Friday, March 14, 2014

Beer of the Week: Black Walnut Dunkel

Filed Under: Adult Beverages , Blog , Features , Videos


If you love walnuts, this week’s beer is for you. It’s from Perennial Brewery in St. Louis, and The Hopleaf’s Michael Roper really loves how dark and intense it is. Beer with dessert? Why not. It’s barely 7% abv, and with all of those rich, intense walnuts to draw upon, it has a sweet intensity that might turn out to be a great pairing throughout the meal. This chocolate brown German Dunkelweizen is aged on Missouri‐grown black walnuts. “Big aromas of banana sit on top of this malty wheat beer, and it finishes with a nice black walnut nuance on the palate,” says the description on the brewery’s website. Cheers.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

“Beer” of the Week: Virtue Cider (Nichols Farm)

If you’ve spent anytime eating in Chicago or perusing the Farmer’s Markets, you’ll be very familiar with Nichols Farm. Based in Marengo, IL, the family farm has been a part of the growing food scene here for well over a decade. More recently, their apples have become the basis for Virtue Cider’s latest cider, which resembles an American Colonial-style brew. It’s quite a bit different from Virtue’s Mitten and Red Streak, but food-friendly and quaffable nonetheless. Obviously, it’s available at The Hopleaf, and your finer beverage purveyors. Cheers.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Sonoma Cider Worth Sipping

Filed Under: Adult Beverages , Blog , Features
The Hatchet, The Pitchfork and The Anvil all now available in Chicago.

The Hatchet, The Pitchfork and The Anvil all now available in Chicago.

There has been a cider surge recently. In Chicago, of course, we all know about Virtue Cider, the company started by former Goose Island Brewmaster Greg Hall. His Michigan-based company is producing some seriously hand-crafted cider with influences from the best British and French ciders. Red Streak is one of my favorites for pairing with food, and they’ve also recently come out with The Mitten, an oak-aged winter cider that’s been pipping up at Lula and Frontera. But there’s a new kid on the block, so-to-speak, and this one is from Healdsburg, California. It’s called Sonoma Cider, and I’ve admittedly fallen for The Hatchet. Read More

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Beer of the Week: Bell’s Expedition Stout

Filed Under: Adult Beverages , Blog , Features , Videos

It’s friggin’ cold outside. But this week, The Hopleaf’s Michael Roper has an excellent suggestion: go get yourself some Expedition Stout from Bell’s, the pride of Kalamazoo, MI. It’s dark, roasty and toasty; perfect to sip in front of a fire or have with roasted meats (even chocolate). It looks like oil, but tastes like heaven. Cheers.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Beer of the Week: Obsidian Stout

If there ever was a good week for something brutally dark and rich and comforting to help get through the dark days of winter, this would be it. While Chicago suffers yet another bone-chilling, snow-covered few days (high of 10 today, folks), Roper picked an apropos brew this week. It’s Obsidian Stout from Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon, and if you’re looking for something to go with that cassoulet or slowly-braised beef, this is it. Cheers.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Bittered Sling Something You Should Drink

Beautiful bitters from Bittered Sling

Beautiful bitters from Bittered Sling

Vancouver, BC – In the midst of a dine around last night during the annual Dine Out Vancouver Festival, I had a preview of the next phase in bitters. As you probably know, the cocktail culture in 2014 is all about fresh juices, esoteric (some would say terroir) spirits and of course, bitters. But in the heart of Vancouver, there is a husband-wife team dedicated to new, ground-breaking bitters like I’ve never seen. Fortunately, I had a chance to taste some of their hard work, as a sort of preview of what Chicago drinkers can expect this year, thanks to the fact they’re close to getting a Midwest distributor. Read More