Sunday, July 24, 2011

Small Town Brewey Tasting and the new "best deal in town"

Bad picture of Scott's Beer Menu
As you are probably aware by now, I LOVE a good deal, especially one that involves beer! Well this past Thursday I went with my friend Eric to Bliss in Wauconda for their Thursday Night Craft beer tasting, with the brew-master from Small Town Brewery (also in Wauconda). For a whopping $5, you get to taste 6 different craft beers, not to mention Small Town Brewery's sample of their Wheat beer.  Clearly that is one heck of a deal... Bliss is a very cool wine bar/cafe/ store; they do free wine tastings too (if you are into that sort of thing). If you are in the northern Illinois area, it would be well worth a stop into Wauconda to check out Bliss, and their very good selection of craft beers. Now I should add that while Bliss doesn't have it's own kitchen, they do have a very nice (and very Wauconda) restaurant across the street that delivers into the store for patrons. I thought that was so cool, because I really enjoy the food at Bulldogs, and though eating inside the retro restaurant is fun, having it brought to your table while drinking a nice cold craft beer is even more fun (Bulldogs also serves craft beer though not as wide a selection).
Stiegl Weisse
So what was on the menu? Glad you asked! I have to admit how impressed I was with the way that the beer tasting menu was set up, from a cool crisp beer to more spiced Belgian styles, ending with a crisp wheat ale that refreshes your palate (just in time to try something from Small Town Brewery).
First up was Stiegel Weisse at 5.1% Alcohol per volume. This was a nice fruity beer, and I immediately thought that my wonderful husband would love it because of the banana and vanilla flavors that it has, but it was well balanced and you could still taste the wheat and yeast. This might not be one that I would buy for myself, but will look for as a gift for my hubs.
Bell's Oberon

The next beer is from Bell's and is Bell's Oberon. At 5.8% alcohol per volume, this wheat ale was really good. I liked the flavor of the yeast, wheat and hops. It was very well balanced, not too sweet, not too hoppy... just right. I like this one so much that I bought a mini-keg of it for Eric's birthday! This will definitely be one that I will be looking for again.

La Fin Du Monde

The third beer on the menu is one of my all time favorites, La Fin Du Monde. It is 9.0% alcohol per volume and is perfectly spiced. The name is French for The end of the world (the brewery is in Quebec) and with one of these delicious beers in hand I would be okay if it was the end of the world (now I have REM in my head)

Next on the menu was Maudite, a sister beer to La Fin Du Monde from Unibrou. Maudite is 8% alcohol per volume and is a little more roasted in flavor then La Fin Du Monde. Maudite is another one that I really like, and have had on multiple occasions, it was interesting to me to have them one after the other, I was really able to compare the flavors better. A little more aggressive with the malts and hops, Maudite is still a well balance, well spice Belgian style ale.

Krombacher Pilsner
Number five on the menu was a Pilsner from Krombacher. At 4.8% alcohol per volume this crisp and clean pilsner is a refreshing choice on a hot summer day. Not overly hoppy as some pilsners can be, and I would have expected after such heavily spiced beers before-hand, this was the perfect beer to follow up the Belgian ales from Unibrou. A very good example of what a German Pilsner should taste like (not that the Germans need me to tell them that).

Southern Tier 422 Pale Wheat Ale
The final (sort of ) beer was 422 from Southern Tier. I have heard some amazing things about this South Carolina brewery, but this was the first time I actually was able to try anything from them. 422 Pale Wheat Ale is 5.8% alcohol per volume and is a little more fruity than one would expect from the smell. It was a good balance of hops and the wheat flavor. I have to say I was very impressed and will be keeping a look out for the other offerings from Southern Tier.

Tim Kovac, Brew-master from Small Town Brewery
Once we finished "Scott's Beer Menu" (Scott, you are awesome!) we were given the opportunity to try the Wheat Ale brewed by Wauconda's very own Small Town Brewery. The brew-master at Small Town was there to pour us our samples himself. Small Town Brewery's Wheat Ale is well balanced, has a very strong flavor of the wheat which I really liked. It coats your mouth like melting chocolate, letting you enjoy the flavor notes in between sips. The wheat ale had a nice tone of honey, which was perfect on the hot day that we had. At 5% alcohol per volume, Small Town Brewery has created a fantastic session beer! I had the good luck to talk to Tim while we were going through the tasting, and he is a very nice man who is passionate about what he does. All the things you want to have in someone who is making beer! Currently Small Town Brewery's family of beers is only served at select locations in Lake County, IL. You MUST come out to Lake County to try some of Small Town's offerings, and I hear that they will be at the Lake County Fair this month.... so you might see me there, and if you do, say hi, I would love to meet you.

Small Town Brewery's Wheat Ale
 Thursday I discovered a very cool place in my home town, and was amazed at the variety, vision and love but into not just the beer I sampled, but the atmosphere and attitude of the people working at Bliss. I plan on going back again, it was by far the best deal in town!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wednesday Beer Quiz!!

Yes! It's official! It is already Wednesday! I check the calendar three times to make sure...
So, the answer to last week's quiz.... What is the best temperature to serve beer at? 100% of the people who took the quiz got it right (go you!). The correct answer is, It's different for each type of beer. Looks like you know how to serve your beer. You can find out about specific temperatures for you specific beers at Now if only the temperature outside would cool off, we are approaching 100 degrees.

Did you enjoy the articles and blogs I routed you to on Monday? I hope so... but not too much that you wont' keep coming here to read my blog.

Today I would like to take a second to give you another handy website that I found... It is a page dedicated to keeping track of beer festivals! has every month of the year for you to peruse, and peruse you should!

I am sorry to break it to you, but this week there won't be a quiz. I just am out of trivia at the moment. If you have a good idea, topic or question to be the quiz for the week, please, please, please email it to me.

I got so many interesting beers this Saturday at my daughter's birthday party that we should be set for a few weeks for tasting beer, but if there are any that you want to suggest, I will reward your email suggestion with not only gratitude and a shout-out on this blog, but also your choice of stickers or pens( sorry nothing cooler)

Still no word on the domain problem that is plaguing me, but don't worry, I am still writing and putting together the photo gallery (which means I need you to keep sending pictures of you with beer, or just beer).

Hang in there, this week is already half over!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hoppy Beer update

Clearly I am still behind the ball this week. We had a party this Saturday and we were both so worn out afterwards that we decided to skip beer night. On a positive note, I had three people bring me beer to try on Saturday, so we have even more beer now!
Since there wasn't a post this weekend, I want to work extra hard this week to give you something to read. Sooo, here are some of the things that I have read this past week about beer....
A beer recipe that I am dying to try out (anyone want to have another BBQ at my house?) How can you say no to bacon and beer in any recipe?
Another one from Craft ( Swear I read other stuff) for their Summer Movie and Beer Pairings, which I think is so much fun!
The artist in me loved looking at these new beer labels. One of the things I love the most about craft beer is the ingenious labels and names that they have...
Finally, in case you didn't know it by now, I am a dork about beer. This is an article about an upcoming movie about the craft beer culture in Colorado, and yes, I want to see it.
So there you have it. I hope you enjoy checking those out as much as I did.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Happy Wednesday (finally!)

What a week this has been so far! I hate to admit it, but I thought for a little bit that I wasn't going to be able to write a post for today. We had a nasty storm Monday morning and lost power to most of the area. There are still a ton of people without power. I will be honest, it never occurred to me that losing electricity would suck SO much.
When I found out that we lost power at my house my train of thought was like this (imagine the panic level rising as the thoughts are coming)
No power= no AC
No power= no Facebook!
No power= food will be going bad!!
No power= beer might go bad!!!
Question my priorities if you must... but that is the way the thoughts came to me. You will be happy to know (as I was) that the beer is still good and we don't have to dump any of our precious beer.

I have compiled a list of things I learned during my 36+ hours without electricity...
* When you live in a townhouse, your neighbors are closer and much louder than you remember
*No matter how many times you hit the "ON" switch, the fan won't turn on
*Candles are not awesome for reading, and only make the 85 degree/82% humidity atmosphere in your house warmer
* Baby pools are awesome, no matter how old you are
* The compulsiveness your husband thought was bearable quickly becomes almost too obnoxious to handle, especially when you can't stop opening the fridge to see if the beer is still cold when you shouldn't be opening the fridge at all.
* The biggest thing that I learned is something that I might need some help illustrating (hint hint). The amount of time spent with a 2 year old divided by temperature plus amount of time without electricity is directly proportional to the chance someone is going to get hit. I dont' mean the toddler will get hit (though I almost understand it) I am referring to the people at the electricity company, the person who made laptop batteries so weak, the woman staring at us as the toddler has a meltdown because she wants Yo Gabba Gabba and she is hot and hungry and at a restaurant, the waitress who took 45 minutes to get us a waffle with ice cream and a cup of juice... those are the people who have an increased chance off being smacked.

The lesson for this week, don't take your nice air conditioning, cold beer, generally well behaved toddler life for granted. All that it takes to change that is a 70 mph wind and a shaky transformer. The minute you realize that your lap top battery is dying and there is no Yo Gabba Gabba for your hot cranky toddler and no cold beer to calm your nerves, you will wish for it all to be back to normal.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Just a short break

I know I have been MIA, no post in a week. It ‘s not because I don’t want to, I just have been very busy, and now that Blake is back to work full time (insert happy dance here) our weekend was a little more hectic than anticipated. Add to that the Epic Two-year-old birthday party that we have this Saturday, and it’s a wonder my head hasn’t exploded!
Anyways, here is my list of things to do for the blog for this week:
Write a beer review from Saturday’s beer (courtesy of Amy and Justin) and get pictures uploaded
Fix website to locate blog there and other fancy cool stuff (fingers crossed it works THIS time)
Mention the lack of emails from people… and the lack of giving away stickers
Plan our beer outing for next week (hopefully we can squeeze it in)
Highlight some cool beer news

As you see, I have a full agenda. I am not sure that I will get it all (or any of it) done this week. I think that I am safe in promising that I will at least have the Wednesday post this week for you all to enjoy.
Here is one thing off my list, check out this article (inspirational to me anyways) on Beer-centric Bed and Breakfasts. I can’t help but imagine my upcoming anniversary spent at one of these lovely retreats enjoying beer… what could be more romantic?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

Grab Some Buds

It's July 4th, and I have a fun-filled post today (or so I tell myself). I hosted my Budweiser party yesterday, and it was better than expected. We had lots of food, and lots of beer. Budweiser sent us t-shits and all sorts of give-aways, not to mention vouchers for beer.

We purchased four types of Budweiser for the party, since it had been such a long time since we drank the stuff we didn't know what we would like. There was the original Budweiser, Bud Light, Bud Select, and a surprisingly tasty Budweiser American Ale. The American Ale was hoppier than any of the other Bud products, I have to say it was my favorite of the choices we had. Of course there was a a little debate over that, some people decided to stick with the Bud Select or Bud Light, but never-the-less, there was plenty of Budweiser going around.

Because I am weird, and like my quizzes so much, I had to create a trivia contest in order to hand out the give-aways. I tried to get a good cross-section American history, Beer history and Budweiser history facts in the quiz. Here are some of the questions (I admit I got carried away and there were 14 questions)

1)      The pilgrims decided to make an emergency landing (winding up at Plymouth Rock) because they were low on:
a.       Beer
b.      Food
c.       Water

2)      Which of the Founding Fathers did NOT die one July 4th?
a.       John Adams

b.      Thomas Jefferson
c.       James Monroe
d.      Benjamin Franklin

3)      Which two presidents had the Budweiser Clydesdales at their inauguration?
a.       Harry Truman
b.      Richard Nixon

c.       George W. Busch
d.      Bill Clinton
4)      During Prohibition, Budweiser continued to brew non-alcoholic beer and a non-alcoholic cereal drink called:
a.       Not-beer

b.      Bevo
c.       Budweiser breakfast

Justin and Amy showing off their new Budweiser t-shirts

Here are my guests modelling some of the fun give-aways we had
Rachel showing off her new Budweiser apron

We even had a chance to do some fun Budweiser Product Placement pictures!

Amy's product placement picture

Christie doing a product placement picture

An actual picture of Blake! With his Bud shirt and beer
Super Enthusiastic Justin with his Bud Light
I think that overall we had a good party (though the turn out was smaller than expected). We were able to sample some of Budweisers offerings and enjoy the gorgeous weather we had (not to mention have soe delicious grilled fare).
I still have some give-aways from Budweiser, not to mention stickers with my super awesome hoppy Beer Girl logo on them. If you send me an email with the correct answers to ALL four of the quiz questions, I will send you some free stuff. Email me at, this excludes anyone pictured in this blog, you already got the free stuff :)

You may have noticed that there has been some switching back and forth with the blog this week. I purchased my domain name (yay!) and then messed it up by trying to make it fancy... BUT I am working on getting it fixed, and fancy. I am hoping to create a Reader's Gallery where I can put up pictures of YOU drinking beer. Here is one that my sister sent me from her trip to the Bahamas. I am not sure what I am more jealous of, the setting, or the quality of her camera! Send me your pictures!

Kalik in the Bahamas

Friday, July 1, 2011

Holiday Weekend (bonus) Friday Post

So we all have a nice long 3-day weekend ahead of us (I hope) and that means that we will all be partaking in our favorite libations most likely. The Fourth of July generally ranks third in the family of American Holidays for drunk driving fatalities and DUI's, it is going back and forth with New Year's Eve, Thanksgiving is the number one and never drops down to second. It is easy to see why Independence Day would be  celebrated thoroughly with alcohol. I mean the founders of this country had beer all the time and brewed it themselves too! Thomas Jefferson brewed beer at Monticello, and used to stock up on different brews as he travelled. George Washington had his own recipe that he published for beer. We all know the beer legacy that was founded on Samuel Adams beer recipe! Beer is as American then as Apple Pie (based on Dutch baked goods) and Baseball (which technically is a derivative of Cricket and therefore not so American). Maybe the lesson here is that Americans are great at adapting culture and Americanizing it (think Taco Bell).
On this historic and patriotic holiday, it is highly likely that you will be imbibing... There is nothing wrong with that, I know I will be knocking some back myself (hey, this IS a blog about beer). My request is that you do it responsibly. I am not going to lecture you about the cost of drink driving or how a DUI can ruin your lives... You have already heard all of the statistics. I feel like I would be doing you all a HUGE injustice if I didn't at least provide you with some good tips and some places where you can get a ride if you have had too much to drink.
So, here is a a list of tips to help you drink responsibly from

Hints and tips

Keep track of how much you drink: count and measureSpacers:
Soft drink ‘spacers’ between drinks can help  pace an evening.
A word to the wiseTop-ups:
Avoid top-ups so you can keep track of your alcohol intake.
Alternate "drink spacers"Water, water!:
Alternate your drinks with water to stay refreshed.
A bite to eatA bite to eat:
Eating before or while drinking slows alcohol absorption.
Be a Responsibile HostBe a responsible host:
Provide food, non-alcoholic drinks or serve pre-made cocktails using standard drinks measures.
Grab a cab or designate a driverDrive time:
Think about how you’re going to get home before you leave home.  Grab a cab or designate a driver.

As for the last part about a cab, I happened to take the initiative of finding the NATIONAL websites for cab companies. If you plan on getting drunk, arrange a cab ahead of time. Yellow Cab and Taxi are both national cab companies and you can navigate their websites to find a local company. You can also type cabs into Google and get the info that way. Any bar you are at should have the number for at least one cab company handy in case you need it.
There is also this nifty thing called a designated driver! Someone who isn't drinking and is still hanging out and having fun. If that is you, that means DON'T drink. If you don't have a designated driver, I have just the thing for you! It is called a rented designated driver. This is a group who has lists of people willing to give you a lift sometimes for free, when you have had too much to drink. What a brilliant thing!
 If you feel so inclined, I would love to see some pictures of you having fun (and any beers you are trying) this weekend. If you want to share please email them to me at If you haven't noticed, the URL has changed, I am going to start a reader photo gallery and will totally use your pictures in it (if you send them that is).
So please be safe and have a great Fourth of July!

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