Category Archives: Craft Beer

Pubcast 390 – Non-Alcoholic Craft Beer at Go Brewing

This weekend is Labor Day and there’s going to be plenty of barbecues and parties held across the state. Why not offer your guests something that won’t leave them with a headache the next day, or perhaps you have guests who don’t drink, but want to be part of the craft crowd.

In this edition we visit with what we believe is the only non-alcoholic craft beer brewery in the state, Go Brewing Company, located in Naperville IL. Joe Chura is one of the co-founders and the President of GBC, and James Bigler is their head brewer. The Brit and co-host Ken McMullen (Fox Republic Brewing) sat down in their brewery taproom and talked with them about their ‘meteoric’ rise as one of the premier NA breweries in the country.

We talk build-out, process, styles and marketing, discovering many of the differences from being a traditional brewery, the biggest one of which is the distribution channel, online sales, which has led them to be able to sell on Amazon. Of course their brews are available in brick-and-mortar stores, plus many of the area breweries are now carrying their brews as the NA alternative. There’s also a bonus for those counting the calories with most of their brews coming in at less than 80 calories!

By the time this episode has published, their Oktoberfest Märzen will have been released, but we get a pre-taste of it, and a look at the awesome can art. This brew will be a hit at Oktoberfest celebrations for those who don’t drink alcohol, but want to raise their glass for a Prost toast!

We think they are going to only grow more, and The Brit has certainly been converted! We think you will be as well once you try them…cheers!

Beers Sampled:

  • Suspended In A Sunbeam, Pilsner, 0.49% ABV, 45 calories
  • New School Sour Berry, Sour with strawberries &blueberry, <0.5% ABV, 63 calories
  • Damn Good Oktoberfest, Marzen, 0.47% ABV, 65 calories
  • Street Cred Nitro Bold, Nitro Stout, 0.35% ABV, 60 calories
  • Vanilla Porter, 0.5% ABV

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Pubcast 389 – Sundial Brewing and Blending

There have been two new breweries opening in Illinois in the last few weeks. We visited with Fox Republic in the last episode, and this week we focus on the one that opened just a week before, Sundial Brewing and Blending.

Co-owners/brewers, Mike DeMalpartida and lan Swanson, together with co-owner Diana Carlini, have taken over the space previously occupied by Flesk Brewing, in Barrington’s Icehouse Mall. There they are producing some exceptional beers using blending, barreling, and fermentation methods which are not your ‘standard’ styles, even though you will find a pils and a hazy on the taplist. By the way, that hazy is called a farmhouse IPA, as their twist is to use a Belgian yeast.

In our conversation we talk about how they came to start this venture, their approach to the styles they are producing, and the challenges they will face in storing and stacking their barrels. As we continue chatting it becomes more apparent that these guys really know how to produce the beers, using their experiences from home-brewing, and in the restaurant industry to understand what flavors can be obtained using a variety of different adjuncts. For example, their wit has the addition of coriander but also is changed up by using a citrus tea, making the result a wonderfully refreshing beer.

We are excited about Sundial, and highly recommend a visit to sample their brews. Tell them The Brit sent you! Cheers!

Beers Sampled:

  • Wit, Farmhouse Wheat Beer with citrus tea and coriander 5.2% ABV
  • Posh & Dodgy, Farmhouse Dark Mild fermented and aged in oak barrels, 4.5% ABV
  • Field Stone, Farmhouse IPA, 6.7% ABV
  • Dolce Far Niente, Port barrel aged Imperial Stout, 15% 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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Pubcast 388 – Fox Republic Brewing

This episode we are down in Yorkville IL, and one of the newest breweries to open in the Chicagoland area, Fox Republic Brewing. Of course, it was a shoe-in getting an interview here as the Brewmaster and General Manager is one of my co-hosts on the podcast, Ken McMullen. Joining him is his brewer, Sam Walstaff, who we are christening “The Tallest Man in Brewing”, coming in at a fine 6′ 9″!!

FRB has been open for just over two weeks at the time of recording and has shown themselves to have great promise for solid beers served in a great space with a community spirit. The Brit chats with Ken and Sam about the process of opening a new brewery and their approach to the opening days.

Of course we sample some of the styles available, of which there should be something to suit all palates. It’s an exhausting process opening a new brewery and these guys have been working 7 days a week to bring Yorkville and exciting new gathering space. It’s worth a visit, so head on out there! Cheers!

Beers Sampled:

  • Button Factory, Kolsch, 5.5% ABV
  • Confessions of The Fox, collab w/ Church Street Brewing, English Pub Ale , 4.3% ABV
  • Floating West, West Coast IPA
  • Tequila Seltzers, fruit flavors, 4.5% 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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Pubcast 387 – Kishwaukee Brewing Company

McHenry County in northern Illinois, is home to several great craft breweries, all of which you can check out on the McHenry Co. Craft Beverage Trail. This week we are visiting one of the two located in Woodstock IL, Kishwaukee Brewing who recently won a silver medal for their Bufflehead Brown Ale at the 2023 World Beer Cup.

Kishwaukee Brewing Co., is the pride of founders and owners, Dan and Cara Payson, and we visited with Dan and his head brewer, Mark Gres, to find out a little more about their success. Joining me for this interview was my co-host, Ken McMullen from Fox Republic Brewing, who may have assisted in starting the career of one of Kishwaukee’s  future employees…more on that in the interview.

We talk with Dan and Mark about how their brewing careers started, and how they came to join forces at Kishwaukee to produce classic, award-winning beers. Dan’s approach has got them through building the brewery at the start of the pandemic, then opening after the first shutdown, only to be closed a week later with the second one. All that being in the past, they have emerged from those dark days, and are moving into a strong position as a producer of great beers in the Illinois craft beer scene. Their tap room is a wonderful space, as is the outdoor patio, and you won’t be disappointed when you make a visit!

We must offer our apologies to Mark, who apparently had a mic which had ‘technical difficulties’ and caused him to sound like he was at the other end of the brewery. We’ve done our best to improve his sound in post-production, so hopefully it won’t detract too much from the conversation!

Beers Sampled:

  • Bufflehead Brown Ale, American Brown Ale, 6.8% ABV
  • Sandhill Lager, India Pale Lager, 5.5% ABV
  • Tart Peach Saison, Wild Saison, 5.5% ABV
  • Pollinator, Doppelbock, 7.7% 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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