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Entries Tagged as 'Beers on tap'

Beer Summit

July 30th, 2009 · 1 Comment

Is there a political meaning to the beer summit having BLUE moon and RED Stripe?

CORRECTION: Prof. Gates must have decided the political and cultural implications of a Red Stripe would have torn the country asunder, and decided to have a Sam Adams Light.

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Tags: Beers on tap · Food News and Links

365 Beer update

April 27th, 2009 · 3 Comments

My attempt at 365 beers is going well – a little behind, but not to far off track. And I still haven’t been to Hopleaf or Map Room yet.

My reporting on the attempt is way behind though – I’m officially at 108. Number 100 was fittingly a Schlitz – the 60’s formula throw-back (with gusto). It was suprisingly good – probably the best of the fizzy American yellow lagers.

Some notable beers: North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout – my favorite so far this year, the mead-like Surly Three, on tap at Prairie Moon, Paramount Room, Small Bar and Twisted Spoke, the return of Bell’s Oberon – signaling spring (everywhere in Chicago) and Genesee Cream Ale on tap at the Twisted Spoke. Last time I had a Jenny Cream ale, it was warm and I was underage. Everyone with a Jenny story seems to have had one way before drinking legally. Even the Genesee website admits “A few of us first experienced Cream Ale sitting on our Dad’s lap. And let’s be honest again, for some, it was without our Dad. A whole bunch of us first experienced Cream Ale when Dad left the fridge in the garage unguarded.”

Some disappointments were found in bottles – New Holland’s Mad Hatter was one of the only beer’s I couldn’t finish this year – hoppy bitterness is good – astrigent bitterness isn’t. It might have been an older bottle. Also the Magic Hat HiPA wasn’t as bad – but still, the bottom of a bottle should be as pleasant as the first sip. Worst of the year so far – a Samuel Adams White Ale. I hate this style to begin with, and this one was an astringent pint of soap, pepper and coriander that I just barely managed to get down. The Bell’s version of the White was actually pretty good – balanced and much creamier version of the style.

You can follow my progress on twitter or see the full list and reviews on the 365 beer page

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Tags: Beers on tap

Lager Session

March 6th, 2009 · Comments Off

Some of the beer blogs have been doing a Beer Blogging Friday ‘Session’. This week’s Session focuses on lagers. Beer Nut sugests “…consider this a return to our roots as beer drinkers. Don’t even think about cheating the system: leave your doppelbocks and schwarzbiers out of this one: I want pilsners, light lagers, helleses and those ones that just say “beer” because, well, what else would it be?”

While I dont usually do blogging events, the idea of good, sessionable beer being important is one that gets forgotten is these days of high ABV, over hopped, behemoths.

Okay, I kind of broke Beer Nuts suggestion, I found Köstritzer Schwarzbier, a German black lager on tap at the Paramount Room last night. At least it’s a lager. It’s deep black, but the taste is definitely lager. Clean and crisp, but roasty with a sharp, almost rye, bitterness balanced in. Nicely drinkable because of the lightness that you don’t expect from it’s appearance.

I’ll try another to fit better into the rules of the session: Prairie Moon has Metropolitan Dynamo Copper Lager on tap. Locally brewed in Ravenswood, it’s a nice clean, slightly sweet malty, good drinking beer. Nothing outstanding, but a good basic beer. Definitely sessionable, or satisfying when trying to come down off of some 10% punch-you-in-the-palate beer. Metropolitan has a blog so you can find out what they’re doing.

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Tags: Beers on tap

365 beer

March 2nd, 2009 · 2 Comments

Unbeknownst to the readers of this blog (until now), I’ve been reattempting 356 beers. The site which tracked the attempt a few years ago is dormant, so I’ve been using Twitter to document the feat.

As a long time blogger, I’ve been trying to find a reason to use Twitter, and this is as good a reason as any.

For those of you not familiar with what Twitter is – it’s where all your favorite bloggers went off too. Simply put, it’s blogging in 140 characters or less. But more than that, it’s also an aggregator to follow the updates of people you select. Part popularity contest, part important tool for the future, etc, etc, [insert rehash of everything we talked about in 1999 when discussing blogging as an important tool for the future]. Many are using it very effectively, many are just letting us know each and every time their cat does something silly.

It’s a good excersize to describe a beer in 140 characters, as it really hones ones’ writing – as long as u dont strt typng lk ths. Unlike many, I don’t update in real time – usually taking the time to get the beer name and notes right the next day.

But back to the attempt – 365 different beers within a year, mostly on tap, is quite a feat, and I’m on track at this point, but financing a beer a day might be difficult after tax time. Unless my accountant figures out how to write off least year’s drinking.

The on tap angle will be a challenge, although having some great beer bars close to work and home that rotate taps often will make things easier. Twisted Spoke is the best at this for me – they’ve got what seems to be 4-5 different taps each time I go in (once a week at most). Prairie Moon is another closer to home that will help me along, although there’s only one or two taps changing every couple of weeks. Dozens of other good beer bars around town will need visits for the cause.

At a count of 61 already, I’ve hit the most common taps you’ll find around town, with the exception of most of the AB products and some stuff I usually don’t go for (Wit’s, beers that come with fruit, etc).

I’ll be reposting my beer tweets here from now on, but you can see the whole list so far at and follow tweet by tweet at

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Tags: Beers on tap · Drink

Obama Food and Drink

January 21st, 2009 · 2 Comments

Spotted some Obama head cookies at Bennison’s yesterday. They have First Lady Michelle heads too.

Obama Cookies

I’ve also been looking for ‘Obamagang’ or more legally, Inauguration Ale, from Ommegang. Links and a list of bars in Chicago with it on tap at that link.

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Tags: Beers on tap · Exotic Food Products

I went to Hopleaf

December 8th, 2008 · Comments Off

A Grimbergen at Hopleaf. Also notable was the Pere Noel, from DeRanke. Not an over-the-top spiced Christmas beer, but still spiced enough to put you in the holiday spirit. I forgot to try the local mead from Wild Blossom Winery.

I personally like to drink at Hopleaf before the dinner crowd comes in. So I don’t get in there very often anymore. Before 5 is recommended if you want a seat at the bar, and a bartender’s attention.

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Tags: Beers on tap

Prairie Moon

October 9th, 2007 · Comments Off

Prairie Moon in Evanston has always been a favorite of mine. Opened 5 years ago by seasoned Evanston restaurant people, I’ve made it a regular destination more for their rotating tap or two of unusual beer.

The food’s always been good, I’ve always loved their ‘painted soup” – roasted tomato, poblano & squash but my favorite is their shrimp and crawfish po’boy, with garlic remoulade.


And here’s the Kell’s Pub Garlic Shrimp. Loaded with garlic, basil and tomatoes.

There’s always something good on tap, like Prankster from North Coast Brewing. The Arcadia Hopmouth, a super-hopped IPA from Battle Creek Mich. is available now too.

Other local pubs like Nevin’s and Bar Louie now have a decent tap selections, Nevins includes König Ludwig Weiss, a really good Hefe-Weizen and Dogfish 90, Bar Louie has a good 16-18 or so taps, but Prarie Moon still rules Evanston by rotating a few taps with some great selections.

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Tags: Beers on tap · Restaurants

Paramount Room

October 6th, 2007 · 2 Comments

The guys who brought you Volo and Kitsch’n have put together an outstanding beer geek and foodie destination, The Paramount Room on Milwaukee (415 N. Milwaukee Ave) just south of Hubbard and the train viaduct in an old speakeasy. I guess you could define it as a gastropub if that definition is above average pub drinks and food. And they’ve conveniently put it between work and the train for me.

When they first opened, just a few weeks ago, they were serving the Paramount Burger, with a ‘complimentary, optional’ slab of foie gras. It’s no longer on the menu, and I fear I’ll never have such a decadent meat and fat combination for 16 bucks again.


Chef Stephen Dunne’s foie is bourbon cured and now appears as a ‘Brioche French Toast’ with maple walnut syrup, again, the menu stressing that the locally illegal foie is optional and complimentary.

I’ve been in there several times when locals chefs and restaurant people are there, and when I hear them raving about the food, you know it’s got to be good.

When a guy like John Manion from Mas is sitting next to you raving about the steak tartare, you order it.


This is no ground beef tartare, it’s the perfect size cut, with the traditional capers and onions already mixed in.

I tried the Scotch Egg on another visit, prompted when I heard another group of visiting chefs demanding it.


The Scotch Egg, for the uninitiated, is a hard boiled egg wrapped in sausage and deep fried. The 4 spears of asparagus under it do little to make such a combination look or sound healthy.


The sausage is perfect, towards the pink side.

arcadiasm.jpgAs for the beer, a worthy selection of 11 taps (NOT counting the bud light) – Goose Island Matilda, Spaten (lager), Delirium Tremens, Left Hand Milk Stout, Great Lakes Holy Moses, Strongbow Cider, Smithwicks, Guinness, Einbecker Pilsner, Arcadia IPA, and Konings Hoeven Quad. Delirium, while more and more popular, is great to find on tap, the Arcadia Hopmouth will satisfy the hop-lover, the Quad (Quadrupel from the former La Trappe Trappists) is a real treat, but the Left hand Milk stout is just plain delicious. Lighter than you’d expect from a beer as black as night, sweet, like a chocolate-coffee milk shake, without the darker, burnt roasted flavors you find in a typical stout.

The bottle list is also well-rounded, but I’m always more impressed by taps. One interesting bottle is Unibroue’s Ephemere a white (”Blanche”) beer with the crisp flavor of green apples.

My main caution is ‘above average’ goes for the price as well. The sandwiches and most entrees are served without sides, so if paying for a 9 dollar hamburger without fries (an extra 6) or paying 7 bucks for 4 fried pickle spears scares you, be forewarned.

PostScript – A review would be incomplete without mentioning that they have the coolest bathroom hand dryers you’ll ever see. Made by Dyson, it’s called an Airblade.

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Tags: Beers on tap · Drink · Restaurants

Beer and excuses

May 28th, 2007 · Comments Off

A new machine, a busy work schedule and other excuses have kept me away. I’m on a new machine, and many of your email requests to get on the Food Blog list are still on a sick machine (not like I was going to get through them all anytime soon). In the meantime, here’s a beer. Prairie Moon has Ommegang’s Hennepin on tap. Citrusy with coriander and ginger notes. They also have the excellent Goose Island Pere Jacques on tap. Dark, malty, strong and fruity, more complex than Goose’s Matilda.

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Tags: Beers on tap

Beer update – downstate report

February 6th, 2007 · Comments Off

While down in Bloomington IL, I really didn’t have the time to go galavanting around searching for beer, so I’m sorry that I didn’t get to the two microbreweries in the area – Illinois Brewing Company in Bloomington or John S. Rhodell Brewery in Peoria.

I did find Fat Jack’s, a bar in downtown Bloomington. Jack’s might turn in to a college hang-out later, but after work, it seemed a comfortable bar, with a big comfy loungy area to the side and a friendly and experienced barkeep. I was there for the wide choice of tap beers, figuring I could add another rare one to my list. I choose a Breckenridge 471 IPA, one of the new over-hopped, double IPAs getting popular. Malty and caramel sweet, with a powerful but not over-the-top hop bitterness. Almost completely hides its 9%, except for a nice warm feel.

I also had a Boulevard Pale Ale, a nice bright fruity Pale. A fine ale, but nothing highly complex even though I liked it alot. Would make an excellent session ale.

My only other beer adventure was at the Chateau – an ex-Jumer’s hotel, full of medieval decorations. At the bar and restaurant, called Le Radis Rouge I had one of my favorite styles – but made more approachable, typical of larger Wisconsin breweries – Lienenkugels’ Big Butt Dobbelbock. Not nearly as rich and malty as more expensive or more alcoholic ‘real’ dopplebocks, it’s a more drinkable version of the style. Served on tap, it has a much bigger head than from the bottle. It might be that I hadn’t had it on tap before, but it seemed better than last years version. People often disrespect Lienenkugel, but this is an example of their fine product, which as always, is devoid of excess pretention or price with the emphasis on drinkability, not complexity. Probably better called a bock than a dobbel though. All that said, this is one of those beers I’ll buy again, even though it’s crossed off my list.

I only had time to stop for one beer, but the guy next to me at the bar got one of the largest freaking steak sandwiches I’ve ever seen. It looked like a two inch thich steak on a loaf of bread. I’ll have to try one of those next time I get down there.

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Tags: Beers on tap