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Beer Buzz: What Kind of Craft Your Own 6 Pack Are You?

We first introduced the Craft Your Own Six Pack racks back in November of 2011, and we were blown away by its success. You have spoken, and we’re listening! So we’re bringing an even bigger selection to these racks. Many Binny’s locations offered 80 or 160 craft beers to choose from, but now that number is jumping by at least 80 beers!

Our Craft Your Own Six Pack feature offers a constantly changing selection of craft beer, from local to global, seasonal to everyday craft best buys. And at the low price of $9.99 per 6 pack, it’s a great steal. Find out what kind of “Craft Your Own 6 Pack” you are after the jump!
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Beer Buzz: More Headlines

Sunday Blue Sunday

bluesunday-2-4-2014 The 2014 New Holland Blue Sunday is here. Good news: it’s yours for under eight bucks (it used to cost more than an Andrew Jackson). Better news: it also tastes better than ever. We think the secret might be the touch of kombucha blended in.


Jamaican Us Crabbie

Our second alcoholic ginger beer is hitting soon. It’s called Royal Jamaican. Crabbie’s is good, and this one is too, but a little different. Less malty, more ginger spice, lighter in body. If you like Crabbie’s, try this one too.


No Selfies

New-Belgium-Snapshot-2-4-2014New from New Belgium comes Snapshot. It’s an unfiltered wheat, and they pretty much nailed the style. Also new from New Belgium comes Spring Blonde. This one’s a Belgian Ale, and it’s a limited seasonal – think pale malt with good Belgian spice. We think you should try both.


Southpaw High Five

We still remember the launch of Left Hand Nitro Milk Stout with a smile. It was a favorite on tap for so long, finally available at home! They’re expanding the Nitro line with Nitro Sawtooth Ale, in stores now. Very cool. And on a limited basis, Nitro Wake Up Dead, which sounds dangerous.


Good Beer, Great Cause

Stone-Burning-Rosids-2-3-2014Stone Brewing, doing something awesome and releasing an awesome beer at the same time. Stone Matt’s Burning Rosids is – get this – an imperial cherrywood-smoked saison dedicated to fallen brewer Matt Courtright. Cool beer with a meaning. Plus proceeds go to GoDesign, a charity that builds schools and houses in impoverished areas around the world.


The Biggest Little Kegs

Bell’s is expending their already cool 5L mini keg offering, with rotating styles on the way. The first release is their Midwestern Pale Ale, their malty workhorse pale. Watch for new styles over time.


21,780 Square Feet

Heyoka-2-4-2014 We’ve heard rumblings that we might finally see expanded distribution from Chicago craft veterans Half Acre. We’ll keep you posted. In the mean time, check out exciting new styles from them on shelves now, including Heyoka (everyday IPA in cans) and this year’s Navaja bombers are out now.

Top 10 Beer Picks For The Big Game


Revolution A Little Crazy

A Belgian-style IPA with Citra hops? We love it, you should too. Gives your party some international flair while keeping the Seattle fans happy with a punch of Pacific Northwest Citra hops. Football inspired deviled eggs are the only thing that seem right with this crazy IPA.



Two Brothers Night Cat

MORE CITRA HOPS! Another light bodied brew with a balanced hop profile. Light enough to keep you going strong through the whole game, and going through this.




Allagash White

This classic wit sets the mark for the style and pleases all palates. A sure hit for beer geeks and novices alike. If you haven’t ever had it, you should. Speaking of things trying things you’ve never had… Bacon wrapped tator tot bombs. You’re welcome.



Great Divide Yeti

Made right in the heart of Denver, this massive and hoppy Russian Imperial stout is as powerful as the Broncos offense. Goes great with salt – try it with these pretzel dipping sauces.




Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold

This award winning golden lager might be as close as Cleveland will get to a championship… possibly ever. It’s a well balanced callback to the centuries old German style. And nothing pairs better with a German style, American brewed beer then cheddar beer weenies.



Red Hook ESB

A Seattle classic with just enough spicy, citrusy hops to balance the malty sweetness. It’s been a popular craft buy since 1987 for a reason. Perfect with this cheddar bacon cheese dip we found.




Breckenridge Ophelia

We always have room for another hoppy wheat. The newest from Colorado’s Breckenridge Brewery drinks so light and fresh that you’ll wish it came in bigger bottles. It’ll pair very nicely with this watermelon helmet of fruit.




Kona Longboard Lager

A quaffable Hawaiian crowd pleaser. The mighty longboard is known for converting fledgling beer drinkers to the way of craft beer, and it’s still flavorful enough for the faithful. Works great with this Hawaiian salsa.




Tallgrass 8 Bit Pale Ale

This galaxy hopped pale is one of our favorites, and the throwback can will make you want to break out the NES and play some Tecmo Bowl after the big game. Don’t blow into the cartridge! Try it with these Jiffy Muffin corn dogs. Aren’t they the cutest?



Deschutes Red Chair

An IPA masquerading as a pale ale? It’s a resinous, hoppy, smashmouth kind of beer. It’s the perfect beer to soak these wings in.



Beer Buzz: New Suds On Our Shelf

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 upland-10-11-20131
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.
Brickstone Brewing
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 3-sheeps-10-11-20131
Although still in its infancy, 3 Sheeps Brewing is pumping out some tasty beer. The 2012 winner of’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.

Prost to Oktoberfest!

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*
atom-9-13-2013Two 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


Weihenstephaner Festbier
“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


revolution-9-13-2013Revolution Oktoberfest
“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


metro-9-13-2013Metropolitan 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


Beer Buzz Hits The Road: Michigan

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.


Beer Buzz extraordinaires, Kyle Fornek and Pat Brophy also break down exactly what beers the crew enjoyed most during the trip!


Our mode of transportation

Our mode of transportation

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.


Greenbush2Here 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:


DHblog2Reserve 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:


arcadiablog2Whitsun – 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:


sbblog2Pathfinder 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!

Keep up with other Beer Buzz adventures here or shoot us an email at if you have any questions or just simply want to talk brewskis.

 Dark Horse Group Pic

Have you visited any of these breweries? Let us know what you thought in the comments section below!

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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