Hops At Home: Ep.19 – High Octane Crew, 93 Octane Brewery

One of the last audio podcasts we recorded was in February of this year, just before the Covid-19 lock-down, and it was with a new brewery in the western suburbs, 93 Octane in St. Charles, IL. Packed into a small corner of a strip mall, there is nothing small about their beers, brewer, and ambition.

Nick ‘The Wiz’ Wisniewski is head brewer, and has a top pedigree coming from Chicago’s Off Color Brewing to show off his styles here in the suburbs. Joining him on this episode is Brewery Director, Chris Peckat, and new employee of 3 days, Nick Ford, which shows much promise for a positive outlook to the future in these times.

We chat about their beers, pay a visit to Chris’s beer fridge, and find out what they are streaming to pass the time during lock-down. Joining The Brit is Ken McMullen and Jay Rosicky, making it a challenging 6-way call, but we hope you’ll enjoy it and drink a beer with us all on this virtual happy hour!

Hops At Home: Ep.18 – Chris x 2, Black and Gray Brewing

One of the youngest breweries in the Chicago suburbs is located in East Dundee IL, and is Black and Gray Brewing. We are happy to have owner/brewer Chris Kennedy on this videocast, as his full-time job is with Elgin Fire Department and is very much on the frontline of the Covid-19 pandemic. Supporting Chris K. with brewing duties, is Chris Contesso, who helps split the workload at B&G. Affectionately these guys are known as No-hair Chris and Long-hair Chris, and they are brewing some fine beers on their small 2-bbl system, plus beginning to can as a response to the pandemic tap room limitations.

We recorded this episode on May 4, the day before the release of their Mexican-style lager, Caesar Chavez, coinciding with Cinco de Mayo. We hear from a first responder how to stay Covid safe, and how to get a mobile canning run going in an otherwise un-populated taproom. If you are supporting our local breweries, we recommend heading out to their location and picking up some 4-packs and a couple of oil-cans, which we find out is the substitute size for the hard-to-get crowler.

Cheers to Chris for his service, and to both of them for their brews

Hops At Home: Ep. 17 – Eric and Jason, Riverlands Brewing

We couldn’t let this series of video-casts go by without checking in with our pals at Riverlands Brewing in St. Charles, IL. So, after a full brewing day, co-founder/head brewer Eric Bramwell was happy to sit down and have a virtual beer and a chat! Joining him, and doing the ‘tech’ side of things, was co-founder and marketing wiz, Jason Arges.

The video-cast crew was once again, Ken, Jay, and The Brit, who were anxious to hear about an event that is a positive sign during these times, where Riverlands just installed some new equipment to expand their production. And of course, we ask to see their beer fridge, but this time it’s the big cooler, and it needs to start to get filled again from the output of the new fermenters! Apologies to Jason as we’ve taken some liberties with his thoughts while Eric was waxing lyrical!! These guys rock, and seem to be doing it right!

Hops At Home: Ep. 16 – Mike Marr, Buffalo Creek Brewing

North of the Brit & Yankee studios, in the village of Long Grove, is a brewery that has injected new life into a dying economy. Buffalo Creek Brewing, named after the creek that runs behind it, is run by Mike Marr, the owner/brewer, along with his partner in the business, Josh Czarnik. Opened in 2017, Mike has been responsible for bringing the Long Grove beer festival to fruition, but alas the Covid-19 pandemic brought a halt to holding it this year, in late in late April.

Mike joined Ken, Jay, and The Brit for a virtual beer from his home, and as you will see, he has mastered the art of a virtual background. In this episode, we hear from Mike about his beers, his carpentry skills, and his efforts to help other affected businesses by pulling together Long Grove Survival Kits. Grab a brew and check it out. Oh, and Ken has a special guest, ‘whoo’ we won’t say! Cheers!