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6th Annual Binny’s Homebrew Contest Headed to Downers Grove




Get ready for the 6th Annual Binny’s Homebrew Contest sponsored by Samuel Adams. This year the contest will be held at Binny’s in Downers Grove on Saturday, August 24th from 12:00pm-2:00pm. There is no charge to enter the contest. There will be a beer tasting during the event featuring many delicious beers from the Boston Brewery, and we will have complimentary food for everyone to enjoy.


First place winner will receive a trip for two to the Great American Beer Fest that includes tickets, airfare, and hotel. Several runners up will win valuable prizes. There will be also a worthy prize for best label, though labels are not required. All participating brewers will receive beer evaluation sheets with judges comments.



The Rules


– Each household may enter one beer.


– Entrants must drop off two 12oz bottles or one 22oz bottle of their beer at Binny’s in Downers Grove on Thursday 8/22 or Friday 8/23, along with your entry form rubber banded around your beer. Click here to download entry form.


– Entries will be limited to the first 50 beers submitted. We expect the spots to fill up very fast, probably by mid day Thursday. When the contest fills up, we will announce it on our twitter feed.


– You must be present at the store no later than 1:00pm on Saturday, August 24th to claim your prize and tasting evaluation sheet from the judges.



Contact with any questions, or leave a comment here on the blog. Good luck to everyone!



New Brewery: Pecatonica


Pecatonica is not just new to Binny’s, but brand new all together on the brewing stage: their beers started rolling out in their home state of Wisconsin only last week.  Several Binny’s locations will be bringing in Nightfall Lager in the coming weeks–the first and currently only brew available from Pecatonica.  We do however expect to see several new releases debut from Pecatonica during the coming months.  The brewery’s description of Nightfall is below:


“Nightfall Lager was born from a blend of cascade, centennial and hallertau hops, with traditional malts and pure Wisconsin water. This celebration of artisan craft beer has a flavorful balance that starts with dark chocolate, a caramel center and finishes with coffee notes. Our perfect blend of hops and malt creates a 24 IBU beer with an ABV of 5.9%”

Show Your Pride



In celebration of PRIDE month, and in light of today’s news, Binny’s is happy to highlight two brands that are making a stride in the LBGT community.


Halsted VodkaEgalite Sparkling

Halsted Vodka, named after a community in our own backyard, launched in October 2012. They donate 15% of the company’s founding equity and 15% of their profits to the LGBT community.


Égalité, introduced in January 2013, is the first nationally-distributed wine created in support of LGBT equality in the United States and around the world. Meaning ‘Equality,’ the name Égalité is both a reflection of the wine’s French origin and a celebration of equality for gay Americans.



VIOLET : The Halsted Taylor

The queen of the screen, Elizabeth Taylor lit up our lives for over sixty years. She also supported our community when many were afraid to.  The Halsted Taylor is a stylish mix of Halsted Vodka, Chambord and Citrus, creating a drink reminiscent of her unique and dazzling violet eyes.
2 oz Halsted Vodka
1 oz Chambord
Dash of lemon juice
Pour the Halsted Vodka and Chambord into a tall glass with ice. Mix. Add the lemon juice and top with lemonade.


Cheers to equality!

Deschutes Fresh Squeezed Arrives Tomorrow


For the first time, Deschutes has bottled Fresh Squeezed IPA—a pub favorite at the Bend, Oregon Brewery that has garnered the popularity to be brewed for the masses.  This beer is loaded with Citra, Mosaic, and Nugget hops, and the 6% ABV brew is best described as a citrus bomb.  Fresh Squeezed should be available at all Binny’s locations in 22oz bottles for $5.99 starting tomorrow.  Like Hop Henge, Fresh Squeezed will have limited availability—be sure to stop into your local Binny’s later this week if you want to get your hands on some.

Quick Flight, Small Pours


Congrats to Binny’s for earning Chicago Reader’s 2013 Best Liquor Store.
That’s four in a row!


Quarry threatens Rochefort water supply.


Inhaling alcohol is a thing, apparently. But can it make you fat? 


Another ancient beer recipe.
This time, it is Sumerian, and GLBC. They say it won’t see bottles.


Frescobaldi releases wine made by prisoners.
Prisoners receive no wine.


Another article about how wine ratings are flawed. Stick with it.
If you have a few hours to kill, check out the response on reddit.




Binny’s New Brew: Tallgrass 8-Bit Pale Ale


Kyle Fornek, Assistant Beer Buyer and Internet Beer Specialist for Binny’s breaks down why he picked Tallgrass 8-Bit Pale Ale and why he loves beer so much.


BNB BLOG 8BITWhat’s this Pale Ale all about?
It is not over the top hoppy, and clocks in at only 5.2% ABV, meaning you can drink several at a time while it is 90+degrees outside without having to worry about having your pallet annihilated or passing out from hop induced heat exhaustion. Also it is Galaxy hopped; Galaxy hops have rapidly become one of the favorites among craft beer lovers.


*It also has a great looking video game inspired can, one that used to command a high trade value among beer can collectors when Tallgrass had limited production and distribution several years ago. The video clip Tallgrass made featuring this beer is also pretty funny.


Is there anything special about this brewery?
It is the first Brewery that Binny’s is carrying from the state of Kansas. All of their beers come in the 4-pack, 16oz can format, which just so happens to be a great package for the summer. Binny’s has a market exclusive on two of their beers, Buffalo Sweat and Oasis.


That’s fantastic! What food would you recommend pairing with this beer?
I am not at all picky when it comes to food and beer pairings—meaning I think a solid beer like 8-bit can pair well with just about anything, from pizza to spicy Indian food.

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Wine Hotline Hits the Road: Ribera del Duero


A small group from Binny’s visited Spain’s Ribera del Duero. Bill Newton reports from the road:


Ribera del Duero


Spain’s Ribera del Duero is beautiful and rustic. On one hand, the region is home to world-class wine producers such as Vega Sicilia, Pingus and Pesquera. On the other hand, nobody acted surprised when a herd of sheep blocked traffic to cross the road.


The guys at Vega Sicilia don’t leave room for surprises. They want complete control over every aspect of their wine making process, including making and toasting all of the barrels used at the winery at their own on-site cooperage. Coopers everywhere char the insides of their barrels, determining the flavors that barrels instill in the wines they hold (just like with spirits, or even beer).


Toasting Barrels

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Binny’s Mailbag: Warm Beer, Cold Beer


[ 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.

– D.G.



Hi D.G.


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…

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Quick Flight, Small Pours


Playing catch up:


884 cases of Chicken Cock stolen in daring truck stop heist.
$10,000 reward offered for its return. writer worries about the future of peat.
…supports sustainable Scotch.


Absolutely the worst cocktail we’ve ever heard of.
A tough drink to swallow. We’d like to think we could toe the line.


Less gross: Girl Scout Cookies inspire beer flavors.



World Gin Day


We couldn’t help but celebrate yet another highly regarded holiday. This time, we’re bringing you some unimaGINably interesting facts about gin, as well as some tasty oriGINal cocktails!


It’s actually flavored vodka.
Making gin is like flavoring vodka, except that botanicals are always natural.


Gin can be used for medicinal purposes.
The Royal Navy mixed gin with lime cordial to stop scurvy, and angostura settled the stomach at sea. Tonic water with quinine was anti-malarial, giving them a great excuse to drink more gin and tonics.

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