Pubcast 398 – A Safe Haven for Hops at Harbor Brewing

In this episode we venture back up to Lake County and the village of Lake Villa, where we visit with a brewery that has been in existence for over 5 years, but seems to be a “best kept secret”, at least from those in the southern suburbs!  Harbor Brewing Company is located just a short walk from the Metra station, a stop on the North Central Line, so accessible from Chicago. Plus they have a lakefront biergarten location in Winthrop Harbor that has their great brews and awesome views!

Founder Kyle Wenzel and Head Brewer Adam Brose talk with The Brit and co-host Ken McMullen (Fox Republic Brewing) about how they have kept people coming back again and again, building up a solid taproom following, and now doing well with their self-distro. With an impressive 24 tap selection on hand, there is something for all tastes, and we get to sample a few on the podcast.

We check out the large event space and how this has helped them host regular events that bring in the local community. With a ‘wall o’ barrels’ on one side they tell us about how they are getting their barrel program off the ground. And with the beer fest season starting up, Kyle talks about how he likes to attend these so he can actually meet and talk to the attendees who are trying his beer.  We find out about what they are viewing and listening to these days, and Ken has a tip for a new band he’s been hooked into! Cheers!

Beers Sampled:

  • Harbor Lager, American Lager, 4.3% ABV
  • Buffer Zone, Dunkelweizen, 5.2% ABV
  • Wintertide, Rye IPA, 6.6% ABV
  • Camp Nights, Brown Ale, 5.8% ABV

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Pubcast 397 – The 7th Annual Barley Wine Classic

It’s hard to believe we have been recording our annual barley wine show for 7 years, but yes, we have shown this style some love since our first one was recorded in the now gone but not forgotten, legendary John’s Tavern in Winfield. We have tasted and reviewed over 40 barley wines from across the USA, and this year we have another 7, plus 2 from the UK!

This year, Art History founders, Tom & Cindy Rau, graciously agreed to allow us to record the show from their Geneva Lager Works production brewery location, and are part of our tasting panel, although Cindy comes along later as she has AHB biz to deal with! Joining them are co-host Chuck Fort from Church Street Brewing, Ed and Mike Seaman from the Broken Brix Fermentation Emporium, and ex-tavern landlord, John Karwoski. It’s a panel of brewing experts who may or may not be familiar with the ancient style of barley wines.

Listen in to hear what they have to say about the style, and then they’ll arbitrarily rate their favorite one, with all due respect to all the others we taste! Cheers!

The Lineup:

  • Barrel of Monks Brewing, Boca Raton FL.
    • Trip Sitter, 7th Anniversary English Barleywine, 12% ABV
    • Trip Sitter, 7th Anniversary BBA English Barleywine, 12.5% ABV
  • Harvey’s Brewery, Lewes, East Sussex UK
    • 2013 Elizabethan Ale, English Barleywine, 7.5% ABV
    • 2023 Elizabethan Ale, Sparkling English Barleywine, 7.2% ABV
  • Riverlands Brewing, St. Charles IL., J.A.M., American Barleywine aged for 24 months in Four Roses Bourbon Barrels.
  • New Image Brewing, Arvada CO., Wood Reserve Series: Port Scotch BA, American Barleywine, 13% ABV
  • Church Street Brewing, Itasca IL., Barley A Prophet, English Barleywine, 10% ABV
  • Prairie Street Brewing, Rockford IL., BBA American Barleywine, 12% ABV

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Pubcast 396 – Black Lung Brewing Revisited

It was just over 50 podcasts ago in December of 2020 that we spoke with Josh Grubbs, as he was preparing to open Black Lung Brewing in 2021. It was a brave move as this was during the restrictions of  the Covid pandemic, plus at the time he was brewing his beers out of the now closed Zumbier Brewing, and who names a brewery after a deadly mining disease! You would think that he was trying to mirror Sisyphus in Greek mythology, who was forced to roll an immense boulder up a hill only for it to roll back down every time it neared the top, repeating this action for eternity!

But no, through all this, Josh has made an impact on the community of Round Lake Beach with his brewery and taproom, and has also opened a second satellite brewpub in Fox Lake which provides great view of Lake Nippersink from the patio of a 124 year old building! We catch up with Josh at his Round Lake location to get an update on his breweries. Assistant brewer Rob Noon is also in the house, and as the Brit’s usual co-hosts were busy at their breweries this week, ex-tavern owner John Karwoski (Johnny K) is along to make sure he keeps him in line.

We sample some of the brews and Josh tells the full version of the story behind the name of the brewery, plus we get the stories behind some of the beer names, like “Galaxie 503” and “Mr. Willy Sub For A Day”!

Johnny K is curious about some of the entertainment equipment in the taproom and Josh tells how he has had to adapt to what the public wants when you run a small business even though it is a craft brewery. Rob reveals he has been a member of local metal band Wrath, and we find out what that’s all about! And finally there is some discussion about how craft beer aficionados and consumers should be using social media, for example Untappd, to rate the beers that they try…be kind folks!!

Beers Sampled:

  • Lung Light, American Light Lager, 4.7% ABV
  • Eagle Fang Irish Red, Irish Red Ale, 5.1% ABV
  • Caduceus, NEIPA / WineIPA, 5.4% ABV
  • Noon Porter, English Porter, 5.5% ABV
  • Coal River Stout, collab with Riverlands Brewing, Coconut, Pistachio, and Vanilla Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout aged for 24 months in Oppidan Bourbon barrel, 12.5% ABV

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Pubcast 395 – Seasons Greetings and Seasonal Beers

We are back in the pub studio for this episode, which will be the last one until the end of January , as we are taking a short hiatus to take care of some family issues. But, we do have an all-star cast in the house with co-host Ken McMullen from Fox Republic Brewing, co-host Chuck Fort from Church Street Brewing, plus the head brewer from Church Street, Sean Gregor. And this is a bumper edition, but we hope you enjoy our festivities!

The Brit has randomly selected a six-pack of beers that appear at this time of year, some with those seasonal spices and some not. We’ll be sampling these, passing on our comments and seeing where the conversation goes! Plus we find out what The Brit’s favorite Christmas movie is, the backstory behind a well-known Christmas carol, and like most people, we all have no clue what the OED word of the year is and what it means! The Brit poses a question about distributorship and whether it is contributing to the craft beer industry stagnation. And finally, ‘Pull-my-finger’ Santa makes his annual appearance at Chuck’s special request!

We hope you have a great holiday season and we’ll be back in 2024 with more brewery profiles, interviews, videos and beer reviews. Thanks for subscribing!

Beers Sampled:

  • Short Fuse Brewing, Schiller Park IL, The Tips, Holiday IPA with spruce tips and juniper berries, 7% ABV
  • Begyle BrewingChicago IL, Christmas Ale, spiced beer with bay leaves and cinnamon, 7.3% ABV
  • Art History Brewing, Geneva IL, Wenceslas, Bohemian-style dark lager, 6.4% ABV
  • Liquid Love Brewing, Buffalo Grove IL, Jingle Bear, Brown ale with coffee, cacao. Cinnamon, maple, and vanilla , 5.7% ABV
  • More Brewing, Huntley IL, Winter Fields, English-style brown ale, 4.6% ABV
  • Two Brothers, Warrenville IL, Peppermint Bark Porter, Porter with dark cocoa and peppermint, 6.7% ABV

Play our audio podcasts using your favorite smartphone podcast app or our player above. We have a direct link to Apple Podcasts and Spotify below…and lots of other links on the sidebar! Plus you can subscribe to our YouTube channel by clicking this link.

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