Binny’s Welcomes Chicago’s Newest Craft Brewery: Finch’s

Binny’s would like to welcome Chicago’s newest craft brewery, Finch’s, to our stores. About half of our stores received shipments from Finch’s this week, while the rest should be acquiring their beers next week once Finch’s replenishes their brews at our distributor.

 

Currently Finch’s is offering two different beers in 4-pack cans, Golden Wing Blonde Ale and Cut Throat Pale Ale.  Here is what Finch’s has to say about their Chicago brewed beers:

 

Finch’s Blonde Ale is an easy drinking and approachable American craft beer. It has a moderately sweet malty aroma and is deep gold in color. We like to think of this particular one as more of a ‘Dirty Blonde.’ When you first pour it, a soft lacey foam clings to the glass as malty aromas fill your nose and linger to the final sip. Upon finish, this blonde turns heads with a smooth finish and a touch of bitterness in the aftertaste. Enjoy this medium-bodied craft beer anytime of year.

 

Finch’s Pale Ale is a refreshing experience from the pop of the top. Its fresh and hoppy taste with just enough supporting malt makes it easy to kick back more than just one. Our late kettle additions of American hop varieties and dry hopping techniques make this beer one of our favorites. The citrus hop character balanced with a malty backbone creates a delicious, accessible pale ale that is sure to satisfy with every sip. Enjoy this pale with just about any pairing of your choice.

 

Hopefully Finch’s can establish a foothold here in Chicago.  How you think their beers compare to some of our other locally brewed beers?

 

Binny’s in Bloomingdale: An Early Peek

You probably know by now that Binny’s is coming to Bloomingdale. Watch for our new location at 353 W. Army Trail Road (just East of Stratford Square). It’s not really recognizable as a Binny’s Beverage Depot right now, but in less than a month, it will be stocked full of your wine, spirit, beer and cigar favorites.

Binny's in Bloomingdale: Opening Soon

The Bloomingdale Binny’s will cover 27,280 square feet, and will featu

re the biggest beer cooler at any Binny’s store (other than our South Loop location). We can’t confirm this, but we’re guessing it’s the biggest in the Western Suburbs. It will also feature one of our largest humidors, and a larger wine cellar than most.

The walls and coolers are in place, and everything is getting a coat of paint. Next will come the fixtures and then the shelves and then the products. The early construction process gives our buyers time to plan out shelf layouts and custom tailor each new location. In the weeks before the opening in early September, expect to see tons of trucks from various Illinois distributors.

The Bloomingdale store will be Binny’s Facilities Director Mike Trella’s 20th storeopening. “It’s going to be gorgeous,” he says. “Each one gets prettier than the last.”

Check out these behind-the-scenes pics:

Humidor Under Construction

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August Wine Sale + Le Clos

First of all, be sure to check out the August Wine Sale. You’ll find special pricing on over 250 wines from all over the world, in a ton of styles. There’s sure to be something exciting for everybody.

August Wine Sale - Save on over 250 wines from around the world!

2007 Saint Eugenie Le ClosHere’s the one that I found most exciting: 2007 Saint Eugenie Le Clos. The first couple times I tasted this wine, I guessed it as a solid Rhone priced somewhere in the mid teens. I was amazed to find out that it sells everyday for $7.99. Now this month, it’s on sale for $5.99! That’s like … it’s just a completely unbelievable price. You have to try a bottle. You’ll come back for a case.

 

We tasted it one more time to be sure: Really nice raspberry on the nose, plus a little spicebox. Soft fruit on the palate raspberries and blueberries that lead to lifting acidity and more bramble notes at the finish. Just a delicious, easygoing, unpretentious red that stays classy and isn’t all about the overpowering jam that you’ll often find at this price. The breakdown is 45% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvingon, 20% Carignan and 20% Grenache. The Bordeaux varietals give it a little more dark fruit than the usual Rhone varietal-driven Mediterranean red.

 

What I’m trying to say is, if you come over to my apartment any time in the next few months, you’re probably going to get a glass of this stuff, because I’m stocking up.

New Belgium Releases an IPA

New Belgium Brewing has answered questions from their Rangers (New Belgium staff in the field) and from fans as to why their portfolio didnt include a hoppy beer. Ranger IPA, by far the hoppiest offering ever from the New Belgium Brewery, hit Binnys earlier this week. Unlike the majority of New Belgiums beers, Ranger is not a Belgian styled beer. Rather, it fits the profile of an American IPA.

 

From the first whiff, we knew that this was going to be a dandy of an IPA. The nose was filled with piney and citrusy hops of the simcoe, chinook, and cascade variety. The hoppy bitterness that invaded our palates after the initial sip was an unexpected yet delicious shocker. Citrus, pine, and earthy flavors followed suit. Ranger also had a hint of that bready and biscuity taste that Fat Tire and many other New Belgium beers have. We lamented on how light bodied and drinkable this brew was for an IPA. A clean and bitter finish capped off Ranger.

 

Ranger is a testament that New Belgium can truly brew any style, and any critics of New Belgium in regards to hoppy beer will be no more once they get their hands on some Ranger. Many of us agreed that Ranger is already our favorite offering from New Belgium, even after only tasting it once. Do you have a preferred brew from New Belgium?

Chicago Tribune Beer of the Month: Meantime London Porter

The Chicago Tribune has recognized London Porter from the Meantime Brewing Company in London as its beer of the month for February.  Meantime London Porter is a traditional English Porter, not to be confused with some of the more amped up and modernized American porters.  In the 1700s English porters were a blend of three different styles of beer, and were brewed to energize the men behind the industrial revolution.  Meantime London Porter is not a blend of three different beer styles, but it does use seven malt varieties in a successful effort to recreate what made porters so beloved in the 1700s.

 

What’s in the bottle:  Mahogany amber color. Rich chocolatey mocha and nut aromas have a subtle earthy edge and follow through on a rich, supple entry to a dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body. Seamless texture and a resonant, dried apple, pear and coffee accented fade. Delicious and inviting.   -Jerald OKennard, special to the Tribune

 

Binnys has several delicious and traditional English porters, as well as a handful of American porters if you are looking for something that pushes the envelope of the style.

 

English Style Porters

Meantime London Porter, London, England ($9.99, 750ml)

Samuel Smiths Taddy Porter, Tadcaster, England ($10.99, 4- pack)

Fullers London Porter, London, England ($11.99, 6- pack)

Left Hand Blackjack Porter, Longmont, Colorado ($9.99, 6-pack)

Arcadia London Porter, Battle Creek, Michigan ($8.99, 6-pack)

 

American Style Porters

Bells Porter, Kalamazoo, Michican ($9.99, 6-pack)

Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, Cleveland, Ohio ($8.99, 6-pack)

Founders Porter, Grand Rapids, Michigan ($9.99, 6-pack)

Flying Dog Road Dog Porter, Frederick, Maryland ($9.99, 6-pack)

Anchor Porter, San Francisco, California ($9.49, 6-pack)

Breckenridge Vanilla Porter, Denver, Colorado ($9.49, 6-pack)

 

Which porter tops your list?

The Bruery Gets Mischievous

We were very impressed with the beers of The Bruery when they made their Binnys debut at the end of November. In addition to their four year round offerings, the Bruery pleasured us with Two Turtle Doves, a delicious brew that was hastily devoured by beer lovers. This week, The Bruerys Mischief hit our shelves. Mischief is a Hoppy Belgian Golden Ale, and like the rest of the Bruerys offerings, it is unfiltered, bottle conditioned, and presented in a 750ml bottle with a golden cap.

 

The gentle orange colored Mischief is filled with scents of fresh hops. Juicy hops of the floral and citrus variety are in full swing mid palate. Belgian yeast and sweet malt provide balance as well as a backbone for the brew. A slight bitterness coats the palate well after the initial sip. We couldnt help but compare this brew to previous Belgian style IPAs such as Flying Dogs Raging Bitch and Hoppin Frogs Belgian Double IPA.

 

Binnys beer guru Ted Sullivan had this to say about Mischief: Drank one of these at cellar temperature while listening to some Coltrane last weekenda stunner. I cant recommend it enough terrific fresh, but should also hold up well after timeIll find out in a year from nowBuy this now!

 

Our guess is that this fantastic brew will come and go just as rapidly as Two Turtle Doves did. Will you be getting into some Mischief before it is too late?

Bock: It’s What’s For Dinner?

Written by Buffalo Grove beer associate Brian Cieslak

It may not seem like it outside, but in the beer world, winter has passed and spring has begun. This means its time to pick up a dark, high-alcohol Bock.

 

The history of the bock beer goes back to Roman Catholic monks in Germany, who would brew this beer to drink during Lent. Since this beer is higher in food energy and nutrients than lighter-style lagers, this truly satisfying beer was made to replace meals while the monks were fasting. The beer ranges from light to dark brown and has an alcohol level around 6-7%.

 

The name comes from the town of Einbeck that was shortened to beck and then to bock. The time of year this beer was traditionally brewed fell under the sign of Capricorn, so most bock labels will feature a picture of a goat. Some of the finest beer labels out there are on bock beers. Because of the higher alcohol and dark grains used in this beer, it takes longer to ferment than regular lagers.

 

There are many variations on the bock style. Doppelbock has around 7-9% alcohol and a much maltier body than regular bocks. One of the most well-know Doppelbocks is the infamous Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock. It smells of molasses, caramel and is also a little bready. The mouthfeel is chewy and has a small hop presence and a hint of alcohol. The body is perfectly carbonated and creamy.

 

Another variation of bock is Eisbock, in which the temperature of the beer is brought down low enough to freeze some of the water out of the beer in order to increase body and alcohol. An excellent example of this style of bock is the Schneider and Sons Aventinus Eisbock.

 

The final traditional variation of bock is Hellerbock or Maibock, which tends to be lighter in color than a regular bock and has more of a hop presence. Some American craft examples include Rogue’s Dead Guy Ale, Capital’s Maibock, and Capital’s Blonde Dobblebock, which is a higher alcohol version of the Hellerbock.

 

A new arrival to the store is Glissade, a golden bock from Sierra Nevada. A more traditional beer from Sierra Nevada, Glissade has a nice bready, malty aroma with hints of pine and lemon from the German noble hops used in this beer. The taste is grainy and bready with a nice piney, citrus hop presence that does not overwhelm but complements the beer perfectly. A very crisp and clean example of the style.

 

Bock beers are great for the spring time because they are a very satisfying style because, unlike the heavier ales of winter, you can enjoy more than one without falling over.

 

-Brian Cieslak

 

Dark Horse’s Delicious Stout Series

Dark Horse is without a doubt one of the most underrated breweries found on our shelves. Their year round lineup is fantastic, and seasonals like Scotty Karate Scotch Ale and Perkulator Coffee Dopplebock are in a league of their own. But the thing that we are really drooling over is Dark Horses stout series. This series consists of five different stouts: One Oatmeal Stout, Too Cream Stout, Tres Blueberry Stout, Fore Smoked Stout, and Plead the Fifth Imperial Stout.

 

We had a chance to try the Tres Blueberry Stout the other night. The aroma of Tres was loaded with blueberries, and reminiscent of delicious homemade blueberry pancakes. The flavor was a solid balance of chocolate, coffee, some sweet malts, and of course blueberries. Some hops showed themselves on the finish, and coincided beautifully with a tart, lingering blueberry flavor. Many of us agreed that this was one of the most unique and scrumptious fruit beers we have encountered.

 

Dont miss out on trying one or all of the stout offerings from Dark Horse. Too Cream Stout and Tres Blueberry Stout are available at most of our stores, as well as the Fore Smoked Stout that hit Binnys this week. One Oatmeal Stout is still available at a handful of our stores, but has begun to sell out across the chain. Please the Fifth Imperial Stout should hopefully hit the shelves sometime next month. Which Dark Horse brew do you find irresistible?

Trib Beer of the Month: Sam Adams Imperial Stout

The Chicago Tribune has recognized Samuel Adams Imperial Stout as its beer of the month for March. Last year Samuel Adams launched its imperial series, which consists of three beers available in four packs: Imperial White, Double Bock, and Imperial Stout. Samuel Adams Imperial Stout is a take on traditional Russian Imperial Stouts, a style that originated in England in the 18th century. It is big, bold, and most importantly delicious.

 

What’s in the bottle: Opaque brown-black color with a fine blanket of tan-gray foam. Rich aroma of vanilla bean, butterscotch and cocoa follow through on a soft, silky entry to a medium-to-full body with roasted nut, grain and fig notes. Finishes with cacao and peppercorn flavors. Big, yet balanced and very drinkable. Jerald Okennard, Chicago Tribune.

 

Samuel Adams has been very active in the beer world since their Imperial Series launch last year. They have a brand new spring seasonal which is now available, Noble Pils. It is a light and refreshing take on a German style pilsner. Samuel Adams will also be co-hosting Binnys annual homebrew contest on April seventeenth. What is your favorite brew from the Boston Brewery?

Strangford Lough Brewing: Just in Time for St. Patrick’s Day

Beer drinkers know that the biggest beer drinking holiday, St. Patricks Day, is rapidly approaching. What a perfect time for Binnys to introduce The Strangford Lough Brewing Company to our shelves. Strangford Lough hails from Killylwagh, Northern Ireland. The brewers from across the pond have brought two beers with them, Legbiter and St. Patricks Best Ale. We had a chance to try these two Irish brews last night.

 

First up for us was the 4.8% ABV Legbiter, named for King Magnuss sword. The nose was loaded with caramel malt and hints of citrus from the Cascade and Glacier hops used to craft this delectable brew. The taste of this full bodied beer was all about the sweet caramel malts. Hints of toffee and fresh fruit came together nicely in the background. There was a slight dry hop bitterness on the finish. This was a smooth, easy drinking Irish beer.

 

The 4.2% ABV St. Patricks Best was next up, and poured a much lighter copper color than Legbiter. The aroma and taste of St. Patricks Best was very similar to Legbiter, except toned down a bit. Caramel malt was all over the palate with an apple and pear type fruitiness lurking the background. The finish was sweet and refreshing with only the slightest hint of hops. St. Patricks Best was light bodied, and extremely drinkable.

 

When you are doing your St. Patricks Day shopping, be sure to throw a six-pack of one of these delicious brews in your cart alongside the Guinness, Harp, and Smithwicks. They are both refreshing and tasty, and their Irish roots are perfect for the upcoming holiday. What will you be drinking on St. Pattys Day?