Monthly Archives: May 2020

Hops At Home: Ep. 23 – Pollyanna’s Optimism with Ed Malnar

We couldn’t let our lock-down video series go by without talking to our friends over at Pollyanna Brewing, and in this edition we check in with VP of Operations, Ed Malnar at the end of a busy day in the brewery. Pollyanna opened over 5 years ago, so can be considered one of the ‘senior’ craft breweries in the Chicago area, and has now expanded to two additional locations. With the shutdown in March, they had to resort to curbside pickup and a reliance on their can distribution to ensure that they maintained a supply of beer to their fans.

Ed talks to us about how they did this, the stories behind a couple of their  beers, and how each location can accommodate the new outside opening rules set to implement on May 29. Also, he shows us his technical expertise with a hotspot as he shows us the beer fridge at the Lemont taproom.

Hops At Home: Ep. 22 – Re-Opening with Kevin Abbott, Barrel of Monks Brewing

Florida released their restaurants and breweries from lock-down last week, allowing at least 25% capacity initially, and now up to 50% as we recorded. How did this work out, and did the people actually go out, or were they cautious? The video-cast team decided to call on a friend of the show from a brewery in Boca Raton, and find out.

In this episode, ex-brewer and now Operations VP, Kevin Abbott from Barrel of Monks Brewing, enjoys a Happy Hour brew in his leather chair at the brewery, and tells the lads what happened, and potentially what we can expect here in Illinois, given the announcement by the governor regarding patio openings in June.

You may remember that Kevin came to Church Street Brewing last year for a collaboration brew and a couple of podcasts (Ep. 329330). BOM brews Belgian-style beers, and produces some of the best in the country, with special editions for their Reserve Society and an annual Grand Cru release, and when we ask Kevin to show us his beer fridge, he opens up the ‘Cadillac’ of fridges containing aging brews from the time they opened.

Thanks to Kevin for taking his time to talk to us, and we highly recommend visiting or obtaining their beers! Cheers to drinking again!

Hops At Home: Ep. 21 – Doug and Katie of Sew Hop’d Brewing

It’s a Saturday Special today as we check out how business is doing at another brewery who had to postpone their anniversary celebrations because of the pandemic. This time it’s Huntley’s ‘Hometown Brewery’, Sew Hop’d, and the crew visit with taproom manager Katie Hofmann, and head brewer, Doug Van de Walker. McHenry county has a growing number of noted breweries and SHB opened their doors just over a year ago, and it snowed that day. For their first anniversary it was going to be a delayed celebration to avoid this happening, but little did they think that chance would play another hand to delay their plans.

Situated in a part of the historic Union Sewing Machine building, Doug has worked there for 35 years, and through his home brewing expertise, he persuaded the owners of USM to transform part of the building into a craft brewery, and then took the reins as head brewer. Katie Hofmann has been involved in the craft beer industry for several years and jumped at the opportunity to manage the front of house operations.

Together they have created a unique brewery experience, and Sew Hop’d is producing excellent brews, these days only available via curbside pickup. With summer approaching, it’s worth an expedition to McHenry and a visit to Sew Hop’d – they’ll have plenty of beer waiting for you in cans and bottles!

Hops At Home: Ep. 20 – Chet Brett, Brewing Kindness

To start off another week where we can’t get out to have a beer in person with our chums, we are having a virtual beer with someone who is well-known in the craft beer industry, Chet Brett. Colloquially known as ‘the tallest man’ in craft beer, you will probably see Chet at most of the major beer fests, but in this videocast we track him down to his home office and find out about his latest project, Brewing Kindness.

Still in it’s early days, this project seeks to team up breweries with local charities, and Chet is aiming to spread this across the country. As usual, the Hops at Home team of The Brit, Jay, and Ken enjoy a virtual brew with Chet as we talk to him about this project, find out how it works, check out his beer fridge, and discover that Chet is NOT his real name! Cheers!