Chicago’s Begyle Brewing company has been doing things a little bit differently ever since they opened, and this week’s pick is certainly part of that approach. The company is a CSB – Community Supported Brewery – much like the CSAs you find from local farms during the summer. You get a new beer every month (there are 6 month or 12 month subscriptions, but they’re currently on a waiting list) and this week’s pick features their Midwestern Pale Ale, which goes by the name Euchred. Even if you can’t get a subscription, it shouldn’t be too hard to find them around Chicago; they’re on about two dozen taps. Cheers.
Some of the state’s top smokers are joining forces for a great cause. The newly-formed Illinois BBQ Alliance (which has 14 restaurants and counting) is presenting the first-ever “Autumn Smoke” on Sunday, November 2nd, from 2 – 6 p.m. at Joe’s Bar (940 Weed St.), which will benefit Stand Up For Kids, a national non-profit that gets homeless kids off of the streets. In addition to a regional BBQ dinner from some of the top Pitmasters in our region, there will be a panel discussion as well as a plenty of delicious, slow-smoked beef and pork. Tickets are just $35 ($25 if you’re a member of the IBBQA). Get all of the info here.
It’s last call for the world’s best bartender. After nearly three years serving as the Beverage Director at The Aviary – Chicago’s cutting-edge bar – and garnering every conceivable award in his industry, Charles Joly is leaving the West Loop bar at the end of the month to seek out the opportunities now presenting themselves. When Partners Nick Kokonas and Grant Achatz hired the classically-trained bartender away from The Drawing Room, handing him the keys to their experimental, no-rules lab on West Fulton, it might have been considered risky. But the overwhelming amount of good press and industry accolades – coupled with Joly’s rising star – only intensified the spotlight. Read More
You have to hand it to the Illinois Restaurant Association. Not only do they take constructive criticism, they act upon it. A few years ago, I was fairly critical of Chicago Gourmet, after a weekend spent waiting in lines longer than an NFL rap sheet due in part, no doubt, to a Groupon that flooded the event with discount price party crashers. Add to that the lopsided number of liquor and wine tents vs. actual food vendors, and you had half the crowd smashed by 2 p.m. The secondary tent just west of Millennium Park wasn’t much better, at least in terms of hearing the cooking demos, as the sound ricocheted everywhere, making it impossible to hear the folks up on stage. My how times have changed.
This past weekend’s event – under some of the warmest, most pleasant late September weather I can ever recall – was improved by at least 1000%. Let’s start with the food. Yes, there were still lines, but guests had so many more choices this year: new BBQ pavilions featuring three restaurants at a time, in long blocks, switching out every few hours. You could line up and get brisket from Bub City or a “BBQ Sundae” from Chicago q but still have plenty of time to walk over to another pavilion where another trio of restaurants where serving up something sweet (dessert pavilion) or savory. Read More
There are no vitamin C deficiencies this week, but a small, Lake Mills, Wisconsin brewery called Tyranena is using a little humor to create a slightly bitter IPA they’re calling scurvy. Since it contains orange peels – one of the remedies for said affliction – they’re hoping that if you have a pirate in the family, who has perhaps spent several months at sea, this little beer just might do the trick. Cheers. It’s a seasonal, however, so it might not be on the shelves at The Hopleaf this late in the year.
How time flies, especially if you’re shucking. This Friday, Shaw’s Crab House kicks off it’s 30 year anniversary celebration with yet another Oyster Fest Block Party. As usual, there will be live music, Goose Island beers, a boat load of fresh seafood and tons of oysters (approx. 15,000) from both coasts. A lively Oyster Slurp Off will pit finalists head-to-head to see who takes home a $1,000 prize. All of the action begins on Friday at 3 p.m. The event lasts until 10 p.m. and takes place at 560 W. Grand (at the River). Tickets are available for $25 at www.oysterfestchicago.com. Use the code LOBSTER.