The Beer Drop: Forbidden Root Snoochie Boochies & WPA

Many would argue that the beauty of Chicago is the neighborhoods whose patchwork creates a vibrant nesting ground for unique culture, community, and history, and this week’s feature is a testament to that. We head out to West Town to visit some friends at Forbidden Root Brewery, who made their home in the 100-year-old Hub Theater, effectively honoring the neighborhood’s legacy with an incredibly well-executed 21st century take (more info on that rehab story here). If you haven’t had a chance to stop by their Chicago Avenue restaurant and brewery, I cannot recommend enough, as you’ll find one of the more unique brewery experiences the city has to offer.

Fantastic story and real estate aside, Forbidden Root is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to their beers. Their New England IPA, Snoochie Boochies, is the star of the Beer Drop show this week (and one of my all-time favorite beers), while WPA is a super cool out-of-the-box take on a Pale Ale. 

Read on for more of Forbidden Root’s roots (sorry, had to) as I catch up with their communications director, Katharine Uhrich. Cheers!

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The Beer Drop: Virtue Offalgood Cider

Apparently we weren’t Smitten with The Mitten enough after our New Holland feature last week, so we decided to visit our neighbors again and feature a tasty limited release offering from Fennville, Michigan’s, Virtue Cider for this week’s Beer Drop.

Yes, technically we’re featuring a cider, not a beer this week – all you sticklers out there can think of this as The Cider Drop – but we were pretty stoked to get our hands on the most recent release from Virtue’s Blenders Guild, Offalgood Cider. It’s a collaboration with Chef Chris Cosentino of Top Chef fame, and has complexity and smoothness akin to a fine wine. Not to mention it’s Fall time in the Midwest and nothing quite beats a tasty cider when the leaves change, amirite?

The other exciting part of this week’s feature was the opportunity to learn a bit more about the story behind the founding of the cidery by former Goose Island brewmaster, Greg Hall. I found the journey from the creation of the original Bourbon County Stout to mastering the craft of cider, and the differences and similarities between these processes particularly fascinating and I’m confident you will too.

Read on for my conversation with Kim Vavrick, Communications Manager at Virtue, and get your hands on the Offalgood Cider while you can!

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The Beer Drop: New Holland Baltic Anomaly & Dragon’s Milk

Just a few short hours away from Chicago’s city lights lies a quaint town nestled up to Lake Michigan called Holland. Its robust and colorful downtown is home to everything from boutiques, candy shops and art galleries, to a storefront dedicated to selling only cherry-based products (pro tip: get the cherry salsa). It’s a place whose streets and sidewalks are heated in the winter and they host a large tulip festival each spring.

I’ve had the pleasure of visiting this Michigan wonderland on several occasions now, and though all its aforementioned characteristics are great, the defining point of every trip has been the visit to New Holland Brewing on the corner of 8th and College Avenues – or quite literally the center of town. In Michigan, breweries are everywhere, but New Holland stands out as being synonymous with its surrounding community in a way I’ve never seen before.

Did I mention they have delicious beers? And they distill their own spirits? I was pumped to get New Holland into our Beer Drop lineup and highlight some of their colder weather options this week: Baltic Anomaly and Dragon’s Milk. Read on for my chat with Clay Cooper, the Director of National Accounts at New Holland, for more on the beers and brewery. Cheers!

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Wine About It: LIOCO Wine Company

It’s that time again – we’re back to Wine About It, featuring LIOCO Wine Company! This month we’ve got a special guest, Sommelier Christopher Harris, on deck to share his take on a few of this month’s four(!) featured bottles.

Chardonnay is one of the stars of this winery, but we’re also highlighting a red and rosé made from the Carignan grape – historically thought of as a ‘low-end’ grape for adding to blends, LIOCO has taken this distinctive red and delivered a wine full of personality and vibrant flavor – a must try if you’re a fan of Beaujolais, Zinfandel or Côtes du Rhône blends. And we know it’s only October, but Carignan is considered one of the perfect Thanksgiving wines because of how well it complements rich, meaty dishes – pick up a bottle now, and you (and your family) can thank us later.

Without further ado, let’s throw it over to Christopher! With over 10 years of experience working in amazing restaurants around the city (including Graham Elliot and Grace), he currently heads up all things wine at Michelin-starred Smyth and The Loyalist, and was also a 2015 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence recipient – a.k.a. he knows his grapes:

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