Memorable Memorial Day Cocktails

Memorial Day. The day we celebrate and remember our fallen soldiers who served in the United States Armed Forces. During your commemoration, we encourage you to create a memorable day for yourself and for your friends. How? Well, with these cocktails of course, which are as patriotic as they come.

 

The Flag Pop

 

Photo courtesy of flickr.com

Photo courtesy of flickr.com

 

1/2 oz Grenadine
1/2 oz Mr. & Mrs. T Sweet & Sour Mix
1 oz Skyy Infusions All Natural Raspberry Vodka
1/2 oz Dekuyper Signature Blue Curacao

 

Pour sour mix and vodka into cocktail shaker over ice. *Pour the 1/2 oz of grenadine, followed by the vodka/sour mix and finish with the Blue Curaco.

 

*For best results, use a spoon to help layer the liquids.

 

 

Binny’s Apple Pie

 

2 oz Binny’s Hand Picked Buffalo Trace
1 oz Dr. McGillicuddy’s Apple Pie Schnapps Liqueur

 

Pour bourbon and apple liqueur into cocktail shaker over ice. Strain over ice in a rocks glass.

 

 

Uncle Sam-tini

 

Photo courtesy of halfhourmeals.com

Photo courtesy of halfhourmeals.com

 
 
1 oz Dekuyper’s Island Punch Pucker
1 oz Smirnoff Lemon Light Sorbet Vodka
1/2 oz Cointreau
1/2 teaspoon Agave Nectar
Sugar
Maraschino Cherries

 

Pour the Island Punch Pucker, vodka, Cointreau, and Agave Nectar over ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake until chilled. Create a sugar rim on the glass. Strain mixture equally between two glasses. Garnish with cherries.

 

 

Please enjoy responsibly.

 

Sessionable Hoppy Beers: The Latest Fad

Over the years we have seen various different styles of beer sky rocket in popularity, whether it was Russian imperial stouts, sours, or bourbon barrel aged beers. The latest and greatest fad in the beer world seems to be sessionable hoppy beers, and we at Binny’s are jumping all over the band wagon—so much so that a group of 34 Binny’s employees will be brewing one next week at Saugatuck Brewing Company. So what sets these sessionable hoppy beers apart from most IPA’s on our shelves? They are drinkable, lower in alcohol, and lower in IBU’s, while still being hoppy enough to please most hop-heads. It can be extremely taxing on your pallet to consume several IPA’s in a sitting, while these hoppy sessionable beers are brewed with the intentions of drinking more than a couple at a time. So what are some of the best ones on our shelves?

 

sidekick-5-2-2013Two Brothers Sidekick – There comes a point where every beer nerd needs a break from the boozy onslaught of barrel aged stouts and tongue-thrashing bitterness of imperial IPA’s. Sometimes you just want to drink a beer (or three). SideKick is a subtle, sessionable option – it practically drinks itself! It’s crisp and delicate with a touch of sweet malt. There’s a nice balance of citrus, melon, and strawberry, and it finishes with just enough bitterness to remind you you’re drinking a pale ale. (5.1% ABV) -Tom Bergman, Binny’s Highland Park

 

Saugatuck Pathfinder Pale Ale – We need more beers like this. Proof that a beer you can drink more than one of can have just as much complexity as the rarest 15% ABV stout. I’ll be enjoying this one often. (4.9% ABV) -Pat Brophy, Binny’s South Loop.

 

41053LFounders All Day IPA Session Ale – At less than 5% ABV, this is one of the tastiest session ales on our shelves. May also be referred to as a lawnmower beer or porch pounder by your local Binny’s beer manager. Available through September; will be unavailable during winter months. (4.7% ABV)

 

Prairie Standard – A hopped up saison with detailed picture instructions on the label about how to noodle a catfish on the label (this has absolutely nothing to do with the beer, but we thought it was hilarious). If you are a fan of funkiness in your beer & Belgian yeast, give this a shot. Oh and also, this is one of the hoppiest Belgian-style or farmhouse ales on our shelves. (5% ABV)

 

imagesCentral Waters Hop Rise Session Ale (coming soon) – Central waters describes this as an explosively hoppy yet sessionable IPA, bursting with a citrusy array of mango, orange and pineapple pleasantries, Hop Rise is a brewer’s beer for one and all. Generously hopped throughout the boil, then dry-hopped at the tail end of fermentation for a large bouquet. (4.5% ABV)

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Binny’s Beer Buzz Hits the Road: Final Days in Beligum

Our journey is on its final stretch. Catch up with parts one, two and three.

 

We spent day six with the Van Steenberge brewery. As usual, this brewery has been in the same family for generations and produces some top notch Belgian ales including favorites such as Piraat, Gulden Draak, and Augustijn.

 

Van Steenberge Sign

Van Steenberge Sign

 

The brewery itself is very large and sprawls around several acres and has its own water source. They have been on this same property since 1784. Van Steenberge pioneered conditioning beers (carbonating naturally) in kegs and has a lot of space dedicated to conditioning rooms which hold bottles and kegs at slightly higher temperatures to allow the yeast to reactivate and carbonate the beers. Currently Van Steenburge produces about 65,000 barrels a year, of which 75% is exported. This is done on an impressive 100 hectoliter brewhouse that turns out six batches a day.

 

Halve Maan Brewhouse

Van Steenberge Brewhouse

 

What impressed me most at the Van Steenberge brewery was their yeast management program. They use seven different yeasts and only use yeast for three generations. They use two different yeasts for bottle conditioning, one for flavor and one to remove oxygen. Yeast management is crucial when so many of your beers tip the scales at over 10% abv.
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Binny’s Beer Buzz Hits the Road: Belgium Days 4 and 5

If you haven’t been following along, Nate Hadley and myself have been traveling through Belgium tasting beer, sight seeing and learning all about the culture! This is day four and five of our journey.

 

Hop Farm in Poperinge

Hop Farm in Poperinge

 

We spent day four with the Van Ecke brewery, makers of Poperings Hommel, among others. Our first stop was a hop farm in the town of Poperinge. This was by far my favorite stop of the trip to this point. It was a small, family farm called ‘t Hoppecruyt. We toured the fields, which were just past the initial sprouting phase and the vines were starting to climb.

 

Hops Growing

Hops Growing

 
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Class of ’88 Imperial Smoked Porter

Ask a group of beer geeks what the best porters available at Binny’s are, and Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald and Deschutes Black Butte will surely garner a mention.  This is why we were so excited when we found out that Great Lakes and Deschutes were collaborating to create Class of ’88, a brand new Imperial Smoked Porter.  Class of ’88 is a commemoration to the 25th anniversary for both of these outstanding and longstanding breweries, both having been founded in 1988.  Class of ’88 is a limited run beer, and is now available at your local Binny’s.  Also for those wondering, we have the Deschutes bottling in stock, not the version bottled at Great Lakes.

 

ClassOf88_porter_feature1

Wine Hotline Updated

The Wine HotlineBe sure to check out the brand new update to the Wine Hotline. And goodness, this update is a big one, including hard-hitting issues:

 

exotic, but not too exotic ♦ what California chardonnay should be ♦ wine and food from Nantucket to Washington State a buyer’s vintage ♦ a bit of chantilly cream ♦ a wisp of creamy smoke ♦ spring flowers, crushed rocks, smoked game ♦ steamed buns ♦ what Oregon pinot is all about ♦ Walla Walla 

 

Yes! So for all that and more, be sure to check out the newly updated  Wine Hotline.

Whiskey Hotline Hits the Road: Scotland Days 4-6

Coleburn Distillery

 

Been a while. Day 4 was a travel day, but we got some stuff done early. Drove the A95 to near Fogwatt and discovered the small drive that leads to Coleburn distillery. A distillery from 1897 until 1985, it was important for production experiments for DCL (now Diageo) but lost as so many others were to the economic downturn and sinking popularity of whisky in the 80′s. It’s now being renovated as a B&B/Restaurant/event space for live music by a Scottish musician called Mark Winchester. The grounds will make a beautiful resort, alas, no distilling will take place.

 

Next we went to Aberlour, a pretty place set at the Aber (east coast Gaelic for “opening”) of the river Lour, where it flows into the Spey. This reminded my just how good a’Bunahd (original) is. Drove all day after that to Ayr.

 

 

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Binny’s New Brew: Goose Island’s 25th Anniversary Ale

Binny’s Beverage Depot would like congratulate Goose Island on a fantastic 25 years! We’re celebrating by picking Goose’s 25th Anniversary Ale as our Binny’s New Brew. Adam Vavrick, Beer Manager at Lincoln Park gives us his insight on why the brew is something to celebrate.

 

vav_nick

 

What type of beer is it?
Goose Island 25th Anniversary is an Extra Special Bitter based on an obscure pub recipe called Honker’s Deluxe, which was basically double Honkers. The final recipe is a collaboration of three minds: Brett Porter, the current Brewmaster, Greg Hall, the former Brewmaster, and Nick Barron, the pub Brewmaster.

 

 

Why an ESB?
It harkens back to the original roots of Goose Island, namely founder John Hall’s trips to England where he fell in love with the those classic styles that inspired him to open Goose.

 

Where is it brewed?
Right here in Chicago…in fact, there are two variations: the one brewed at Fulton available in six packs on our shelves and the batch Nick brewed at the pub, which is available on cask (!!!!!!) for the month of May.

 

What’s it like?
It’s a lovely, stylistically accurate ESB. It pours a russet orange/amber with a fluffy bone white head. The nose is toasted grain and green, floral hops, with a hint of sweet orange peel. It has a medium body with an onrush of toasted white bread, which melds into a honey on biscotti kind of flavor, finishing quick with snappy, herbaceous hops.

 

What kind of food would you enjoy it with?
This is just begging for a herb crusted pork loin with asparagus, but if you want to go traditional, shepherd’s pie.

 

Drooling… thanks Adam! You can stop by Binny’s in Lincoln Park on Saturday for a Chicago Craft Beer Week event with Goose Island. Current Brewmaster Brett Porter, Former Brewmaster Greg Hall and Pub Brewmaster Nick Barron will be on hand to talk everything Goose Island and sample some of Goose’s award winning beers. We will sample two special beers as well, Bourbon County Baudonia & Sofie Paradisi.

 

Be sure to check out all of the Chicago Craft Beer Week festivities going throughout the week, including our very own.

Beer Buzz Hits the Road: Belgium Days 2 and 3

We spent day 2 of our journey through Belgium exploring the city of Antwerp with our friends from Troubadour. The biggest news of the day was Nate Hadley’s arrival. Our poor Naperville beer manager was bumped on his flight over due to the flight being overbooked. The flight he was hoping for standby on was also overbooked and then cancelled due to mechanical problems. He spent a night in Washington DC and finally got to us today. His luggage, however, did not. At least he’s here!

 

troubadour

 

Troubadour beers are outstanding across the board. They have a Blond, Obscura (a light stout), Magma Triple IPA, Westkust (a black IPA), and an imperial stout. It’s great to see a Belgian brewery embracing US Craft brewery ideas and creating hop forward beers in a country typically completely devoid of them. If you haven’t had Magma, do yourself a favor and pick one up. There also may still be some of the limited edition Sorachi Ace Magma floating around at some of our stores.
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Wine Hotline Hits the Road: Walla Walla, Washington

A group of Binny’s wine staff visited Walla Walla, Washington. Jon Kaiser reports from the road:

 

Long Shadows Barrels

 

Most of the Walla Walla wineries we visited, with the exception of Woodward Canyon, source their grapes from the Columbia, Cascade, and Yakima Valleys. The vineyards in Walla Walla have to be in elevation above 600 feet to avoid damaging frost when the vines start to bud. A primary characteristic of these valleys that create such rich and full bodied Cabernet Sauvignons, Syrahs, and Cabernet Francs is that during the warmer months the valley floors get very warm but the vines enjoy drastically cooler nights. The sun warms the soil during the day so that it radiates heat throughout the night, keeping the vines active even when the temperature cools. Average rainfall in Walla Walla is only 17 inches per year, so most of the agriculture in the area is dry farmed wheat while vineyards utilize drip irrigation.

 

Several of the wineries we visited in Walla Walla are located on the property of the Walla Walla Regional Airport. It was an Army Air Base during World War II where pilots learned to fly B-17 bomber aircraft. While the airport still flies small commercial planes, The Port of Walla Walla overtook ownership of the property in 1989 and the older barracks, firehouse, hangars, and buildings associated with the base are now home to 20 plus wineries including three of the biggest. We got a chance to visit Tamarack Cellars, Buty, Dunham. The quality of product and volume of production coming out of these small facilities is astounding, with production on the scale of both very large and very small. From 100,000 case production wines to just a few thousand. We tasted barrel samples at many of the wineries we visited, and one of our favorites was at the Long Shadows vineyard. Customers will love Michel Rolland’s 2012 Pedestal Merlot when it finally hits the shelves at Binny’s – in a few years.

 

Long Shadows Fermentation Tanks

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