Monday, February 22, 2010
Let's get some beers brah!
It's no secret in my circle, that I like to throw down a beer or ten. I didn't start drinking the beers until I was about 19, and at that late in the game, of course I would start with Guiness. I mean, why not? That seems TOTALLY normal. Those who know me well, know that I have a penchant for Mickey's 40s (Christine and I wisely chose to substitute Mickey's for King Cobra when we made our own Sparks) and PBR. Those who might not know me as well, might not realize, that I do enjoy a finely crafted homebrew here and there. Let me apologize right now for crushing your pristine image of me as a young twenty something chugging Natty Lite at a house party.
I genuinely enjoy the taste of a great beer, so today, we're talking about a couple of microbreweries that make their home right here in this fine city of Chicago. While it's great to sit in a bar like the Map Room all night sipping on a delicate Belgian Wheat, we live in a city, a dense, urban city, in the midwest, and it would be naive to think that no one's decided to start brewing their own beer here, and then selling it to the parched masses(because Milwaukee and Michigan have been doing it for a long ass time ya'll).
First up is the Half Acre Beer Company. One of the keys I think to creating a successful upscale beer brand, is producing seasonal brews. There are so many restaurants in Chicago that work with a seasonal menu, and it is most appreciated when they include an accompanying beer list that proves to be a fitting companion. If you hate the taste of food(side eye Rachel Zoe), then it doesn't matter if your beer brings out the flavor of what you're shoveling into your mouth hole. However, if I'm going to throw down for a nice dinner, or lunch(I like to day drink sometimes), it's nice to have the complete package. Now, I know what I like when it comes to eating and drinking pairings, but I always ask just in case I get too drunk before I start, and as a result, pick something totally wrong and gross. I consulted with my sister who bartends at Uncommon Grounds on Devon Avenue, and asked her to recommend one entree and one beer from each company and then explain to me why they go together. After I read her response, I just felt really hungry for that pork chop and fried brussel sprouts I ate a couple weeks ago. Man, I love a porkchop(PORKCHOP SANGWICHES!!!).
The Half Acre Beer Uncommon Grounds has on tap right now is called "Baume Chocolate Rye Stout". It's RICH BITCH! so she recommends it as a "before or after beer" and suggests you pair it with their Double Chocolate Cake topped with blueberry jam and toasted almonds(WTF! That is just rude!). According to Al, "with the nuttiness and coffee flavors of the beer on top of the fruit/nut/chocolate combo, you're gonna be in a continuous foodgasm." I recommend you eat that choco choco cake first, and then dip into the pork chop, pairing that with Half Acre's "Daisy Cutter" Ale. "Pork and pale ales are A+." "Baume" is also only on tour around the city for a limited time, so I suggest you quit dickin' around, and go try it! Ain't no lie, bye bye bye.
What makes the Half Acre Beer Co. even more awesome besides crafting a tasty beverage, is that they offer tastings and beer tours right in their brewery! How amazing is that?!!! Now we don't have to get on the damn Amtrak to go to Milwaukee to get our three free Miller Lights! We can drink beer that isn't nasty swill water! Hooray! Things are lookin' up kids! Tours of the brewery happen every Saturday at 1pm(side note/side-eye, Metromix said the tours are on Friday at 5pm, but a bunch of drunk Chads work there, so they are probably wrong), and they. are. FREEEEEEEEEEE! Go on the tour, taste some beer, get a little tipsy, buy a sixer, drive to the beach, SATURDAY FUNDAY!
Next is Metropolitan Brewing. The script of their labels borrows from the Art Nouveau design of theMetro arches of Paris, which I love, and which ultimately attracts me to the product. FUN FACT! When I'm shopping for wine, I look for the coolest bottle, and that always wins. I mean, there are other rules. Por ejemplo, it can't be Merlot(puke my face off forever). It's like playing Magic The Gathering, but playing "scariest card wins." I'm cool.
Uncommon Grounds has Metropolitan's "Generator Dopplebock"(sounds like something we've all done at Berlin!) on tap right now. I'm sure I've had this, but you know how sometimes people introduce themselves to you, and you immediately forget their names? It's like that. The history behind this beer is that it was "traditionally brewed by monks and drunk during Lent to provide them with nutrition during the fast." They were also only brewing Dopplebocks in the winter, so they'd be perfect by March. Now they are brewed year round because traditions are too old worldy for you damn kids. This particular dopplebock's flavor is described as having an "aroma of caramel malt, a bit of nuttiness, and light floral hops. Creamy, caramel, and nutty flavor. The sweetness is kept in check with the hops and malts." You can basically drink this beer with anything, but the recommendation is that you stay away from steaks which is fine because who eats steaks anymore? I don't need any more hormones than I already have and, cows have precious faces. It's best to stick with the pork chop(you will not squeeze a tear out for steak) or probably fried chicken(Al says "crispy chicken" but that equals "fried" in my mind. Beer and fried chicken is classico) QUOTE OF THE WEEK!!! "Oreos are to potato chips what nutty, malty, caramel, floral hops is to a juicy pork chop, creamy polenta, pancetta, and fried brussel sprouts." Hell to the YES Bobby!
If reading this doesn't make you foam at the mouth for delicious food paired with even more delicious beers, then you are DEAD. Stop trying to eat my brains.
Half Acre and Metropolitan beers can be found all over the city. Each of their websites list each restaurant that serves their beer, and if you buy booze anywhere besides CVS, you can easily find their tasty brews for the buying at most liquor stores in Chicago.
Enjoy your adventures!