Saturday, November 21, 2009

Half-Acre brewing company

For those of you lucky enough to live in Chicago you may be aware of the number of breweries that have opened in the last few years (Metropolitan Brewery & Half Acre Beer Company), and those that are in the process of opening (Revolution Brewing).

All are great in their own way and have their own unique story. Half-Acre has opted to host a weekly scavenger hunt in which they, or a fan, hides a token and the person that finds it is awarded with beer. The scavenger hunt clue(s), and the Half Acre blog, can be found here. It's a great time and it provides a great excuse to get out of your house and into parts of Chicago that you may have never visited otherwise.

Half-Acre has begun using their fans to create the clue and hide the capsule. This week's clue is:

Cleats and chains will cross here for lasting glory.

If you run into trouble down below just repeat these words:
"Well, come along! I've got two spears,
And I'll poke your eyeballs out at your ears;
I've got besides two curling stones,
And I'll crush you to bits, body and bones."

The capsule is hidden in a corner crack in the wall on the north side. Remember. "Chicago Can"

If you find the capsule, call or txt Half Acre at 773 351 5709.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Beer review: Bells Rye Stout

This is one that I had not seen on store shelves until 2 months ago. I was told by a fellow at Armanettis that Bells released it in place of their Expedition Stout (which is Bells Imperial stout which is a great take on the style). Bells, as a whole, makes great dark beers. Especially stouts, and I was hopeful that this one would be another solid addition to their lineup.

The pour provides little foam/head creation, but what head is created does linger.
The beer itself smells of cool dark chocolate, smoked brisket, and perhaps dark caramel.
The taste is surprisingly smooth, but it does not linger for longer. It does resonate on the middle part of the tongue, but the aforementioned aromas and rye fade quickly on the palette.

All in all a nice stout, but not one I would recommend immediately to others.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Mad Genius or Home Brew Blasphemer?

Came across a snippet today from 2007, about PopSci staff photographer John Carnett's all-in-one beer brewing machine, which "boils, ferments, chills, and pours home-crafted ale" and "can serve up to four kinds of beer at once while fermenting a fifth."

The Device

This seemed pretty awesome, so I googled the guy further and found an update from 2008, describing the metamorphosis of "The Device" into the "NanoBrewMaster," a high tech system being groomed for the retail market.


According to the Nano Brewing Tech website, the NBM (availability/cost pending) is completely computerized, handling every aspect from sanitizing to serving completely hands-free.

Upon further reflection, while this may be a pretty sweet setup for someone who enjoys drinking beer, it does sort of take the fun out of brewing beer, if it can be called that--not sure this qualifies as home brewing if all the "brewer" does is flip a switch. On the other hand, commercial breweries do a fair amount of automation by necessity, and no one would accuse them of faking it, so perhaps I'm being a home brew snob!

No doubt about it, the inventor does have mad skills to create such a device, and as an in-home bar, it's pretty cool. However, I would be curious to hear some thoughts from fellow home brewers as to whether this "counts" as home brew--seems like cheating to me (but I suppose with delicious results all the same). What do you think?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Debut of a new AHA

Yesterday, Charlie Papazian announced the unveiling, via his examiner column (you can read the article here), of a new American Homebrewers Association website. The new address is

The website itself is loaded with advice for homebrewers of all levels of experience, info on different ingredients, news on what is going on in the brewing community, links to help begin and maintain your own local homebrewer/beer club, and much much more.

I highly recommend visiting the new website, and checking in on it every so often.
Post your thoughts, share your knowledge and experience, and take the opportunity to share your questions with other folks who have been where you are now.

In short, check out the site, and keep brewing!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Midwest Beer & Brewing Field Trip

Hey Beer People, for those of you in the Chicago area, we hope to see you at our first field trip! The details:

Piece Brewery & Pizzeria in Wicker Park (1923 W North Ave)
Sunday, December 6th
1:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Piece Brewery & Pizzeria

Come join us for a pint and a pizza at this most excellent brewpub! If you'd like us to save you some space (in the event of football crowds), please RSVP to the Facebook Event we've set up on our FB page.

Here's to your health!!

I am a fan of news sites: national, international, sports, weird news, etc.. I am especially a fan of news articles that combine things that make sense such as beer and personal health awareness.
Rick Lyke was tested for prostate cancer when he was 47. He was getting up in years, and it was deemed necessary to begin checking for cancers that are more common in males as they approach or surpass the age of 50 (prostate, colorectal (sp?), etc).
The test showed that he had prostate cancer, and he should begin treatment immediately.
The cancer has gone into remission and left him with the obligation/need to get tested every 6 months for the next 15 years to make sure that the cancer does not return. Quite a small price to pay for a longer life.
Since defeating cancer, Rick Lyke has founded Pints for Prostates which travels around the country advocating for prostate screening by holding/sponsoring events that marry prostate screening with beer. All of the funds raised at these events go towards Us TOO which is a 'nonprofit prostate cancer education and support network'.
Everything I read about the events sounds positive. It's an opportunity for survivors to come together and talk. Perhaps more importantly, it provides a chance for people to come together, get the facts, and hopefully learn enough to convince the attendees to get tested.
So, if you are unsure about whether or not to get tested, visit the Us TOO website ( and learn more.
If you would prefer to host, sponsor or make a donation towards Pints for Prostates get together, visit the Pints for Prostates website (
Here's to your health!!