Monthly Archives: August 2019

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…