Category Archives: Craft Beer

Pubcast 242 – Firkin Fest

This edition reports on the first Firkin Fest held on a sunny Saturday, September 9, at the CityGate Center in Naperville. The festival introduced many people to the firkin and the difference of the beer that was served from it. Over 30 breweries brought their offerings for people to try,  and The Brit headed out there to report on the event .  This edition is a sampling of the interviews with brewers, who talk about their brews and their approach to serving firkins.
The event was in aid of Project Help, and we hear from their President, about what they are trying to achieve with this organization.

Our interviews include Hopvine Brewing, Church Street, 3 Sheeps, Sketchbook Brewing, Blue Nose Brewing, Miskatonic Brewing, and finally Soundgrowler.
Apologies to Matt from Prairie Krafts Brewing and Shane Coombs from Rushford Meadery and Winery as we experienced technical difficulties with their recordings due to a high wind causing too much noise. We’ll catch up with them in another episode.  Shane experienced this visitor to his glass of cider – what’s that bee doing in my glass…literally the backstroke!

Play the show from our player below, or from SoundCloud…


Pubcast 241 – Viva Vivant?

The Brit joins up again with Mark Naski, beer consultant and BJCP judge, and we head down to Hopvine Brewing in Aurora to meet up with head brewer Ken McMullen. Our focus beers this week come from Brewery Vivant in Grand Rapids, MI. 4 cans were donated by pod-guest and craft beer lover, Tom Ryan, who visited the brewery on his vacation. We have 3 Brewer’s Reserve and 1 limited edition to review, all which look to be unusual styles, but do they match up to the attractive packaging and reputation of the brewery?

To close out the session, we throw in a bottle that the Brit has been aching to open and share. From Odell Brewing in Fort Collins, CO., we have Brazzle, a golden raspberry barrel aged sour.

Beers reviewed:

Brewery Vivant, Grand Rapids, MI

Million Pound Grisette, grisette ale, 4.75%
Nuit Serpent, Black IPA, 6.3%
Civilistic, Belgian Style Stout, 5.8%
Devastation, Bourbon Barrel-Aged Double IPA, 11.6%

Odell Brewing Co., Fort Collins, CO

Brazzle, Sour Golden Raspberry aged in Oak Barrels, 5.4%

Play the show from our player below, or from SoundCloud…


Pubcast 240 – Northwest to Alaska

Sometimes you need some friends to bring you back beers you would never get to try otherwise. That’s what this episode is about as Mark Naski returns from the wilds of Idaho, and brings with him a six-pack of goodies from the Northwest and Alaska.

He brings 3 brews from Redmond, WA, and 3 from Alaskan breweries, and Chuck Fort, John Karwoski and the Brit get together to sample them all.  We find that we get one bad beer due to the travel logistics, 4 great beers, and one superb brew.

Here’s the rundown of beers we sampled:

Postdoc Brewing, Redmond WA, PreReq Pale Ale, 5.5%, 40 IBUs
Black Raven Brewing, Redmond WA, Second Sight Strong Scotch Ale, 6.9%, 34 IBUs
Mac & Jack, Redmond WA, Maxx Stout, 5.5% (apologies to M&J – this did not travel well, so we did not rate and marked it as so in our review!)
Arkose Brewery, Palmer AK, Bitter Earth ESB, 5%, 26 IBUs
Bearpaw River Brewing, Wasilla AK, Frontiersman IPA, 7.0%, 60 IBUs
Midnight Sun Brewing, Anchorage AK, Monk’s Mistress Special Dark Ale, 11.5%, 13 IBUs

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Pubcast 239 – Forecast is Hazy Today

There’s a current trend to drinking hazy, fruity, IPAs which some call East Coast IPA and others New England IPAs. Far removed from the traditional British IPA, and even from an American IPA, these styles seem to be the darlings of the craft beer drinking demographic and are very popular during these summer months in particular. Chuck and Phil are joined by John Karwoski of John’s Tavern to sample just a couple of these and try to figure out why this style has boomed over the past couple of years.

We received a donation of two cans of Sketchbook IPA which prompted this show, and John provided draft samples from his tap selection of two more. One of the Sketchbook cans was voted 19th Best IPA by Draft magazine this year, so we were intrigued to find out why. Did we agree?  Listen in and find out!

The beers discussed are:
Maplewood Brewing and Distillery, Chicago IL, Grapefruit Son of Juice, 6.3%
WarPigs (collaboration of Three Floyds and Mikkeller), Denmark, Foggy Geezer, 6.8%
Sketchbook Brewing, Evanston IL, Orange Door, 7.2% – NOTE:  this is not a hazy IPA, but we used it as a contrast and compare to Insufficient Clearance.  Free beer MUST be drunk!
Insufficient Clearance, 5.0%

Play the show from our player below, or from SoundCloud…