It always seems like this time of year more and more beers start to roll in and we can’t get enough of them! Here are a few of our favorites that just hit the shelves of Binny’s. For more beer updates, check out the latest Beer Buzz.
All the way from Mexico to Northbrook, Illinois, we’re happy to welcome these six fantastic breweries on the shelves of Binny’s! For more beer news check out the latest Beer Buzz.
Los Muertos Brewing
The craft beer craze has spread south of the border! Los Muertos Brewing of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico is now available at Binny’s. Seven styles of suds are in stock from their Day of the Dead line. Click on this link to check them out.
Upland Brewing made its Binny’s debut this week. The pride of Bloomington, Indiana entered our locations featuring three beers: Wheat Ale, Dragonfly IPA, and Harvest Ale (a wet-hopped citra beer). The Wheat Ale blew away our expectations. It is one of the best examples of an American Wheat on our shelves.
Three offerings from Bourbonnais, Illinois based Brickstone Brewing are now available at Binny’s. Their American Pale Ale is arguably the best American Pale Ale in all the land. It took home a gold medal from last years Great American Beer Festival, and we agree with the GABF judges – this stuff is the bomb. Brickstone’s other offerings include Shady Summer and Cherry Bomb.
3 Sheeps Brewing
Although still in its infancy, 3 Sheeps Brewing is pumping out some tasty beer. The 2012 winner of Ratebeer.com’s award for best new brewery in Wisconsin has introduced four beers into Binny’s: Baaad Boy Black Wheat, Rebel Kent The First Amber, First Kiss Double IPA, and Really Cool Waterslides IPA.
Only Child Brewing
Only Child Brewing is the latest in a rapidly expanding number of small local breweries to debut at Binny’s. The Northbrook, IL brewery services many of our city and northern suburban stores. Ask about Perfectionniste Farmhouse Ale, Imaginary Friend Dark & Hoppy Wheat Beer, and Attention Hog Pale Rye Ale at your local Binny’s.
Virtue Sidra de Nava
The first bottles of Virtue’s highly anticipated cider have arrived! Sidra de Nava is a Spanish style cider that has a big, funky nose with a sharp green apple flavor. It finishes bracingly tart and is incredibly quenching. Virtue is the new endeavor of former Goose Island brewmaster Greg Hall. We can’t wait to see what comes next.
We get to do some pretty cool collaborations here at Binny’s. This time around we’re teaming up with Big Sky Brewing to pick their next single cask of Ivan the Terrible imperial stout.
Get your lederhosen out… Oktoberfest begins today, September 21st! A 16 day span of unlimited sauerkraut, würstl and of course, German beer. Give our Oktoberfest favorites a try, and let us know what you think. *clink, clink*
Two Brothers Atom Smasher
“I’m not someone who goes crazy over the Octoberfest style. I feel like it’s a style that only allows for subtle differences and if you’ve tried one you’ve tried most. With that in mind Two Brothers in Warrenville is one brewery that’s doing something different with their version called Atom Smasher. It’s your traditional Marzen with its roasted malt character, but then it’s aged in Oak foudres. The aging doesn’t add your usual vanilla notes but more so balances the brew and brings out a smooth caramel flavor. Overall it’s a very tasty beer that is unique among it’s peers.” – Matt Burger, Binny’s Arlington Heights
“Burnished gold in color with a big fluffy white head, Weihenstephaner’s Oktoberfest often perplexes American drinkers. The Marzen/Oktoberfest style here in the US is mostly populated by dark amber brews that burst with big bready aromas and rich caramel flavors. While Weinhenstephaner is lighter in color, it’s every bit as flavorful and its rich honeyed sweetness and a subtle earthy noble hop character offers a refreshing alternative to many American examples of the style. Paired with a knockwurst on pumpernickel smothered with bacon fried onions, es ist wunderbar!” – Roger Adamson, Binny’s Willowbrook
“This is my favorite American Oktoberfest! It has a really nice toasted malt note, and is very well balanced. It’s a simple, easy drinker!” – Jimmy Wallwin, Binny’s Downers Grove
“Revolution Oktoberfest is an excellent combination of an American and traditional German Oktoberfest beer. It has a great malt presence like the American styles to go along with the hoppiness of German styles, which cuts through the sweetness. A well balanced beer that fans of either style can enjoy. And it’s in a can, so it’s perfect for those fall bonfires!” – Adam Brate, Binny’s McHenry
Great Lakes Oktoberfest
“Great Lakes Oktoberfest has a rich amber color and a malty-sweet aroma of caramel and toffee. The mouthfeel is smooth with balanced maltiness up-front followed by a slightly dry finish accented with mild Noble hops. This is a great beer to enjoy at an Oktoberfest celebration or to drink with friends on a cool autumn day.” – Scott Lasky, Binny’s Lake Zurich
Metropolitan Afterburner Oktoberfest
“This time of year is always fun cause I get to see what new Oktoberfest beers are brought to the table. Now I’m not shying away from the classics but one brewery in my opinion stood out and definitely wowed me. I’m talking about Chicago’s own Metropolitans’ Afterburner. It sits at a nice 5.5% abv, is caramelized, bready, and has just enough spice. It is also very drinkable. Now typically I wouldn’t consider myself an Oktoberfest guy, but I’ll definitely try to get my hands on as much of this brew as I can. Unfortunately it’s limited so get out there and get it while you can.” – Jason Battersby, Binny’s Des Plaines
Central Waters Octoberfest
“With an enticing, bready maltiness characteristic of traditional Marzen-style lagers, Octoberfest is a radient amber-colored brew that finishes crisp and clean. Enjoy this fall seasonal as summer turns to autumn and the colors of the Northwoods are ablaze.” – Producer
Samuel Adams Octoberfest
“An excellent brew, very malty and very flavorful…Tastes like a smaller version of Samuel Adams Double Bock. A fall seasonal that is a must buy.” – Beer Advocate
On a recent trip to Michigan, 34 Binny’s employees embarked on a beer education adventure. With visits to Greenbush, Dark Horse, Arcadia, and Saugatuck, we walked away with a new and profound knowledge of what these breweries have to offer- and only just a little bit of a headache.
First Stop: Greenbush Brewing
New to the Illinois market and to the shelves of Binny’s, Greenbush Brewing Co. is a popular brewery living by the motto “Good Beer Wins.” We toured their facility as well as their soon-to-be used 15-barrel brew house. Greenbush is taking the necessary steps to adapt to their consumers… by making more beer.
Here are our top two brews from the visit:
Anger – This could very well be the best black IPA on our shelves. Somehow it seems to perfectly harness everything we love about a good porter like flavors of chocolate and brown sugar, with hop aromas and flavors still balancing wonderfully due to the addition of Columbus, Amarillo, Simcoe, and Cascade hops. Despite what the name tells you, this beer will make you happy.
Brother Benjamin Double IPA – This beer is incredibly well balanced, huge maltiness up front with a drying bitterness on the finish. The alcohol is very well hidden. We could have drank a lot of these, but there was a ton of other great beers to try!
Second Stop: Dark Horse Brewing Co.
Imagine a playground for adults. That’s exactly what Dark Horse Brewing Co. is. They have a stage where local bands play weekly, a skate shop, a sand pit, an outdoor and indoor bar… do we need to keep going? It’s well worth the three hour drive up to Marshall, Michigan.
Brews we enjoyed the most at Dark Horse:
Reserve Special Black Ale – Upon first glance it looks like an Irish stout with its creamy tan head and black as night color. However this brew is packed to the gills with chocolate and caramel flavors, with a hefty amount of sweetness that balances nicely with an underlying citrus hop taste.
Falconers Flight Single Hop Crooked Tree IPA – Falconers Flight is a fairly new hop and this is the first we’ve tried of it. Kind of a weird mix of tropical fruit and pine, but it works with the medium malty profile of Crooked Tree.
Third Stop: Arcadia Ales
Arcadia was the third stop on our day, so it was awesome when they greeted us with a fantastic meal, good company and of course, great beer. We ended the night with a tour of their brewery. Fun fact about Arcadia: they still use a direct fire brew kettle to brew their beers. This gives some beers a heavy, caramel flavor.
The two brews we enjoyed most at Arcadia:
Whitsun – Very flavorful, sessionable beer. It had a nice balance to it; not too heavy on the orange, not too much coriander, not too “wheaty.” Wonderful summer beer.
Cocoa Loco – We had a chance to sample the cocoa nibs that go into this beer, and boy are they bitter and just about unpalatable! But once the brewers at Arcadia have their way with them during the crafting of Cocoa Loco, the end result is flavors of chocolate cake and molasses with only the slightest bitterness.
Fourth Stop & Brew Day: Saugatuck Brewing Co.
Saugatuck invited us to come brew at their brewery. It was a great experience for so many of our employees as many hadn’t brewed before. We took Saugatuck’s Pathfinder Pale Ale and added Citra, Simcoe, and Nelson Sauvin hops to it. We then dry hopped it with hard to find Mosaic hops. We’re looking forward to its release, soon!
Here are the beers we enjoyed most on draft at Saugatuck’s brewpub:
Pathfinder Pale Ale - This is what makes Saugatuck Pathfinder Pale Ale different from most other American Pale Ales: it is not overly bitter or hoppy, it is under 5% ABV, it is more malt forward, it is very earthy, and generally speaking, it is relatively mild and drinkable. If there can be a such thing as a session pale ale, then this is it.
ESB Amber – This beer is all about subtlety of flavor. Biscuity malts and a lighter hop profile help this one go down easy. Yes, it’s not an extreme IPA or barrel aged stout, but there is still a lot of complexity to be found in this brew.
Be on the lookout for Hopfinder in stores soon!
Have you visited any of these breweries? Let us know what you thought in the comments section below!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
We just got word that Prairie Artisan Ales will be coming to Binny’s in the near future. Their beers should be available at most of our locations sooner rather than later, including Champaign and Bloomington locations (we don’t have hard release dates yet, but we will post again when we do). This will be Binny’s first time offering a brewery from the state of Oklahoma. Prairie’s beers are highly rated on all the premier beer websites, and we are excited to offer them. Prairie does a lot of innovative and new stuff; in March alone they released four new beers. Check out the beer labels from these four new brews below, they are some of the coolest labels we have laid eyes on.