I learned an important lesson on Sunday: two beer events in one day is not a good idea. Especially when you have to function or at least be moderately coherent at work the next day. But despite my less than stellar Monday, Sunday was a blast! I got to hang out with the gang at Powell Brew House (aka Josh’s place) to drink beer and watch the Bears game, and then I got to have a fantastic evening at Sheffield’s for the Illinois Girls’ Pint Out social outing.
The hubby and I arrived at Powell Brew House at around 11am. We wanted to stop by before the game started because Josh and Adam were brewing their grapefruit IPA. I wrote about this IPA in a previous post and I am excited about the prospect about having it again. I hope they save me some! (Hint, hint.) It was cool to see these two men in action, drying out grapefruit in the oven and then adding it (along with a mountain of hops) to the boil. Yummy! Josh also has a pretty sweet tap system in his kitchen where he had his milk stout, hefeweizen, and strawberry-rhubarb hefeweizen on draught. The milk stout was pitch black with a light brown head and the consistency of chocolate milk. It had a really nice dryness to it that balanced the sweetness perfectly. I had quite a few glasses of this beer during the afternoon. So yummy! The strawberry-rhubarb hefeweizen was really nice, too, with the flavor of fresh strawberries on the finish and a slight sour note from the rhubarb.
Once the game started, though, guests started passing around exclusive bottles from various breweries, and not one of them had less than 10% alcohol. I sampled Mikkeller’s Beer Geek Brunch Weasel, which we affectionately referred to as the “cat poop beer.” I don’t know if you’ve heard of this but there is a very exclusive (and expensive) coffee that is literally made from beans that were eliminated by a cat-like animal. It was a pretty intense beer; I had difficulty drinking my entire sample (especially after I read the label and found out where the coffee came from). But it was interesting, if you can get past the fact that it is made from pooped-out coffee beans.
There were also a bunch of bottles from Jackie O’s Pub and Brewery from Athens, Ohio. I had never heard of this brewery so I was anxious to taste them. This brewery is doing some interesting things with aging and adding adjuncts. They are still a little rough around the edges but I am really impressed with their experimental spirit and I think this is going to be a sought-after brewery in the next few years. My favorite out of all the ones I sampled was the Kentucky Monk, a Belgian ale aged in bourbon barrels. I think a road trip to Athens, OH may be in order!
Around this time I met Evan, a journalism student from Columbia College who has quite possibly the best school assignment ever: a magazine article about homebrewing. It was fun seeing this young man sampling the plethora of available homebrew at this party. The hubby and I cracked open a few of our own for him to try and he seemed to really like Bitter Government Employee ESB and our IPA. It’s always a great feeling to give someone your homebrew and have them at least say that they enjoy it. One of Josh’s friends brought his cucumber saison and it was truly phenomenal. He kept saying that he overdid it with the cucumber but I didn’t think so. It was refreshing and delicious. I hope I can get my hands on some more!
We had a blast hanging out with this crew but duty calls! I was donning my pink Girls’ Pint Out shirt and I had to make it to Sheffield’s by 6pm. First of all, let me just say how awesome Sheffield’s was as a host. Chalonda, Illinois Girls’ Pint Out’s President, had a lot of difficulty with our original choice for a venue and after much discussion, we decided to cut our losses and find another space. Not only did Sheffield’s not charge a reservation fee, but they put together a special beer list just for us complete with a “Welcome Girls’ Pint Out!” shout-out on the menu. Nice!
They also had Southern Tier Crème Brulee Stout on draft which was a real treat. This was my first exposure to this beer and it was tasty! Intense vanilla-caramel flavors intermingle with the chocolate of the malts. It was very smooth; a perfect dessert beer.
And I was so excited to see all the gals (and guys) who came out in support of this group! There were many of the current members as well as quite a few new faces. We signed up seven new members, including the fabulous crew that put on Friday’s Festiv-Ale (check out the great write-up from Chicago Beer Geeks) and Amanda from Finch’s Beer Co.!
It was great that these individuals who have a stake in the Chicago beer scene took time out of their busy schedules to support this rapidly growing female craft beer group. I can’t wait to hang out with this group again! We have a lot of fun events coming up so if you are interested in joining, “like” Illinois Girls’ Pint Out on Facebook or send an email to Chalonda@girlspintout.com. All in all, a fantastic Sunday. Too bad I had to go to work the next day.
All photographs courtesy of Nkosio White from Chicago Beer Geeks.