Hops Outside: Ep. 25 – It’s not all Sanitizer at Church Street!

Church Street Brewing in Itasca had long been a friend of the podcast almost since it’s inception nearly 6 years ago. We have been lucky enough to have Chuck Fort, their head brewer, come onboard as one of the podcast co-hosts and we’ve had many recording sessions at the Brit & Yankee studios…up until March of 2020! Then the Covid-19 virus hit, and we had to lockdown along with the rest of the country. The Brit checked in with Chuck on a curbside beer run, but the conversation was short. So, we thought it might be time to check in with him for an extended look at what’s new at CSB!

Joining us in this virtual happy hour Zoom chat is the podcast’s other co-host, Ken McMullen from Hopvine Brewing, and the ‘band’ is back together again! CSB’s marketing manager and all-around whirlwind personality, Jace Rhea joins us later in the videocast  and we find out what was more important than drinking a brew with us!

We are all drinking CSB brews, and checkout 4 of the newest additions to the CSB line-up, which are departures from the ‘classic’ styles they are known for. Chuck tells us what area of the market they are targeting with their fruited styles, and shows why he isn’t in sales! Plus we get the story on Chuck’s beer can collection as he shows off some of his collection.

This edition is another video/audio extended edition, so check out our YouTube channel, and then look for the extended audio podcast later this week. Cheers!

Brews Sampled:

Our YouTube video…

Play the audio podcast on our player below…or your favorite smartphone podcast app…we have a direct link to iTunes for iPhone users, and GooglePlay for Android users:

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Hops Outside: Ep. 24 – Art History Brewing

This episode marks a change to our lock-down status as of Friday, May 29, Illinois has opened up for outside dining, including service in brewery patios and beer gardens. So, the crew at the Brit and Yankee decided we should change our name from Hops At Home to Hops Outside in celebration of better times to come! We also made this edition a video-cast AND extended out our interview for an audio podcast…the first one since the beginning of March. And to celebrate this, what better than to make a visit to the newest brewery in the Fox River valley area, Art History Brewing in Geneva, IL.

Opened only 2 weeks ago at the time of recording, we checked in with owner Tom Rau, and head brewer Greg Browne to find out what you can expect if head out to pay them a visit. What we found was that they really like the classic styles and are going to be trying to show the Western suburbs how a great Czech-style brew is made, and served. It’s all about wet foam folks!

Brewer Greg has a great  pedigree and has been part of the Midwest craft beer scene since the early nineties. An ex-pat Aussie, he seems to know his way around a mash tun! Tom Rau takes us on a tour of AHB which is included in the video version of our show, and then we continue the conversation in our audio podcast.

Brews Sampled:

  • Good Morning Munich, Bavarian-style Helles, 5.2% ABV
  • Avenue of Giants, West Coast IPA, 7.3% ABV
  • Lincoln Highway, APA, 5.8% ABV

Our YouTube video…

Play the audio podcast on our player below…or your favorite smartphone podcast app…we have a direct link to iTunes for iPhone users, and GooglePlay for Android users:

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Hops At Home: Ep. 23 – Pollyanna’s Optimism with Ed Malnar

We couldn’t let our lock-down video series go by without talking to our friends over at Pollyanna Brewing, and in this edition we check in with VP of Operations, Ed Malnar at the end of a busy day in the brewery. Pollyanna opened over 5 years ago, so can be considered one of the ‘senior’ craft breweries in the Chicago area, and has now expanded to two additional locations. With the shutdown in March, they had to resort to curbside pickup and a reliance on their can distribution to ensure that they maintained a supply of beer to their fans.

Ed talks to us about how they did this, the stories behind a couple of their  beers, and how each location can accommodate the new outside opening rules set to implement on May 29. Also, he shows us his technical expertise with a hotspot as he shows us the beer fridge at the Lemont taproom.

Hops At Home: Ep. 22 – Re-Opening with Kevin Abbott, Barrel of Monks Brewing

Florida released their restaurants and breweries from lock-down last week, allowing at least 25% capacity initially, and now up to 50% as we recorded. How did this work out, and did the people actually go out, or were they cautious? The video-cast team decided to call on a friend of the show from a brewery in Boca Raton, and find out.

In this episode, ex-brewer and now Operations VP, Kevin Abbott from Barrel of Monks Brewing, enjoys a Happy Hour brew in his leather chair at the brewery, and tells the lads what happened, and potentially what we can expect here in Illinois, given the announcement by the governor regarding patio openings in June.

You may remember that Kevin came to Church Street Brewing last year for a collaboration brew and a couple of podcasts (Ep. 329330). BOM brews Belgian-style beers, and produces some of the best in the country, with special editions for their Reserve Society and an annual Grand Cru release, and when we ask Kevin to show us his beer fridge, he opens up the ‘Cadillac’ of fridges containing aging brews from the time they opened.

Thanks to Kevin for taking his time to talk to us, and we highly recommend visiting or obtaining their beers! Cheers to drinking again!