Curbside service

Curbside service is now available at a number of local shops, including The Open Bottle shown here.

Supporting the bottle shop is just as important as supporting the local breweries and local restaurants.

I spend the most money and most time at The Open Bottle in Tinley Park and Crafted Bottle Shop and Taproom in Mokena. I also shop a fair bit at Liquor World in Kankakee. I usually stop in at Binny’s Beverage Depot in Mokena or Orland Park. Their mix-and-match six-pack for $10 is a very helpful way to sample through some of the new offerings from outfits like Sierra Nevada, Deschutes, Stone, and the like, but where I open things up is at The Open Bottle or Crafted.

For the first few weeks of the stay-at-home order, I stayed close to home. Things seemed uncertain and I didn’t want to go too far from home for craft beer. Luckily, Kankakee has a stalwart of the craft beer bottle shop game, Liquor World. Owner and operator Peter Vacchini has been the general manager for more than 20 years. Liquor World was the first bottle shop I ever entered, probably back in 2008 or 2009. I used to live in Bradley at the time, and it was the closest place. I probably went in to look for some Guinness as that was what I drank then, and found a whole new world of craft beers to try.

Back then I remember buying beers and learning I did not like them whatsoever, including Half Acre’s Daisy Cutter Pale Ale, Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale and Bell’s Two Hearted Ale. Now, I love them all. I was not ready for the hops then and firmly believed I never would be. Vacchini does what he can to get the best beers for us and I am forever grateful for that.

Vacchini encourages shoppers to use masks or other face coverings and to keep social distance. But for who can’t or think they shouldn’t come in, they are offering curb-side service.

“We will get through it together,” he said. “The safety of our customers and our employees — and any community members — are our No. 1 priority,” he said.

To order curbside service, call 815-937-4444.

The next place I wanted to focus on was The Open Bottle in Tinley Park. I do not check the dates at The Open Bottle because I know they are within freshness dates. They are very careful about these things.

“Our brick-and-mortar operation has been turned upside since the COVID-19 pandemic, but we’re rolling with the punches by hosting our entire store’s inventory online, making it easier for customers to place their orders for in-store and curbside pickup,” said Patrick Bisch, co-owner. “We’re still open for customers to purchase items to-go, but we’re taking every precaution to keep our store sanitary, pinning up signs that ask customers to not touch products unless they’re purchasing it and to maintain a 6-foot social distance from other customers and staff.”

Like The Open Bottle, the Crafted Bottle Shop and Taproom in Mokena allows you to mix and match any single can or bottle of beer in the whole store. Recently, Crafted expanded its refrigeration section so that all of their hop forward beers are now chilled completely. Chilling beer, especially hop forward varieties, significantly extends the shelf life of beer. My choice of bottle shop stops when I got up north to do these beer runs typically depends on which side of town (Bradley/Bourbonnais/Kankakee) at the time I decide to run up there.

“The stay-at-home order has definitely had an effect on how we do business,” said Denver Worker, co-owner. “Our shop has had to adapt to the current climate almost weekly. We just changed to curbside and delivery only. We felt our top responsibility is to get our employees in the safest work environment we could provide without actually closing.

“Just remember to support your local breweries and small businesses during this time,” he said.

To order, visit Crafted1979.com or call 708-719-3355.

Crafted Bottle Shop and Taproom is looking to roll out a new program of packaging draft beer in the next week or so that will be able to package draft beer in 8-, 19.2- or 32-ounce containers. Check their social media or website for more details.

Everyday Hero from Revolution Brewing

ABV: 4.3%

IBUs: 35

Style: IPA – Session/India Session Ale

Brewer’s notes: “Every Day-Hero is a Session IPA brewed in Chicago with a low 4.3% ABV and a modern blend of hops — including Sabro, El Dorado, Mosaic and Cascade — to bring smooth tropical flavor to your daily routine. Save the Day, Every Day.”

Where to Buy: You can find this one at Liquor World in Kankakee in 12 oz 15 pack cans for $17.99.

Beer for Tacos from Off Color Brewing

ABV: 4.5%

IBUs: N/A

Style: Sour — Gose

Brewery’s notes: “You know what sunshine makes us think of? Tacos. You know what tacos makes us think of? Margaritas. So, we made a tart wheat beer, added kaffir lime leaf, key lime, orange, and pink Himalayan salt. All its missing is the two hour wait for the Big Star Patio. And tacos.”

Where to buy: You can find this one at The Open Bottle in Tinley Park in 16-ounce four-pack cans for $10.99 or you can grab a single can and throw it in a mix and match 4 or 6 pack which is what I did.

Tevatron from Riverlands Brewing

ABV: 8.5%

IBUs: N/A

Style: IPA–Imperial/Double New England

Brewery’s notes: “We use huge additions of Vic Secret, Ella, Motueka, and CTZ hops to create a tropical fruit extravaganza over a base of Golden Promise, Pilsner, Malted Oats, and Flaked Wheat. Enjoy!”

Where to buy: You can find this one at Crafted Bottle Shop and Tap Room in Mokena in 16-ounce four-pack cans for around $18.

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