The Beer Drop: Pollyanna Kiwi Allure

This week’s Pollyanna Brewing Company might call Lemont, IL, home, but the star of this week’s Beer Drop show is all about the easy-living, land down under vibes: Kiwi Allure! Thanks to the addition of Australia’s favorite fuzzy fruit, this refreshing sour wheat ale will have you coming back to the cooler for more, especially on those humid summer days.

Pair that can with Pollyanna’s staple Lexical Gap IPA for a hell of a 1-2 punch for your grillin’ and chillin’ this weekend.

I recently had the chance to catch up with Pollyanna’s head brewer and co-founder, Brian Pawola, to learn more about these cans, the stories behind the brewery, and where you might catch one of their beers on the big screen this year – read on for more!

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The Beer Drop: 2nd Shift Hibiscus Wit

We’re heading back across the Great Mississippi to our St. Louis neighbors for this week’s Beer Drop!

In a city most renowned for macro brews, its craft industry has, in recent years, become a force to be reckoned with. 2nd Shift Brewing has been a big reason for that transition and we’re stoked to feature two of their hits just in time for the holiday weekend: Hibiscus Wit and Little Big Hop Session IPA.

If you’ve got plans to finally remove your grill cover for the first time this year for some MDW festivities, these are the crushable cans you want to be sure and have in hand – Hibiscus Wit has just the right amount of tart to pair with anything coming off that grill, while Little Big Hop drinks well with those afternoon yard games – bags, anyone? (or cornhole for you out-of-towners)…

Want to learn more about these brews and the 2nd Shift story? Read on for our chat with their operations manager, Mike Sweeney! Continue reading

The Beer Drop: Hop Butcher For The World Dun Dun Dun

FIELD TRIP! After our parents signed our permission slips, we hit the road to Darien, Illinois, to visit with our new friends at the highly touted Hop Butcher for the World for a special edition of the The Beer Drop – just in time to welcome Illinois Craft Beer Week kicking off this Friday!

First things first – the beer. Since we were fortunate enough to be there on canning day, we were able to get a BTS peek at their brewing and canning process, AND pick up a small quantity of this week’s featured brew, Dun Dun Dun, as it was coming off the canning line – not only is this Hop Butcher’s highest rated beer, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a fresher can of this Double IPA anywhere – a.k.a. this one’ll go quick! And of course we also picked up some Grid, their signature Pale Ale, dubbed one of the 25 Best of 2017 by All About Beer / DRAFT Magazine.

Now before we get to the Q&A (and photos from canning day), I want to give a special shout out to the people behind the juice at Hop Butcher, Jude La Rose and Jeremiah Zimmer. With as sought after as their beers are, I was bracing myself for a quick in and out visit for the beer, but was blown away by the hospitality and graciousness that they and their team met us with. Cheers to this crew for doing beer the right way, focusing always on the artistry of their craft and firmly believing that when beer is done right, it should bring people together rather than create pretension or divisiveness. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Jude, Jeremiah and the team, and be on the lookout for more Hop Butcher brews to hit the shelves at Foxtrot sooner than later!

Tell us about Dun Dun Dun:

Dun Dun Dun is best served a couple of minutes out of the fridge, around 40 degrees.  As the beer warms and reaches this temp, the aroma and flavor that could be masked by being too cold starts to open up and breathe.  Drink out of your favorite vessel. Feel free to pair with anything that complements or melds fruity flavors because Dun Dun Dun has a ton of them.  Let the dryness of the beer cut through whatever you’re eating and prepare you for the next bite.

Tastes like… white peach, flavors of the tropics, grassy

And Grid?

Grid was designed to be an everyday pale ale/constant companion to be gathered in bulk as an easy going and refreshing beer hopped with Citra and Mosaic and packed with flavor and aroma.

On Hop Butcher

When did your craft journey begin? How about the brewery?

Our craft beer journey goes back many years and starts with an appreciation of hand crafted beers full of flavor and aroma. We sold our first beers in March 2015.

What inspired the name?

The Hop Butcher name is an ode to the city and a turned on its head nickname Carl Sandburg gave Chicago in his poem of the same name.

How about your labels and branding?  

The aim is to make kick-butt beer and put it in kick-butt packaging.  Our art is done by a fellow Chicagoan name Dan Grzeca. We feel our artwork reflects the grit and hustle of our city, as well as the work put behind trying to raise a brewery from the ground up.

What makes Hop Butcher special?

It’s great to create something out of nothing. We make fresh, small batch, hoppy beers hoping to carve out a new yet approachable flavor experience.

What’s next for you guys?

We’re trying to make the best beer we can and be excellent individuals as well. It’s a trip to be able to participate in culture around making beer and drinking beer. It’s a trip when we see people drinking our beers in the wild and we’re very thankful for them.

Last thing before we go! Where can we find you around town for Illinois Craft Beer Week?

We’ll be popping up in a couple of spots during the week starting with Beer Under Glass on Friday the 18th.

Last check of the beer by brewery co-founder Jude La Rose before canning
L: Fill ‘er up! R: Dun Dun Dun cans stamped with an Addams Family reference “There’re creepy and there’re kooky” – brewers switch up these phrases between cannings, but stick with the Dun Dun Dun theme
Sean with Hop Butcher’s Jude La Rose and Jeremiah Zimmer

Again, a massive thank you to Jude, Jeremiah and the entire Hop Butcher crew for a fantastic visit to the brewery this week! Thanks for letting us crash canning day, and we can’t wait to come back again soon!

1,081 check-ins and counting – toast (or roast) what Sean’s been drinking here. Have a beer or brewery you think should be our next drop? Hit us up! ✉

Meet the Chef: Brad Alexander

You’ve been enjoying his food over the last month or so, now let’s meet the man in the kitchen – Foxtrot’s Executive Chef, Brad Alexander!

After spending time cooking and consulting for a bevy of amazing restaurants, events, companies, (you name it) in Chicago and beyond, Brad joined us earlier this year to double down on our lineup of fresh prepared eats and build a delicious, seasonal menu of items for our shops and for delivery via the app and website. 

Read on as we catch up with Brad on his background, his approach for creating new dishes, the most entertaining review he’s gotten on his food, the reveal of our next big menu item, and more! Fair warning…you’re gonna be very hungry by the end of this.

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The Beer Drop: Middle Brow Barrel-Aged White Light

We’ve had the opportunity to meet to a lot of people in the craft beer industry while running The Beer Drop for the past year, and have consistently marveled at how socially active its companies and personalities are. This week, we’re proud to feature Middle Brow Beer Co., which takes this attitude a step further. Doing good for the people who fight to improve their communities is as much a part of what soon-to-be Logan Square-based Middle Brow is all about, as experimenting with yeast strains and new beer styles.

I was stoked when Middle Brow co-founder Pete Ternes dropped by our new Wicker Park store a few weeks back to tell his brewery’s story, and even more excited to kick off our relationship with this feature: Barrel-Aged White Light, a gin barrel-aged take on their flagship witbier. Check out this unique, limited-release offering while you can, and read on to hear from Pete about all the good that Middle Brow is up to, both in and out of the brewery.

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The Beer Drop: Dogfish Head Wood-Aged Bitches Brew

Longtime followers of The Beer Drop may recall a time last May when we featured some heavy hitters by our friends at Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales. Call it an annual tradition, but we’re back with the Delaware-based craft bastion with some seriously awesome beers.

Before we get to this week’s feature…we’ve also just added 90 Minute IPA four-packs and SeaQuench six-packs for all your warm weather session-ing! If you haven’t tried SeaQuench yet, get on this crushable sour to get you through the upcoming summer swelter.

And for something a little rarer…we’ve also got 120 Minute IPA coming atcha again. Packing a 15-20% ABV, it’s known as the holy grail for hop heads everywhere. Get it, age it, and enjoy it while you can.

The star of the show this week, however, is Wood-Aged Bitches Brew, a nod to the 40th Anniversary release of the iconic Miles Davis album by the same name. Dogfish Head’s Evan Damico was gracious enough to share a bit more about the brew with us, so be sure to read and watch on – and just like 120 Minute, get it while you can! 

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