I am so sorry, but I have returned after a long absence.
I just wanted to drop a line about my latest beer that I recommend; Coniston Brewing Co. Bluebird Bitter. This is the beer you always think/hope you will get while in England. It is Balanced, flavorful, and has a nice hoppy edge. Just do not serve it at the damned room temp. Enjoy
We headed out to Aurora to visit the Two Brother’s new venue. They have taken over the old Walter Payton joint and are doing a good job. They seem to have all their usual beers on tap as well as few that do not get out to the outside. I drank my favorites, Heavier Handed and Cane and Ebel, but had the pleasure of downing Hobknob, a hoppy special brew that I would happily give to my fellow hop whores. Apart from the beers, the Roundhouse is a fabulous venue that one can only hope the 2 Brothers exploit. you could pack a Panzer Division within the the center court, along with an UMPA band. Music and beer on warm summer evenings are easily imagined. Fingers crossed.
While I was unfamiler with this house, it has began to gain a larger presence on the beer shelves, making a tasting a requirement. I went straight for the gusto and went for their Double IPA. The beer has a lot going on and does grow on you as you progress. However, the flavors are a bit murky and trying to pair this with food would be quite a challenge. I do know it did not work with Country Paté. All that aside, the beer is worth a try and might be just what you are looking for.
within the last week, I dined at the Prairie Moon and had the Three Floyd’s Replicantale. It was another great offering in a long line of the brewery’s efforts. But if you have not already had it…it is too late for you. I understand the idea of keeping the buzz going; though frankly, much more buzz out the Floyds will get them ticketed for noise pollution, but when the batches are so small that they run out within a week, what is the point?
When we were there, Amanda, the lady working the bar, made every effort to expose us to the best Brickstone had to offer. One of these was a drink combining their fruit beer with their Porter. While I thought the Porter was unremarkable; a typical Porter, a bit thin with coffee notes, and the fruit beer while tasty also was a bit watery,the combination of both was better than the sum of their parts. Try it out.
In the town of Bourbonnaise there is a small brewpub by the name of Brickstone. They have received a lot of press lately since they won the best APA at the great American Beer Festival. A posse headed that way to see what all the buzz was about. The joint is a nice venue and the staff exceptional. The award winning APA was everything it is meant to be; clean, effervescent with a good amount of hop kick. While I would put 3Floyd’s Zombie Dust as its’ superior ( it placed 3rd at the GABF), the beer is one I would be proud to serve and be able to drink and pair with many more foods than the assertive ZD.
Sadly, their Double IPA had just gone dry so I was not able to check it out, but I will be back as every other beer I tasted was either good, or a typical example of its’ style, i.e. Average.
A few years ago, Beerlieder and I went to a beerfest and sampled two offerings from a small brewer from Normal, Illinois. There was no question in our mind that it was the highlight of all the beers we tasted that day. So it was not with a little anticipation that we planned a road trip to see what was being offered at the much expanded and decorated brewery that had grown from the one man show we had met several years ago.
What a disappointment. We tried the Deadhead Red that had been our second favorite choice back then, but the Strawberry Blond is a seasonal and off the menu so we could not revisit the best beer from the fest. However, we tried several of their current beers and found them wanting. It is true that many of their heavy-hopped beers were out and not offered, but the Double we did have was simply bad. The hops were buried by a heavy fruit taste and an almost syrupy,cloying sweetness that would to this reviewer, have no place in the IPA world.
The best we tasted was an effort by an outsider that had won a contest and hence had had her beer produced by the brewery. This Rye IPA was good and was at least the level that we had expected to exist across the board. The Deadhead remains a solid Red, but certainly nothing that merits a 200 mile road trip.
I can only hope that the beers that were not available, are markedly better and will be available should I come that way again. On the other hand, it would appear that Destihl has acquired distribution in Chicagoland so I may not have to go far to see if their other beers are good. BTW, their Blond and Porter are insipid and derivative.