The Binny's Blog Select a category:

Beer Buzz Hits the Road: Belgium


We started our day with a little sightseeing in Brussels. We hit the usual spots, including the Atomium, which is a remnant from the 1958 worlds fair. It’s over 100 meters tall. Pretty cool, especially considering that all we have leftover from the worlds fair in New York is some rusty flying saucers in Jamaica Queens. ( There is also a significant remnant from the 1939 New York World’s Fair in Richmond, VA. It is now the Belgian Friendship Building at Virginia Union University, and it is a National Historic Landmark. -ed.)



We also checked out the iconic Mannekin Pis. It’s very small, maybe 20 inches or so, and not much to look at. So I did what any forward thinking beer nerd would do and popped into Mort Subite for a glass of their house blended lambic, whose deliciousness words cannot describe.



Read more

22nd Annual Skokie Festival of Cultures – May 18 & 19


Every year, Skokie throws a big multicultural party, with folk music and dance, food, arts and crafts, games, merch and a whole bunch of displays celebrating cultures spanning the globe. I’ve been there; it’s fun. It is aptly called the Skokie Festival of Cultures. This year, for the first time, Binny’s is excited to join in the celebration.


Binny’s International Beer Tasting
at the 2013 Skokie Festival of Cultures
May 18 & 19, 2-6 pm
Oakton Park, 4701 West Oakton St.
$10 for six international 3 ounce beers and a free beer mug


Leave it to Binny’s to mix things up. We’re featuring different beers across the two days. We worked out the tasting to have some fun with different and similar styles.


Of course, all beer has an international background. Europe has its classic styles; the US has taken those styles and put their own twist into them. Each day, we’re featuring three domestic and three imports. Imports include the UK, Germany, and Austria. Domestically, we will pour beers from Chicago, Oregon, Hawaii, and Kansas. The lists:



Read more

Jim Beam Seminar in Champaign


This ain’t your Grandpas Bourbon! When Jim Beam started distilling in 1795, bourbon was pretty simple. Now it’s more complex and lots of fun! Join us for an evening of sippin’ and learnin’ with Kyle Gilligan of Jim Beam Brands this Friday.


Jim Beam Bourbon Seminar
Binny’s in Champaign
Friday, May 17th 7pm
RSVP (217) 355-0625 or


During this seated seminar, taste several of the Beam family whiskeys, and to learn how they are made. See how this family is changing the way we think about this traditional American spirit.


Space for this event is limited so sign up early! The seminar will begin promptly at 7 and is free with your Binny’s card. If your plans change and you are unable to attend please contact us as we always have a waiting list.



RSVP by email by sending your name, phone number and # in your party to and we will contact you to confirm your reservation, or call us at (217) 355-0625.


Katharine Schenck is a Wine Consultant at the Champaign Binny’s.

Binny’s New Brew: Sculpin IPA


We are excited about this week’s new brew. Pat Brophy, assistant buyer for specialty spirits and beer, as well as The Whiskey Hotline representative, puts our curiosity to rest about Ballast Point and the future of the beer industry.


BP_Blog_BNBTell us about Sculpin.
I think it’s one of the best examples of the West Coast style IPA on the shelves. Nice malt balance, sticky and resinous hop profile and extremely bitter finish. The 7% ABV is barely detectable. It’s a world class IPA, expensive, but it’s in bombers too and is worth every penny.



How do you think Ballast Point will do in the Chicago market?
I think it’ll take off with a bang and then settle down after a couple of months. We see that with all new-to-market breweries. It adds to a growing list of powerhouse west coast breweries in Chicago. There are a lot of highly regarded, highly rated, sought after breweries from California that we don’t see in Illinois. People have been clamoring for Ballast Point for years and their beer is outstanding across the board, so I don’t see this as a brewery people will try once and not return to.


What’s your history with Binny’s?
Well, I started at the Buffalo Grove store about 4 1/2 years ago as a Customer Service Manager. A little less than a year later I went to the Schaumburg store as the Assistant Manager, then I went to Downers Grove for a few months after that in the same role. After a few months at Downers Grove I took over the St. Charles store as the General Manager, and then a little less than a year after that I joined the corporate buying team handling beer and specialty spirits. And the Whiskey Hotline of course!


Where do you see the beer industry in 5 years?
I see it getting more and more localized. We’re at a point where we have so many breweries, they are becoming hyper local. People in the towns and sometimes even neighborhoods with breweries are very loyal to their local beer, but everyone still likes to explore. That’s the real beauty of craft beer. We all have our favorites, I’m a particular homer about Chicago breweries, but there is always something new to experience in addition to the local favorites.
I also think breweries will have to continually innovate in a landscape that is now so full of breweries. It used to be you could open a brewery and make a pale ale, an IPA, an amber ale, and a Scotch ale or a stout and have fairly predictable success. But there are a TON of those styles that are great and readily available. The more breweries we have, the more they have to be different from the ground up.
Read more

Whiskey Hotline Hits the Road: Scotland Days 2 and 3



The meat of the trip starts with a Gordon & Macphail tasting. Plenty for the panel to look at, I’m bringing back the following for consideration (out of 40 whiskies):


Clynelish 1997 Refill Sherry Hoggie
Dailuane 1998 Refill Sherry Hoggie (2 casks)
Miltonduff 2004 Refill Bourbon ASB (2 casks)
Mortlach 1998 FF Bourbon ASB
Mortlach 1998 Refill Sherry Hoggie
Tormore 2000 Refill Bourbon ASB
Caol Ila 2006 FF Bourbon ASB (of course)


Gonna be no sweat getting a few out of these.



Read more

Happy National Moscato Day!


What does nice weather, backyard barbecues and a long wedding season have in common? Moscato, of course!


May 9th is National Moscato Day, and Binny’s is ready to celebrate! Sure, moscato is delicious year round, but is especially tasty in the summer months. With its fresh and fruity taste, it’s just too hard to pass up on a warm, summer day. With aisles full of moscato, where should you start? We asked our moscato buyer for some favorites.


2013 Saracco Moscato d’Asti
Light and sparkling with aromas of peach, apricot, lemon peel and white flowers. Enjoy with a dessert or a spicy barbecue dish – the sweetness of the Moscato will reduce the heat of spicy food.


Marenco Brachetto d’Acqui Pineto Pink Moscato
For a full on sparkling wine, you can’t go wrong with Marenco Brachetto. It’s sweet, but you’ll still get the fruity and refreshing taste you so long for on your back porch.


2013 Bartenura Moscato d’Asti
You’ll find this Moscato to be crisp, refreshing and filled with flavors such as pear, tangerine, melon and even nectar.

New to Moscato? A few tips:


– Don’t sit on it. Moscato is made to be fresh and ready to drink!
– There’s no perfect food pairing with Moscato. Drink it with whatever you love.
– Regular Cork vs. Champagne Cork: bottles finished with Champagne corks will have more bubbles.
– Glara vs. Moscato Grapes: Glara grapes are a little more dry while moscato grapes are sweeter.
– What’s the “d’Asti?” It denotes that the wine came from a specific region in Piedmont, Italy.

Whiskey Hotline Hits the Road: Brett in Scotland 2013


Roseisle Distillery


First stop: Roseisle, the new Diageo monolith. This is either the largest or second largest distillery in Scotland, depending on whose marketing suits you want to believe. This place is gigantic. 13 million Liter capacity. Besides being large, it’s a technological marvel, with the ability to pump out malt with any flavor profile, by manipulating mash times, ferment times, copper contact, and so on. Theoretically, they could produce all the malt needed to construct a Johnnie Walker blend. Despite its size, you malt fans shouldn’t feel threatened – Diageo is also expanding most of their other distilleries in Speyside.


Roseisle Maltings


Next is Roseisle Maltings, which is so massive it can churn out  600 tonnes of malted barley in less than a week. This facility, plus the Ord and Brughead facilities, supply all the malt needed for Diageo’s Speyside and Highland distilleries. Another interesting note, the Roseisle Maltings is 100% energy neutral for heating needs – meaning they use the waste from the malting process to fuel the facility.


Read more

Enjoy Golf’s Best Round with Grey Goose


Grey Goose wants to get you out to the course, and they want you to golf for free. So here’s the deal: buy a 750mL bottle of Grey Goose Vodka with a special offer mail-in necker form. Fill it out, mail it in, and they’ll mail you a voucher for a free round of golf, including 18 and a cart. It’s a sweet deal. Can’t find a bottle with the special mail-in offer? Download one here. And it’s good on all Grey Goose flavors. You might remember a similar offer from Dewar’s last year.


This year’s participating courses:


Bolingbrook Golf Club – Bolingbrook, IL
Cog Hill County Club – Lemont, IL
Deer Path – Lake Forest, IL
Eagle Ridge Golf Club – Galena, IL
Highland Park Country Club – Highland Park, IL
Pine Meadows Golf Club – Mundelein, IL
Seven Bridges Golf Course – Woodridge, IL
Stone Creek Golf Club – Urbana, IL
Fox Lake – Fox Lake, IL
Thunder Hawk Golf Club – Beach Park, IL
Weaver Ridge Golf Club – Peoria, IL
The Links at Carillon – Plainfield, IL


This program runs through June 30th, so hurry. Splashier info page about this promotion here.


Confessions of a Mixologist: Taco Night


Jalapeno. Cilantro. Mango. Margarita. YUM.


Taco Night Binny's


Cocktail GlassTaco Night


2 oz Camarena Silver Tequila
1/4 oz Luxardo Triple Sec
1 1/2 oz Mango Puree
2 oz Stirrings Margarita Mix
Slice of Jalapeno
Lime wheel
2-3 Sprigs of Cilantro


Mix together and shake. Strain into a margarita glass and garnish with lime wheel and slice of jalapeno! Aplausos!


Binny’s Derby Mint Julep


It’s time for the Kentucky Derby! We’re celebrating with a classic – you guessed it – a Mint Julep. Of course our favorite is a Buffalo Trace Mint Julep. We headed to the South Loop Tasting Room for this not-so-secret recipe:


Derby Mint Julep
2 1/2 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
2 oz Water
4 Sprigs of Mint
Muddle the sprigs of mint with the simple syrup. Pour in bourbon and water. Serve on the rocks with a mint sprig garnish!