Tag Archives: Craft Beer

Suds: July 30

Editor’s Note: These are my opinions so don’t get all worked up at the blog over them.

Let me start by saying the whole Chic-fil-a debate is much more nuanced than anyone wants to give it credit for, diving into black and white arguments that devolve into hatred and name calling. As a blog, we here at MwBC DO NOT and WILL NOT under any circumstances condone bigotry toward any group of human beings. Life is a marathon and we’re all in it together and sometimes it’s awful and sometimes it’s great, but we really don’t need to go out of our way to make it any more miserable for anyone else. That being said, we’re all missing the point: a bunch of Chicagoans are arguing about a plain chicken sandwich. Don’t like Chic-fil-a’s policies? No big deal. Go eat a hot dog! Eat literally anything else. People come to Chicago from all over the world just to eat the food. Why should anyone care about a chicken sandwich chain? I do not want my food to be tied to any political stance because it’s food and I need to eat it. I will take my money elsewhere and be equally satisfied (probably more so).

I’d rather eat at the Bad Apple anyway.

Along with our stance on equality, as a beer blog, we’re devoted exclusively to regional cuisines. I wrote about it before and I’ll write about it again. Chic-fil-a presents more of an issue because it homogenizes a culinary landscape. Chicago already has great chicken places with a rich history! They have even more history as the Carl Sandburg’s “hog butcher for the world.” I do not stand for imperialism of any kind, particularly when it comes to food (bigoted food in particular).

Phew, I’ve calmed down now. Have yourself a Chicago-style hot dog, drag that thing through the garden, grab some Old Style and let’s get to Suds.

-Beer Here: Radio Free IBA from Lake Louie.

-I have missed the Tour de Fat every year since I turned 21. Articles like this make incredibly sad

A rooftop pig roast? Sounds perfect.

Neat stuff on Dry Hop Brewery in Chicago.

-Good luck getting reservations for these City Provisions dinners

-I love Wisconsin for plenty of reasons, but mainly for places like this: Eddie’s Ale House.

-Sad to have missed reporting on Summer Brew. I guess we can start getting ready for Winter Brew?

-I don’t know what to think about a black saison, but I guess I have to try it…

-Finally, to fit with the season I typed “olympics” and “beer” into Google and found this article about how many calories some olympic athletes consume. Sorry, no science here, but imagine how much food these people would have to eat if they wanted to gain weight. I just don’t think it’s possible.

Have beer opinions? Tell us about them on Facebook, Twitter (@midwestbeer) or email us at mwbeercollective@gmail.com.


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Suds: July 25

Running behind today, so you’ll just have to enjoy this photo:

Seriously, don’t lose that number. Or that pretzel.

That’s the album cover of Steely Dan’s Pretzel Logic. Follow this link to the exact spot in NYC (isn’t everything in NYC?). Stick tap to my roommate for alerting me to this blog, Quipsologies (great fonts). They linked to PopSpots today and that brings me to where I am right now.

Who needs a beer? How about a Schlitz and let’s get to Suds.

-We don’t give nearly enough due to St. Louis, so please take the time to check out all the awesomeness happening at St. Louis Craft Beer Week.

Like Finch’s beer? Dislike cystic fibrosis? Then this event is for you! Somewhat related, MwBC is emphatically PRO Chicago’s new food truck laws.

One Barrel Brewing is predictably overwhelmed by demand. This guy is so awesome.

-It was inevitable: A meadery in Madison. And yes, that’s apparently how you spell that…

-Ambivalent about lambics, but always excited to hear from the brewers behind the beer themselves.

-I would lose in a staring contest with Robert Goulet. Those eyes!

-Not Havel, Hommel!

-Only Guys Drinking Beer could have the foresight to review a 2009 Dark Horse

-Finally, why do I have to be so defensive about the Rick Nash trade? At least some of the CBJ blogging community agrees with me. Someone had to score goals in Columbus, but they are definitely better off without him.

Need more hockey? So do we. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@midwestbeer) or send an email to mwbeercollective@gmail.com.

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Brew for Thought: Lake Superior Brewing Kayak Kolsch

Summers are hectic, possibly more than any other time of the year. Even though the warm weather conjures up visions of lying on the beach or going to the baseball game, in truth the weather is the perfect excuse to get all of those chores done that piled up during the winter. There is a place in Minnesota, though, where you can truly get away from the endless noise of engines drumming down the highway and the constant ringing of cell phones: the Boundary Waters.

In the northernmost reaches of the state lies a quiet sanctuary of lakes and islands, whose only visitors use a paddle rather than an engine. While the term pristine wilderness is an idealistic statement, spending a week in the BWCA is as close to unplugged as our society gets. There is something wonderful and a little terrifying to know you are relying on only the items you’ve packed in to your kayak or canoe: one misstep and you could be up a creek without a paddle, so to speak.

The solitude the Boundary Waters offers a person is unmatched by any convenient amenity we can buy in a store. Waking up the first morning in camp is uplifting, as though Emerson himself sloughed the knapsack of custom from your shoulders. The air is crisp and clean and it feels like the first time you’ve ever really taken a breath.

This place and mindset demand a quality beer free of gimmicks and heavy-handed witticisms in their names. It demands something light, crisp and refreshing as the morning air. In my mind, Lake Superior Brewing Kayak Kolsh is the perfect choice for a trip to the Boundary Waters, so grab a six-pack, (oh hell, grab two six-packs) and make a grand portage to a little peace of mind.

Best Enjoyed: Quietly, at a campsite on the lake.

Best Paired With: A shore lunch of freshly caught walleye.

Where to Find: Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin

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Suds: April 25

Last night, I hit up the Fulton Beer Dinner over at the Bulldog NE and enjoyed a flight of their beers paired with tasty, well-portioned eats. Among those eats I had my second memorable run-in with pork belly, an increasingly popular cut of pork akin to bacon. If you have the means (i.e. a good local butcher) I highly recommend getting a cut of pork belly and using it in my favorite recipe. In the mean time, check out this new installment of Brewing TV and crack open your favorite chocolate stout–a Rush River Nevermore is a good option.

– Tonight at the Pig & Fiddle in Minneapolis is the Tallgrass Beer Dinner. Check out the menu here and make your reservations.

– Tomorrow, don’t miss the Summit Beer Dinner at Seasons Tavern in Hudson, WI for a decidedly Midwestern experience.

– For Chicagoans, Summit Brewing is taking over the taps at Burger Bar tomorrow.

University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank is the first stadium in the Big Ten to allow the sale of alcohol. Wisconsin, wha happened?

Capital Brewery achieves Green Tier status. The way green beer should be. Kudos!

– What do Schlafy Brewing and the universe have in common? They are expanding!

– Check out What’s On Tap in Indiana.

– Iowa’s Craft Beer Festival is coming up in May. Support good beer and get your tickets today!

Want to write for the MwBC? Submit a sample of your writing to mwbeercollective@gmail.com

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Suds: April 4

Anthony’s recent article on invasive species changing the context of an ecosystem was a good look at the shifting paradigms in ecology and it is ever more relevant with the continued conversation on Asian carp being introduced to the upper Mississippi. Scientists in Lacrosse, WI are developing a “bio-bullet” to poison the carp that are threatening to destabilize the river ecosystem. However, some scientists are asking about the unintended consequences. Take a look at this article explaining how the microparticle poison would work and check this video out of what rivers in Illinois are becoming.

– My God, Lemon! Does it get any better than this beer flight?

– Check out this installment of Brewing TV for a few laughs.

– Minneapolis’ Ginger Hop will be tapping Boulder’s Bad Moon Risin’ accidental brilliance at 5:00pm tonight!

– If you’re not a believer in Rock Bottom, then read MwBC friend Michael Kiser’s post from Good Beer Hunting and check out this special release in Minneapolis!

– Sheboygan-based 3 Sheeps Brewing Co. this week began distribution of four new craft beers.

– Wisconsin’s Gitchee Gumee Beer Fest is around the corner.

Missouri Beer Fest is happening this Saturday.

– The Spring Ale Fest in Minneapolis is also this Saturday.

Finally, the Peoria International Beer Fest is coming up soon.

Carp-e Diem! Find out how Asian carp will affect your local habitats and see what steps you can take to curb the spread. 

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Andy Warhol and the Pop Art of Beer Labels

The ‘craft’ in craft brewing extends far beyond the brewhouse in most of our favorite micro- and nano-breweries around the Midwest. While the beer is a true labor of love, from the development of bold and experimental recipes to the never-ending scrubbing and sanitation of the tanks, every aspect of a craft brewery is imprinted with the brewers personalities. The entire brewery seems to be steeped in the culture and spirit of ‘craft,’ right down to the labels they put on their bottles.

The label artwork for a craft brewer contains a strong region disposition and usually holds a deeper meaning than just the image. For instance, Minneapolis’ Harriet Brewing’s labels feature artwork from a local painter and friend solidifying their ties to the community in which they brew. The paintings that inspired the labels are actually hanging inside their taproom for everyone to enjoy.

But the endless supply of craft beer labels that harbor deeper meaning for the brewers and community are not what I want to focus on today. Instead, I want to take a look at the beer labels from America’s macro-breweries, specifically those of Budweiser, and explore their relation to the “Pope of Pop Art,” Andy Warhol.

Imbibed around the nation, Budweiser’s labels must get across something more universal than the regionally influenced craft beer labels in order to appeal to people from the North, the South, the East Coast, West Coast, the mountains of Appalachia and the Sierra Nevadas. Their labels, like their beer, hit the American palate the same wherever they are geographically, in the same way that a McDonald’s Big Mac tastes the same at any and every one of their restaurants.
















The Bud labels don’t feature local artists or give a nod to a specific city via a witty play on words because it would confuse the brand they have created. In essence, what you see on their label is all there is to see; there is no deeper meaning than simply “Bud Light.” The closest thing to a craft beer label is their series of NFL labels that featured the colors and logo of the various NFL teams. When I stumbled across this series, I couldn’t help but make the mental comparison to Warhol’s portrait prints. Replicated images with a change of color that ask the viewer to take them at face value and nothing more.

Could Budweiser be the Andy Warhol of the brewing world? I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to gnash my teeth at the demon that posed that Nietzschean riddle in my mind. It was simple for me to feign offense on behalf of Warhol and move on with my life, but I kept coming back to the question unable to shake it off. After all, something about the Bud labels had triggered the comparison in the first place.

Both the labels and Warhol’s works highlight a nationally recognized brand, both feature a change in color as the only differentiating characteristic between the images, both can be taken at face value as the subject of the art/label is readily seen. We must ask ourselves honestly and without bias, if Warhol were to release this image of all the Bud Light labels, would we be surprised or indignant?

Intent seems to be the dividing factor that separates the two from each other. Bud’s labels are to sell more beer. Warhol’s art was a tongue in cheek comment on this mass marketing of brands. And if we accept this distinction we must wonder about the old adage, “Art for art’s sake.” Either art has a mission it is accomplishing and Budweiser and Warhol are incompatible based on intent; or, taken in a vacuum, Budweiser is the Warhol of the brewing world. Pick your poison.

What’s your favorite Warhol? Tweet @MidwestBeer with #WarholRocksMySocks. 

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Suds: December 19

I recently visited a pub in St. Paul this weekend that will remain nameless and ordered a Finnegans Irish Amber. When the waitress came back I felt the sting of disappointment in seeing my Irish Amber in a clear plastic cup. At first, I checked myself for exhibiting an acute case of beer snobbery, but upon further thought I concluded that this was a serious and valid misgiving shared by a fellow beer drinker at the table. Beer, especially craft beer, needs a glass home. I stumbled across this article of different brewers contemplating craft beer in plastic cups.

A beer with a little humor and lot of heart.

Surly Smoke release dinner at the Red Stag Supper Club in Minneapolis. The menu looks fantastic.

Festivus is here at Town Hall Brewery! Time to drink and display your feats of strength

Beer Here: Milk Stout from Lake Louie Brewing.

– God begets man. Man begets Tebow. Tebow begets Tebrew. I mean, whoa!

Ray Klimovitz, Wisconsin native, honored by beer society.

– Just another reason MPR is possibly the best public radio in the nation. What, me biased? No way.

Minnesota fans of Goose Island’s limited Bourbon County series might not be happy after reading this. Complex issue, certainly.

– A few Midwestern brews crack the Philadelphia Post’s top 12 beers of Christmas. Props to Michigan and Ohio.

– Encouraging news from the guys at Mother’s Brewing Co.

Looking for holiday (beer) gift ideas? Tweet @MidwestBeer for suggestions.

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