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Like many Chicago natives, I was caught completely by surprise Monday night when Lagunitas owner Tony Magee dropped a major bombshell via the brewery’s Twitter account, 140 characters at a time. Throwing formal press conferences to the wind, Magee revealed that the company had chosen the exact site of its brand-new brewery, and–get this–it’s on the West Side of Chicago.
Immediately, I began to imagine the impact that this will have on Chicago’s craft beer community. Most of the city’s breweries are quite small in their total output and distribution, with the notable exception of Goose Island. The reason for this is that most of the city’s breweries are relatively new, and as such are fairly small. Some of the city’s best beermakers, like Revolution Brewing and Haymarket Pub and Brewery, are just brewpubs as we speak, but almost all have plans for immediate expansion (such as the Revolution production brewery opening this year). As I covered a few months back, Chicago is a city in the middle of a true craft beer renaissance, with planned brewery projects that number into the dozens. Things have grown like gangbusters in the last five years or so, and within a few more, the number of places producing beer in the city will have doubled.
And now, suddenly, you add a giant into the mix. There isn’t any brewery the size of Lagunitas anywhere within Illinois. When it moves in, with its 250 barrel brewhouse, it is estimated that it will be producing more beer in a year than the likes of Goose Island, Three Floyds, Two Brothers, Half Acre, Revolution, Haymarket, Pipeworks, Finch’s, 5 Rabbit and the rest of the city combined. The overall national production will be even more ridiculous. Granted, only a fraction of that beer will actually be sold and consumed in the Chicago area, where Lagunitas is already distributed, but who knows what kind of reactions and concerns the brewers of Chicago might still have regarding this sort of announcement? Read the rest of this entry »
The boys are back on a historic day in the craft beer revolution as New Belgium finally commits to North Carolina. Then they get drunk and talk about a bunch of really interesting stuff. If you like beer, that is. Stuff like:
The boys are back and babblin’ ’bout:
I’ll be brief. Well, I’ll at least be as brief as any of us Aleheads can be. Lord knows we love to ramble on endlessly about the most useless of subjects. Some say that’s a strong suit, the ability to profess wildly opinionated views on topics that we feel passionate about. Others may say we just like to talk to ourselves, which is completely true in my case. Since we’re speaking of me, my favorite topic, there’s one more thing that I like to do when it comes to beer and opinions. I like to make absurdly outlandish statements with no backing about what I consider to be the best this, the best that, the top 10 of whatever the hell I feel like talking about. Subjectivity is the key here. Who doesn’t like to throw out statements that receive immediate argument? I know I do. So, with that in mind, let me drop this one on you. Lagunitas Brewery is the best brewery in the country. Want to argue? Read on. Read the rest of this entry »
What’s the best IPA in America? Good God, has there ever been a question posed more often by beer geeks than this one? The answer of course is as simple as the question: There is no THE best IPA in America. Does that mean we can’t debate the merits of any single IPA and trash each others’ opinions, and in essence, others’ personal palates? Hell no. When we put up our original “Best IPA In America” post last August, it quickly became our most viewed article and still has legs some 10 months later. Apparently we Aleheads aren’t the only ones debating the issue and certainly not the only ones looking to others for an opinion. Back then I chose Founders Centennial IPA as the best in the land. In my opinion, at that point in my life, there was no better American IPA to be had. Now that we have a wider audience though we thought that a more democratic approach would be appropriate this time around. We polled every Alehead in our ranks and came out with a definitive, be-all-end-all Top 10 list of American IPAs including a concisive “new” Best IPA in America. Seriously, forget everything you read above, we’ve finally found THE best IPA in America! Huzzah! Read the rest of this entry »
The Reddit /Beer Community noted several beverages with a 420 theme that are great for quaffing on April 20. Without ado, here are some more 4/20 beers; because after all, you shouldn’t just be high today- you should also be drunk.
Lost Coast Indica
Cannabis Indica is a tall and hardy cousin of the more commonly referenced Cannabis Sativa that originated in that bread-basket of all that is good, the Hindu Kush mountain ranges of Afganistan and Pakistan. Its more notable “body buzz” effect make it useful for the treatment of pain, insomnia, and motivation in general. I had the chance to sample this Humboldt County IPA on a recent vacation in Florida, and came away very impressed- a very well-hopped and refreshing offering. As a plus, the artwork is pretty sweet:
Our recent debate about “Extremophiles” spurred by a Martyn Cornell blog post got me thinking about beer ratings. Cornell rightly pointed out that all of the best beers in the world can’t be limited to just those in the Imperial Stout and Imperial IPA styles. Yet if you look at many on-line “best” beer lists, that’s pretty much all you’ll see. It’s not particularly surprising considering that Aleheads are suckers for big flavors, high alcohol contents, and enough hop bitterness to make your tongue want to pack up its bags and move to Mexico. But even if it’s understandable, those lists aren’t particularly informative.
So, as the Alehead most prone to flights of fancy and determining convoluted methods for ranking beers and breweries, I decided to look for another way to pick the world’s best brews. The key, in my mind, was to make intra-style comparisons rather than just global comparisons. It’s not fair to pair up high-octane Imperial Stouts with delicate Kölsch beers. The flavor profiles are so outlandishly different that they might as well be different beverages entirely. My goal was to compare WITHIN styles to determine the best beers in America. Read the rest of this entry »
Lots of stories this week. Slouch and Barley discuss the ins and outs of:
In this week’s All Beers Considered, we discuss:
Yesterday, I regaled you with the thrilling tale of my recent pilgrimage to Moylan’s Brewery in Novato, California with The Commander and Lord Copperpot. While Moylan’s was exceptional, we couldn’t linger for too long in the lovely hamlet of Novato. We had to get to Santa Rosa in time to make an appearance at a wedding rehearsal dinner before spending the remainder of the weekend plundering the Russian Rivery Brewing Company. But a funny thing happened between Novato and Santa Rosa…we drove through downtown Petaluma, California…home of the renowned Lagunitas Brewing Company. What kind of Aleheads would we be if we didn’t at least pop in to visit the creators of Doc’s all-time favorite Imperial IPA…the Hop Stoopid?* Read the rest of this entry »
STYLE: Imperial IPA
APPEARANCE: Bright, slightly hazy orange color with burnished bronze edges. Beautiful coloring.
HEAD: Bright white, fluffy and full. Faded appropriately.
LACING: Exquisite and persistent
NOSE: It’s not a nose-burner, but this is as lovely an aroma as you’ll find in an Imperial IPA. A gentle background of pale malt provides the foundation for a vast array of citrus fruit notes from the giant hop profile. Grapefruit, lemon, tangerine, pineapple, and a faint hint of spruce. Begs to be tasted.
TASTE: The taste does justice to the wondrous nose. Those citrus notes take center stage with the bitterly refreshing grapefruit and fruity pineapple being the most obvious flavors. Enough sweet, pale malt in the middle to allow the center to hold and a drying, cleanly bitter finish just makes you thirsty for another swig. The bomber did not last long.
MOUTHFEEL: Fuller than medium-bodied but drinks incredibly smooth. Nice effervescence keeps it light on the tongue.
DRINKABILITY: Good lord is this beer drinkable. It’s tops on Doc’s personal Imperial IPA list for a reason. I’ll admit I wasn’t blown away the first time I had it, but I also hadn’t developed a taste for Imperial IPAs back then. Now that I’ve learned to stop worrying and love the hop-bomb, I can fully appreciate the brilliant brew that Lagunitas has provided us with. Absolutely one of the best Imperials on the market and a “must-drink” for any hops-lover.
RATING: 4 Hops
Lagunitas Brewing Company, out of Petaluma, CA, is quickly becoming my new favorite brewery on the West Coast. They’ve been consistently putting out beers ranging from traditional interpretations of old school styles to extreme offerings that push the envelope in many different ways. Read the rest of this entry »