It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Orval. I recommend it all the time, I keep it on the bottle list in the Tasting Room full time, and even went so far as getting the logo tattooed on my left calf.
Orval is, quite simply, perfect. It’s delicate, but at 6.9% abv, no slouch. It’s light and effervescent with a defined heft on the palate, and it pairs beautifully with all manner of food.
Orval’s yeast strains and fermentation character has been much lauded by brewers all over the world and has inspired countless commercial beers that attempt to recreate, expand upon, and even just plain clone this amazing Trappist ale.
All of this makes it a prime candidate for cellaring. Fresh Orval (generally regarded as within 6 months of bottling) is bright and hoppy with a zesty herbal/floral punch and a light, bubbly body, something I suggest drinking with a meal of herbed lemon chicken with cauliflower puree. Aged Orval (1+ years old) loses its hoppy nose, trading it in for an earthy, funky and spicy nose, thanks in part to the Brettanomyces Bruxellenis in the dose of yeast added to the bottle for re-fermentation. The body gains a touch of heft and it’s not uncommon for the alcohol content to go up a bit as well. Aged Orval pairs gorgeously with Lamb dishes.
Shark Week. For almost 30 years now it has been a summer institution.
We recently installed a TV in our Lincoln Park Tasting Room. What better way to show it off than a week of sharks? All through Shark Week we’ll feature pints of Lost Coast’s Great White at the special price of $3. At 7 pm each night, we’ll tune into to The Discovery Channel *
See the lineup of shows here.
* except Sunday, as we close at 6 pm.
Join us for a night of microzymurgy, where we break down Bell’s Black Note to it’s basic elements and serve them as a flight!
Lincoln Park Tasting Room
Thursday, May 1st
Tickets go on sale 9am on May 1st. Call the store (312.664.4394) and they’ll be available to the first 100 people who purchase.
Join us Friday, November 15th at 5pm at Binny’s Lincoln Park for the 2013 launch of Perennial’s sought after Abraxas to Chicago! If you didn’t already know, Perennial Abraxas is an Imperial Stout brewed with Ancho Chile, Cacao Nibs, Vanilla Bean and Cinnamon Sticks, and is delicious.
We’ll have some special beers open to sample and people from the brewery to chat with. Hope to see you there!
It’s that time of year again!
Join us at Binny’s Lincoln Park for Black Friday, November 29th. Doors open at 9am. We’ll release the 2013 batch of Goose Island’s Bourbon County Brand Stout, along with this year’s variants: Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout, Bourbon County Brand Barleywine, Backyard Rye Bourbon County Stout, & Proprietor’s Reserve.
[ ed: We have covered this issue before. But Vav's explanation is worded so well that we couldn't help but post it here on the Binny's Blog. It's a common question. ]
I just bought a case of Petrus Aged Pale Ale. I opened it up when I got home and noticed it was cold. I thought this was probably a mistake since most people buying in bulk would want it warm so they can cool it at their leisure. I called to see if I could exchange it, and the guy said I could but the beer would be fine. Basically it’s a myth about the warming/cooling of beer that leads to aged taste or skunkiness, and exposure to light matters. I was confused, having thought that was a factor.
The beer is absolutely fine for a number of reasons. Bear with me. There’s a lot of science coming up.
“Skunking” is a specific occurrence in beer, not a catch all for when beer goes bad.
Beer uses hops as its bitter component to balance the sweetness of malt. When hops are added to the beer during the boiling, they release Iso-Alpha Acids, which are the main components in hop oil. During the boil alpha acids isomerize, or transform into different molecules, which are very bitter. These, along with other hop oils, remain in the beer, contributing hop aroma. Some of the oils are quite volatile, and will break down when exposed to ultraviolet light. The reaction is quite fast: literally a matter of minutes and the isohumulone will break down into a chemical similar in makeup and aroma to the chemicals that come from a skunk’s anal scent glands. This is why beers from certain big European breweries smell skunky: green glass offers almost no protection from light. Clear bottles offer no protection. Brown bottles offer great but not perfect protection. A fun experiment is to grab a four pack of either Pilsner Urquell or Beck’s in cans. Pour a couple ounces into a clear glass, and put it on a sunny windowsill for two minutes. Then pour a few ounces into a second glass and smell the beer in both glasses. The difference will shock you.
Some beers like Corona and some Miller products use hop extracts that have been chemically altered to prevent skunking, even in clear bottles. So that’s where skunking comes from. In fact, we also call it Light Struck.
Still with me? Go grab a beer and then come back. There’s more…