Friday, May 16, 2014

Mash Tun New Wave Brewers Bash Highlights

Saturday May 3, 2014

Co-Prosperity Sphere, 3219 S. Morgan St.

Look! I took the same photograph as everyone else!

Mash Tun Journal, Chicago's craft beer-centric journal, hosted an amazing beer tasting event for Chicagoland's newest breweries in Bridgeport last Saturday. A couple of us from Beers and Big Shoulders attended; our general impressions were that this was a fun, informative event that introduced us to a lot of new local breweries and beers. We also felt that each of these breweries came with some very good stuff, too much to go into in a short amount of space. Therefore, it is prudent to simply share some of the high points from this event.

Forbidden Root really stood out. Randy Mosher has teamed up with Robert Finkel and BJ Pichman to spend a lot of time creating some very interesting flavors using botanicals. Sublime Ginger is a wheat beer that is full of real ginger flavor and aromatics--you get a little burn from it, like when smelling chopped Ginger. It has a nice, bright, easy lime note. 
The licorice porter is crazy, and unlike any other I've had. It's delicious, but maybe not drinkable in the long-term. More than one pint would be hard on the palate.

The cacao stout is really nice, but mostly because of the magnolia flower, which adds a "dankness" and clean green flavor that is intense and refreshing simultaneously. Totally clears the palate at the end of each sip, which is needed, because the cacao had an upfront tannin--the order of flavours was unusual.
One can only imagine the number of test batches these guys had to go through in order to create the deliciousness that is Forbidden Root.

Marz Community Brewing brought four beers, three of which I would drink anytime, anyplace. The Berlinerweiss was a tad too lemony for my taste, but the white IPA, Albino Bezerker (collaboration with Lake Effect Brewery), was superb. Think fresh Deschutes Chainbreaker. They were also serving two variations of an amber ale. The first was aged in oak, and the second in cherry wood. The oak variant was deliciously subtle and mellow, but the cherry wood was sublime, a close second favorite beer of the event.

Slapshot Brewery just started in January, and will begin distribution in June. Slapshot showed up with an ESB, 

Leather Leisure Suit,

 that was the perfect session beer. They also poured a very respectable IPA using Simcoe hops, the name of which escapes me. For those of you who like great sessionable beers, keep an eye on Slapshot. 

Bucket List was, in my opinion, another standout brewery. Right now they are sharing brewing space with Slapshot. They were pouring two very delicious ales: Hell Fire Club is an English style brown ale using El Durado hops, 7.5%. Tai Hei is a white IPA brewed with Sorachi Ace and Mandarina Bavaria hops. At 5.4%, this was a very sessionable beer with a great lemon-citrus flavor. Tai Hei was our favorite beer that day, which is saying a great deal, given the company that Bucket List was keeping.

Honorable mentions go to the following:

Cahoots Brewing brought No More S'more Stout, an imperial vanilla stout brewed with scotch soaked vanilla beans. Delicious.
Dryhop was pouring a double IPA called Blast from the Underworld IPA. It is super hoppy at 100 IBUs, but surprisingly light and dry, and not sweet. This beer has great potential as something lots of people could crave. 
Middle Brow Brewery had an Oud Bruin Tafelbier (Junta) that, despite a 3.5% ABV, had an amazing amount of flavor. It was brewed in collaboration with Transient Artisan Ales.
18th Street Brewery had a really nice pale ale (Lead Pipe Pale), but the standout was Soft & Sexy, a French saison. This was brewed with Breakroom Brewing. It was sweet at the start, but quite hoppy in the finish, which was a good thing in this instance.

Good things are happening in Chicago, and based on this great event, Chicago beer lovers have a lot to look forward with the arrival and growth of these new breweries.

Special thanks to Charitianne for keeping and sharing good notes when I stopped making sense.

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