Today we examine the craft style phenomenon which seems to be highly divisive, Hazy or New England IPAs. You either love ’em or hate ’em!
We assembled a panel of local expert brewers from the Chicagoland area who join Phil ‘The Brit’ Clark to examine this relatively new style. They include my co-host Chuck Fort, Sr. Brewing Consultant at Church Street Brewing, head brewer Eric Bramwell from Riverlands Brewing, and Steve Kamp from Evil Horse Brewing.
We dive into what the style is, the differences between NEIPA and West Coast IPAs, what hops are used, how the boil process goes, and we even talk about hop and pint pricing and how the costs are rising these days, and also if you should add lactose or not. All this and more as The Brit gets educated in an effort to get a better appreciation for the style.
It was beautiful Fall weather when we headed down to Tinley Park to record our latest episode outside in a beer garden. We’re at Banging Gavel Brews who have been brewing since the end of 2014 but still have not been able to brew or serve at their chosen location, the historic Vogt House, for a variety of reasons. Instead, they have opened up a fantastic beer garden, complete with their version of a ‘jumbotron’ so their patrons can enjoy the outside, drink their great brews, and watch their favorite college and pro sports.
Owner Jim Richert and head brewer J.T. Rea welcome The Brit and co-host Ken McMullen with samples of their current tap list, and relate the tale of their historic house that will eventually become their brewpub. We hear about the buildings’ origins and the problems encountered during the reconstruction, but the end is hopefully in sight!
Join us to hear about the brews, the beer name origins and the the theme of their brewery, plus we find out about J.T’s background and how he started in brewing and the path life took him to be at BGB. We recommend a visit before the beer garden closes on Oct 31st. After that it is back to cans only as the way of obtaining some of their very drinkable beer
Civil Code, Märzen, 5.7% ABV
Amicus Curiae, Kölsch, 4.5% ABV
Offshore Trust, Tropical IPA, 5.1% ABV
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Joliet has a long and rich brewing history, but until recently it died away and most of the classic German-style breweries closed. Now, the industry is starting to creep back into the city center with not one, but two locations opening over the last 12 months. Ken McMullen from Hopvine accompanied me as we visited with MyGrain Brewing, located right by the Joliet Amtrak station. Head brewer there is Dan Rosenburg, and we sat down with him to hear about the brewery and sample some of his many offerings on tap.
It’s an impressive building, and a big space, and owners Vince and Greg have filled it with an impressive tap room and restaurant serving a wide range of food offerings. But it is the beer that we focus on and Dan does not disappoint, with up to 18 or 19 options on tap at any one time. We try to sample a range of them from his light and crisp Kolsch, to the signature stout which usually has a couple of variants available for comparison.
We also got a sneak preview of their first anniversary brew, the details of which we can’t reveal here, but suffice it to say it will be amazing, so keep and eye and an ear out for the announcement!
It’s worth the drive down here, and make sure your route takes you down 171 and past the Old Joliet Prison, and then head to the city center and MyGrain. You won’t be disappointed!
From PALE They Came, Collaboration with P.A.L.E. Home Brew club, IPA, 7.2%
FNL Kolsch, Kolsch, 5.7%
Ze Vorld’s Greatest Doppelbock, Doppelbock, 9.2%
City of Stone, Saison, 6.5%
Stateville Stout, Milk Stout, 7.4%
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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!
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