This week, Michael Roper is talking Christmas beer, but not just with one pick – Anchor, of course – but also Great Lakes and Ommegang. These three U.S. producers are all making toast-worthy Christmas ales right now, so go pick up a six-pack, or just head over to The Hopleaf, where they have plenty. Cheers.
The far western suburbs have a few food and drink highlights, among them, Paul Virant’s Vie, Katy’s Dumplings and the massive Super H Mart in Naperville. But head out to Warrenville, and you’ll come across the headquarters of Two Brothers Brewery, one of the region’s craft brewing pioneers. This week’s pick is a red rye ale called Cane & Ebel, and we love how it combines tangy rye with the smooth, cool sweetness of Thai palm sugar. Cheers.
This week, Roper looks to the Northeast, specifically, Portland, Maine. The Allagash brewery has always produced Belgian style beers in large formats, but now they’re actually producing the same great beer in more manageable 12 oz. bottles. Their dubbel and tripel happen to be wonderful beers, and now anyone can find them in their better beer store, in easy-to-carry six packs. Cheers to that.
Evanston is known for many things: Northwestern, Edzo’s and the rocky lakeshore come to mind. But beer? Not until recently. The Hopleaf’s Michael Roper says get ready to hear about Temperance – the first and only brewery from Evanston that has some wonderful citrus hops, low alcohol and just a touch of rye. Here’s to yet another Chicago area brewery, doing things the old fashioned (small batch) way. Cheers.
This week’s pick has nothing to do with magic, it’s simply an oatmeal stout from one of our favorite breweries – Firestone Walker. “They can do no wrong,” says Hopleaf owner Michael Roper, and with its low alcohol and dark, rich finish, it’s a beer that’s well-suited to the cooler days ahead. Cheers to that.
By now you should know that Roper is a big fan of the small, family-owned brewery. That’s not to say he doesn’t respect and enjoy a good beer from a large company, but more often than not, he gravitates to the mom-and-pop operation. This week is no different. He’s tipping his cap to Robinson’s Brewery, which has been brewing since 1899. Old Tom integrates a bit of pear juice, as well as some ginger, to make a refreshing (and at 6% ABV) very quaffable brew. When the kids hit the streets trick or treating tomorrow night, you can curl up with this kitty for sure. Cheers to that.