Joshua RileyBeer Dude
Greetings from isolation here in Kankakee County. This marks a week under the order to stay at home. I have been rummaging through my beer cellar this week. I picked up food for my family from Brickstone Brewery on March 20. Then, I saw on social media Dino Giannakopoulos would be turning over the kitchen to Aunt Betty Vasilakis to fix stuffed green peppers, and I knew I should have waited until Saturday to order.
Things definitely are different now, but if we are going to be shut in for some indefinite amount of time, then I would rather be shut in with good beer. First, one of the best resources during this time has been the famous Guys Drinking Beer newsletter that has kept the entire Chicago craft beer scene updated with what is going on with local craft breweries. If you haven’t already signed up for it, do so now. They also have been raising money for the hourly workers at breweries and bars in Illinois, and they have received more than $295,000 toward that goal.
How did it get started? Here’s how Karl Klockers, co-founder of Guys Drinking Beer, tells it:
“At the beginning of last week,” said the author of “Beer Lover’s Chicago: Best Breweries, Brewpubs and Beer Bars” available on Amazon, “it was becoming quite obvious that with the bar/taproom/restaurant shutdown, a lot of people who depend on tip revenue were going to be affected immediately. I’d been [working from home] for a few days already, so I began rounding up all of the fundraisers that were beginning to pop up so we could have as many as I could in one place.
“I was quickly overwhelmed with all the fundraisers that sprang up ... so I chose to start tailoring the ones on the page to be more relevant to our craft beer audience. As of now, we have over 60 ways to support breweries plus bottle shops and beer-friendly establishments around Chicagoland.
“Who started it? Just me! But even more credit should also go to the organizers behind other similar efforts like Chicago Hospitality Employment Relief and Chicago Service Relief, plus the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild for creating a reference doc for fundraisers, pickup and delivery options.
“Who benefits from it? Well, in theory, everyone who depends on tips for their income will hopefully all be able to access a portion of the proceeds from these fundraisers to help keep the lights on while we’re all on stay-at-home duty.
“How can people donate? It’s super simple — every link points directly to a Gofundme page, a gift card purchase page, an online tip page, a beer pickup/delivery page or even just a merch page with a staff tip option available. Everything helps right now, obviously, and if everyone just donated $10 — the regular cost of a six pack of your favorite IPA, for example — to a few different places, it’d really start to add up.
“And don’t forget — every time you order delivery, takeout, curbside pickup, etc., if you have the ability to tip on that as well, throw a few more bucks around if you can.”
Alongside what Guys Drinking Beer is putting out there, the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild also has a super helpful Google Doc that lists a ton of breweries in Illinois and how you can help them out with links for online gift cards, and what each brewery is doing during these times for curb-side and delivery options.
“Over the past several weeks, we’ve worked with the State of Illinois and Illinois Liquor Control Commission to make sure local breweries can adapt to the changing environment,” said Danielle D’Alessandro, executive director of the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild. “Today, most Illinois breweries are continuing operations by making product available for pick-up and, as of last week, residential delivery. We have been overwhelmed by how our craft beer fans across the state have responded, and we encourage supporters to continue placing pick-up and delivery orders as well as purchasing merchandise and gift cards online. And, if they’re able, most breweries have virtual tip jars and active fundraisers to support the employees during this uncertain time. Now more than ever, supporting our state’s craft breweries is so important, and we thank each and every person for doing their part to help our small and independent businesses weather this crisis.”
On the shelves locally at Meijer, Berkots, Target, Jewel and Kroger, you can find selections from Revolution Brewing, of Chicago, and Half Acre Beer Company. So, I reached out to Half Acre and Revolution to see what they say about supporting your local craft breweries.
“Buy their beer, look for a staff support fundraiser, or buy a gift card for future use! Many breweries and beer stores have been able to launch contact-less curbside pick-up. Visit them there or grab their beer at your grocery store if it’s available,” said Meredith Anderson, Half Acre’s director of communications.
I know you can find both Revolution Brewing beer and Half Acre beer at Meijer this week because I went there for my weekly grocery store outing. I also saw beer available from Spiteful Brewing, one of my absolute favorites from Chicago and Haymarket Brewing, a founding member of the Chicago craft movements. While I was checking the aisles for these beers, I ran into Tom Spellman, of The Hoppy Pig, who told me about their Howler program. Apparently, bars can sell packaged draft beer. Check out beermenus.com to find out what they have available. Go to hoppypig.dineloyal.com/order/location to place a curbside pick-up order.
Hazy Hero from Revolution Brewing
ABV: 7.3 percent
Style: IPA – New England
Brewery’s notes: “Gaze into the mist and discover the transcendental supremacy of American hops in Revolution’s newest Hazy IPA. A smooth, velvety body sets the stage for big fruit-forward flavor and a refreshing finish.”
Where to Buy: The Hoppy Pig in a 32-ounce howler for $12; Meijer in six packs of 12-ounce cans for about $11.
Bodem from Half Acre Beer Company
ABV: 6.7 percent
Style: IPA — American
Brewery’s notes: “A reflection of how we’re feeling about go-to IPA in today’s spectrum of plants and brewing perspective. Ripe tropical fruit flesh with soft melon and berry.”
Where to buy: Meijer in four packs of 16-ounce cans for about $10 and Liquor World.