By Joshua RileyBrew Dude
Many times throughout this column, I have a pretty good idea of what I want to write about. During the history of this column, I have had several regular features I constantly come back to. I have done a beer styles column once per month for almost the entire run of the column. I also have tried to visit as many breweries as I can and write up a convenient way to package these breweries together if you want to take a run and visit them all. The other thing I always want to recommend was a local beer-centric event at least once per month because I think the cornerstone of this movement has been the quirky, personality-forward events the fine folks of craft beer throw. Obviously, all of those have been put on pause for now.
During this current season of “unpleasantness” — a term I am borrowing from somewhere else — I have had a sense of urgency to some of these columns. This level of urgency still exists, but I don’t know if I can continue to fill this column with these messages every week. The first after the flash reorganizing was to focus on our local craft beer producers, Brickstone Brewery and Steam Hollow Brewing, which still need your support. If you don’t follow Brickstone on Facebook, please do so, as they are continuing to bring their customers a very fresh look at what they are capable of doing. Steam Hollow Brewing continues to brew high-quality beers and is packaging them for your convenience out of their front door.
Beyond that, I focused on the breweries that are lending a hand in the fight for resources for combating these new circumstances, such as 18th Street and Two Brothers making hand sanitizer or breweries donating their kegged beer for the purpose of distilleries turning it into that same thing. These efforts need to be celebrated and supported through donations. Then, I focused on the Virtual Bottle Shares that I have been a part of. I do an international version of this as well with a few friends from Scotland; they usually are drinking during their evenings, and I will share a beer with them during the middle of the day.
This week, this column just fell into my lap. I was scrolling through Facebook when a post from The Open Bottle in Tinley Park, one of the bottle shops I featured last week, advertised a T-shirt concept with four other craft beer purveyors of the Tinley Park/Mokena area to support one another. Go to theopenbottle.com/support-each-other to get your T-shirt now and support these craft beer purveyors.
The name of the T-shirt project is #SupportEachOther, with a logo of two hands grabbing a beer together. While this is no longer an advisable act these days, the heart of the matter remains the same — supporting one another during this time. The T-shirt features the logo of The Open Bottle, Soundgrowler Brewing and Hailstorm Brewing, all in Tinley Park, and Brothership Brewing and Crafted Bottle Shop and Tap Room, both in Mokena. All these breweries interact with one another constantly in their local area and are all good friends. The T-shirts cost $20, and they split the proceeds five-ways so each member is boosted equally. I pre-ordered mine almost instantly. I love all of these outfits — I have written about them all extensively. The Brothership Brewing write-up was the last straight forward, pre-coronavirus piece I wrote.
“We are really excited to team up with such great local businesses,” said Denver Worker, co-founder of Crafted Bottle Shop and Tap Room. “We want to see the I-80 Craft Corridor stay strong for years to come. We are very appreciative of Patrick and Julie of Open Bottle for putting this together. They have really brought us together.”
So, this week, I thought I would recommend brews available at these breweries you have access to. They all have curbside pick up available and the ability to order ahead either cans and bottles or crowlers, howlers or growlers of draft beer to purchase.
Ceske Pilsner from Hailstorm Brewing
ABV: 4.4 percent
Style: Pilsner — Czech
Note from the brewery: “Our Czech Pilsner has a beautiful golden color and just the right amount of hops to give it spicy floral flavor and a crisp refreshing finish.”
Where to buy: You can find this directly from the brewery in 16-ounce four-packs for $10 or in a case of four packs in a mix and match of anything they have for $10. I got a can of this recently from The Open Bottle as well.
Riff Rider from Soundgrowler Brewing
ABV: 6.8 percent
Style: IPA — American
Note from the brewery: “We blended two base malts, added some American, earthy, resiny hops in the whirlpool and blended tropical fruit character nugs for the dry hops. Riff Rider will give you full flavor from start to finish.”
Where to buy: You can find this one from the taproom in crowlers and growlers for curbside pick-up.
Space Debris: Coconut Swirl from Brothership Brewing
ABV: 11.8 percent
Style: Stout – Imperial/Double
Note from the brewery: “Imperial Stout blended with toasted coconut, two types of single-origin cocoa nibs and Madagascar vanilla. A rich and decadent dark chocolate base fades into toasted coconut with a vanilla smoothness. These flavors continue to develop and open up as the beer warm.”
Where to buy: You can get this in 750-ml swing top refillable bottles straight from the taproom for $18.