The Beer BuzzThe Beer Buzz
The Classics: Pilsner

As today’s beer enthusiasts clamor for more session-able brews, it makes sense that a growing number of craft brewers have finally set their sights on this old world classic. Pilsners were first conceived in the 19th century by Bavarian brewmaster Josef Groll. His bottom fermenting strain of yeast yielded a sparkling, golden brew whose white foam, sweet malty notes, and hoppy savor came to define the style. We’ve picked out a few of our favorite new world takes on the style as well as a pair of must-try classics.

Pilsner Urquell 4 Pack/16.9oz Cans

Urquell means “the original” and this is it, the beer that Josef Groll introduced back in 1842. This is THE classic Czech Pilsner, featuring a creamy, malty body and a crisp, hoppy finish with notes of grass and hay courtesy of the famous Saaz hop.

Krombacher Pils6 or 12 Pack/11.2oz Bottles

Pilsner may have been invented in what is now the Czech Republic, but Germany is famous for their drier interpretation. A refreshing and savory brew, it’s easy to see how Krombacher is the No.1 selling Pils in Germany. Brewed with German hop varieties, you can expect a finish that is snappier and spicier than a traditional Czech Pilsner.

Victory Prima Pils6 Pack/12oz Bottles

Considered by many to be the American interpretation of the style, Prima Pils is a riff on the German-take of the Czech urquell/original (get that?), and is bursting with tremendous hop aroma and flavor. Brewed with whole flower Czech and German hops, one taste of this hoppy pils and you’ll understand how it’s earned such critical acclaim. Fans of session IPA will find something to love here.

Firestone Walker Pivo Pils6 Pack/12oz Bottles or Cans

Since Pivo Pils' introduction in 2013, it’s won gold at the Great American Beer Festival for three years running. Wow, what a nose! Saphir hops impart lovely notes of ginger and lemongrass making this a perfect match for your next seafood dish. Thanks to dry hopping, this American Pils is loaded with hop aroma without being overly bitter.

*Not available in Champaign.

Lagunitas Pils6 or 12 Pack/12oz Bottles

Lagunitas Pils is a nod to the classic Czech version of the style with a nice balance of malt and classic Saaz hop profile. Lagunitas’ love for hops shines through as this is plenty hoppy, but it still maintains its balance. Perfect refresher for the coming warmer months.

Perfect Pairings for the Grill
Barbecue or Dry Rub
Barbecue or Dry Rub
Barbecue or Dry Rub

Smoky racks of ribs, crusty beef brisket, and fork tender pork shoulder. These classics demand a bold beer to match their big flavors. Porters with their rich roasted malt character make perfect partners. Doppelbocks feature complex malt profiles with caramel and dark fruit notes that pair nicely with BBQ sauces. If you’re focusing instead on a quality dry rub, reach for a nice spicy Belgian Dubbel.

Red Meat
Red Meat
Red Meat

A hearty steak needs a hearty beer. Stouts are famous for rich, bold flavors that pair wonderfully with beef. Stout is also hefty enough to tackle gamier cuts like venison and buffalo. Another good partner for gamier meat and dark meat poultry like duck and goose is Flemish Red Ale. Its sweet and sour profile works especially well with fruited sauces and chutneys.

White Meat
White Meat
White Meat

Ask anyone who’s been to an Oktoberfest celebration - it's hard to beat a big stein of Amber Lager with roasted chicken. Also, traditional Pilsners feature noble hop finishes that pair wonderfully with herbaceous preparations. Don’t have time to smoke your pork or chicken but want that rich smoky flavor? Try serving it with a Rauchbier (smoked beer).


You don’t want to drown out the delicate flavor of lighter types of seafood with too bold of a brew. Something light and fruity like a Hefeweizen or Belgian Wit works like a charm. Their light, creamy body and citrusy notes compliment the dish without overwhelming your palate.

Salmon or Tuna
Salmon or Tuna
Salmon or Tuna

Meatier fish such as salmon and tuna can handle something more substantial. If you finish your salmon with a glaze, the sweet and smokey notes of a Scotch Ale blend in perfectly. Salmon and tuna are often prepared with citrus and herbs, so citrusy Pale Ales and IPAs are great go-tos. IPAs with piney hop profiles are dynamite with fish prepared on a cedar plank.

Grilled Vegetables
Grilled Vegetables
Grilled Vegetables

Whether served as a side dish or a main course, grilled veggies absorb a myriad or wonderful flavors. Schwarzbier is unique in that it offers dark malt flavors but with a light and refreshing body. They complement the subtle roasty sweetness of bolder veggies like mushrooms and asparagus. If you’re grilling something lighter and sweeter like corn on the cob, try serving it with a Saison. Crisp, spicy and effervescent, it’s a delicious match that will leave your guests reaching for more.

Arrogant Bastard Now in Cans!
Stone Arrogant Bastard 6 Pack/16oz Cans

If you’ve never tangled with the bastard, it’s time to pony up and see what you’re made of! “This is an aggressive beer. You probably won’t like it.” Refusing to appeal to the masses, Stone created the beer they wanted to drink, a beer with such hop intensity that many deemed it undrinkable. Others loved it. Unapologetically aggressive, it’s acquired a loyal fan base over the past nineteen years. Until recently only available in 22oz bottles, this pioneering champion of the IBU is now available in six pack 16oz cans.

Saugatuck Barrel Aged Neopolitan Stout
Saugatuck Barrel-Aged Neapolitan Milk Stout12oz Bottle

Ice cream floats, they’re not just for kids anymore. Stout with a hefty scoop of your favorite ice cream is an easy change of pace for your next dessert course. Saugatuck has simplified things even further by brewing up their Neapolitan Stout, an oatmeal milk stout that perfectly melds rich chocolaty malt flavors with jammy strawberry notes and a touch of vanilla sweetness. As if this wasn’t delicious enough, Saugatuck laid some to rest in bourbon barrels. The end result is nothing short of magical, with bright bourbon notes on the nose and rich chocolate covered caramel on the finish.

Build Your Own Beer Cellar - Part 1: Russian Imperial Stout

Breweries often release small batches of Russian Imperial Stout to great critical acclaim, with devotees scrambling to get their hands on a rare bottle or two. Some are so coveted that they have entire beer festivals celebrating their release. Thankfully there are plenty of amazing Russian Imperial Stouts that are readily available. As good as many of these are fresh, with time many transform into something really special, rivaling even the brightest cherry or the whitest of whales. Here are some of those classics, all of which are in stores now. All will age gracefully, gaining complexity over time.

North Coast Old Rasputin4 Pack/12oz Bottles

2016 marks the twentieth anniversary of this award winning Russian Imperial Stout. It’s one of the original American examples of the style and throngs of brewers and drinkers alike herald it as one of the best examples on the market. Available year round as a 4-pack for only $8.99, it’s an affordable way to study how RIS ages over time.

AleSmith Speedway Stout25.4oz Bottle

When we first heard AleSmith was finally coming to Chicagoland we were ecstatic. One of the most decorated breweries in California, their Speedway Stout is one of the highest rated examples of the style, and for good reason. Brewed with beans from San Diego’s Ryan Brother’s Coffee, it is rich, roasty and fruity with an incredible creamy mouthfeel. Fresh it shows a touch of its 12% abv, but that heat fades with time. Serve with either dark chocolate or your favorite blue cheese for an experience you won’t soon forget.

Lagunitas Imperial Stout22oz Bottle

Lagunitas likes to brew big beers, and this is one bold interpretation of the style. Pours inky black with aromas of dark chocolate and coffee on the nose. With some time its bold, smoky bitterness begins to fade giving way to chocolate and toffee. At only $4.49 a bottle it’s a great candidate for a vertical tasting, where different vintages of the same beer are opened at once in order to see how it develops over time.

Stone Imperial Russian Stout22oz Bottle

Stone is famous for their generous use of hops and their IRS is no exception. First brewed in 2000, we’ve opened some very old bottles over the years and rest assured this beer has some serious lasting power. Fresh it’s truly a monstrous brew. Licorice, coffee, and cocoa give way to a savory and roasty finish. With time the hoppiness fades and its rough edges become polished. Unlike our other recommendations this one is only released once a year, but it just hit our shelves so pick up a few before their all gone.

Ready, Set, Gose!

Salty, sour and spicy - welcome to the wild side of the craft beer scene. Gose, pronounced “Go-zuh”, is another obscure European beer style that was all but lost until American craft brewers breathed new life into it. Gose is a tart, sessionable wheat beer that is spiced with coriander, so fans of Belgian Wits and Berliner Weiss will find some familiar flavors here. The defining characteristic of Gose is that it’s brewed with salt and it’s this salty minerality that makes it such a distinctive style of beer. While it may not be for everyone, when done well it can be a wonderfully refreshing palate cleansing brew that is perfect for the coming warm weather. Here are some excellent examples. Let us know how it goes.

Victory Kirsch Gose4 Pack/12oz Bottles

Poured into a chalice, Victory’s unique twist on the Gose is truly a beauty to behold. Bright crimson in color and crowned with fluffy white foam, the nose is filled with notes of lemon zest and fresh baked cherry pie.  A surprisingly well balanced mixture of sweet and tart cherry with just a touch of salt on the finish. If you’re hesitant to give Gose a try, this is the place to start.

Destihl Here Gose Nothin'4 Pack/12oz Cans

Based in Bloomington, Illinois, Destihl is making a name for themselves by brewing up a whole slew of different sour styles. Like the very first examples of the style, Here Gose Nothin" undergoes wild spontaneous fermentation, resulting in some funky flavors and aromas that pair well with a bright lemony notes and tangy tart mouthfeel. The finish features a salty minerality with a touch of sweet spice.

Anderson Valley Briney Melon6 Pack/12oz Cans

Anderson Valley knows Gose. Briny Melon is their third riff on the style and it’s another successful take. Ever salt a slice of fresh watermelon? Anderson Valley captures the flavor of that summertime staple in their new Briny Melon Gose. This light and fruity refresher is a perfect partner for fruit salad.

Sierra Nevada Otra Vez 6 Pack/12oz Bottles

Brewed with grapefruit and the fruit of the prickly pear cactus, Otra Vez is a wonderfully aromatic brew bursting with flavors of raspberry, guava and honeydew melon. Like all Gose it’s tart, but the fruitiness provides a bit of balance, making this a wonderfully refreshing interpretation of the style. While supplies last receive an Otra Vez glass with purchase of a six pack!

Big Events
Bell's Tap Takeover Featuring Oatsmobile
Bell's Tap Takeover Featuring Oatsmobile
Wednesday, May 4th 6-8PM
Binny's Lincoln Park

Join us for a Bell's tap takeover featuring Oatsmobile, a hop-forward session pale ale brewed with oats. Oarsman Ale, Oberon, Coffee Consecrator Doppelbock, and Expedition Stout will also be available. Open House.

Beer Styles 101 Seminar
Friday, May 13th 6-8PM
Binny's Des Plaines

Our experienced staff will review some of the more popular styles; including classic beer styles to the most trendy. Learn the difference between lagers and ales and saison and session ales.

Reservations RequiredRSVP by calling 847-956-1000.

BrickStone Brewery Tap Takeover
BrickStone Brewery Tap Takeover
Friday, May 13th 6-8PM
Binny's Lincoln Park

Join us for a tap takeover with BrickStone Brewery of Bourbonnais, IL. Meet the brewers and enjoy featured taps like Dark Secret, a Russian imperial stout and Pink is the New Black, an imperial black lager brewed by the women of Chicago's craft beer scene. A portion of the sales will benefit the Pink Boots Society, whose mission is to empower and educate the women of the beer industry.

Samuel Smith Virtual Brewery Tour & Tasting
Virtual Brewery Tour & Tasting with Samuel Smith
Friday, May 20th 6-8PM
Binny's Lincoln Park

Join Samuel Smith, fifth-generation family member of Samuel Smith Brewery for a tasting of their iconic lineup. You will also walk through a virtual tour of their UK brewery. This is one unique experience you do not want to miss.

Event Cost: $5.00 Reservations RequiredRSVP by calling 312-664-4394.

Understanding Sour Beer with Roger Adamson
Thursday, June 2nd 6-8PM
Binny's Lincoln Park

Join Binny's resident lecturer, Roger Adamson, as he breaks down one of the most popular and misunderstood categories of beer and show you how food-friendly they are. Taste through sours, barrel-aged styles, and farmhouse ales. Small bites will be provided.

Event Cost: $15.00 ($10.00 w/Binny's Card)Reservations RequiredRSVP by calling 312-664-4394.

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