In 2017, Odd Side Rye Hipster Brunch Stout won silver at the Great American Beer Festival. In 2019, it took gold. We’re huge fans of this unique stout and we partnered with Odd Side to bring you this decadent new riff. The beer began as Rye Hipster Brunch Stout, but after a year of rest in rye whiskey barrels, it was transferred into Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels that were hand selected by our Whiskey Hotline team. Six months later, it was out of the barrels and into the cans. Get ready to taste the difference a barrel can make. This beauty was well worth the wait.
The nose here delivers an intoxicating mix of coffee and chocolate, along with hints of vanilla, cherry, and mint. The palate is big, rich, and rounded, accented by notes of rye whiskey spice and rich bourbon vanilla. The melding of coffee, chocolate, and whiskey here brings to mind a creamy Irish coffee, with a side of maple fudge. We’d argue the double barrel treatment makes this better suited for dessert than brunch, but if you’d like to start your day with it, we’d raise a glass to that too.
In 2018 the Great American Beer Festival added the category Juicy or Hazy IPA to their competition. There was no denying it any longer, hazies were a thing – not just in New England, but across the nation. IPA remains the most popular beer style in today’s market, and when it comes to IPA, hazies are the talk of the town. In 2019, Chicago’s Old Irving Brewing Co. brought home gold from GABF. Their DDH IPA Beezer, beat out 347 other entries in the Juicy/Hazy IPA category! If you’ve never tasted Beezer, what are you waiting for? At this hot sale price, there’s never been a better time to crack a few cans. Also, in stock now, a new souped-up imperial version – the 10% ABV Triple Beezer!
Double dry hopped with Citra and Mosaic, the nose here is bright and tropical, with pronounced pineapple, apricot, and guava. Soft and fluffy on the tongue, a wave of juicy hops splashes across the palate, with pronounced tangerine and papaya. The finish is fruit forward, but with just enough bitterness to keep things drinkable. It’s amazing the amount of fruit flavor here, considering it’s all from hops. The subtle tinge of hoppy bitterness makes this a hazy you’re eager to drink more than one of, something that’s sadly becoming quite rare these days. *Not Available in Champaign, Bloomington, Springfield, Peoria, Rockford.
If Beezer is hazy, Triple Beezer is hazy to the third power. The aromas are Beezer-esq, but lean a touch towards the danker side, offering wisps of mint, lemongrass, and pine. Thick and weighty on the tongue, the higher ABV is readily apparent, imparting a sweetness that transforms the hop character from juice-like, to something you might mistake for actual fruit juice. A smoothie-esq IPA, but without any fruit, lactose, or vanilla. A tasty display of brewing prowess, versus blasting in adjuncts. *Not Available in Champaign, Bloomington, Springfield, Peoria, Rockford.
Interest in non-alcoholic beer is on the rise, thanks in part to a handful of craft producers that’ve breathed new life into the category. Leading the charge is Athletic Brewing. The methodology behind their brewing process remains a trade secret, so while we can’t explain exactly what it is that Athletic does, we can tell you that the finished product is some of the best NA beer on the shelf. We’re not the only ones who’ve taken notice. Boulevard Brewing partnered up with Athletic to craft Flying Start NA IPA. If you’re looking to give NA beer a try, this is the place to start.
Pouring golden in color, with a slight bit of haze, the nose here is soft and herbaceous, accented by notes of basil and tangerine. There’s good structure and body here, with pronounced lemony citrus gliding across the palate. A rush of snappy hop bitterness makes for a refreshingly clean and crisp finish. *Not Available in Champaign, Bloomington, Springfield, Peoria, Rockford.
A Little Sumpin' Sumpin’ is one of our favorite beers from Lagunitas. It combines the light and creamy mouthfeel of an American wheat with the crispness of an IPA. Its grain bill is half barley, half wheat. The wheat half is a blend of malted white, English torrified and Belgian roasted. The finished brew is wonderfully aromatic and impeccably balanced, with a soft and citrusy finish. This hoppy crowd pleaser is available year-round, but it’s especially refreshing on a hot summer day. On a cold winter day, it brings back memories of the warm summer sun.
It’s hard to overstate the quality of the beer the flows from San Diego’s AleSmith Brewing Company. Over the past three decades, they’ve amassed an impressive trophy case of accolades; including 20 medals from the Great American Beer Festival. The beer they’re most well-known for is Speedway Stout, a massive coffee infused imperial stout. Another imperial stout… we know, they’re a dime a dozen these days, but few are of this caliber. Speedway is one of the best we’ve ever tasted, and we’ve tried hundreds. We’re excited to announce that AleSmith is finally releasing some of their coveted Speedway variants out into the wild. The first is a stunner - we can’t wait to see what’s coming next.
The nose here is rich and layered, delivering aromas of dark cocoa, vanilla, caramel, and coffee. Velvety soft across the tongue, it envelopes the palate in a blanket of chocolate malt, accented with dark fruit and a hint of sweet spice. Vanilla imparts a touch of perceived sweetness here, which helps to round out the robust roasted coffee notes. Adjuncts are beautifully integrated here, and the alcohol is dangerously well hidden – you’d never guess this is 12% ABV. A remarkable riff on an incredible stout. This is a must try! *Not Available in Champaign, Bloomington, Springfield, Peoria, Rockford.
Tired of the same old breakfast and brunch standbys? Enough with the Bloodys and Mimosas, drink beer with breakfast! Yes, it works, and it’s enjoyed the world over. The American craft movement has made the pairings even easier by adding breakfast staples right into the brew. The latest from Church Street is a perfect example. This maple-tinged English style porter is crying out for a short stack of pancakes.
The nose here delivers a nice depth of character, with notes of coffee, chocolate, molasses, and vanilla. Light across the palate, it begins with a burst of maple sweetness, that’s adeptly balanced by dark roasted malt. The maple accents bring to mind the pastry stouts that are all the rage these days, but there’s a refreshing levity here that keeps this porter sessionable and easy to enjoy by the pint.
We don’t like to talk in absolutes. When you’ve tried thousands of beers, it’s difficult to say something is “the best”. Here is a rare exception. The “Black IPA” story is a contentious one. The old guard argued the category was a misnomer, nothing more than hoppy stouts rebranded to capitalize off the popularity of the IPA moniker. Breweries persisted and several years ago the style had its 15 minutes of fame. Nowadays they’ve all but disappeared. Why? It’s an incredibly difficult style to brew well. Dark malts and bitter hops tend to clash, resulting in brews that can taste like old coffee poured from ashtray. At their best, they are remarkable, some might even say sublime. Due to the persistence of its fans, us included, Stone started brewing theirs again.
True to its name, this pours black as night, with a tall crown of tan foam. Aromas of dark chocolate and resinous hops leap from the glass, with lingering notes of dark roast coffee and juniper. A wave of bittersweet chocolate glides across the palate, accented by flavors of orange peel and blackberry. Clocking in at 8.7% ABV, this should probably be billed as an imperial/DIPA – that having been said, it’s so impeccably balanced that its strength is barely perceivable.
It’s January, and for some that means Dry or Dryish-uary. Many are exploring new NA craft brews, while others look to slim down with a nice sessionable seltzer. Or… you could go a different direction. How about a Double IPA? Is it super soft and creamy? Nope. Lactose? No. Any fruit? Not today. It’s a big and boozy 9%er that’s stood the test of time. Can you handle it?
Hits the nose with a burst of tangerine, followed by a rush of cedar. Light on its feet, it races across the tongue, delivering a barrage of grapefruit and juniper. The citrusy finish is big, bold, and relentless.
Short’s is known for some creative brews and we’ve been begging for this one for years. Anyone can dump extracts and sugar into beer, but Short’s adeptly imparts familiar flavors in a very natural and nuanced way. PB&J blends the juicy berry blend of Soft Parade with a peanut better kissed oatmeal stout. There’s a lot of peanut butter beers out there, but this one is where it’s at. There you go. *Not Available in Champaign, Bloomington, Springfield, Peoria, Rockford, Gurnee.
It’s the start of a new year, so why not treat yourself to something special. How about a barrel aged stout from 3 Floyds? Blot Out The Sun is back, only this time it’s bourbon barrel aged, and in 4 packs – but wait, there’s more! You can expect more barrel aged 3 Floyds in 2021, including a collaborative 13.2% ABV stout aged in our hand selected Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels!
The nose here is incredibly complex, delivering notes of molasses, fig, chocolate, and coffee. It begins with a rush of barrel character, bathing the tongue with caramel, fig, and vanilla bean. While billed an imperial stout, the remarkable depth of malt character here features a restrained roast character, resulting in something akin to a barleywine stout hybrid. That having been said, it is well fermented, producing a semblance of lightness and balance that’s rarely seen in beers this big. We try A LOT of barrel aged beers, but few are as impressive as this. Get some before it’s gone. *Not Available in Springfield.
Looking for a good non-alcoholic beer? For many years, it was slim pickings. Thankfully, that is no longer the case. A handful of producers have breathed new life into the category, perhaps none more so than Athletic Brewing Co. The science behind alcohol removal is shrouded in proprietary secrecy, so while we can’t explain exactly what it is that Athletic does, we can tell you that the finished product is hands down some of the best NAs we’ve ever tasted.
Pouring hazy gold in color, the nose here offers a hint of caramelized malt, along with notes of lemongrass and alfalfa. Light in body, it glides effortlessly across the tongue, delivering bright citrus, along with a touch of biscuity malt character. As far as the IPA moniker, this drinks like old school American IPAs with a bit of malt backbone. Put another way, it’s not unlike an easy drinking amber ale with a bit a hop kick. 70 calories per can. *Not Available in Champaign, Bloomington, Springfield, Peoria.
Free Wave is a “Double Hop” NA IPA that’s brewed with wheat, producing a subtle haze, along with a bit more depth of body. It delivers a big burst of citrusy hop character, with pronounced grapefruit and lemon peel. The finish is clean and refreshing, with a touch of lasting hop bitterness, accented by notes of allspice and licorice. 70 calories per can. *Not Available in Champaign, Bloomington, Springfield, Peoria.
True to its name, this pours golden in color, and features a slight haze. If you think all NA beer is watery, think again. Soft and creamy across the tongue, a touch of malt sweetness is balanced by a refreshingly herbaceous hop finish. Only 50 calories per can! Some sort of strange alchemy is at work here. *Not Available in Champaign, Bloomington, Springfield, Peoria.
Athletic is leading the charge when it comes to American craft NA, but there’s an old-world classic that’s still one of the best NAs on the shelf. Krombacher Weizen NA dodges the many pitfalls associated with the non-alcoholic category and delivers the classic fruit and spice that you’d expect in a great hefeweizen. At the end of the day, it is difficult to tell this apart from a traditional hefe - added bonus, it’s under 100 calories per bottle!
Craft beer in cans – today it’s standard operating procedure, but not that long ago, it seemed like a risky play. Colorado’s Oskar Blues blazed a trail by canning from the get go, everything from their famous Dale’s Pale Ale, to their crispy Mama’s Little Yella Pils. Just in time for this colder winter weather, we welcome back a pair of rich and warming brews from OB – Barrel Aged Ten Fidy and Death By Coconut.
Oskar Blues Ten Fidy is a classic imperial stout that never disappoints. Its voluptuous mouthfeel delivers big coffee, cocoa and a touch of smoke. A year in bourbon barrels rounds the edges, resulting in a deeply decadent brew. The nose here is incredible, laden with vanilla, toffee, and cocoa. Silky smooth on the palate, a wave of dark chocolate malt is accented by a subtle touch of tangy dark fruit that keeps the sweetness in check.
Coconut can be a fickle beast. Brewers looking to showcase the beauty of natural coconut often end up with everything from muted misses to glasses of suntan lotion. Thankfully Oskar Blues has concocted a liquid confection like no other. Soft and creamy with waves of coconut and bittersweet chocolate, it offers just enough balance to leave the palate longing for more.
Well, you did it again! From our list of ten hops and four different fruits, you headed to social to design this latest Gummy. We tallied the results, zoomed over to Noon Whistle’s beautiful new Naperville brewhouse, and they brewed it up. Introducing Your Gummy Vol. 2 – a soft and tropical hazy featuring Sabro and Mosaic hops, and a juicy burst of mango. A big thank you to our friends at Noon Whistle and to everyone who voted. Your Gummy rocks!
The nose here is remarkably bright and tropical, with notes of pineapple, lemon, and you guessed it - plenty of mango. Soft and creamy across the tongue, an initial burst of mango is followed by notes of pineapple and guava. The addition of mango complements without stealing all the limelight. The finish is impressively complex, delivering flavors of vanilla, passionfruit, and honeydew melon. A much-needed tropical distraction that leaves you dreaming of warm sandy beaches. Mele kalikimaka! Not Available in Rockford, Gurnee.