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Apr 22, 2011

A Chat with Sam Adams LongShot winner Rodney Kibzey

In the 14 year history of the Boston Brewing Co.'s Samuel Adams LongShot homebrewing contest, it would seem impossible that one person could actually win twice. With thousands of entries submitted each year, from which two homebrewers' and a Sam Adams employee's winning entries are chosen to be brewed up in a special six-pack, a repeat performance would be much against the odds.
But in my observation of real life, coincidence seems much more repeatable than statistical odds.
The 2010 LongShot sixpack includes "Blackened Hops," a Cascadian IPA (or, if you'll forgive the oxymoron, a Black India Pale Ale) by Lombard resident Rodney Kibzey. Kibzey had previously won the 2007 LongShot with a Weizenbock, which hit store shelves in 2008.
Rodney appeared at Lombard's Famous Liquors on April 2, where he autographed bottles and was treated like, maybe not so much a rock star as an indie rock star. Sam Adams representatives were on hand to sample out their Latitude 48 IPA as well, and Famous also had a wine and cheese tasting in store (Stilton! Yum!).
Between autographing, handing out Sam Adams hats and pouring samples,Rodney answered a few of my beer geek questions:

MM: Doesn’t the name “Blackened Hops” seem a little misleading? It sounds like the hops themselves have been toasted to a crisp.
Rodney: Well, a lot people like to call it “Cascadian Dark Ale,” I just like to call it “beer goodness.”
MM: I assume you’ve been entering the LongShot competitions since they started. Were the organizers at Sam Adams surprised that you’d won your second one?
Rodney: Yeah, a lot of people we’re shocked. They’re like “Not again!” But they picked the best beers, and the cream always rises to the top.
MM: Have you done this “tour” the last time, too? Are all the winners doing this kind of thing?
Rodney: Usually they do it out of choice. I live local, in Lombard, I usually come here to Famous Liquors, so I'm kind of giving back to the community.
MM: So the Sam Adams people just said, “If you want to do this, we’ll come out?”
Rodney: Yeah. The people in the store know me, I come in here periodically, and they said yeah, we want you to come back and do a pouring.
MM: So what are you thinking of for the next contest? Or are they going to force you retire and rename the contest after you?
Rodney: Well, I think I'm kind of done. I've said to myself before I won this year’s contest, that win, lose or draw, this is it. The next step would probably be to go pro.
For those who think the playing field might be a bit more level this year, Sam Adams is now taking entries for the 2011 LongShot. The rules and links to enter are here.

Apr 21, 2011

Easter weekend craft beer events, April 22-24

Friday, April 22

6:00 - 8:00 p.m. Two Brothers beer tasting
West Lakeview Liquors, 2156 W. Addison St., Chicago (773) 525-1916
Andy Jenkins will be sampling these shoppe staples!

Saturday, April 23

1:00 - 4:00 p.m. American Craft Beer Journey
Binny's Beverage Depot, 1950 Lincoln Hwy., St. Charles, IL (630) 377-1671
Join us on a coast to coast American Craft Beer journey as we sample over 50 tasty brews covering a huge range of styles. $5 with Binny's Card / $10 non-members. Call, or email stcharles@binnys.com for more information.

1:00 - 7:00 p.m. American Craft Beer Tasting
Binny's Beverage Depot, 8935 N. Milwaukee, Niles, IL (847) 966-2300
Taste over 40 great craft beers from the east coast to the west coast and all points in between! Sample an array of styles from top producers that include Smuttynose IPA, Lagunitas Hairy Eyeball and a huge variety of others. $5 W/ Binny's Card / $10 non-members. Call (847) 966-2300 or email niles@binnys.com for more information.

1:00 - 4:00 p.m. Highly Rated Beers Open House
Binny's Beverage Depot, 7330 W. North Ave., Elmwood Park, IL (708) 456-2112
Ever wonder why some beers are highly rated on Ratebeer.com and BeerAdvocate.com? Discover for yourself as we pour beers that make the "A" or 90+ point rating. Call, or email elmwoodpark@binnys.com for more information.

3:00 - 6:00 p.m. Season of Saisons
Binny's Beverage Depot, 5100 W. Dempster, Skokie, IL (847) 674-4200
Taste the very best in Saisons and Farmhouse Ales. Sample over 25 different beers from breweries that include Saint Somewhere, The Bruery, North Coast, Lost Abbey, Southampton, Ommegang, Jolly Pumpkin, Three Floyd's, Goose Island, Stillwater, Dupont, De Ranke, Vapeur, Thiriez and De Glazen Toren. $5 W/Binny's Card/ $10 non-members.
Specific Beers Include: St. Somewhere Athene and Pays du Soleil, Bruery Saison Rue, North Coast La Merle, Lost Abbey Red Barn and Carnevale, Southampton Saison Deluxe and Cuvee des Fleurs, Ommegang Hennepin, Jolly Pumpkin Baudelaire iO and Bam Biere, Three Floyd's Rabbid Rabbit, Goose Island Sofie and Pepe Nero, Stillwater Stateside and Cellar Door, De Ranke Saison Dottignies, Saison de Cazeau, De Glazen Toren Saison D'Erpe, Saison de Pipaix, Vapeur de Bises, Saison Dupont and Avril, Urthel Saissoniere, St. Feuillien Saison, Nogne-Ø Saison, Nuova Mattina, Thiriez Blonde, L'Ebbe L'Amalthee and more to come! Cost: $5 w/Binny's card, $10 without.

6:00 - 10:00 p.m. Map Room Beer School
The Map Room, 1949 N. Hoyne Chicago (773) 252-7636
Greg Browne, brewmaster at Mickey Finn's Brewery in Libertyville, guides us through the nuances of beer and its appreciation. Students study several beers and learn exactly what they're tasting and the roles that the ingredients and the brewing process have in forming those aromas and flavors. Don't miss a great opportunity to enjoy fine beer, good company and expert tutelage. Price, $25 per person. April's topic: Bock beers. Tickets went on sale on the Monday evening before beer school (April 18), starting at 7 p.m. first come-first serve until all tickets have been sold. You must have a ticket to attend Beer School.

7:00 p.m. Drinking & Writing Christmas Show in April
Drinking & Writing Theater @ Haymarket Pub & Brewery, 737 W. Randolph St, Chicago
Take the first step in April! So we didn't get a chance to perform our Christmas show a few months ago. So what's wrong with doing it in April? That's right, April. It's Drinking & Writing Volume IV, The 12 Steps of Christmas! We've added some new material and a few surprises. Plus $5 dollars from every ticket sold will be donated to Donate Life Illinois. Drinking & Writing Volume IV, The 12 Steps of Christmas! thru April 23rd, 7:00 p.m., The Drinking & Writing Theater @ Haymarket Pub and Brewery.

8:00 - 11:00 p.m. Goose Island Invasion!
SmallBar Fullerton, 1415 West Fullerton, Chicago, (773) 525-2727
Join us as Goose Island takes over our taps with some rare brews and specialty stuff from their cellars. We'll have 20 handles and a vertical tasting of Matilda in The Mezzanine.
Including: Lolita Raspberry Wild Ale, Madame Rose Brown Cherry Ale, Wilder Wild Wheat Ale, Indira Lemongrass Saison, Mae Peach Saison, Pepe Nero Black Saison, Scully White Pepper and Strawberry Saison, Bourbon County Brand Stout, Vanilla Bourbon Brand County Stout, Big John Imperial Stout, Lazarus Imperial Stout, Night Stalker Dry Hopped Imperial Stout, Old Max Danish Stout, Green-Line New Zealand Hallertau Hops, Green-Line New Zealand Green Bullet/Motzueka Hops, Marisol Belgian-style Golden Ale, Tripel Belgian-style Tripel, Demolition Belgian-style Strong Ale, Fleur Hibiscus Belgian Ale, King Henry Bourbon Barrel Aged Barley Wine.  For $25 you can join us early from 7-8:00 p.m. for exclusive access to the brewers and tastings before the crowd hits!

Sunday, April 24

Due to ongoing turmoil at the ole manse (as in, I just got laid off), I was unable to devote much time to compiling Easter brunch listings. I have made note of the one Brunch announcement that includes some craft beer specials.
10:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Easter Beer Brunch
Fountainhead, 1970 W. Montrose Ave, Chicago (773) 697-8204
Do you really want to spend Easter Sunday slicing ham and whipping sweet potatoes? No. You'd much rather come enjoy a 4 course meal created by Chef Robyn & paired with some of the best beers Phil has to offer!Reservations will be required for this event, so please call NOW to reserve your table! For just $45 a person, you will receive the following delicious pairings:

  • Two Brothers Monarch Wit with Fresh Fruit and Honey Marscapone Parfait
  • Three Floyds Rabbid Rabbit Saisonwith Rabbit Crepes topped with Chive Mornay
  • Stone Smoked Porter withCrispy Pork Belly on Cheddar Grits topped with a Fried Egg
  • Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout with Black Dog Gelato & Deep Fried Belgian Waffle.
Please call 312-343-0842 to reserve your spot. Easter Beer Brunch seatings are available from 10:30 - 2:00. We will offer the meal without the beer pairings for $30. We also plan to have a limited number of regular brunch items available a la carte.

2:30 p.m. Freakin' Firkin Sunday
The Livery, 190 5th Street, Benton Harbor, MI (269) 925-8760
Brewmaster Steve will be tapping the Firkin cask at 3.00 p.m. (or thereabouts) on this Sunday. Enjoy a pint of real ale in its true form- and also enjoy the lively Irish Session music, hosted by Rick Willey & Katie Montoya, from 2-5 p.m.

Apr 17, 2011

Chicago beer events, April 18-21

This Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday:

6:30 p.m. North Coast Brewing Beer Pairing Dinners
The Tap House Grills
Tuesday the 19th: 6010 S. Cass Ave., Westmont, IL (630) 541-8840
Wednesday the 20th: 3341 W. Main St., St. Charles, IL (630) 443-1664
Thursday the 22nd: 411 N. Main St., Glen Ellyn, IL (630) 858-4369
Tuesday the 26th: 24402 W. Lockport St., Plainfield, IL (815) 733-5540
Wednesday the 27th: 123 W. Washington St., Oswego, IL (630) 383-2020
This month's beer pairing dinner features the beers of North Coast Brewing Co. Foods presented by Chef Todd Davies. "A Study in Berkshire Pork"
1st Course: Le Merle Saison paired with Saganaki Pork Meatballs, Spinach, Poached Fennel, Feta, Green Olives
2nd Course: PanQster Belgian Pale paired with Crispy Pork Tenderloin, Salmuercia Pepperoni, Pineapple-Orange Sage Shrimp, Sweet Peppers
3rd Course: Red Seal Copper Ale paired with Red Seal-Cured Pork Belly, Bourbon-Almond Baklava
4th Course: Old Stock Old Ale paired with Pistachio & Pork Pate-Crusted Pork Barrel, Pickled Sultanas, Micro Cress Crisp Crostinis
5th Course: Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout paired with Salty, Chocolate Truffles: Rasputin's Finest, Chocolate & Bacon Truffles, Arabica Creme Anglais. Full menu at taphousegrills.com/beerpair.php

Monday, April 18

Beerducation classes with Marty Nachel
Crown Brewing, 211 S. East St., Crown Pount, IN (219) 663-4545
Beerducation classes with Marty Nachel will be held on 4/18 and 4/25. 4/18 is the level one course and 4/25 is level two. You can sign up at the bar. Space is limited.

5:00 - 7:00 p.m. Metropolitan Iron Works release
Green Grocer, 1402 W Grand Ave, Chicago
Jess from Metropolitan will be on-hand at Green Grocer to hand out free samples of our newest brew. Drinking while grocery shopping? Yes!

6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Highway 78 Artisan Beer and Cheese Pairing
Bangers and Lace, 1670 West Division Street, Chicago, IL
There is no doubt beer and cheese go superbly together. Now when they are expertly paired your talking total harmonization. How do you know if you have an expert pairing? Well, first you need experts, Certified Master Formager Coleen Graham has chosen your cheese and Stone beer guy Aaron Tyrell helped with the brew. Now these won't all be Stone Brewing Co. beers: They are 4 beers; 3 breweries; 4 cheeses all just $16. Full servings of the rare beers will be available for sale. Green Flash/Carsbad Pizza Port/Stone Highway 78 Scotch Ale w/ Mt Zion- from La Mariposa, Sweet Home OR aged raw goats milk cheese. Arrogant Bastard Ale w/ Ursinus- from Great American Cheese Collection- open plank aged sheeps milk Gouda. Lost Abbey Red Barn w/ 3 yr white cheddar- From Laack Brothers Cheese Greenleaf WI- cows milk. Green Flash West Coast IPA w/ Roasted Wild Rice Gouda- from Eichten's Cheese- Center City MN - cows milk. Facebook

7:00 p.m. The Bruery evening at Hopleaf
Hopleaf, 5148 N. Clark St. Chicago (773) 334-9851
Special beers from the Bruery of California, and a visit from Jonas Namura.

7:00 p.m. Tickets on sale for Map Room Beer School
The Map Room, 1949 N. Hoyne Chicago (773) 252-7636
Tickets go on sale this evening starting at 7 p.m. Cash only, maximum 2 tickets per purchase, and first come-first serve until all tickets have been sold. Greg Browne, brewmaster at Mickey Finn's Brewery in Libertyville, guides us through the nuances of beer and its appreciation. Next class - Saturday, April 23, 6 pm. Topic: Bock Beers. Limit, 45 people. Price, $25 per person.

9:00 p.m. Heavy Metal Monday Movie Night
Cigars & Stripes, 6715 W. Ogden Ave., Berwyn, IL (708) 484-1043
Lemmy: the Documentary! on our big screen! Movie Starts at 9:00. One order of our delicious Hot Wings and any American Craft beer only 10 bucks

Tuesday, April 19

6:00 - 11:00 p.m. Avery Night - Joe's Pils Tapping
Fountainhead, 1970 W. Montrose Ave, Chicago (773) 697-8204
We are helping launch Avery's newest beer, Joe's Pilsner. Enjoy a sneak preview with draft pints of the upcoming release. Joe's Premium American Pilsner is a contemporary rendition of a classic style, Joe's is hopped with purpose: beautifully bitter and dry with an abundance of floral, Noble German hops. Uber sessionable. Utterly American. This is Premiuim American Pilsner. ABV: 4.7% IBUs: 42 In addition to Joe's Pils, we will be pouring Avery's IPA, Karma, & Salvation, and a select amount of Mephistopheles bottles!!! As usual Chef Robyn will be whipping up some small plate pairing specials to go with these drafts.

7:00 p.m. Food Truck Summit and Book Signing
Goose Island Brewpub, 1800 N. Clybourn Ave., Chicago (312) 915-0071
With food-truck fever sweeping the nation, intrepid journalist Heather Shouse launched a coast-to-coast exploration of street food. In Food Trucks, she gives readers a page-by-page compass for finding the best movable feasts in America. Join us as we support the cause for the freedom of food trucks across the nation! Expect to enjoy service from Southern Mac, Flirty Cupcakes, Sweet Misgivings, Hummingbird Kitchen, Gastro-Wagon, 5411 Empanadas, Tamale Spaceship and Bridgeport Pasty. Author Heather Shouse will be signing copies of her book.

7:00 p.m. New Belgium Brewery Night
The Map Room, 1949 N. Hoyne, Chicago (773) 252-7636
If you enjoy the great beers of New Belgium Brewing, this is the night for you! We'll be pouring a number of beers from their Lips of Faith series, carefully paired with some delicious bites from Chef Andy from Third Coast Chef. 1554 with braised beef short ribs in a 1554 bbq sauce. Le Terroir with fried chicken wings with a sweet/sour terrior sauce. Dunkel Weisse with banana bread pudding. Additional information can be found on a special event page on Facebook.

8:00 p.m. Stammtisch Alt Tapping
Flossmoor Station Restaurant & Brewery, 1035 Sterling Ave., Flossmoor, IL (708) 957-BREW
We have the perfect bier for these windy spring days, and it's our Stammtisch Alt! Stammtisch is from the German to describe the "regulars" table. Found at many pubs, the stammtisch table is set aside for the regular diners/pubbers, and is generally set aside and marked off so that not just anyone can sit down at it. Not to worry, this Alt won't be just for our mug club members, but they will be the first to taste it next Tuesday, in our pseudostammtisch room! Cheers!

8:30 p.m. Charlie Sheen movie month
Cigars & Stripes, 6715 W. Ogden Ave., Berwyn, IL (708) 484-1043
Major League & Major League 2 on our big screen! One order of our Hot Wings and any American Craft beer, only 10 bucks.

Wednesday, April 20

4:20 - 6:00 p.m. Sierra Nevada Glissade Golden Bock Sampling
Cactus Bar & Grill, 404 South Wells, Chicago 312-922-3830
Please Join Sierra Nevada Brewing Company at Cactus Bar & Grill for a Glissade Golden Bock sampling.

5:00 - 7:00 p.m. Brew Masters Series
State and Lake at The Wit, 201 N. State St., Chicago (312) 239-9400
A weekly pairing of Craft Brewed beer and specially created burgers from Chef Evan Percoco. This week featuring "Caprese Italian sausage burger, fresh Mozarella, basil, cured tomatoes and sweet balsamic, with ciabatta Polenta fries. Paired with Peroni. This beer & burger pairing is also available Monday-Sunday after 2 p.m. for $10.

5:00 - 7:00 p.m. Trumer Pils Customer Appreciation Day
The Bank, 123 W. Front St., Wheaton, IL (630) 665-2265
Complimentary appetizers while enjoying Trumer Pils.

6:30 - 9:30 p.m. Lucky Monk Brewmaster Dinner
The Lucky Monk Burger, Pizza & Beer, 105 Hollywood Blvd., South Barrington, IL (847) 898-0500
Spend a night at The Lucky Monk learning the intricacies of brewing the perfect batch of beer with our Brewmaster, Anthony Carollo. You will have the opportunity to see our brewery in action with a guided tour. Afterwards, we will offer a pairing of our six craft beers with a six-course dinner, which will include Lobster Bisque, Filet Medallions and much more! Everyone will receive a complimentary Bomber filled with one of our signature brews.

7:00 p.m. Avery Brewery Night
The Map Room, 1949 N. Hoyne, Chicago (773) 252-7636
We'll be featuring three fine beers from Avery Brewing Company paired with four different cheeses, as selected by our good friend Dave Phillips from Cheese and Cheers. Trust us - Dave knows his stuff. It will definitely be a case of good judgement!

Thursday, April 21

6:00 - 7:00 p.m. Double Tapping at Rock Bottom Chicago
Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery, 1 W. Grand Ave., Chicago (312) 755-9339
Join us for our Heller Bock & Fujo Black Lager Double-Tapping Party.
Heller Bock - As seasons change and Biergartens open, so do the offerings of Strong Lagers. While Bocks of late winter tend to be dark, the Bock beers of spring lighten in color while retaining ample strength and plenty of flavor. Our Heller Bock is a medium to fuller-bodied, gold to amber in color, with fairly balanced flavors of hops and malt. A refreshing and soulful brew for the transition of seasons.
Fujo Black Lager - Traditional Black Lagers, or Scwartzbiers as they are known in Germany, are drinkable dark lagers with robust roasted barley and black malt flavor. This obscure style has been adopted by most major Japanese breweries as a standard offering. We have brewed this lager in charitable effort to raise money for tsunami relief efforts in Japan. Through the Rock Bottom Foundation, we will be donating proceeds from the sales of this beer. Fujo translates to English as aid, help, assistance, or support.

6:00 - 7:00 p.m. Goose Island Clybourn tapping
Goose Island Brewpub, 1800 N. Clybourn Ave., Chicago (312) 915-0071
Every Thursday, a new beer brewed at the Clybourn brewpub is tapped.

6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Goose Island Mini Invasion at Bistro 110
Bistro 110, 110 E. Pearson St., Chicago (312) 266-3110
Join Goose Island for a mini invasion as we take over Bistro 110's six taps for the month of April with a tasting party on the 21st.

6:00 - 8:00 p.m. Spring Gathering Charity Fund Raiser
Rock Bottom Orland Park, 16156 S. La Grange Rd., Orland Park, IL (708) 226-0021
We are holding a Charity Fund Raiser party to help raise funds for our annual Spring Gathering on the April 24th. The Spring Gathering is our annual giving back to the community event when we invite local underprivileged families into the restaurant for an Easter Brunch and fun packed activities for the kids. We will have special pint glasses available for purchase filled with beer, a silent auction and a 50/50 raffle.

6:30 - 11:30 p.m. Crispin Desert Noir Release Party & Artisanal Cider and Cheese Pairing
The Bavarian Lodge, 1800 Ogden Ave, Lisle, IL
Join us for the official release party of a very limited release draught oak barrel aged cider from Crispin! Desert Noir blends apple-wine aged in Tennessee Whiskey Barrels with apple-wine aged in red wine oak barrels then back-sweetened with Agave Nectar and a touch of Prickly Pear Nectar. Available on draft only in very limited quantities. Enjoy the very special Desert Noir plus three other ciders from Crispin's Artisanal Reserve series, served as a flight, with each cider paired with a handmade artisanal cheese. Representatives from Crispin Cider will be in attendance and will speak about each of their extraordinary ciders.
Crispin Cider Flight (Five Ounces of Each): - Desert Noir Cider - Honey Crisp (fermented with organic honey) - The Saint (fermented with Belgian Trappist yeast) - Lansdowne (fermented with Irish Stout Ale yeast) Plus a flight of four different artisan-made cheeses, paired with each of these premium ciders.
Cider & Cheese Flight: $15 each. No RSVP Required.

7:00 - 10:00 p.m. Death From Above: An Epic Burger Event
Three Aces Chicago, 1321 W. Taylor St., Chicago (312) 243-1577
Come out and try the burger that was featured on WGN. $20 gets you the Death From Above burger (this burger is being exclusively made for this event and this event ONLY) an kick-ass side and a New Holland Golden Cap that was perfectly paired for this burger directly from the guys at New Holland brewery. The Death From Above burger is an all duck meat patty, topped with a duck egg, bourbon prune jam and coleslaw with apple and spices. The side of duck fat fries are topped with duck confit poutine.

Follow me on Twitter, Google Buzz or Facebook. For future events in first draft, check my Google calendar.

Apr 15, 2011

Chicago craft beer weekend, April 15-17

Friday April 15 

Heller Bock Tapping, Rock Bottom Chicago
Rock Bottom, 1 W. Grand Ave., Chicago (312) 755-9339
April 15th - Heller Bock 

5:00 - 8:00 p.m. Bell's Spring Tasting at Vrai Amour
Vrai Amour, 953 W. Webster Ave. Chicago (773) 549-9740
Our annual tasting at this great shop just right around the corner from DePaul University. Help us kick off spring while tasting some Oberon! There will be many other great Bell's beers to sample also. No Charge for samples.

5:00 - 7:00 p.m. Ommegang BPA Tasting
Monk's Pub, 205 W. Lake St., Chicago (312) 357-6665
The lovely Shannon will be at Monk's Pub from 5:00 -7:00 p.m. tasting out Ommegang BPA!

5:00 - 7:00 p.m. Silly Name, Serious Beer
Binny's Beverage Depot, 844 S. Randall Rd., Algonquin, IL (847) 458-2470
Welcome the newest brewery to come to Chicagoland, Massachusetts' Clown  Shoes. Joe Katz of Stoller Wholesale will be on hand to answer your questions and pour free samples. Taste the beer that started it all, Hoppy Feet Black IPA, as well as Brown Angel, Clementine, and Eagle Claw Fist. All beers will be available for purchase.

6:00 - 8:00 p.m. New Belgium beer tasting
West Lakeview Liquors, 2156 W. Addison St., Chicago (773) 525-1916
Brian Stanek will be sampling beers from this fine Colorado brewery!

Saturday, April 16

11:00 a.m. Founders Tenth Annual Black Party
Founders Brewing Co., 235 Grandville Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI
We're stoked to announce our TENTH ANNUAL Black Party, our annual celebration of Black Beers! Wrap your lips around our darkest brews from open-to-close, with a star-studded taplist featuring 2011 and 2010 KBS, Breakfast Stout, Imperial Stout, Black IPA, Oatmeal Stout, Frangelic Stout, Porter, and a BOATLOAD of surprise tappings.You will not want to miss this one! Plus, you can munch on Justin and Jmac's famous Dirty Bastard Bratwursts. AND make sure you don't miss evening entertainment starting at 9:30 p.m. with Oracle (Our very own supergroup, featuring head brewers Jer and Diamond, performing The Black Crowes "Southern Harmony and Musical Companion") with Four Finger Five (Funk, rock, and soul jams from Muskegon). Admission is $8 for the general public and $6 for 2011 Mug Club Members. Your paid entry includes your first Class 1 pint AND a commemorative pint glass to take home!

12:00 - 3:00 p.m. Hoppy Easter Beer Fest
Whole Foods, 201 W 63rd St., Willowbrook, IL (630) 655-5000
Jess from Metropolitan Brewing will be on-hand at this fun beer fest to sample out all four of their regular brews. Really, the only way to grocery shop is with a beer in your hand.

1:00 - 4:00 p.m. Best of the Midwest Beer Tasting Open House
Binny's Beverage Depot, 7330 W. North Ave. Elmwood Park, IL (708) 456-2112
Sample some of the best beers made right here in the great Midwest. Breweries include Argus, Dark Horse, Flossmoor, Goose Island, Half Acre, Metropolitan, Two Brothers and more. Call, or email elmwoodpark@binnys.com for more information.

1:00 - 4:00 p.m. Hopfest Open House
Binny's Beverage Depot, 1919 Skokie Valley Hwy., Highland Park, IL (847) 831-5400
Hopheads of the world, unite! Binny's Highland Park is unleashing the ultimate IPA throwdown. Dozens of India Pale Ales will be available for your tasting pleasure, from Midwest favorites to the best of both coasts. $5 W/Binny's Card / $10 non-members.

    3:00 - 3:30 p.m. An Afternoon with Neil
    Lunar Brewing Company, 54 E. St Charles Rd., Villa Park, IL (630) 530-2077
    Lunar presents its Neil Armstrong Belgian Ale. Get it while it lasts...if it even lasts until 4/16 

    7:00 p.m. Crispin Cider Tasting at Cary Public House
    Cary Public House, 208 W. Main St., Cary, IL (847) 639-7244
    Crispin Cider will be sampling their artisanal reserves and their new Fox Barrel Pear line with different food items.

    7:00 p.m. Drinking & Writing Christmas Show in April
    Drinking & Writing Theater @ Haymarket Pub & Brewery, 737 W. Randolph Street, Chicago, IL
    Take the first step in April! So we didn't get a chance to perform our Christmas show a few months ago. So what's wrong with doing it in April? It's Drinking & Writing Volume IV, The 12 Steps of Christmas! We've added some new material and a few surprises. Plus $5 dollars from every ticket sold will be donated to Donate Life Illinois.

    Sunday, April 17

    10:30 - 11:30 p.m. ABA Chicagoland Breweriana Society Show
    VFW Hall, 400 E. Devon Ave., Elk Grove Village,IL
    Contact: Ray Capek 630-778-1482 Buy, sell and trade items related to sipping
    suds, including beer cans, glasses, signs, coasters, tap knobs and microbrewery items. Includes a raffle and free appraisal for items you bring in. Admission $1.
    Follow me on Twitter or Facebook. For future events in first draft, check my Google calendar.

    Apr 10, 2011

    Chicago craft beer calendar, April 11-14

    I apologize for Examiner suddenly running annoying "Congratulations!"and Netflix popunder ads and squeeze pages. If your ad blocker chokes, this page is mirrored at Chicagonow.com as The Beeronaut.

    Apr 7, 2011

    Craft beer review: Metropolitan Iron Works Alt

    We're liking this malty hybrid beer from right here in the Windy City. Click on.

    Chicago craft beer weekend, April 8-10

    Includes Brewfests @ Tinley Park & Blue Chip Casino, Binny's homebrew contest, new Avery brews to taste, End of Prohibition party.Click here!

    Apr 3, 2011

    Interview with Guinness Master Brewer Fergal Murray pt. 2 - Chicago craft beer | Examiner.com

    More from my chat with the brewer of the world's best-known beer. Click on!

    Chicago craft beer calendar, April 4-7

    Two Brothers’ film premiere, fundraiser for Japanese brewer’s family, beer dinner pairings, and where to hang out for the Sox home opener. Click on!