It’s Chicago Craft Beer Week, and kicking off a week of celebrations of the art of brewing from the great city of Chicago and beyond, is the Beer Under Glass (BUG) festival held at the Garfield Park Conservatory. The Brit and Yankee podcast was there to grab interviews with many of your favorite brewers and we will be releasing a new one each day over the coming week.
First up, a man who has been a driving force for the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild, and who was responsible for starting the BUG tradition, Pete Crowley from Haymarket Brewing. It was fascinating to chat with him, and also sample a couple of his brews, including one that he was keeping ‘under the table’, Claire’s Thirsty Ale. With a cameo appearance from Alex Lovingood of Brickstone Brewing, this is fun, beer and festivals! Cheers!
We’re taking a break from craft beer this episode, and focusing on a local, grass roots cider maker in St. Charles, IL. Many of you home-brewers will already know Ed Seaman’s Home Brew Store at the corner of Rt 64 and 3rd Street, which has undergone a transformation to a combination cidery and winery, home brew store, and tap room now called Broken Brix Home Brew Shop.
Joining The Brit, Phil Clark, is co-hosts Chuck Fort from Church Street, and all the way from Boise ID., Mark Naski. Ed is joined by his son, Mike Seaman who runs the taproom side of the business.
We sample the current three cider offerings from Ed, and bookend their offerings with a couple of bottles arbitrarily selected by The Brit. We taste and talk about cider, which is fast becoming the secondary offering in many brewery tap rooms as an alternative for those who don’t want the hops, or can’t have the hops for medical reasons.
And Ed also cracked open a classic farmhouse cider from France, just to show us that ciders can be as good as Belgian farmhouse beers!
So just bear in mind, that 2 Fools is NOT the only local creator of good ciders despite being on tap at many of our breweries, and we encourage you to head out and visit St. Charles and Broken Brix Tap Room.
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%
Play the episode from one of the players below, or subscribe on iTunes!
If you know the Illinois craft beer scene, then you probably know John Bittermann – he’s the crazy guy always asking for brewery glasses! He’s also a recognized beer historian, having presented displays and lectures at Joliet Museum. He is the source for those who need to know about new breweries in Illinois, and every year he takes at least one vacation trip downstate to visit those breweries that we in the Chicago and suburbs tend to completely miss out on knowing about, let alone visiting.
As a friend of the podcast, we asked John to come down to the pub studios and report on the ones he had visited earlier this year…oh, and if he wanted to share some of the brews he obtained along the way, we’d be happy to help him taste them. Joining The Brit, Phil Clark, were brewers TJ Bachorz and Chuck Fort from Church Street, and craft beer nerd, Tom Ryan.
On his recent late Winter/early Spring trip, John visited some 30 breweries across and 8-day period, and this show has him recount his experiences and reviews of the locations, so you can add them to your must-visit lists.
We also have a bonus beer from a vert traditional brewery, and learn from Chuck what krausening is, and John show’s us how to open a beer can from the bottom, collector style! Check out the video of this below…