious enough to let me borrow his bicycle so Jen and I could bike the town the rest of the weekend. The plan for the evening was to have our final destination in Andersonville for dinner at the Ethiopian Diamond with Jeff and April. We still had time, however so we took off and headed to Goose Island on Clybourn.
Taster at Goose Island
We arrived and ordered a taster of their Dortmunder (awesome!) Summer Wheat (not great) Bitter (decent) and Greg Halls new endeavor: Virtue RedStreak Cider. We found the guest draft list to also include Dragons Milk (good to see) but tapped at $9/pint! (not good). Finishing our tasted we rounded out with a traditional pint of the Green Line (I always get this as the final beer during my visits). We learned that Todd Britt, who graduated Augustana 2 years ahead of me (and was a brewer/assistant brewer) no longer worked at the pub but had gotten a Head Brewer position at a brewery opening up sometwhere in Chicago! Nice work man.
We finished our pint (got industry discount!) and headed North to Broadway for dinner. Note: 4.5 miles is a LONG way on a thick tread mountain bike on the streets of Chicago. Travelling at a quick clip, we arrived at 7:00pm and I was drenched.
April and Jen at Hopleaf
After dinner we made our way to April's apartment, just blocks away, to set up camp. Once we were settled, and done playing with her new kitten, we left for the HopLeaf, which was only a couple blocks away. Fortunately Midsommerfest was in the works and the place was unusually empty (Yes!). We went upstairs and I got a Pale ale from some brewery I hadn't heard of, Jen got Three Floyd's Zombie Dust, and April ordered Lindmans Framboise (she hates beer). Called it a night after finishing those pints.
Haymarkets Dry-hopped Belgo-pale ale

Sunday (6/10/12): Woke up, performed the same daily routine (Downing large amounts of tea and some yoga) and we hit the streets on our bikes (following a brief look at the local organic grocery store). Jen and I attempted to check out Metropolitan, but as usual, they tend to passively shun people away by fences, closed doors and vicious attack dogs (jk about that last one). We then turned around down towards the Lakeshore bike path. Found a spot on the rocks, drank a Fat Tire, attempted to swim (too cold) and headed down the lakefront. Again, mountain bike on path = too difficult to be a practical means of transportation. We made it all the way down to Buckingham Fountain for a quick break and then found ourselves at Haymarket Brewpub. I ordered their Dryhopped Belgo-pale ale and en had the Pilsner. Haymarket is a bit on the expensive side, but with boastful alcohol and loads of Amarillo, I can understand from an industry point of view. Finishing our pints we ordered (and blew the tap) of Solemn Oaths Ultra-high-frequency Red ale, which was apparently gaining quite a reputation already around Chicago for being fantastic. I agreed. I asked for a quick look-around of the brewhouse, where Janna attended and answered any questions we had. By the way, this place has an incredibly innovative set-up for their tap system. We got on the topic of cans, and how I had never had Sunking before. Janna thought that was absurd and sent us on our way with a couple cans of Chaka: Belgian-style ale made through a collaboration between Sun King and Oskar Blues. We headed out from there and made a stop at the Green Grocer to pick up some food/dips and check out the beer selection (they have a great local one). We then went and sat on Aubrey's new patio and enjoyed lunch and some recovery from the already long day. We arranged our next plans to hit Revolution Brewery in enough time to make it back in time to meet the rest of the family for dinner. Back on the bikes!
Sunking/Oskar Blues in a CAN (like-thing)
The ride was longer than I expected, but we got there and sat down at the front bar. The place was packed for a Sunday evening. It was here that we ordered the Anti-Hero IPA and the Gold Ale. I was greeted by Matt, Revolution's first employee and now brewer whereupon he invited us to take a tour! The establishment was a lot larger than I had expected. We were shown the typical brewery equipment and process's and their barrel cellar.  We headed back up to the bar and discussed a few more things with Matt and his friends who also attended the tour with us. We ordered one more pint to try their Rosa Hibiscus Ale - which was pretty good, definitely tending away from the tea flavor, but enough to get a nice bite of floral fruit. Need I say Industry discounts are great? Thanks Matt and the Revolution!
We hopped on our bikes and headed back to Aubrey's. The ride was better, but the day of biking was beginning to tax us both - even Jen on her roadbike!
Once we were back, I made a quick trip to Green Grocer once again to pick up beer I need to buy for people back in Holland. We ate dinner, napped. Jen headed back to RI and I went back to Jeff's. Being as I work 2nd shift the upcoming week, I could afford to stay one more night.
We drove back to Holland the next morning

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