Pubcast 295 – Central Illinois Brews Pt.1

This week we are back in the Brit and Yankee pub, and we have part 1 of a bumper show, which recorded so long we decided to break it up into 2 shows…that and it’s the holidays and the pub staff are swamped with revelers and holiday parties!

Joining The Brit for these two shows is a distinguished panel comprising 2 brewers and 2 consumers. From Church Street Brewing we welcome FOBAB medal winning brewers TJ Bachorz and Chuck Fort, plus Ken McMullen from Hopvine. Then we have ex-tavern owner, John Karwoski, and last but certainly not least is friend of the show and supplier of tonight’s brews, Deb Piscola.

Our theme for this edition is brews from some of the perhaps lessor-known Illinois breweries that can be found in the Bloomington and Champaign areas of the state, but we also slip in one from southern Illinois just as we had it in the pub fridge!

We are tasting brews from Georgetown, Savoy, Champaign, Bloomington, and finally Murphysboro and the samples run the gamut of styles. Listen in and here the panel’s thoughts on them, plus we get some technical information on the brewing side from TJ and Chuck. We try to figure out how one brewery uses wood in their fermentation process, the different ways to add coffee to beers, and why Sorachi Ace hops make a good food pairing beer.

Next week we will round out the trip with the other great Illinois beers, plus some Christmas cheer!

Brews Reviewed:

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Pubcast 294 – Joe Tota: Red Arrow Tap Room

This week’s episode is something a little different as we’re not at a brewery or down in the pub, but we are visiting with Joe Tota, owner and founder of the Red Arrow Taprooms. Ken McMullen from Hopvine joins The Brit at the Naperville location, where we sat down with Joe to find out how this self-serve taproom works, and what people can expect if they stop by to try it out. Apparently The Brit had some problems with his microphone, but Joe and Ken’s are fine, so that’s all that matters!

As we sit and chat, we cover a lot of topics, and how these establishments are impacting the craft beer scene, and making it easy for new breweries to self-distribute and get their beers to people outside of their own brewery taprooms. Check out our podcast and then take a trip to one of their locations and try it for yourself. Cheers!

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Pubcast 293 – Real Ales and Engines

The week after FOBAB ended, and everyone was reeling from those high ABV barrel-aged beers, an event was held at Iron & Glass Tap Room and Bottle Shop in Romeoville, that provided beers at the other end of the spectrum. Travis Beard from Ugly Trucking teamed up with Ken McMullen and Kevin Herbst to invite 6 local breweries to provide a pin of their take on cask-conditioned real ale. Three hand pulls were put into service, two of which were donated to the cause by the Brit and Yankee podcast. The other three pins were simple gravity taps.

The breweries who participated were Hopvine, Oswego, Metal Monkey, Pollyanna, Miskatonic, and Werk Force. On hand to talk about their beers were Ken McMullen, Chris Heinen, Dan Camp and Jason Janes, Ed Malnar, TJ Hagen, and Brandon Wright from the above breweries respectively. And Brandon has a surprise about his scotch ale offering, where’s he’s thrown everyone a curve ball!

This podcast features interviews with them all, and we hear what they brought and why, and their thoughts on this new-to-the-US approach to craft beer. Also, some news on new beers to come at Roselare and Werk Force!

Brews On Tap:
Hopvine, Aurora IL, Strong Bitter – Extra Special, 6.0% ABV
Werk Force, Plainfield IL, Welcome to I-80 – Scottish Ale, 6.3% ABV
Metal Monkey, Romeoville IL, Fantasy Bowling League – Kolsch, 4.6% ABV
Oswego Brewing, Oswego IL, Frozen Fields – English Porter, 5.8% ABV
Pollyanna, Lemont IL, Cranberry Orange Allure – Berliner Weisse, 4.6% ABV
Miskatonic, Darien IL, Shield Maiden (Cask) – APA, 5.5% ABV

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


Pubcast 292 – Forge Brewhouse

Our Thanksgiving show takes The Brit out west of Chicago to the home of NIU, De Kalb. It’s there that the podcast sits down with John and Christen Sanderson who are the working crew behind Forge Brewhouse. Originally started in Sycamore, IL., just outside of town, they moved in to downtown Sycamore and opened a second location in downtown De Kalb.

John Karwoski joins The Brit on this trip and we find out what John is doing to make great beer, why the two locations, and hear about a Black Friday release that would make it worth heading out there for brew or two. We also sample some of their brews, and then head back via Sycamore for one of their wood-fired pizzas at the ‘restaurant’ brewhouse location.

Brews sampled:
Fallen Apple – Apple Ale w/ Jonamac Cider / 6.2% ABV
Teleporter – Chocolate Hazelnut Porter 6.2% ABV
Diamond Dust – Imperial Black IPA 7.9% ABV
Brutal Bubble- Brut IPA / 6.9% ABV

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