Category Archives: IPA

Pubcast 275 – Flesk Brewing 2.0+1

We’ve had this thing with the O’Brian lads where they keep brewing, and we keep up-to-speed on their progress. It started in Lombard at the location that is now AfterThought, and then they moved up north and the Flesk Brewing brewpub was born. Our last visit was back at the end of June 2017, and Will gave the Brit as special bottle of their 1st Anniversary Imperial Porter. The Brit said let’s crack it open on your 1st anniversary of the brewpub. And so that’s what we did.

The Brit is joined on this edition by ex-tavern owner John Karwoski, and they headed up to Barrington, where among the hub-bub of the FleskFest, we chatted with Will and James O’Brian about their first year, and sampled the three collaborations they have on tap for this event and ongoing until they’re gone!

We celebrate with them by opening a bottle of Flesk 1.0, !st Anniversary Imperial Porter from 2013, which turned out to have mellowed into a VERY tasty brew.  Our photos below also show our two pre-show brews, left Moro Blood Orange IPA, and right Patio Party Raspberry Sour…both tasty!

Beers Sampled:

You’re Larping Wrong – Farmhouse IPA – 5.5% ABV
Brewed in collaboration with Werk Force Brewing.
Heir Apparent – Dreamsicle wheat ale – 7% ABV
Brewed in collaboration with Rock Bottom Warrenville.
Awesome Brownie – Stout – 5.6% ABV
Brewed in collaboration with Hailstorm Brewing.
Flesk 2013 1st Anniversary Imperial Porter, 9.5% ABV

The Bruery, Rueuze (Retired), Sour Blonde Ale, 6.0% ABV
Now brewed under Bruery Terreaux

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Music from Slainte.

Pubcast 269 – Cut Price Craft Beer?

This week we have gathered our panel of usual suspects, co-host Chuck Fort from Church Street Brewing, ex-tavern owner John Karwoski, and craft beer nerd, Tom Ryan. They are press-ganged into a blind taste test, this time with brews from cut-price supermarket Aldi.
Their web site states “Brewed To Exceed Your Expectations”…so is it?

We collected 6 sample brews, a range of styles, and we use a very arbitrary rating system that covers Appearance, Smell, Taste, After Taste, and Drinkability, across a 100 point weighted rating system. We blind tasted the brews, then averaged the total scores to find out the beer we best liked.

Interestingly, a real micro-brewer produced the one we liked the most, but overall it seems that getting your fresh brews from a local craft brewer is the way to get good beer!

Stick around after the show for a bonus beer review of Noon Whistle‘s Dubbel Giggidy. Aged in Old Forester bourbon barrels, ABV 9.1% – we saved the evening with a decent local brew!

Tech Note:  this week we had a slight hitch where some sound was too loud. All I can say is sorry, live with it!

Below is the list of beers in the order we tasted them, with their final average score and their final standings –

Folded Mountains Pale Ale, ABV 5.3% (Brewed at Gennesse, Rochester, NY)
Average score 49 / 100 – #5

Wild Range IPA, ABV 6.9% (Brewed at Gennesse, Rochester, NY)
Average 37 / 100 – #6

Hoplift IPA, Third Street Brewing, Cold Spring, MN., ABV  6.2%
Average 76 / 100 – #1

Boot Tread, Belgian Amber Ale, Brouwerij Martens, ABV 5.0%
Average 69 / 100 – # 4

Feldschlossen Maibock, Feldschlossen Dresden, ABV 7.2%
Average 70 / 100 – #3

Wernesgruner Dark, Schwarzbier, Wernesgruner Brauerei, ABV 4.9%
Average 73 / 100 – #2

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Pubcast 263 – Indiana Wants Me (to drink their beer!)

Friends of the show Deb and John took a trip to Indiana and ended up in Griffith where they discovered 2 of 3 great breweries in that town. Griffith is just over an hour from the Brit and Yankee pub here in the western suburbs, so very attainable as a day trip. Our friends visit Pokro Brewing and New Oberpfalz Brewing and return with 3 samples from each and report on the ambience to be found at each. Joining the pub crew and Deb and John, are listeners Big Dave and Big Nate for a final tasting panel of real consumers and craft beer fans.

Both of the breweries featured have a European flavor to their brews, Pokro specializing in Belgian, English and other European styles, and New Oberpfalz on German-influenced beers.  We also have included an American IPA from each just to entice those who prefer that style.

By way of introduction, and because our first love is Illinois brews, we take a local brew from Noon Whistle that is a European style and make it our ‘warm-up’ brew, their Face Smack Berliner Weiss.

There’s plenty of pub chat, and the panel all have their own tastes so we think we got a pretty good representation of these breweries and the overall opinion is they are well worth visiting!

Beers sampled:

Noon Whistle, Face Smack Berliner Weiss, 4.00% ABV

Pokro Brewing
Pokro’s Grodziskie, Gratzer/Grodziskie, 4.00% ABV
Sea of Cheese, New England IPA, 6.5% ABV. 51 IBU
Abbey-licious, Belgian Dubbel, 6.5%ABV, 25 IBU

New Oberpfalz Brewing
Helles Lager, 4.8%, 17 IBU
Hopwagen, American IPA, 6.0% ABV, 56 IBU
Russian Imperial Stout with Coconut and Vanilla, 9.2%, 50 IBU

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


Pubcast 239 – Forecast is Hazy Today

There’s a current trend to drinking hazy, fruity, IPAs which some call East Coast IPA and others New England IPAs. Far removed from the traditional British IPA, and even from an American IPA, these styles seem to be the darlings of the craft beer drinking demographic and are very popular during these summer months in particular. Chuck and Phil are joined by John Karwoski of John’s Tavern to sample just a couple of these and try to figure out why this style has boomed over the past couple of years.

We received a donation of two cans of Sketchbook IPA which prompted this show, and John provided draft samples from his tap selection of two more. One of the Sketchbook cans was voted 19th Best IPA by Draft magazine this year, so we were intrigued to find out why. Did we agree?  Listen in and find out!

The beers discussed are:
Maplewood Brewing and Distillery, Chicago IL, Grapefruit Son of Juice, 6.3%
WarPigs (collaboration of Three Floyds and Mikkeller), Denmark, Foggy Geezer, 6.8%
Sketchbook Brewing, Evanston IL, Orange Door, 7.2% – NOTE:  this is not a hazy IPA, but we used it as a contrast and compare to Insufficient Clearance.  Free beer MUST be drunk!
Insufficient Clearance, 5.0%

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