2010 Craft Brewers Conference

Chicago hosts this year’s Brewers Association conference for breweries and brewpubs.  The event will be held at the River North Sheraton Chicago April 7-10.

The conference is a meeting place for craft beer professionals to exchange tips and techniques to improve their own breweries and brewpubs. With scheduled speakers from a variety of North American brewers, as well as classes on brewing, storage, packaging, media relations and much more, the conference will undoubtedly develop ideas to fuel and grow the craft beer movement.

Excited?  Let’s hope you have already confirmed your registration since this year’s event registration has been closed to due to extraordinary demand.

The biennial World Beer Cup also takes place during the conference.  The winners will be announced on the last day of the conference at the World Beer Cup Gala Awards Dinner.

The World Beer Cup was capped at 3,500 entries this year – roughly three times as many entries from 2002.

Craft Brewers Conference

Brewers Association

World Beer Cup

It’s going to be a great beer week in Chicago, my friends.  Cheers!

-RjR

Magic Hat

I stumbled upon the fine beers from Magic Hat during a 2009 summer vacation in South Carolina. Not sure how I missed the colorful, eccentric designs on the labels and packaging in my local Chicago coolers, but I’ve enjoyed watching Magic Hat’s growth in Chicago since this impromptu tasting from a 12-pack sampler.

Magic Hat Brewing Company, South Burlington VT

Looking forward to warmer weather and tasting new, exciting brews this summer!

-RjR

Stone Brewing Coming to Chicago

After living in San Diego for a couple years, I’m very excited to see that Stone’s bold, delicious beers will be available in Chicago starting next month.

Just for kicks, here’s a shot, circa 2004, of Stone’s Double Bastard Ale – a monstrous special release at 10.5% abv.

See you next month, Stone.  Welcome to Chicago!

Stone Brewing Co.

Update:  Stone Beer Week Chicago April 1-8

-RjR

Brews for History 2010

The Chicago Metro History Education Center is hosting a beer tasting on Wednesday, March 3rd.

Goose Island and Two Brothers will pouring their delicious craft beers for the tasting.  All proceeds from the event will go to the Chicago Metro History Fair (serves 20,000 students and 500 teachers in 200 local Chicago schools).

There will also be a Chicago beer history lecture, door prizes and a silent auction.

Tickets are $40 and they encourage an RSVP.

To register or for more information, visit Brews for History and Chicago History Fair.

Breckenridge Ski Trip – The Beer Highlights

We started off the weekend in Breckenridge, CO with dinner at the Breckenridge Brewery.  Decent grub and a solid array of beers available on tap, all of which are brewed on site.  Before I entered the brewpub, I thought their signature beer, Avalanche Ale (American Amber, 5.41% abv) ,was hands down my favorite. I’d tried and enjoyed Avalanche on many occasions, both in Chicago and previous trips to Colorado. After sampling a few other beers over the course of the evening, the Trademark Pale (American Pale Ale 5.7% abv) and Agave Wheat (4.2% abv) quickly moved to the top of my Breck Brewery list.

Really enjoyed the Easy Street Wheat (4.6% abv) and 90 Shilling (5.5% abv) from Odell Brewing Co.  We didn’t make it to the Fort Collins brewery, but picked up some bottles for the condo.

Last, but certainly not least, I was excited to finally get my hands on Dale’s Pale Ale (6.5% abv) – the first canned craft beer in the country. Yes, canned and yes, craft beer.  I wouldn’t be the first to say I was skeptical and wouldn’t be the first to say I was instantly converted into a believer of canned craft beer.  When are the good people at Oskar Blues Brewery shipping Dale’s Pale Ale cans to Chicago?  Also anxiously waiting for 21t Amendment’s Bree Free or Die! IPA (San Francisco) cans to hit the shelves in the Windy City.  What are your other favorite canned craft beers?

‘Til next time, Colorado…

-RjR

Breckenridge Brewery

Odell Brewing Co.

Oskar Blues Brewery (Dale’s Pale Ale)

21st Amendment Brewery (Bree Free or Die! IPA)

BrewDog Produces Buzz, Presumably Awful Beer

Anxious to hear feedback when BrewDog’s latest creation, Sink the Bismarck! (a quadruple IPA with 41% abv), ships next week.

Can this taste anything like beer?

Half Acre Brewery Tour

With all the buzz around the great craft beer coming out of Half Acre, a trip to check out the facilities was long overdue.  We emailed the info address from their site and none other than Gabriel Magliaro (owner/founder) replied to confirm our spot on the tour.

Gabriel passionately led the Saturday afternoon tour in front of dozens of eager beer lovers (which on this day included his parents).

They kept the beer flowing throughout the tour.  We enjoyed sipping the brews they had on tap – Daisy Cutter, Over Ale and Gossamer.  Unfortunately, I spoke too soon before the tour because the Ginger Twin was not quite ready.

Gabriel walked us through the brewing process as we wandered through the brewery tasting the barley and smelling the hops.  Undoubtedly, this gave us all a new appreciation for the intricacies of brewing delicious craft beer.  It’s incredible they’re able to brew, bottle and prepare beer for distribution all from their relatively small urban facility. In addition to 12oz bottles, 22oz bottles, growlers and kegs – look for Half Acre 16oz cans coming soon!

A few more shots from the brewery…

The Half Acre tour is free and highly recommended.  For more information, head over to halfacrebeer.com.