My first blog post EVER!!! Or, the Finch Grand Opening

Greetings! Being the self-defeating perfectionist that I am, it has taken me a very long time to finally sit down and write my first post. But I had an amazing expience this weekend that has motivated me to get cracking on this thing.

On Saturday night, I was fortunate enough to attend the grand opening party of Finch Beer Co, a new craft brewery located in northwest Chicago. The tickets to the event were limited. A notice went out on Facebook last month indicating that only 100 tickets were available (although 50 more were released a few days before the party). Through much anxiety and waiting for the confirmation email, both the hubby and I were victorious in obtaining tickets.

Fast forward to Saturday,  May 14th. I’m not going to lie, it was a bit of a pain in the butt to get there, although I think my attitude about this was mostly influenced by the cold rain. I do believe I turned to my husband as we were walking from the Montrose blue line stop to the brewery and said, “This better be a great party because I am pretty miserable right now.”

When we finally arrived, I was a little taken aback by the lack of signage on the front of the building. If you are interested in craft beer in Chicago and have been following Finch, their label is everywhere. I assume this is mainly because they are a new brewery and have been concentrating on getting the brewery up and running. I am sure the sign will be up soon.

If you have ever toured a brewery, this one looks pretty much the same, although cleaner and shinier (I do love the sight of a brand spanking new fermenter). They had three stations set up where you could grab samples of their beer. I wish they would have just given us full pints; it was a little annoying to have to keep going back for a refill. But free beer? I’ll take it in any form you want to give it to me.

The two offerings they have so far are Cut Throat, a well-balanced pale ale, and Golden Wing, a blonde. Being the hop head that I am, Cut Throat was my beverage of choice for the evening. It had a nice orange peel essence to it that was very tasty. Golden Wing I was not as impressed with. I do like blondes as a style of beer but this one lacked a certain spiciness to it that you may find in other examples of the style. However, I believe this will make a great “transition beer” for those not as experienced with craft beer.

The party itself had a weird vibe. I go to a lot of beer festivals and part of the fun of any beer celebration is talking to like-minded individuals about our favorite beverage. At this event, I hardly heard anyone talk about the beer. There were a few that sniffed and tasted, but the majority hung out and grabbed food (which was excellent; thank you City Provisions!) my two saving graces were meeting up with a fellow beer vixen and chatting with David, a brewer from Haymarket Brewery.

It’s always difficult meeting someone you meet online since you aren’t really sure what they look like. But I had a hunch that this certain lady was the one I had been chatting with on the Beer Vixen Facebook page and (assisted with some Cut Throat courage) I approached her. It is so great finding more ladies who appreciate beer! We chatted for a bit with a promise that we will get together to discuss beer in the future.

The other fun conversation I had that night was with David, a brewer from Haymarket Brewery in Chicago. First of all, let me just say how awesome it is that all craft breweries in the area support each other. David stated that Pete (Crowley, head brewer at Haymarket) couldn’t make it to the party but wanted to send David as a representative of Haymarket to welcome Finch’s to the Chicago craft beer scene.

I had just had lunch at Haymarket the day before and told David that I had a growler of Loathing at home. We talked about recipes they hoped to brew in the future (including a variation of the Rye P.A. that Pete brewed while at Rock Bottom).

All in all, it was a fun time and I’m glad I had the opportunity to go. I am excited to see what other recipes head brewer Richard Grant will come up with.

Here are some pictures from the party:

One piece of advice that I will give to you when attending an event like this: carry a large camera. My photographer (aka the hubby) brought along his Canon T2I with Sigma 50 mm lens to capture some pictures of the event, and people with fancy name tags kept coming up to us asking “where we were from.” So, kids, if you want to feel important at an event, get yourself a fancy schmancy camera.

Exciting beer events on the horizons: I will be heading to southern California TWICE in late May/early June.  I will be in the Orange/San Diego vicinity and already have plans to visit Stone, but if you know of any other great breweries to check out, please let me know!

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