Pubcast 342 – The BIG Barleywine Show

It’s our annual bumper BIG Barleywine show, where the beers are BIG, the guests are larger than life, and the podcast is a marathon! Lingo joins me as co-host #1, and Ken McMullen from Hopvine is co-host #2, but also is one of the 5 brewers we have on hand joining The Brit on this yearly trip into a classic style.

Last year, we were recording show 300. This year we record to coincide with the release of our collaboration barleywine, A Wicked Googly. This is a Riverlands Brewing, Hopvine Brewing, and Podcast collaboration…but more on that later.  We recorded the show after a full day of bottling our offering, so we were ready to sit and talk with a panel of guest brewers who included Steve Kemp from Evil Horse, Dan Rosenberg from MyGrain Brewing, and Riverland’s very own Eric Bramwell and Dave Marck.

Along with trying barleywine’s from Illinois, we had a couple from Idaho and one from Wisconsin. Of course, the conversation isn’t all about barleywine, as we touch on adding fruit to brews and experiment with drinking from a crowler that was filled nearly a year ago. We touch on ice cream and beer and other food pairings, yeast strains, and of course we have at least one brew that is a gusher, and we find from Dan why some beers behave that way.

Yup, this one is a long one, but we were all having such a good time, we let the chat carry on…so, we’ve included the timings below in case you want to skip ahead. But then, if you do you’ll miss the party!! Cheers!

Our Barleywine Selection with segment times:

00:00 – Evil Horse  Brewing, Crete IL, Grampa Z’Big A$$, 11% ABV
13:47 – MyGrain Brewing, Joliet IL, Our Blessed Lady of Acceleration, 11.4% ABV
25:43 – Barbarian Brewing, Garden City (Boise) ID, Ol’ Samson, 11.8% ABV
41:24 – EDGE Brewing Co., Boise ID, Basilisk Barleywine, 11.5% ABV
52:26 – Milwaukee Brewing Co, Milwaukee WI, Grand Madame Brandy Barrel Aged, 11.5% ABV
64:02 – Metal Monkey Brewing, Romeoville IL, Silverback, 11.4% ABV
74:02 – Lake Effect Brewing, Chicago IL, Loch Effect, Barleywine aged in single malt Islay whiskey barrels, 13% ABV
88:29 – Riverlands, Hopvine collaboration – A Wicked Googly, English Barleywine, 10% ABV

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


Pubcast 341 – Werk Force Brewing Does It The Wright Way

The podcast is starting out 2020 with a bang with the year’s first brewery recording and what a superstar bumper edition we have in store!!

One of the brewery teams that we’ve long admired are the husband and wife team of Brandon and Amanda Wright, and the excellent brewing powerhouse that is Werk Force. This week, Ken McMullen and The Brit headed to the Plainfield taproom for an afternoon of conversation. And we get a bonus from Brandon’s Banjo picking, as he plays the music for our segment breaks…an exclusive first for this podcast that is sure to have record producers cocking an ear once they hear the tunes, but we’re not sure if it will be toward or away!!

We talked about how the couple met, and the challenges of balancing family life and running a brewery. We find out how Brandon got into home brewing as one of the early members of PALE, along with Ken McMullen and a plethora of other names who have gone on to be stars of the Chicago craft beer scene. There’s a guest appearance by Erik Pizer, who has time on his hands while his new brewery, Milk Money, is in the build-out phase.  Erik and Brandon are part of a bunch of founding brewers who are part of a collaboration group called The Idiots, who have produced a series of never-to-be-repeated brews.

Brandon talks about his barrel program, and how he starts with a blank canvas and from there how he creates the final ‘masterpiece’, many of which have received awards and medals at several prestigious competitions. He relates the story of  his World Beer Cup medal win, which Ken actually accepted on his behalf, and we see the box the award is still in, autographed by many of his peers, plus a mustard stain!

Parts 3 and 4 of the podcast are extended discussions on 2019 styles, what 2020 may bring, the hard seltzer craze, the pricing of beer and adding CBD etc. into beers. Fascinating stuff!

Of course, we sample Werk Force brews as we chat and these were:

  • Hillbilly Haiku, Pre-Prohibition Lager, 5.6% ABV
  • Double Dry Hopped Formerly Known As.., IPA, 7.2% ABV
  • 2019 Barrel Aged Stupid Sticky Fingers, Bourbon BA S’Mores Stout, 10.8% ABV
  • Up The Junction, ESB, 6.3% ABV

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


Pubcast 340 – Past and Future with the Midwest Brew Review

We have a special edition for the first show of 2020, and the podcast crew of The Brit, Ken McMullen and Chuck Fort welcome a trio of craft beer media chums when the Midwest Brew Review lads visit the pub studios. MBR is Matt Psenika, Bill Nauss, and Brian Nauss and their video channel is available on YouTube.

Each panelist brings along a brew of their choice, perhaps one that had an impact on them in 2019, or perhaps one that will be a favorite into 2020, and we chat about how 2019 went, and what the future holds. The MBR team tell us about how they got into video brew reviews, and their interest in home brewing that exists today.

The topics, beer, and conversation is free-flowing, including hard water, weed in beer, the hazy craze and trying to convince The Brit they are good, adding food to breweries, the price of beer, and many others! This is one of those bumper editions that we suggest you listen to in a couple of sessions. And if you agree or disagree, why not send us an email, or leave comment on our website – we’ll give you a shout out if you do!!

Brews Sampled:

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Pubcast 339 – Penny & Nate Peterson: Wishful Acres Farm & Brewery

Our Christmas edition this year takes a different track to prior years, as we are out ‘on location’ visiting with Penny and Nate Peterson who are owners/farmer/brewer at Wishful Acres Farm & Brewery in Lena IL. They established the farm in 2009 and then 5 years later opened the micro-brewery and haven’t looked back since.

We hear about how they came to obtain the property and the steps they took to set this old farm and house as a working produce farm and brewery. Both Nate and Penny decided that they needed to get away from the city life and head into the quieter pace of the country, and it has been proven to be hard work, but very satisfying and now they have a thriving business. As we have found, their taproom has become a center for community gathering, including their annual ‘May the Fourth’ celebration of Star Wars, of which Nate is a huge fan.

Nate talks about using their produce in their beers, including the hops he grows, and the honey they get from some hives on their property. He grows 5 varieties, but has problems with Fuggles due to the Asian beetle, but Penny thinks Nate has a ‘hop’ problem! We also hear about the cooperative program that they are part of for the produce. Their selection of brews on tap are varied and good, and we taste a few, just for quality control purposes! In our final segment, we join a great conversation that started ‘off-mic’ but had Nate interviewing Ken about pastry styles.

The Peterson’s have a welcoming location and great beers, so head west for a visit to this brewery and taproom…in the summer there is a wonderful patio to take advantage as well!

Brews Sampled:

  • Tijuana Boots, Mexican Lager
  • Treacle Imperial Stout, Nitro,
  • Stratosphere IPA
  • Dubbel Dribble – Belgian Dubbel
  • Winter Spice – spiced ale

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