August 6, 2014

Socially Responsible Labeling

by blahblahbeer
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It has been some time since I have posted. Life tends to get in the way of what we truly want to do. Something has happened over the past couple of days that was motivating enough to force me to put aside everything else and begin to type.

If you consider yourself a member of the craft beer community, you have probably noticed the debate waging over a beer label from Pig Minds Brewing Company for a beer named Panty Dropper. For me, the opinion that best fits this debate was written by Karl at Guys Drinking Beer. While I think Karl hit a home run with his post, I believe there is more to be said.

PMBC-Prunus Lbl

 

The Urban Dictionary gives the following listing:

Panty Dropper:

A guy who is so good looking, or has so much money, or some other such quality, that women will drop their panties at the sight of him.

I am sure this is what Pig Minds had in mind when they bestowed the name “Panty Dropper” upon their beer. I am further inclined to believe this after finding out the name was the brainchild of the brewer’s wife. I will even allow that the label is an artist’s interpretation of a beer filling in for the “good looking guy” (I’m giving a lot of leeway).

With that said, I am sure many will find that as enough to argue in favor of Pig Minds moving forward with releasing their label for Panty Dropper.  I’m a guy and I have always worked in “manly” industries with other guys. Part of me wanted to side with Pig Minds on this topic, but something didn’t feel right.

While The Urban Dictionary has one definition of Panty Dropper, there is yet another. This alternative definition adds to the problem associated with the Pig Mind’s label. In certain circles, Panty Dropper is the nickname given to date rape drugs. Go ahead, look at the label with those words in mind and tell me how you feel. Like I said before, I don’t believe this is what Pig Minds had in mind when they created the name of label, but the reality is- Panty Dropper is a nickname for such drugs.

Whenever I fear that I am missing something, I do what every good man should do and I ask my wife. My wife is one tough woman. She married a former soldier and is mother to an active duty Army sergeant. She works in an industry that is 99% men and is no stranger to the “guys club”. Sexual innuendo and lewd humor are not a problem for her.  Easily offended she is not. Nor is she a “hairy arm-pitted dike” like the description seen on social media of any woman who has a problem with the Panty Dropper label. My wife is; however, the survivor of sexual violence. Each year there will be an additional  237,868 women like her.

I showed my wife the Panty Dropper label and asked for her opinion. Her immediate reaction was, “I don’t like that.” When I asked her why, she responded, “It’s offensive and derogatory towards women. It promotes using alcohol to get in a woman’s pants. I expect this from guys in the beer industry. Have you seen some of the labels out there lately?”

Her words said plenty, but her face said a lot more. This label wasn’t just offensive, it was hurtful. Remember, she is just one of more than a million women who have been victim to sexual violence and over 200,000 will suffer the same fate in our country this year alone. If this label had an effect on my wife, I can only imagine the effect it will have on others like her.

“…I expect this from guys in the beer industry,” was another disheartening piece of her comment. My wife didn’t say this because of the interaction she has had with brewers. My wife actually likes the brewing community here in the suburbs of Chicago, but some of the labels of late haven’t reflected well on this very community that we have grown to embrace.

I think every business needs to consider their stakeholders when making decisions.  While I understand that breweries like Pig Minds have every right to affix labels like these upon their product, I have to ask, Should they? Shouldn’t a business be socially responsible? While the negative effects might be unintentional, should they be ignored?


May 16, 2014

“Can you dig it?” Canned Food Drive

ATTB

The Chicagoland craft beer community continually strives to give back in many ways. From May 17-23, Ale to the Burbs and Warren’s Ale House are holding a canned food drive that will benefit People’s Resource Center in Wheaton. For every two cans donated, you will earn a chance to win one of a handful of prize packages from local businesses including Warren’s Ale House, The Beer Cellar, Lou Dog Events, River City Roasters, Massage Envy, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Illinois Craft Brewers Guild, Yogli Mogli, Bricks Pizza & Café, Sport Clips, L.A. Tan, Fox Bowl, Elements Therapeutic Massage, and Midwest Brewers Fest. Can donations can be dropped off at Warren’s Ale House at 51 Town Square in Wheaton (Mon-Sat: 11am-11pm / Sun: 11am-12am). Be sure to ask for your raffle tickets when dropping off your cans. Throughout Chicago Craft Beer Week, Warren’s will also have Revolution Anti-Hero on tap for only $4 a pint. Questions? Email aletotheburbs@gmail.com.


March 10, 2014

1st Annual Illinois Suburban Brewers Summit Open Forum Audio

by blahblahbeer
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February 17, 2014

A Letter To Small Breweries

by blahblahbeer
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When it comes to breweries, it is true, “If you build it, they will come,” but for how long?

Small breweries- I love you, but in a few years there will be tons of stainless steel sitting in scrap yards if you don’t get your shit together.  The American consumer is captivated by the newest thing. We are a nation that bought 1.5 million Pet Rocks. We run to buy the latest thing, looking for the rush that something innovative provides us. Everyone loves a new car, but what happens when the new car smell has faded? What keeps consumers coming back again and again?

Many years ago, a company could count on their customers to continue to buy their product due to “brand loyalty”. My father will only buy Ford vehicles. The first Ford he bought lasted more than twenty years and he continues to reward them for the quality of that vehicle by purchasing solely Ford products. My father is part of a dying breed. Today, only 25% of Americans make purchases based on “brand loyalty” (Forbes). The two biggest factors driving purchases in this day and age: price and quality.

A packaging trend has emerged in craft beer. Often, the 22 ounce bottle (bomber) is the vessel of choice for small breweries. While this in and of itself is not a problem, the purchase price of these bottles is often on the higher end of the scale. Established breweries often use bombers to package limited release beers and a higher price should be expected. When a smaller brewery is charging ten dollars or more for a bomber, one has to question themselves before making the purchase. The same ten dollars can buy a six-pack of beer from another brewery and the consumer walks away with fifty additional ounces. While a brewery is reaping the benefits of their “introductory” stage, high-priced bombers might work out to their advantage, but is this truly a viable long-term option?

Consistent taste from the same beer shouldn’t be an unreasonable expectation; however, this has become a reoccurring complaint from craft beer consumers. Color variations, gravity differences, and varying taste from batch to batch are common problems for some of America’s breweries. Don’t use the argument, “Higher quality demands a higher price,” if consumers can’t expect the same product, beer after beer. Craft beer drinkers are very understanding when brewers get experimental, but you should be able to duplicate your “flagship” beers.

Go beyond a logo when you create your brand. Be more than, “Hi, I’m Bob and I make Belgian style beers”. Give people a reason to associate with your brewery. If you want to be niche, that is fine. Make beers for people who hate shoes, but own it! Put footprints on your bottle and have shoeless Sundays at your taproom. Whatever you do, have an identity. Ask people to describe 3 Floyds or Lagunitas and I’m sure their brands come out quickly. How do people respond when asked to describe your brewery? You may not have imprinted the identity on people’s minds that you think.

Small brewers- you have an enormous amount of courage. You are doing what most people are unable to do. You have taken a leap of faith and become small business owners. You are following your dream and I respect you. You must become an accountant, a marketing director, a logistics manager, an assets manager, etcetera, and etcetera.  Some people believe there will be a craft beer bubble. I believe that America can sustain thousands of breweries producing an affordable, high quality product. Not everyone will become rich, but an honest living can be made by all.  I have only talked about “low hanging fruit” that you can harvest to increase your chances. America wants you to succeed.

 

 


February 9, 2014

Illinois Suburban Brewers Summit

Summit photo

The Chicago suburbs, home to a growing number of popular and successful craft beer breweries, bars and bottle shops, will soon add a groundbreaking event to its census. Ale to the Burbs, an alliance of suburban craft beer bloggers and event coordinators, is hosting the 1st Annual Illinois Suburban Brewers Summit (ISBS) to be held March 8, 2014, at Nevin’s Brewing Company. Located at 12337 South Route 59 in Plainfield, this public event will run from 6:30-9:30pm. The goal of the ISBS is to give suburban breweries the opportunity to come together and discuss the state of the market, share ideas and experiences, and collaborate on endeavors to spur increased exposure and recognition of the suburban craft beer scene. Approximately 20 breweries are expected to attend the event with representatives from each business to sit on a moderated panel for an open forum. “There’s no better time than now for this event to take place,” said Jeremy Teel of Ale to the Burbs. “With the rapid growth we’re seeing in the industry and a wide geographic area to serve, suburban brewers encounter unique challenges every day and need to establish and share best practices in order to thrive.”

The ISBS also will feature two hours of public beer tasting with aprox. 25-30 beers being poured by attending breweries. The $25 ticket will get each attendee 15 4-ounce pours, appetizers, a commemorative glass and admission to Nevin’s live music performance after the event (artist TBD). Attendees also will be able to sit in on the open forum and ask brewers their burning questions.

Tickets are available online only through Brown Paper Tickets at: http://ISBS.brownpapertickets.com

Sponsors include: The Beer Cellar, Chicago Brew Werks, Illinois Craft Brewers Guild, Lou Dog Events, Spent Grain Society, World of Beer – Naperville, & Midwest Brewers Fest.

About Ale to the Burbs
Ale to the Burbs is a dedicated group of beer lovers that coordinates events to bring people together in celebration of craft beer in the Chicago suburbs – whether it’s in a brewery, bar or your neighbor’s backyard.

About Nevin’s Brewing Company:
Nevin’s Brewing Company opened its doors in December of 2012. Between the time we opened and the time we brewed our first beer, we were expectant parents setting up the nursery, ensuring that everything was perfect for our baby, our beer. On February 21, 2013, our brew kettle fired up for the first time with our inaugural beer, Contentious, an IPA fermented with Belgian yeast. Since that christening moment, our brewmaster has worked diligently to provide a wide range of brews for all to enjoy. At Nevin’s, we brew because we are infatuated with
what happens when malted barley meets water, when hops dance in the boiling wort, and when wort marries yeast. No style is off our radar. We turn our noses up at nothing because we see opportunity in everything.

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November 12, 2013

2013 Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beer- preview

by blahblahbeer
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The 11th Annual Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beer (FOBAB) featuring The National Wood Aged Beer Competition takes place Saturday, November 16th, 2013, at the Skyline Loft in the Bridgeport Art Center. This festival is the nation’s largest celebration of wood and barrel aged beer.

 

 

fobab

I am going to assume that if you have found your way to this website, you don’t need an education in barrel aged beer. It would also be safe to guess that you are somewhat familiar with FOBAB. With that being said, I will skip the history lessons and move on to what’s new for 2013.

 

  • For 2013, cider/perry/mead has been added to the competition categories
  • Food trucks will be setting up in the main parking lot outside of the event
  • A shuttle will be provided from FOBAB to the Red Line & Ogilvie Station. Times for the shuttle will be posted during the event
  • It took less than four minutes for both sessions of FOBAB to be sold out
  • Justin Maynard (Executive Director ICBG) will be wearing some ultra-hip headphones

 

Participating breweries:

3 Floyds     5 Rabbit      Adams County Brew Crew     Against the Grain     Ale Syndicate

Allagash     Alltech Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.      Apple Knocker Hard Cider

Atlas Brewing Company     Avery Brewing Company     Bear Rupublic     Begyle Brewing

Bell’s Brewery     Blacklist Brewing     Boston Beer Co.     Boulevard Brewing Company

Breakside Brewery     Brewery Vivant     Central Waters     Crispina     Dark Horse Brewing Company

Denali Brewing     Deschutes Brewery     DESTIHL     Eden Ice Cider     Finch’s Beer Company

Firestone Walker Brewing Co.     Fitger’s Brewhouse     Flat 12 Bierwerks     Flossmoor Station

Gigantic Brewing     Goose Island – Clybourn     Goose Island – Wrigleyville

Goose Island     Grand Teton Brewing company     Great Divide     Half Acre     Halfmoon Bay Brewing

Haymarket Pub & Brewery     Iowa brewers union     Lagunitas     Lake Effect Brewing

Lakefront Brewery     Local Option     Lost Abbey     Lunar Brewing     Metropolitan Brewing

Milwaukee Brewing Company     Morgan Street Brewery     Moylans Brewery     Mystery Brewing

Nebraska Brewing Company     Nevin’s Pub     New Belgium Brewing     New Holland Brewing Co

Oakshire     Off Color Brewing     Oskar Blues     Perennial Artisan Ales     Perrin Brewing

Pig Minds Brewing     Pipeworks Brewing     Revolution Brewing     Rock Bottom – Chicago

Rock Bottom – Denver     Rock Bottom – Des Moines     Rock Bottom – Minneapolis

Rock Bottom – Warrenville     Saugatuck Brewing     Shoreline Brewery     Side Project Brewing

Sietsma Orchards     Slapshot Brewing     Solemn Oath Brewery     Spiteful     Stone Brewing Co.

sun king brewing     Surly Brewing     Ten Ninety     Tighthead Brewing Company

Triptych Brewing     Two Brothers Brewing     Uinta Brewing     Upland Brewing     Vandermill Cider

Vintage Brewing     Virtue Cider     Wheelhouse     Widmer Brothers Brewing     Wild Onion

ZwanzigZ Brewing


August 12, 2013

Have Fun and Save Money With Beer Dogging

by blahblahbeer
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One of my #AleToTheBurbs partners has something that might interest you & I thought I would share part of an email they sent out today to their Beer Dogging members:What is Beer Dogging?

Beer Dogging is the Chicago area’s fastest growing craft beer organization.  For some of us, Beer Dogging is a way of life.  It’s what we do. For years we have been chasing down the best beers.  Now the time has come to lead others on that journey.  Our mission is to keep you on the trail of craft beer and hopefully save you a few pennies along the way.  Now that you are a member, you are eligible to receive beer related deals, participate in Beer Dogging projects and events, and win prizes. Make sure to visit us on the web atwww.BeerDogging.com and download the iPhone or Droid app.  We can be found on Twitter @BeerDogging and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BeerDogging . If you have any questions about anything beer related, please contact us anytime.

 

 

ALPHA DOG MEMBERSHIP
The Alpha Dog Membership is an upgraded membership for $25 per year.  This upgraded membership is for the person who is really looking to stretch their beer dollars.  Alpha Dog members will receive a membership card that must be presented to claim any deals they will be eligible for.  With this program you enjoy deals year round from our sponsors.  Each time you walk in the door there will be a deal waiting for you.  There is the potential to save hundreds of dollars per year.  The membership is good through December 2014 so act now and you will be getting a few months FREE.

 

 

UPCOMING BEER DOGGING MEMBER EVENTS
WHAT: SUBURBAN BEER BUS TOUR
We are very excited about this one.  Jump aboard the Chicago Brew Bus and visit some of the most elite beer bars in the western suburbs.  Among these will be Standard Market, Wild Monk, Brixies, and Cigars and Stripes.  Lunch and appetizers will be provided as well as guided tastings and pairings.  The bottle sharing on the bus can be pretty extensive so make sure your taste buds are ready.
WHEN: SATURDAY AUG 17TH 12:30PM – 6:30PM

 

 

WHERE: STARTS AND FINISHES AT STANDARD MARKET IN WESTMONT

 

 

PRICE: $45 (Inludes bus ride, lunch, appetizers, giveaways and prizes, $10 Standard Market gift card, and guided tour by Cicerones and/or Cicerone Certified Beer Servers.

 

TICKETS:  Click Here

July 17, 2013

Heaven On Seven Presented By Ale To The ‘Burbs

Ale to the ‘Burbs is a monthly collaborative beer blog series. Five Chicagoland beer blogs- five communities- five suburban beer destinations- all on one day. From the hidden neighborhood gems to the well-known pillars of suburban craft beer, we’ve got the Chicago ‘burbs covered. Links to the other four articles are listed at the bottom of this post. Check back next month for another set of articles.

HO7BarView

I’m a big fan of downtown Naperville and near the corner of Jackson and Main sits a restaurant serving fare that’s a little different from the other eateries in the area. I stopped by Heaven On Seven for lunch on Sunday and waddled out with a smile across my face. The first question I was asked after being seated, “Would you like a beermosa?” Ummm- YES, please!

HO7BeermosaAs a beer enthusiast, this really got my attention, but I was worried it would be the single high note of my visit. The décor provided a visual stimulation and was a welcome distraction as I perused the menu. There were so many southern dishes that sounded amazing and I was having a hard time making up my mind. When I was asked if I was ready to order, I quickly chose the Voodoo Enchiladas. My curiosity got the best of me. I had to sample a Cajun interpretation of a Mexican staple. After I ordered, I was asked if I would like to see the beer list and with my tongue hanging out of my mouth, I shook my head in an affirmative nod. While there were only eight beers on draught, Heaven On Seven has an entire page of bottles and cans available.

It appears that Jimmy Bannos understands the marriage between beer and food. Craft beer can complement food in a way that no other beverage can. Not only does Heaven On Seven have a decent beer selection, the restaurant also hosts “beer dinners” on a regular basis. In further evidence that Heaven On Seven understands the beer and food relationship, Heaven On Seven will be a food vendor at Naperville Ale Fest serving gumbo and Andouille Corn Dogs. Trust me; you will want to grab some while you are at the fest.

Eating at Heaven On Seven makes you feel comfortable. The atmosphere is relaxed and inviting. The dining area is small, but it feels cozy. There is a “social” vibe about Ho7 and conversations were HO7Dininglively and abundant. The Heaven On Seven staff meshes well with the ambiance by catering to the needs of their guests in an unobtrusive manner, but are able to make meaningful contributions to conversation.

You might be wondering about the Voodoo Enchiladas- like Ho7 they have a hex on me and they are calling me back for more.

HO7VoodooEnchiladas

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can find the rest of the Ale to the ‘Burb articles here:

Brixie’s by Beerdogging

Warrens Ale House by Subburban Brew

Tuscan Market by Subberbia

Bigby’s by Pour Man

 

 


June 17, 2013

Crosstown Pub and Grill Presented by Ale to the ‘Burbs

by blahblahbeer
Categories: Ale to the 'Burbs
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Ale to the ‘Burbs is a monthly collaborative beer blog series. Five Chicagoland beer blogs- five communities- five suburban beer destinations- all on one day. From the hidden neighborhood gems to the well-known pillars of suburban craft beer, we’ve got the Chicago ‘burbs covered. Links to the other four articles are listed at the bottom of this post. Check back next month for another set of articles.

Xtownsign

 

Crosstown Pub and Grill- sounds like a place you would expect to find in Chicago full of Cubs and Sox fans. You might find Cubs and Sox fanatics having a great time at Crosstown, but it is not in Chicago. Crosstown can be found on the North side of Naperville along Ogden Avenue.

Most of us identify with either the North or South side of the city when it comes to baseball and the name Crosstown embodies the spirit of Chicago sports. Crosstown provides plenty of televisions to ensure each seat in the house has a great view of every sporting event.  The atmosphere is animated, colorful, sometimes loud, but never dull.

While the owner/chief Jim Nichols’ love of sports is evident, so is his quest to provide quality food. xtownburgerMention Crosstown Pub and Grill and the first response you get, “I love their wings.” The wings have been seen on multiple TV shows and are the feature in a food challenge-    Devil’s Sweat Challenge!

Crosstown doesn’t stop with killer wings. They have a great pub menu containing burgers, pizzas, sandwiches, Panini’s, and much more. What you find on the menu is made from scratch and will likely entertain your taste buds.

What goes well with great pub food?- BEER! Crosstown has an amazing line-up of great beer available to wash down their famous wings. On beermenus.com Crosstown currently lists 18 draughts, 48 bottles, and 30 cans. The numbers alone are enough to grab your attention. At Crosstown, they attempt to provide beers that you might not find at other locations. After a few minutes of looking at their drink menu, I would say they are making strides. xtownpatioIf you are the type of person that prefers to enjoy your beer outside, you are in luck. Crosstown’s patio is complete with TVs and a full bar with 24 beers on tap.

Crosstown Pub and Grill will be part of Naperville Ale Fest. They will be serving grilled wings and pulled pork sliders to go along with the over 180 festival beers.

In celebration of Naperville’s first Ale Fest, Crosstown would like to make two tickets to Naperville Ale Fest available. These tickets will be awarded to the first person to print this article and present it to the staff at Crosstown Pub and Grill.xtownbottles&cans

In further Ale Fest celebration, anyone that brings in a copy of this article will receive $5 off a purchase of $25 or more (This offer cannot be combined with other specials/offers and is for dine-in only). This offer expires the day of Naperville Ale Fest (July 20th, 2013).

 

xtownpatiotapsCraft beer, good food, and a lively atmosphere equal a superb location to enjoy the game or just hang with friends. Come grab a beer and join the good times happening at Crosstown Pub and Grill.

 

 

 

 

Additional Ale to the ‘Burbs Articles:

BeerDogging – Urban Legend Brewing 

SubBeerbia- Niche

PourMan- Church Street Brewing

 

 

 

 


May 30, 2013

Lake Bluff Brewing Company Doesn’t Like To Label

by blahblahbeer
Categories: Blog
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Comments: 2 Comments

A fast-growing segment of craft beer brewing called “nanobrewing” is allowing lots of new, tiny breweries to sprout up almost overnight.  One such brewery is nestled in the quiet Chicago North Shore suburb of Lake Bluff, and is appropriately called “Lake Bluff Brewing Company” or LBBC.  Owners Rodd Specketer and Dave Burns don’t like to label themselves a “nanobrewery” or anything else, for that matter.

LBBCOpened in 2010, LBBC occupies a small storefront property in the heart of Lake Bluff’s downtown area.  The front door opens immediately into the taproom, which embodies a dark décor with built-in stained wood benches lining both outside walls, accompanied by matching tables and chairs.  The open center of the floor leads to the bar. Shelving behind the bar contains LBBC merchandise, glassware and dozens of vintage vinyl LP’s.  Exposed duct-work on the ceilings, small hanging lamps and framed prints of iconic theater signs complete the casual atmosphere.

I met Rodd and Dave on a busy Tuesday evening at LBBC and they immediately offered me a beer.  They suggested their Velvet Hammer Vanilla Porter, which I happily accepted – delicious!  We moved to the basement, which held their “office” desk area littered with papers, boxes of more LP’s, and their entire brewing operation consisting of a four-kettle system producing about 85 barrels a month. This production is enough for their taproom business and “about 8 account customers,” according to Rodd. All of this, plus their ingredient inventory, fits in a space roughly the size of a one car garage.

Dave, from Green Bay, WI, and Rodd, a Lake Bluff native, are friends that have homebrewed together for years. It was during these years of homebrewing that their passion for craft beer grew.  After starting the Lake Bluff Home Brewing Club and winning a few competitions (once with Velvet Hammer), news of their tasty beer grew and people kept asking them how they could get more.  The more Rodd and Dave talked about it, they realized it could be a business they could have fun doing. This business would fit a niche they perceived – a small bar in their community.

Neither Dave nor Rodd are formally educated in brewing, but knew enough to put much of their business together themselves.  They decided to keep their regular jobs on top of starting the brewery not realizing how big their business would be (Rodd is a Banker at J.P. Morgan and Dave is an IT Project Manager at Abbott Laboratories).  Business went so well, that less than two weeks after opening their doors, they nearly ran out of beer.  “It was packed in here every night,” says Rodd.

Since both Rodd and Dave still have their “day” jobs, they rely heavily on their employees to manage the day-to-day, including Bar Manager Lauren Davidson, and their knowledgeable bartenders, two of whom, Pato and Kristin, I was pleased to meet.  Soon after opening, Rodd and Dave decided to hire Brewmaster Mike Dornicker. After hiring Mike, Dave says, “The business really took off.”  Mike has brewing education and is working to be Cicerone certified.  Rodd credits Mike for providing the keen flavor knowledge required for maintaining quality in their beer.

The quality shines through in LBBC’s beer – from their popular Honey Badger Golden Ale, to the Black Squirrel Bourbon Stout (excellent!) and the Tis the Saison.  The tap handles pour eight regular brews plus a couple of rotators, one of which is on nitro every day – a great variety!  For the indecisive, flights of four samplers are available to help you make up your mind. Rodd and Dave also hold tours of their operation every other Sunday to a small number of customers who must reserve a spot in advance.  The $10 fee also includes a sampler flight.photo 2

Interestingly, a few of LBBC’s beers have come about by “accident”. Their favorite such story is of their Skull and Bones Double Pale Ale. They were attempting to brew a pale ale recipe using a new system and the beer came out with a higher alcohol content than they wanted.  Though it wasn’t what they planned, Rodd and Dave decided to offer the beer anyway as a limited release.  They were amazed at the response and their customers convinced them to bring it back.  Skull and Bones has since become a year-round release and remains one of its most popular beers.

Food is not a specialty of LBBC, but the modest number of menu items is anything but ordinary. Pre-made by local purveyors, the pizza and sandwiches will satisfy (I recommend the Grilled Turkey Panini!).  There’s even organic hot dogs and chocolate milk for the kids.  Several wines are also served.

LBBC customers have proved to be diverse. Many business people and middle-aged adults can be found after dinner and a younger crowd coming in later in the evening.  On the weekends, families make their way to the taproom along with customers from further outside of town. Many of those from out-of-town arrive via the nearby North Shore Bike Path.  Many customers are curious and some knowledgeable about craft beer.  The entire LBBC staff is well versed in their beer and happily answers any questions from customers.

Because they opened their brewery in their hometown, Rodd and Dave are making sure LBBC maintains a strong community presence.  The brewery sponsors over a dozen local organizations in appreciation for the support they’ve received from their neighbors.  Their “block parties”, are held outside the taproom on the blocked off street. These parties have proved to be extremely popular.  LBBC occasionally hosts performances of acoustic music groups and other events and specials.

Rodd and Dave say they have no immediate plans to expand, but they are keeping their options open.  They feel their small size gives them the opportunity to afford the best ingredients for brewing.  LBBC has done beer collaborations in the past (their first was Honey Badger with Marriott Lincolnshire) and they are pondering an “across the lake” effort with a Michigan brewery or a suburban venture with another nearby brewer. LBBC is in no rush to change anything. “We want to brew beers that are malty and complex, a little higher in alcohol, but drinkable,” says Dave, “We chart our own course.  That’s why we put a compass in our logo.”

 

Post by Dave Ahlman

Dave Ahlman is a mostly normal Notre Dame alum and lifelong Chicagoan. Several years ago Dave became a craft beer drinker, thinker and enthusiast after deciding he’d had enough of “beer commercial” beer. Besides drinking good beer, Dave likes following Chicago and Notre Dame sports, working on Mac computers, petting animals and watching TV.  He is a loving husband and hopes one day he and his wife will be living in a log home in the woods- perhaps brewing his own beer.



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September 2, 2014