For the Price of 1

It seems like once a year, I advocate for a shared taproom.  Kind of like a food hall but with beer.  Now comes news from Chicago about a 3-Way agreement that is new to their city.

One brewery, with two co-tenants.  They each get 10 taps and can stay as big or as small as they need to, to make their economics work.  I can think of a newly free space in DTLA that would be perfect for a situation like this (minus the self-pour, still not sold on that). 

Call it an incubator or co-working space or contract but the point being that this can (if the breweries involved communicate well) be a great way to lower the entry cost and maximize the marketing.  In big cities where rent is high it can really work.  And if the barrier to leave is at a reasonable spot, it allows for new blood to be added on a rotating basis.

Fight the Floppy Ass Comb Over

A new documentary that touches the Chicago beer scene will be hitting the movie festival circuit. Entitled “F*** Your Hair,” the movie from Jason Polevoi aims the camera lens at the Latino-owned craft brewery 5 Rabbit Cerveceria and their bold decision to stop making a house beer for a Donald Trump-owned hotel in Chicago.

The owners of 5 Rabbit, Andres Araya and Mila Ramirez are themselves immigrants and chose to make a stand against the racist and quite frankly un-American current immigration policy as embodied in our delusion in orange hair chief.

There might even be screenings at breweries across the country. But for now, a trailer….

Lyft a Glass


Lyft certainly has teamed up with beer festivals for rides home and now, in Chicago, they are also teaming up with cans of beer.

Lyft is collaborating with Chicago’s Baderbrau Brewing on the new Five Star Lager that will be available only in bars and only in 12-ounce cans (no draft). Why? Well, each can will feature a discount code for as much as $5 off a Lyft ride. The beer is actually just a re-branded version of Baderbrau’s South Side Pride, a helles lager.

Maybe an L.A. version will come to pass if this test is successful.

Storied Financing

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As breweries are sold (or partially sold), to whom they are sold becomes a big topic of discussion. Some prefer EOPs (employee owned), some venture capital, or some favor combining craft with craft.

Each has its upsides and downsides and the size and future growth plans of each individual brewery will dictate which fit is right. Now a new variant is entering approximately the same area that Greg Koch’s True Craft occupies.

Storied Craft Breweries in the Chicago area will be pursuing investments in breweries that need growth capital, in both terms of money and operating knowledge. How many breweries they will team with, what size they are targeting or geography they prefer is not known now.

Will this form of financing be amenable to craft fans? We will see when the first brewery signs up.

Half Acre Taste Test

Now that sixteen oz. cans are rolling into L.A. from Chicago’s Half Acre Beer, it is time to compare a few of their offerings. Daisy Cutter being too popular at the moment to get my hands on a can.
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Pony Pilsner – pours a light clear yellow. Bit of a potpourri aroma. A little slick. A bit of bubblegum. Would like a little more carbonation.

Akari – loads of wheat and toast notes here. Little tropical hop notes at first. But this is a wheat beer first and foremost.

Vallejo – Quite the impressionistic can design. Don’t remind me of Chicago much though. Beer pours a muddy yellow. Good balanced hop presence. Some fruit. Some pine resin. Crushable. Light.

I have had both Pony and Akari before so maybe the newness of Vallejo gave it a head start. I did like the balance of the IPA the best though. Pony was a bit too viscous and Akari weighted to wheat whereas Vallejo had a solid balance to it. Hopefully, more Half Acre is to be had in the future.

P.S. I also sampled a trio of Half Acre beers at the wonderful 38 Degrees in Alhambra. The ever-popular Daisy Cutter which is great as well as the Rainbow Never Ends which was a little too dank-centric for me as well as the Hot Tropic IPA which married coconut to hops in a better fashion than most I have encountered.

Chicago to Long Beach

If you have heard of the famed Daisy Cutter Hoppy Pale Ale, well then you will want to be in Long Beach at Beachwood tomorrow night.
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Yeah, DC will be on tap alongside Akira American Wheat Ale, get Right Kolsch and Navaja DIPA for the very first time here in Los Angeles.

Thanks to a second brewery location, the Chicago brewery location has been expanding their beer’s reach.

A Central Addition to LA

The name and logo seem just like any other….
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…but underneath the hood, it is not one brewery but a contract brewery for start-ups. Instead of sneaking in a batch inbetween others. This Chicago facility brews exclusively for others. And the key component is that it will also feature a tap room for those beers to be sold at.

It would be great if each major beer city had an establishment like this. Not only would it prospectively weed out the brewers who are not up to snuff but it would also alleviate the out-of-town drive to the Bay Area or parts way east of the city for LA brewers who want to brew beer before they have a facility.

Just re-name it Grand Central.

Year of Podcasts – Good Beer Hunting

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57 interviews with beer people are up (as of this writing) on the Good Beer Hunting podcast page. And it is an impressive roster. Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn Brewing, Patrick Rue of the Bruery and Randy Mosher as well.

I picked the latest episode to listen to.  Primarily because the interview subject was Jeff Gill from Tallgrass Brewing in Manhattan, Kansas.  I have had their canned beers at Canfest in Reno and really enjoyed their beers.  Secondly, the focus on the business side (primarily marketing) is of great interest.

The questions from blogger/host Michael Kiser were incisive but also folksy.  Maybe it is something in the water that makes Chicago people good interviewers. He has a good knowledge base that shows through without being snobby.  Though it breaks my rule about keeping it short, each episode that I listened to didn’t seem long.  I also like podcasts where there is laughter that doesn’t seem to come from inside humor.

I would suggest looking for breweries that you don’t know about and pick that interview to learn more about a place you haven’t been to.

In Thirst Returnum indeed!

Year of Podcasts – Strange Brews

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 9.00.30 PMThe call letters WBEZ might get you thinking about Ira Glass and This American Life but Strange Brews is the craft beer version.  Giving you a Windy City perspective on beer.   The podcast hosted by Andrew Gill and Alison Cuddy has won “Best Beer Podcast” from the North American Guild of Beer Writers.  Which shows the cred it has within the industry.

As you have seen through the year, I much prefer podcasts that move along, have interesting guests but don’t get bogged down by the hosts jibber-jabber.

If I could point to an individual podcast or three to listen to off the bat would be the mini-expose of Not Your Father’s Root Beer.  Then I would dive back into a normal sized and segmented one with Founders Brewing as the lead story.

For us West Coasters, Strange Brews will give you a load of knowledge about what is going on to the east of us.