PUMPKIN THIS! The Revolt continues…

I could not be more serious about the revolt against pumpkin beer, and lattes and pumpkin flavored everything. Since apparently we can’t have gun free zones, I am declaring Que4 radio a Pumpkin Free Zone Besides, that rule will be far easier to monitor. Is that a pumpkin in your pants or…bKYtCB1d7LeYcXTeE_o

Tomorrow on the Revolution and Beer show (Saturdays 11am-1pm, www.que4.org) Your headquarters for the Anti-Pumpkin Beer Insurgency continues.

How serious am I about this? First, I once was a Pumpkin Beer drinker. I am now two years clean. Second, like voting for Rahm, Hillary, Trump, Bush or Rauner with the refrain “Any body but…” I am instituting the ABPB “Anything but Pumpkin Beer.” I am so completely and eternally opposed to Pumpkin Beer that on the show I will even resort to, to…Tune in tomorrow to see how low on the beer totem I will sink before resorting to Pumpkin. I have a list. I’m not even sure yet.

ABPB OR DEATH!!!


Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at www.que4.org.
CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. His new book “A Tragic Fate: is an unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com

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Off Color’s Tooth and Claw Lager: 180 Million Years to a Tap

At the age of seven it seemed like the longest word I had yet heard of: Paleontologist. No doubt my parents would recall that practically nothing but dinosaur this or dinosaur that left my mouth for much of the next few years. There was relatively little literature in the early 1970s for the novice about Dinosaurs; I devoured everything I could find. And though it was a fair distance from our rural Illinois home, my parents regularly indulged and encouraged my passion with regular trips to Chicago’s Field Museum.

I dreamed one day of being a Paleontologist. I wrote a letter to the head of the department at the museum and got a reply encouraging me to pursue my studies, and that one day I might be a famous scientist. I still have the letter somewhere. I pursued a career in art instead, and ended up in broadcasting, an author and in logistics.

In a few years I’ll approach five decades since I first walked through the doors and beheld the mind awakening majesty of the great hall. The Field Museum has changed much in that time. Still, in all that time it has never lost its breathless wonder for me. From the halls that map the evolution of the planet and its myriad and wondrous life forms, to the eternal assertions of the ancient Egyptians and the legacy of the vibrant indigenous cultures who effused the Americas for more than 13 millennia before Columbus and the Europeans arrived. In my dreams I retrace those uncountable steps which have come to help guide and define my understanding of the world and my place in it.IMG_3933

And so, in a word, the Field Museum is about evolution, and evolve it has. On Saturday’s radio show, (11am on AM1680, que4.org) a friend of the station shared samples of a local Craft beer available only at the Museum’s new, The Field Bistro, a comfortable and elegant adult respite, features several local brews. Ah, my father would have been in heaven compared with the old days with a somewhat austere basement cafeteria of greasy fast food and fountain sodas. We sampled Tooth and Claw, Dry Hop Lager, brewed exclusively by Chicago’s own Off Color Brewing for the Bistro.

The beer poured, into a pint glass bearing its name, to a slight burnt gold, clear with a one inch fluffy white head. Breathing in a beer is essential to truly valuing the taste. This was light and bready, balanced slightly by that citrusy hint of hops. The first taste was straight forward, reminding me slightly of a freshly brewed European lager on tap at a Prague brewery in the early 1990s. Tooth and Claw, I found, had that great sense of balance between sweet malts and bitter German noble hops. I found that malty fullness first, with a citrusy bitterness that lingered for just a moment. This one I would have bared with a hearty stew hinting of fresh rosemary, grilled meat or a smoky cheese, or porcini or portabella mushrooms for our vegan friends.

I have to confess, at first I failed to recognize Off Color. The label of Tooth and Claw is dutifully understated for the museum. Beer enthusiasts, particularly in Chicago, will recognize their hand drawn cartoonish labels. Last year Revolution and Beer featured their full and rich Scurry Dark Honey Ale. Their Troublesome Gose Style Beer remains one of our favorites. Tooth and Claw proves that Off Color is moved from a competent brewer to one of the important brewing houses in the city. If you ever need an excuse to go to the museum!

It’s funny, about the time I was discovering dinosaurs as a young boy my father let me taste beer for the first time. It too was a local beer, with a ubiquitous name, and one tethered deeply to Chicago history. My palette for beer has greatly evolved since then, just as all those years visiting the Field Museum has helped evolve my intellect and sensibilities. I still find wonder in the world, and new discoveries. Hardly a year passes that I do not find myself exploring those great and seemingly endless halls. It is the sense of adventure and exploration that holds the key, whether at the museum, somewhere in the world and in a new beer. That’s the stuff.


Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at www.que4.org.
CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. His new book “A Tragic Fate: is an unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com


The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a conservative think tank with offices in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and member of the State Policy Network. IPI is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. IPI is also a member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force and Education Task Force. Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst, Amanda Griffin-Johnson, presented model legislation (the “State Employee Health Savings Account Act”) to the HHS task force at ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting.[4] Collin Hitt, Director of Education Policy, is a private sector member of the Education Task Force representing IPI. He sponsored the “Local Government Transparency Act” at the ALEC 2011 States and Nation Policy Summit. In its 2006 annual report the Cato Institute states that it made a grant of $50,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers.

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Tighthead Brewing’s Scarlet Fire Red Ale

2500 beers in 28 countries. Except for North Korea, who reportedly makes one of the best beers on the planet, there isn’t a beer producing nation on earth I haven’t sampled. I’ve had beer on the frontlines around Sarajevo, with Gypsies in Romania, with brewers in the Czech Republic amid Roman ruins on the Dalmatian Coast and in a castle in Germany, and it all began in a small bar in Brookfield Illinois, sitting beside my father at the age of 7 sipping a small glass of Schlitz. I won’t divulge how long ago that was. After all that, I still get surprised by the amazing spectrum of beer styles and flavors. While others have moved off to whatever drink is fashionable this week, I remain loyal to that first taste of beer so many years ago.
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Friday night was a special occasion. It was my wife’s birthday. We’d decided on a perennial favorite restaurant in the neighborhood to celebrate with a romantic dinner. Taste of Peru, which has been featured, and for good reason on shows such as the Cooking Channel’s Diners, Dine-in and Dives, easily won the toss. We arrived just after 6, and despite the cold and Super Bowl weekend, the restaurant was already packed. That says quite a lot in a neighborhood with perhaps the most diverse cuisine in the city, and a phenomenal number of competitors. That also says quite a lot about owner and Peruvian native Cesar Izquierdo. Add to that, the restaurant, at 6545 North Clark Street is unambiguous in a tiny strip mall beside a Dollar store, Laundromat and fast food place. You have to want to find Taste of Peru.

The same is true for the beer I brought along that evening. Out of Mundelein Illinois, Tighthead Brewing Company’s Scarlet Fire Roasty Red Ale promised the elements I was looking for to pair with Peruvian cuisine, which blends a variety of influences, from European and West African to traditional Incan. Here hearty sauces, rich spices, grilled meats, sea food and those eclectic influences are married under Peru’s truly unique culinary umbrella. I wanted something with a bit of sweetness and smokiness in the beer pairing. Scarlet Fire promised, now it remained to be seen how well it delivered.

There is an ambiance to Taste of Peru; a certain family quality and a community one might expect to find in a closely-knit barrio. Conversations overflow from table to table, feeding moments, all of it lofted upon the scents of grilling meats, warming bread and warmed Peruvian spices. The lighting is suitably low, the tables near enough to underscore the sense of community imbued within the cuisine. Amid all of this Scarlet Fire poured to a twilight red color with a full creamy head. The aroma was fruity. I’d ordered Aji de Gallino(Ah-gee day Guy-yeeno), a rich and creamy Chicken and walnut sauce served with rice, a deep-fried potato wedge and half a hard-boiled egg; the odd combination works in only a way Peruvian cuisine can.IMG_1841

At a modest and comfortable 5.6% ABV (Alcohol by Volume), the beer was light and pleasant, with smoky caramel notes and a neatly balanced sweetness that paired wonderfully with the food. This was the sort of beer that would work well on its own, and stands among some of the best local beers in and around Chicago. Also recommended by Tighthead Brewing is their Hat Trick Belgian Tripel, which stands up nicely to traditional Belgians.

It really is about the community, and like a great meal, the right beer really can play a powerful part in constructing that ambiance. I found both of those that night at Taste of Peru and with Tighthead’s Scarlet Fire Red Ale. Cesar, the owner of Taste of Peru, ultimately stopped by our table, the effort feeling more like a gesture of hospitality rather than one of obligation. He took one look at the beer and asked whether or not I’d ever had Peruvian beer. Obviously the gauntlet has been thrown, and for that challenge I am only too happy to pick it up. But that is another story.


Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at www.que4.org.
CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. His new book “Shoot Down: is an unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com


The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a conservative think tank with offices in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and member of the State Policy Network. IPI is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. IPI is also a member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force and Education Task Force. Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst, Amanda Griffin-Johnson, presented model legislation (the “State Employee Health Savings Account Act”) to the HHS task force at ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting.[4] Collin Hitt, Director of Education Policy, is a private sector member of the Education Task Force representing IPI. He sponsored the “Local Government Transparency Act” at the ALEC 2011 States and Nation Policy Summit. In its 2006 annual report the Cato Institute states that it made a grant of $50,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers.

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Revolution and Beer Foodie Corner! Try this one out for Brunch, a delicious bit of extravagance and modest excess. A little sin can be a great thing!

121_0191Experimenting with beer Batters lately, from Pilsners to stouts and everything in between. 2 weeks ago Brian and I reviews Mad Town Nut brown Ale by Madison’s Ale Asylum. It quickly became my favorite Nut Brown Ale, as it isn’t watered down like the Iconic International by the same name. This one is rich in flavor.

So I decided to try a bit in a beer batter mix and it was perfect! It added a bit of nuttiness and sweetness I was looking for in the batter. It was precisely the flavor I was looking for to batter a homemade Monte Cristo sandwich. This is a perfect Brunch offering. I use hearty Italian bread layered with Colby cheese and Mesquite shaved Turkey and a smoky Gypsy Ham with a nice cream sort of sliced white cheese. I used a nice local farmers cheese I picked up at the Glenwood market Sunday mornings in Rogers Park. I have also used Havarti, Emmenthaler and baby Swiss.

Batter the health out of the sandwich, covering the top, bottom and sides. Deep frying is best in a good hot oil. Can be done in a skillet French Toast style, but I like that middle nice and warm and gooey with melted cheese. Cook until golden brown, slice into 4s, sprinkle a bit of powdered sugar and chopped Cilantro. Serve with a raspberry/Jalapeno and cilantro jam for dipping. Stone ground honey Dijon mustard is an alternate.

We used Cilantro and the first ripe jalapeño from our garden and some local raspberry preserves. The honey for the Stone ground honey Dijon mustard was from local bees

WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. He is currently working on a new book “Shoot Down: An unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com .

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Today from 1-3pm on an all new Revolution and Beer Show, Join Brian Murray and WC Turck for the Beer of the Week, food and how gentrification is killing diversity in Chicago with guest activist and artist Amie Sell only on Q4 Radio, www.que4.org

Today on the show we’ll be featuring Third Shift Amber Lager from Band of Brewers, Fort Worth Texas. Third Shift is a casual and nicely balanced Amber Lager, perfect for spicy food. I served it last night with homemade chicken tamales, served over refried black beans, garden guacamole, sour crème and Mexican rice.120_0730

On the show, reminiscing with a neighbor about city neighborhoods, we w ere struck by the way gentrification has changed the character of the city. Is it a vehicle for rejuvenation, economic development and reduction in crime, or a destruction of the cultural and artistic vibrancy of the city and an assault on immigrant, fixed income and working families? And it isn’t just Chicago, but is an issue that resonates across the country. We’ll talk to Amie Sell, artist and activist from the frontlines in Chicago’s Logan’s Square.

Plus, are the Koch Brothers and Rightwing groups behind the current immigration crisis, and much more 1-3pm in Chicago, www.que4.org. Join the conversation as well at 312-985-7834.

Gun deaths are on the rise, and in three years, more Americans will die from gunshot wounds than in car crashes, a report found.
BY PHILIP CAULFIELD
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/gun-deaths-outpace-traffic-deaths-2015-report-article-1.1223721

WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com

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Dinner Party for 4 under $35. Happy 4th from Revolution and Beer!

We’re doing a lot on the cheap lately. But being on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t live a little. More than that, I’m watching fat and sodium these days and trying to eat a bit healthier. Being summer and busy I also can’t afford to spend a day prepping and cooking, but healthy cooking and convenience aren’t exactly congruent things.120_0711

There are few things as fast, tasty, healthy and flexible as hummus. Save the groans. If you think Hummus is the boring chick pea paste found in your neighborhood grocery, you ain’t heard nuttin’ yet. The great thing about Hummus is that it is really an open palette. Have fun with it, and be creative!

One large can of chick peas, a bunch and a half of cilantro, one Avocado, 2/3 of a fresh jalapeño, 2 garlic cloves, 1/3 cup olive oil, one lime and a table spoon of lemon juice, and heaven is a food processor away. I like a little bite, but not hell-fire, so I usually leave the seeds aside and just use the meat of the Jalapeño pepper. More heat? Throw in the seeds for some fire. Once its finished, and the whole thing takes about 6 minutes to prepare, you have this really pretty looking green Hummus, with wonderful aroma and a great fresh taste. All fresh, and totally healthy!

Over a very low heat prime a 1/3 cup of olive oil in a skillet with chopped garlic and crushed coriander seed. The seeds have a different character and flavor then the leaves (cilantro). Warm the oil as you are preparing the chicken. Just before you are ready to cook the chicken turn the heat up to a medium high.

To prep the chicken I sliced a boneless breast into thin slices. Throw that into a dish and toss with hot paprika, golden turmeric, curry and ginger powder, a touch of cumin and a couple pinches of salt. Toss all that in the dish with the chicken strips then sauté in the prepared oil on medium high to brown lightly.

This is how I like to serve Hummus: Spread a healthy amount in the bottom of a bowl. I served it with the chicken so I left a space in the center and filled it with the cooked chicken. Chop tomato and cilantro and sprinkle it over the plate and drizzle a bit of olive oil across the plate. Chop pita bread, crustini, Indian Naan or Kulcha, or any good flat bread. 120_0715

I might have gone with a beer with a sweeter side to balance the spice in the Hummus. I’ll confess to a malty dark Austrian beer, Hirter Morchl, ($2.99 for a half pint from a local grocer) from the heart of the Alps as I was preparing dinner. For service we switched to a Piesporter Michelberg from the Mosel region. We went cheap. Two bottles would have been about $17 bucks. Total grocery cost, $2.39 for the chick peas, $5.89 for the chicken and about $4 bucks for the produce for a grand total of $34 with tax.img_0371

WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com

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Revolution and Beer…of the week: Miller Lite and the pleasures of banality.

Kudos to Miller Lite! They’ve managed the impossible: removing taste from beer. It is a historic achievement, as for thousands of years the taste and ingredients of beer has been paramount to the brewer. Forget those foreigners and their insistence on flavor. Thanks to American innovation, taste and quality are a thing of the past, replaced by consistency and mass production. Normally at Revolution and Beer we review top quality craft and international beers. Today is a special day.i-dont-normally-use-beer-to-fill-my-toilets-but-when-i-do-its-miller-light

I’d recently suffered a head injury which prompted me to reach for a Miller Lite. Marketed for people who believe that “Light” is instead a four letter word, a proper Miller Lite tasting required just the right container. I have goblets, chalices, Weiss and Stout glasses, Ale glasses and steins for tastings, but nothing suitable to Miller Lite, which wouldn’t require flushing first. It needed to be perfect, in order to truly capture all of the subtly and nuance of Miller Lite. Obviously I thought a hat would be perfect.344592d1336775424-beer-carrying-spitfires-world-war-ii-1373436-beerhat_large

The beer poured to a pale golden hue, reminiscent of a dialysis patient on diuretics, and a delightfully thin head which disappeared faster than Casper the ghost in a camera flash. Immediately I sensed the aroma, which exhibited overtones of banality, with undertones of Lake Michigan water filtered through rice not destined for human consumption. The aroma reminded me of a muffler shop at closing time, with the awkward misogynist shouts of Russian middle-aged men calling after women on the sidewalk. Miller Lite boasts an ABV (alcohol by volume) just above a 4am belch after a police breathalyzer.

I do have to admit that it was a luxury not to have to think as I lifted the plastic tube to my mouth for that first gulp, not like those elitist craft beers. In fact, I actually could feel about two dozen IQ points dissolving at that moment. I was thrilled at the marvels of mass consumption, and that I was tasting precisely what 11 million other people similarly afflicted were swilling. Imagine massive tanks of what Miller can legally call beer so huge that a worker could drown in one without affecting the taste! Magnificent!light-beer-beer-bud-miller-lite-light-demotivational-posters-1340073929_zps6d8b1d99

So pick up a beer, turn on cable TV and stare at the weather channel for eleven hours, kick back with a Chalupa, make a toast to Chris Christie, tell yourself voting changes nothing, refuse to leave your couch ever again and suck on your beer hat until your cranium implodes. You’re an American dammit, and Miller Lite spelled backwards is FOX News. Wow, I really am missing those IQ points…

WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com

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Indiana has Beer! Lost River Blonde Ale from Cutters Brewering Company

For too many folks the state of Indiana does not necessarily evoke images of great craft beer or micro breweries. There is a tendency for fellow, and sometimes a bit too arrogant, Illinoisans to think of Indiana as that state between Chicago and Ohio, or Chicago and Michigan, or Chicago and most anywhere else east. I’ll confess to that a time or two as well. If pressed it is the land of John Cougar whatshisname, who did that song about a debutante in his backseat or something. But great beer? Not so much.100_9621

Brian and I have had beers from all around the world. I have cracked a bottle of Sarajevo Beer on the frontline of a war, argued politics with a drunken Russian at a brew pub in Budapest and imbibed freshly brewed Weiss beer in a Bavarian castle, but ask me to name an Indiana Brewery and I am momentarily stumped.

Three Floyds!

Three Floyds is a member of both the Brewers of Indiana Guild and the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild, so it’s easy to make that mistake. Add to my retinue of Indiana beers, Lost River Blonde Ale from Cutters Brewering Company in Avon Indiana. Deep in the heart of Indiana, you’d practically have to be lost to find this place, hidden in the shadow of Indianapolis. But in that shadow someone has learned a thing or two about brewing very pleasing and accessible beers.

Lost River poured golden and clean, with a sturdy snow-white head. The head settled within a few minutes. A really beautiful lacing clung to the sides of the pint glass. I found it nicely balanced with a slight sweetness, contrasting a grapefruity citrus bitterness. There was a breadiness that reminded me of a good pilsner, but it was hardly overwhelming. And finally, this was a really refreshing beer, bearing in mind that drinking beer in the Midwest is different than other places. A beer needs to be refreshing and casual for the average Midwest drinker, but still offer the layers and levels sought after by craft aficionados. It has to work at a ball game, at the barbeque and be conversational at the bar too. So far Lost River Blonde Ale is two for three. I’ll have to try it at a ball game sometime to see if they can go three for three.

100_9629For food, the wife and I did something simple and homey; grilled Chicken thighs, roasted potatoes and a tomato, onion and cucumber salad with olive oil and vinegar. I recommend a bit of spice with this beer. The gentle warmth of a bit of hot paprika, pepper, a touch of Giardiniera oil and basil roasted with the chicken was perfect. Keep it simple with this one. In pairing I’d recommend marinades and dry rubs for a light to medium heat rather that heavy sauces or really heavy flavors. BBQ sauce would overwhelm this beer. Brats with a pickle and a rustic stone-ground mustard would also be a fine match.

Cutters Brewing Company’s Lost River Blonde Ale makes my list of the top summer beers in the Midwest. Now, I’m looking for their Monon Wheat. I’m a sucker for a good Belgian Style Wit beer. Anybody?

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Hell Yeti! Beer of The Week

So the temperature has again been on that train this week. My mental vision of Mother Nature is looking less like a nurturing, stern matriarch, and more like Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka character during the boat tour in his factory.

When having to ride this Bipolar Vortex, or whatever it’s called, I can’t tell you how great it is to be a block away from Miller’s Pub in the Loop every evening (except for those nights when I don’t have enough time or money to stop-in). Back when I was starting up this whole project with WC, I wondered-in one day because I’m always drawn to the word pub. This place stands way out ahead of the downtown bar pack for several reasons:
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  1. They have an impressive set of taps (and bottle list), with some fairly rare brews for this area of town.
  2. They have my favorite burger, their Greek Burger.
  3. They match the glass with the beer.
  4. The kitchen is open to 2am; and the bar to 4am.

This is NOT standard for downtown Chicago. The Greek/Irish fare makes it a full-on trove of indulgence for the over-worked soul seeking comfort on the southern border of hedonism. You’ll likely not have to wait more than 20 minutes for a table, which you kill in luxury, even standing then whole time, with one of the brews you can select from a detailed beer & spirits menu (yes, they list ABV). You also couldn’t pick a more scenic place to have to wait either. The dark wood and stained glass décor is enough to get lost in for the wait.

On one recent suicide-mercury-dive evening, I stopped-in for the usual—I kid you not they are rinsing the glass for me before I’ve passed the coat rack. They’re the only stop on any of my routes that has the Hercules Double IPA from Great Divide. I’m literally hooked on this sweet, caramelly potion of malts, hops and floral aromas. It’s 10% ABV, the strongest they have on tap by a couple of percentage points, and one will handily rinse away the toils of the day. Everyone I have one with winds up hooked too, and there’s nothing else there that quite does it for me…

…that is until I met the Espresso Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout.

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Now, those who know me are quite aware of my skepticism of Branding; which is something I have some knowledge of, but DAMN, Great Divide gone done it again. I haven’t been disappointed by anything they’ve put out yet. This is a thick, chewy meal in a glass that pours like lava. It’s like the breakfast you wish you’d had at the start of your day—on a winter snow day that is, but I digress. This species of Yeti is a Russian Imperial Stout (9.5% ABV) so dark it almost stains the glass. Miller’s poured this roast beast in a tulip glass from the tap. The finish is piney, and quite bitter, but overall this is the kind of thing I like to drink when it’s cold out.

22-oz-bottle_EspressoYeti

SIZES: 22oz and 5 gal kegs

Unfortunately, the presence of the Yeti at Miller’s didn’t last long, and it vanished as quick as it came. Only two days later I returned to have another pass, and it was gone.

ABV.: 9.5%

RATE BEER: 100

AVAILABLE: Year Round

IBUs: 75

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Beer of The Week: Saved from the skunk! Unibroue’s Don De Dieu

IMG_3143One thing I’ve learned in life is, always have a spare. While that is generally not recommended with wives and girlfriends, it comes in handy for beer. Although to be completely transparent I once made two dates with two different women on the same night to see which one was the better of the two. They discovered my little scheme however, and I ended up sitting at a bar alone. Moving on…quickly.

The wife and I headed up to the Lake Superior shore, among the wilds and autumn colors of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary. Lately I’ve been on a bit of a Farmhouse Ale kick, and their widely varying palette from some local and national brewers I’ve come to enjoy. As a bit of a foodie and a novice, but competent chef, who spent a number of years in the restaurant business, I have found the depth of a well-crafted Farmhouse Ale works, dare I say, better than most wines of comparable quality. This is not to take away too much from wine. I have had some amazing ones, and I honed my palette for tasting, and acumen for food pairing with wine. That said, I feel I have matured into great craft beer. As I joked with a couple of good friends a short time back, who also evolved strongly to craft beer, “wine is the training wheels to great beer!”

But I digress. Eight hours on the road, and the wife and I were ready for a meal. As she put together a salad of greens and tomato from our garden back home, I tossed a couple of steaks on the grill at our rental overlooking Lake Superior. From the deck, just across the road, and through a silhouetted line of fluttering birch and tall pine, thunderous waves beat one of the most pristine and line beaches on the continent. As the steaks sizzled beneath those cloud brushed treetops, I popped the cork on a highly recommended Prairie Belgian-style Farmhouse Ale from Krebs Brewing out of Oklahoma.

It poured nicely, with a rich, golden color and an inch deep white head, but when I lifted it to my nose it was quickly apparent something wasn’t right. The first taste confirmed, that deeply soured turn indicating a bad or “skunked” beer. I was heartbroken, and this isn’t a shot at Krebs, which as I said, comes highly recommended. It happens. It was just that I cared for this beer in anticipation, protecting it from light (light damages beer), kept it at a stable cool temperature.  As I said earlier, perhaps not too convincingly, I always have back up. With a Prairie Ale in hand I grabbed a bottle of Unibroue’s Don De Dieu, a top fermented Triple Wheat Ale, with a generous 9%ABV-just enough to sweep away the long hours of driving as we settled in for the night.

IMG_3139Truth be told, Unibroue has always been my back up, thanks to their consistently supreme quality and taste. I had been looking forward to sampling Don De Dieu for some time. In the softening light from the surrounding woods it poured to an orange-amber hue with a robust foamy white head. The aroma was of a vanilla sweetness laced with honey n fruit. The taste was rich with a malty-caramel sweetness, deepened with orange and a nutty character that played well with the grilled steak and the earthiness of the salad in a light olive oil and vinegar dressing.

IMG_3135So, alright, the rule of having a back up isn’t always a hard and fast one. Maybe it isn’t that best strategy with women, to say the least. But for beer sometimes it is necessity. So when it comes to having a back up, let’s just say it is a good general rule of thumb and leave it at that.

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