With MDW just in the rearview (Memorial Day Weekend, not to be confused with Midway Airport), it’s (un)officially summer! When choosing this week’s bottle for The Beer Drop, I felt compelled to convey that summertime spirit, and rather serendipitously, stumbled across Rogue Paradise Pucker – an approachable, deliciously tart ale that anyone from the hardcore sour fan to the casual beer drinker would be able to enjoy. Voila! That was easy.
Rogue Ales and Spirits hails from Newport, Oregon, and has been famous for their ales, stouts, porters, lagers, and spirits since 1988, so they’re not new to the craft beer scene, but after reading Phil Knight’s Shoe Dog, my favorite factoid is that Rogue was originally started by a handful of Nike execs. Today, the West Coast stalwart is still innovating, having popped out more than 60 different labels to date, and winning a lot of awards in the process.
We were lucky to get our hands on a few bottles of the Paradise Pucker, and also got to catch up and nerd out with Rogue’s Territory Brand Manager, Tiffany Wooten, on the beer and more. Cheers!
^ That’s a lot of ABV in one photo. With both of our Beer Drop bottles from Delaware’s legendary Dogfish Head Brewery this week clocking in at over 15%, these aren’t for the faint of heart. For what they lack in temperance, however, the 120 Minute IPA and World Wide Stout more than make up for by means of their star power. If you talk to someone from any corner of the country who knows what brettanomyces is, I’d be willing to bet they’re familiar with these bad boys.
Dogfish Head is one of those breweries that was innovating in the craft beer scene before it was cool to innovate in the craft beer scene. Founded in 1995 in Milton, Delaware, they’ve patented several of their brewing processes over the years, and just this month their founder and CEO, Sam Calagione, received the James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional of the Year for Dogfish Head’s culinary-inspired bar program at the brewery. Not a bad pedigree.
I’ve tried the 120 Minute IPA once before (pro tip: always be sure to ask your local “refueling station” what special stuff they have behind the counter), but this is my first go around with World Wide Stout. All I can say is WOW. Each of these certainly pack a punch, but not without unique and complex flavors leading the charge.
I could go on and on about the malt backbone, continuous hopping process, or the amount of barley involved, but I’ll let the expert handle that for me. Read on for my conversation with Tim Dunphy, Dogfish Head’s Illinois Sales Manager, and be sure to grab a 120 Minute IPA and World Wide Stout this week.
I wasn’t always a craft beer guy, believe it or not. Like many others before me, there was a time in my youth where what I drank was determined by two parameters, price and function – you can probably guess what function I was going for at the time. There are several instances I can recall where that mode began to shift. One of those times was when my brother-in-law gave me a tall boy of Half Acre Daisy Cutter.
Since that first sip years back, it’s been refreshing to see the brains over at Half Acre continue to innovate, grow, and stay incredibly relevant in the local beer scene. When it came time to select a beer and brewery to feature for the Beer Drop throughout Chicago Craft Beer Week, it was a no brainer, we were going with Half Acre.
In a similar vein to its younger sibling, I recall my first experience with Galactic Double Daisy Cutter as a sort of hard-to-find beer baptism, and we at Foxtrot were lucky to get enough to (hopefully) last us throughout the entirety of CCBW before it’s gone. This year, I’m pumped they’re coming packaged in what has become iconic 4-packs of tall boys with an incredible can design.
I caught up with Keli Platek, Brand Representative at Half Acre, to chat about the brewery, their sweet sweet beers, and as usual, some other fun stuff. Happy Chicago Craft Beer Week to you all!
Hopewell Brewing Company is the Norman Rockwell of the Chicago Craft Beer Scene. Preparing for this week’s Beer Drop, I couldn’t help but feel good while getting to know the Hopewell team at their Logan Square HQ, admiring their new yet formidable brewing operation, and drinking their beer – unsurprisingly, the latter usually does the trick. Everything from the color scheme of their packaging to the understated vintage-winnebago-meets-beer-hall tap room to the detail of the tile chosen to line the brewery room, induced a happy nostalgia and a notion that this is the way beer business should be done.
And then there are the beers. Oh yes, let’s not forget about those. We were lucky to get our hands on a handful of their one year anniversary/first ever bottle release, Squad. This Belgian Quad packs a punch, but hides the 10.4% ABV well with its uncanny smoothness. We also brought on their recently canned First Lager, just in time for another crushable option this summer.
I caught up with Jake Guidry, Brand Manager at Hopewell, where we chatted more about their beers, brewery and their take on the industry. Enjoy!
Chicago weather can be a fickle thing. Case and point: a couple months back, my family and I purchased Cubs tickets for the May 1st matchup with the Phillies at Wrigley. Visions of warm weather to come, sandals, and a surefire Cubs victory danced in our heads. May 1st rolled around, and we found ourselves braving a rain delay with winter parkas, hats, and gloves, only to watch the Cubs get pummeled by the Phillies. #flythew
Similarly, this week on The Beer Drop, we’re proudly featuring Spots, a Tiki Weisse-style ale from the good folks over at Off Color Brewing. When this was originally planned a few weeks back, I dreamt of writing about how this is the perfect beach or picnic companion. As fate would have it, we’ve found ourselves barely tipping 50 degrees if we’re lucky enough to get a break between rainstorms.
Weather aside, Off Color Spots IS the perfect beach or picnic companion, and like the Marz Lost Lake Exotica Ale from yesterweek, pairs well with rum, but as I can recently attest, is also quite effective as an afternoon cold one at the office. I’m a big fan of what Off Color has going on. This Hermosa-based operation has become quintessential to the Chicago beer scene, but has done so by truly living up to their name and taking the road less traveled. You won’t find many IPAs and Pale Ales on the menu, but they’ve managed to pull off lesser known styles like Sahti and Gose and bring them to the forefront.
I caught up with PK from Off Color where we talked Spots, the industry, and what the next big thing in beer will be (Hint: it’s gonna be yuuuuge!).