If you’ve been to a beer festival, you’ve probably seen a pretzel necklace or two. These little munchable masterpieces are important accoutrements to beer drinking for many reasons. For one, they’re great palate cleansers. When you’re sampling the wide variety of beers you’ll have access to at a fest like BeerHoptacular, your palate can get tired and […]
Photo courtesy of Auchentoshan Distillery
BeerHoptacular features a wide variety of breweries that with unique beers from across the Midwest. While not a brewery, Auchentoshan Distillery of Glasgow, Scotland comes to BeerHoptacular bringing the same level of creativity and fun spirit that each brewery hopes to share during the festival. Brand ambassador Robin Nance shares the story behind the two beer cocktails Auchentoshan will feature at BeerHoptacular: a riff on a shandy called “Lemon Tell You Somethin’ Honey” and a nod to the Negroni called “It’s Bitter to be Hoppy.”
Destihl Brewery started out in Normal, Illinois in 2007 opening its first brewpub while attending beer fest and competitions hoping to attract distributors. Now in 2016, with a second brewpub open in Champaign, a production brewery, and a line up of award-winning beers, Destihl has begun to build off of that momentum, rounding out a lineup of canned sour beers. Destihl sales representative Mike Thiel tells us about the fourth seasonal offering, Plum Sour Stout, that the brewery will be pouring at BeerHoptacular.
2016 BeerHoptacular Beer List
The 6th Annual BeerHoptacular will feature over 150 American craft beers from all over the country.
Obviously the best part of BeerHoptacular is the beer… and this year our brewery friends are pulling out all the stops by bringing some really, really (really) cool stuff. Our friends at Lagunitas even went so far as to put together two limited edition firkins that will only be served at BeerHoptacular. Pretty special. We sent one of our writers to document the process.
Pro tip: if you have a passion, hobby, or skill, combine it with beer and there’s likely an audience willing to listen. With craft beer becoming more accessible every day, drinkers are connecting to beer through their other interests all the time. Enter MC Johnsen (Worth 1000 Beers) and Kim Leshinski (Hail to the Ale), two Chicago artists who combined their background in art and design with their passion for craft beer to start a couple of the most eye-appealing blogs on the web.
Designers by day, homebrewers by night, MC and Kim both got their start in the industry designing labels for their homebrews. After realizing they were pretty damn good at it, they continued their journey in craft beer through various roles that have included judging beer competitions, becoming involved in Pink Boots Society, and each starting their own beer-inspired Etsy shops. We were fortunate to catch up with the two of them at Chicago’s Aquanaut Brewing Company to talk beer and art.
*Both artists will have booths at BeerHoptacular where you can pick up some of their killer beer-centric pieces.
Pipeworks Brewing began making “small batch, big beers” in Chicago in 2012. Founded by Gerrit Lewis and Beejay Olson, brewer Scott Coffman joined soon after. Never one to shy away from the opportunity to make a unique beer, the guys from Pipeworks teamed up with Chris Flenker, lead brewer of Toppling Goliath Brewing in Iowa to bring to life “Double Creature Feature;” a big double IPA loaded with juicy, tropical hop flavor, spice and fruit. It’s a rare treat from two breweries known for going big on hops.
There’s no homebrew competition quite like BeerHoptacular’s homebrew competition. In just a few short weeks, 20 homebrew clubs will battle to the death (well, no one will die) to see who has what it takes to be crowned champion of BeerHoptacular. Every year, our competition is made possible by none other than beer author and judge, Marty Nachel.
We’re starting a new tradition. Each year, BeerHoptacular will collaborate with a bad ass artist to design a bad ass, limited edition, one-of-a-kind tshirt. This year, we asked Solemn Oath’s Jourdon Gullett to work his mystical powers of unprecedented bad-assery to transform the BeerHoptacular “Barrel Guy” into something darker, stormier, and more… well, bad ass, than ever before.
Gullett is known for the bold and captivating designs that have helped Solemn Oath’s labels to shine like beacons in an endless sea of beer aisle masterpieces. Intricate devil Vikings, smoky skeletal kings, and a variety of undead other-worldly creatures adorn their cans and bottles. Gullett’s skill translates past the realm of beer art; he also shares his talents with kids through a program called After School Matters designs rad skateboards, and a ton of other stuff. We’re not really sure when he sleeps.
We sat down with Jourdon to learn more about his creative process, and to check out his limited edition tshirt.
Half Acre Beer Co. opened its doors on Chicago’s Northside in 2007 and have since become one of the city’s most prominent breweries. After maxing out capacity at their small Lincoln Avenue production facility, the brewery expanded its operation to a second, much larger space that has allowed them to experiment more and add to their already stellar lineup of beers. For BeerHoptacular, head brewer Matt Young is excited to pour a beer unlike anything Half Acre has done before; an imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels with toasted coconut and coffee added called Benthic.