Pubcast 324 – O Canada, Do We Like Your Beer?

This week’s show is back in the pub studios and The Brit is joined by two brewers from the western suburbs, TJ from Church Street Brewing in Itasca, and Eric Bramwell from Riverlands Brewing in St. Charles. Rounding out the panel is retired tavern-owner, John Karwoski. We swore we’d never do a marathon show, and we try to aim for about an hour or less, but this week, with the two brewers on-hand, we have an extended pubcast…so we have added timings, so you can skip to the brew you want to hear us talk about.
And it is a bittersweet occasion, as it is the last time TJ will be a regular guest on the show! He is off to Colorado to be head brewer at one of the Tivoli Brewing locations in Denver, but on the plus side it is the first time that Eric has joined us, and hopefully it won’t be the last!

On a recent vacation, The Brit headed out to Ontario and stopped by one of their many Beer Store’s to pick up a mixed bag of Canadian brews, plus a couple he picked up in breweries on the way. We hoped it was a variety of styles, but there seems to be a golden ale theme to a lot of them, which is a very popular style over the border.

As we work our way through the brews, there’s lots of brewer and pub chat, and we try ot determine how to pronounce Kveik, almost get a hazy ale that want to be a lager or may the reverse, congratulate TJ and Church Street on their Illinois Beer Festival medals, and hear how fruit beer can be added to beers. With these guys in the house, it’s worth listening across a couple of days! We promise we’ll get back to the shorter shows next time!

Beers Sampled and Show Timings:

Play the show from our player or the PodBean player below…

Pubcast 323 – Chris, Brett & Bill: Blind Pig Brewing

We have hit the road this week and The Brit, Phil Clark, and co-host Ken McMullen have headed down to the home of U of I, Champaign IL. In this university town there is a Blind Pig – not just one but 4 locations! They are a brewery, brewpub and English pub, all the brainchild of ex-pat fellow Brit, Chris Knight. Heading to Illinois from the UK, via Switzerland, Chris confesses that he didn’t know Champaign wasn’t part of Chicago, but he found it was friendly and needed an English pub, so he stayed. And the rest is history as they say.

Chris tells us the history of Blind Pig, and gives us a lesson in how to turn a big space into a cosy, representation of an English pub, this one modeled on the Axe and Compass in Hemmingford Abbotts, UK.

As usual the conversation takes twists and turns, including Chris and Phil providing their best (or worst) David Attenborough impressions! Thankfully, brewpub brewer Brett Updyke, stops by and tells us about his role in the Blind Pig empire. He must be the only person to move FROM Hawaii TO Illinois, where he was studying oceanography, but we are the benefactors of his career change with his brewing skills. He tells us the story of Hattori Hanzo, one of their signature beers, using sorachi ace hops.

To round out the interview, head brewer Bill Morgan, jet-lagged from just returning from Japan, provides some awesome words of wisdom on his brewing approach, and the Japanese influence some of their offerings provide. Bill has been brewing for over 30 years, both in the USA and Japan, and can be considered one of the pioneers of the craft beer industry. This last segment is 30 minutes plus, so please grab your favorite brew and listen to a fascinating conversation!

Beers Sampled:

Half-Double ESB, Special Bitter,
Soft Landing, Hazy IPA, 6.7%
U of IPA, IPA, 6.5%
Raspberry Wheat, Wheat Ale, 4.7%
Hattori Hanzo, Pale Ale, 5.2%
Columbia St. Coffee Stout, Stout with cold-brewed coffee, 5.4%

Play the show from our player or the PodBean player below…

Pubcast 322 – Vacation Beers – Indiana & Ohio 6-pack

We haven’t recorded a show for a couple of weeks as The Brit was off on his summer vacation. Travelling by car provides the option to collect some brews along the way and this trip was no exception.  In this show we sample a 6-pack of brews from Indiana and Ohio.

Our panel comprises co-host Chuck Fort from Church Street Brewing, John Bittermann, Illinois beer historian and breweriana collector, and head brewer from Church Street, TJ Buchorz.  TJ has some breaking news about his career and where he is moving on to. We had some technical difficulties with a bad mic cable that comes and goes, so TJ sounds like he’s far away, so bear with us!!

There’s a lesson in hops and the types for different aspects of the beer flavors, what are esters, and an announcement about a future brewery collaboration. We’ve got a lot of beer and brewing chat and hopefully you can sit with your favorite tipple and enjoy the show!
Stick around for the Bonus Beer discussion and hear TJ tell us his thoughts on where we are today with the  craft beer industry!

Our 6-pack comprise the following beers:

Daredevil Brewing Co, Indianapolis IN, Vacation Kolsch-style Ale, 5.0% ABV
Rhinegeist Brewing, Cincinnatti OH, Bubbles Rose Ale, Fruited Ale, 6.2% ABV
Fatheads Brewing, Middleburg Heights OH, Headhunter IPA, 7.5% ABV
Triton Brewing, Fort Harrison Indianapolis IN, Rail Splitter IPA, 7.0% ABV
Taxman Brewing, Bargersville IN, Deduction, Belgian Dubbel, 8.0% ABV
Taxman Brewing, Bargersville IN, Qualified, Belgian Quadrupel, 9.5% ABV

Bonus Beer:
Quaff On Brewing, Busted Knuckle, Robust Porter, 7.2% ABV

Play the show from our player or the PodBean player below…


Pubcast 321 – Sunday at Sew Hop’d

This past Sunday we headed out to Huntley IL and a brewery that has only been open for just over 2 months, Sew Hop’d. The Yankee, Mike ‘Lingo’ Lingafelter and  The Brit, Phil Clark visited with the Sew Hop’d team of Tap Room Manager Katie Hofman, Brand Manager Scott Busam, and brewer Doug Vandewalker and on a hot, sultry Sunday morning discovered what makes this brewery somewhat unique, at least in terms of the building it is located in.

Situated in half of the Union Sewing Machine factory, and the old Borden Dairy factory, these guys are taking small steps to build a very local and well-patronized tap room, producing some classic and solid brews. And behind the operations side, the owners love of good, fresh beer has provided the foundation for a great addition to the Illinois brewing scene.

It’s a sultry Sunday morning chat, and just another great brewery to visit. Here’s the beers we sampled…

Play the show from our player or the PodBean player below…