Pubcast 362 – Big Thorn Farm & Brewery: The Great Outdoors

We first found Big Thorn back in December of 2018 when we tasted their Wood Thyme Tart Gruit, and from then on we were hooked! It took us until September 2019 to arrange to visit the brewery, as it is 3 hours south of the B&Y pub down in Georgetown, IL. It was worth the wait, and co-owners Anna Schweig and Aaron Young showed us their brewery and fermentation room which was built by them, and remains one of the only off-the-grid breweries in Illinois. It’s amazing the quality of the brews produced by brewer Aaron, using local ingredients and fermenting them on different wood varieties to impart subtle flavors into their beers.

At the beginning of June, The Brit and his wife, the lovely Kimberlee, headed back down to the brewery to see how things had changed, post-pandemic. The amazing Tree House bar is still the centerpiece, but the addition of a food truck with a fantastic chef, has meant that you can add great food to the list of beers, making it possible to spend an entire day down on the ‘farm’.

The Brit brought back a selection of their bottles, plus a fantastic rice peach brew in a howler, and Anna contributed a bottle of the upcoming release for Father’s Day, Dad’s Bourbon Stout. Ken McMullen from Hopvine and Chuck Fort from Church Street headed over to the pub garden one hot and sultry afternoon, and we sample four of Big Thorn’s offerings. And as we sample we talk about electric Harley’s, electric SUV’s, foraging, and the lads do a little birdwatching as the population of birds visit the pub’s bird buffet! Oh, and we check out the ‘nodules’ on the bottom of the Big Thorn snifters, and find out what they do…yeah, it was definitely a laid back episode!

We highly recommend a visit to BTF&B very soon for anyone looking to experience something new in craft beer and breweries. Cheers!!

Brews Sampled:

  • Fight For Your Rice (peach), Rice Beer, 5.0% ABV
  • Scruit, Sour Gruit, 5.0% ABV
  • Oats #3, Sour ale with raspberries, 5.0% ABV
  • Dad’s Bourbon Stout, Imperial Stout aged on Bourbon-soaked oak, 10.0% ABV

Play the audio podcast on our players above…or your favorite smartphone podcast app…we have a direct link to iTunes for iPhone users below…and lots of other links on the sidebar!

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Pubcast 361 – Chris Valleau of Exit Strategy Brewing

This is our Memorial Day weekend edition, and we’re happy to say it is ‘in memoriam’ of 2020, and how it affected one (and probably many) of the breweries in the Chicago area. We visit with brewmaster Chris Valleau, who together with his wife Katherine, is co-owner of Exit Strategy Brewing located in Forest Park, IL. The Brit and co-host Ken McMullen of Hopvine Brewing, sat down with Chris to look back at how the pandemic year affected them on a personal level, how it changed their business model so they survived to be open today, and how the future looks for them and the craft brewing industry.

As usual, we sample some of the brews on tap at ESBC, which are listed below. We recommend a visit as their patio is large and the beers are great. We’ve finally put 2020 to the back of our minds, and we move on stronger than ever! Cheers!!

Brews Sampled:

  • Nobody Reads The Copy, English Special Bitter, 5.5% ABV
  • Apologize, Witbier, 5.6% ABV
  • High Violet, Kettle Sour with Blackberry, Vanilla & Lactose, 6% ABV

Timings:

  • Part 1 – 00:00
  • Part 2 – 15:03
  • Part 3 – 30:38

Here’s a link to the YouTube channel video:

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

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Pubcast 360 – Ed Malnar of Pollyanna Distilling

It’s an early look at a new venture for Pollyanna Brewing, as we depart from craft beer to visit with podcast chum Ed Malnar and find out all about distilling spirits. The Brit and co-host Ken McMullen discover what all that shiny new equipment is being used to produce, ahead of the official launch date of May 20, which Ed is calling ‘Spirits Day’!

We did get to sample the American Gin, which is infused with botanicals and we find out how that is done also. No consumption of pints this time, but judging by some of the camera work there may have been some quality control sampling! Bottoms up!

Here’s a link to the YouTube channel video:

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

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Pubcast 359 – The 4th Annual Barleywine Classic – Parts 1-3

The Brit loves a good Barleywine, and since 2017, we’ve held an annual get-together to taste and chat about this classic style. Over each year, Barleywines are collected from any brewery that has one, with no particular connection other than we try to focus on Illinois. Our the last celebration was held back in January 2020 at Riverlands Brewing, and little did we know then that it might be a while before we held the next one, or for that matter got together as a group to chat and sample.

This year, The Brit had to come up with another approach so that social distancing protocols could be still observed. So instead of gathering together, Ken McMullen and The Brit headed out to 7 breweries and tasted one or two barleywines at each location. Luckily, as we recorded throughout March, restrictions were being lifted, people were getting vaxxed, and we were able to keep our mask wearing to a minimum.

These pubcasts are a collection of videos (or audio if you prefer to listen that way) which we recorded at the breweries listed below, and we split them up into a 3-part series. Thanks to all the brewers for joining us to make it happen. We’ve included the recording date just for a reference point in case there are some ‘dated’ comments!

PART ONE

3/1/2021 Ken McMullen, Hopvine Brewing – Crystal Lake Brewing, Boathouse Reserve Barrel Aged Barleywine

3/2/2021 Brandon Wright, Werk Force Brewing – P.A.L.E / Our Lady of Blessed Acceleration Bonus Brew: Werk Force Brewing / Inflatable Koelship Habitat

3/7/2021 Marc Wilson, Oswego Brewing Lagunitas, Olde Gnarlywine Bonus Brew: Oswego Brewing, That’s My Baby, BA Barleywine

PART TWO

We head to two more breweries for part 2 of our 4th Annual Barleywine Classic, to get the brewers to taste and comment on the brews we have selected. This time it’s Alex Drayer from D and G Brewing who gets to try a barrel-aged offering from The Forge Brewhouse, who he did a collaboration with last year. Then it’s back to Milk Money Brewing, where we present a ‘mystery’ barleywine to Erik Pizer, and only reveal it is from Black and Gray Brewing after he has tasted it. Did he like it? Tune in and find out!

3/8/21 Alex Drayer, D and G Brewing – The Forge Brewhouse, Long Haul Series, BA Heavy Hitter Barleywine

3/23/21 Erik Pizer, Milk MoneyBrewing – Black and Gray Brewing, Ye Olde Curmedgeon

PART THREE

It’s our final part of the 4th Annual Barleywine classic, and we head to Riverlands Brewing Company for an experiment in keeping beer, which with all due apologies to Riggs Beer Company did not stand the test of time. Luckily, the beer was so good we want it fresh now! Then it’s off to Church Street Brewing, and we have the full B&Y team back together for a couple of tastings, one from Karetas Brewing Co., and a wrap up where we feature a barleywine from Clairvoyant Brewing Company. This year was challenging, but we had a blast with all our awesome brewing chums! Cheers!

3/23/21 Eric Bramwell, Riverlands Brewing – Riggs Beer, American Barleywine

3/23/21 Chuck Fort, Church Street Brewing – Karetas Brewing, English Cardinal Summary Ken, Phil, Chuck – Clairvoyant Brewing, Barleywine

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

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