Don’t Drink That Beer!

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Posted: December 29, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Now that the holidays are over, your very best friends certainly gifted you with some pretty damn good beers. (No? Then dump them and get better friends.) But if you received beers like some that I got — with 7% ABV or more  — my best advice is … don’t drink them. At least not now. Maybe next year. Maybe next decade. But not now.

Oh, sure, they’ll taste fine now. But in a few years they’ll be much more likely to taste fantasmagorical. Time has a wonderful way to mellow and blend flavors, take the edge off the hops and let malty flavors shine through.

Many beer brands – mostly the macrobrews – advertise their beer as being “fresh.” And for those tasteless fizzy beverages, that may be a good thing. (Bud Light, for one, is great for making a tempura batter – since it’s virtually flavorless, it doesn’t get in the way of the flavors of whatever you’re frying. The only thing it’s not good for is drinking.)

But if you received a serious a beery gift (or a personal beery indulgence) for the holidays, think about how it will benefit from aging. You’ll remember those friends who gave it to you years from now. If you’re generous, you might even invite them over to taste some of it. I’m not that generous.

In a year or five from now, it will be something memorable you can pop open on New Year’s Eve, rather than that lousy Charmat Bulk Process “Champagne” they’ll be serving at the big, expensive New Year’s Eve banquet you were talked into attending. Something rich, deep and complex. A real beer.

A classic example of a holiday-season beer that ages well is Samichlaus. Originally brewed in Zurich, Switzerland, at one time Samichlaus was the strongest beer on the planet, coming in at 14% ABV. (Since then, a number of breweries have entered an unfortunate competition to see who can brew the strongest beer. I’ll be avoiding these abominations, topped out by Scotland’s Brewdog. Their Sink the Bismark beer comes in at a whopping 41% ABV http://www.brewdog.com/sink_the_bismark – that’s over 80 proof beer, folks … it’s a stunt; not really beer as any reasonable person would define it.)

Samichlaus is now brewed at Schloss Eggenberg in Vorchdorf, Austria, and it’s true to the original, in flavor and tradition. It’s brewed only once a year, on December 6, and aged for 10 months before bottling. Rich and complex, it should be treated more like a fine port than a beer. I’m still patiently waiting to open my bottle of Samichlaus ’87. Maybe I’ll crack open a bottle when it reaches 25 years old.

Samichlaus

left, the original Samiclaus from Switzerland (this one the 1987 vintage), right, the Austrian version, vintage 2009

But there’s no need to go to Europe for age-worthy beers.

Chicago’s own Goose Island, in particular, has developed a number of age-worthy beers, most notably the Bourbon County Stout series.  With Regular, Vanilla, Coffee and Rare versions, they’re world renowned — dark, rich, roasty complex, even creamy, with notes of bourbon and chocolate —they’ll just get better as the years pass (the labels suggest they can be cellared for five years; I might go longer). All earn a coveted 100 out of 100 rating from Ratebeer. 13 % ABV. The 22 oz. bombers go for from about $15 to over $50 each, depending on variety. (If you can find them, that is.  Let’s just say the Rare is aptly named). If you enjoy fine beers, they’re worth it.

Photo courtesy Goose Island
Photo courtesy Goose Island

For something easier to find and a bit more down-to-earth, consider, Goose Island’s Belgian 3-pack. At less than $25, the well-regarded combo of Sofie, Matilda and Pere Jacques come in at 6.5%, 7% and 8% ABV respectively, and will easily develop more of the complex fruitiness character they all share over the next four or five years.

Goose

Over in Kalamazoo Michigan, Bell’s just released its limited-edition Batch 10,000 — the last of their limited-edition Batch series. Despite being just a bit under $20 per six-pack, it’s a great investment – but again, tough to find. You’ll be well rewarded when you open it on the day you retire.

Like cleaning out a refrigerator full of leftovers, Bell’s brewmasters used up all the dribs and drabs of malts, other grains, and hops (100 different malts, grains and other fermentable stuff; 60 different hops — that’s extreme to the extreme), to produce a dark, rich brew with chocolate, coffee and pine notes (the latter, from the mostly-American hops). But beware — it goes down much more easily than you’d expect from a 9.2% ABV beer. (I’m speaking from experience here — you’ll note the two bottles in the back of the six pack have already been drained, and they went down much more quickly than they should have. I’m blaming the beer, not me.) Reviews from others have claimed the parts, while complex, don’t all come together harmoniously — another reason to give it a few years.

BellsBatch10000

Meanwhile, in Warrenville, Illinois the Brothers Ebel (aka Two Brothers) also produce the occasional cellar-worthy brew. Recently, their Imperial IPA (at 8.1% ABV) has already gotten acclaim from those foolish enough to drink it fresh. Word is that the technique of wet-hopping (i.e. adding fresh, not dried hops) gives the beer enough hop oomph to stand up to the strong maltiness, for a balanced behemoth. And finishing in new French Oak tanks adds welcome woodiness.

Best for aging for a few years? The $50 3L bottle — get chummy with your local retailers and see if one of them can get it for you.

Three Floyds Dark Lord (a Russian Imperial Stout) is also a no-brainer for cellaring several years. But if you don’t have a bottle already in your cellar, you’ll have to fight the Munster, Indiana crowds in the spring on the one day it’s released.

Back in Chicago, Half Acre has made a number of limited edition brews that deserve some age, including the Double Daisy Cutter Imperial Pale Ale, Baumé American Chocolate Rye Stout, Ginger Twin India Red Ale, Big Hugs Imperial Stout, Magnus Schwartzbier, The Invasion Helles Bock, Shewolf India Pale Ale (discussed here), and Freedom of ’78 Guava Wheat India Pale Ale (guava in a beer? Yes!), among others. Snatch ‘em up if you can find ‘em — they’re rare.

There are many other examples — the beers from New Holland come to mind — but the point is … there are great local beers you should go out and buy … but don’t drink them for New Year’s Eve … unless it’s New Year’s Eve 2015.


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“E-Dogz” Mobile Culinary Community Center

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Posted: December 27, 2010 at 10:31 am

Hi, my name is Eric May. Besides writing for the Local Beet about foraging, I am also an artist, a summertime chef at a 100 year old art school in Saugatuck, MI called Ox-Bow, and the director of a nonprofit art center in Noble Square called Roots & Culture. I am also pursuing a Master’s degree in Fine Arts at Northwestern University in multi-disciplinary art practices, in particular exploring the intersection of food, ecology, and art.  I need your backing for my food truck

video.html

E-Dogz is more than just a food truck, it is a Mobile Culinary Community Center. And what exactly does that mean? Food is a medium for social interaction. All over the world, street food- food that is prepared and served in public- provides moments which bring together communities. My city, Chicago, has a distinct lack of this type of culture. I would like to launch this project as a means for not only serving great food, but also ideas and conversation about food. I would like to inform and stimulate people’s relationships and attitudes towards what they eat.

The Center will host a range of public activities that will inspire community conviviality such as block parties, cook-offs, and a visiting chef series that will feature everyone from professionals, to amateurs, budding young cooks, and talented grandmas. The Center will also host educational programming such as cooking demonstrations and urban food awareness workshops. Even through the cuisine itself, which will feature unlikely ingredients that may be foraged from the landscape or grown at the Center itself, an awareness and appreciation of food sources will be promoted.

Sales of foodstuffs will be re-invested into the programming of the Center.

Once funding goals have been met I will purchase a concession trailer. I will apply for the proper licensing from the city which will include securing a catering license and certification for the requisite stable kitchen space that you see in my video. This is the law in Chicago, all foods served from a mobile food facility must be prepared and prepackaged in a certified kitchen.

During the colder months, I will begin to work on outfitting the trailer with cooking equipment. I will also invest a great deal of time designing the identity of the project, embellishing the trailer with signage, a sound system, and interactive display areas. I hope to hit the streets by early spring.

$9000 of funding for this project has been secured through a grant from Northwestern University’s Center for Interdisciplinary Research in the Arts. This is nearly enough funding to buy the concession trailer itself. I am trying to raise another $3000 toward the rest of the money needed for the trailer and beyond that to fund equipment and licensing costs.

Please go here to back me.




Green City Wednesday and That’s About it on This Limited, Updated Local Calendar

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Posted: December 22, 2010 at 10:52 am

We hope you took our advice last week to get your local food and local food holiday presents, because your buying options for a good while, have become much more limited.  The only thing on this updated Local Calendar is today’s (Wednesday’s) Green City Market.  Do, however, look ahead to items, including the FamilyFarmed Expo in March, 2011

Do note that for the next few winter months, there will be various winter markets, but you may want to focus on the local food retail specialists listed below.  Also, this time of year, one of your best bets for local food is to sit in your comfy abode and order up from Irv and Shelly

WHAT TO BUY NOW

We are at the very end of the accumulating period of local food.  The following local foods may be found still:

Root vegetables: beets, rutabagas, carrots, celery root, sunchokes;  indoor grown greens like rocket (a/k/a arugula), chard, spinach or lettuces;  also radishes, winter squash, cabbages (and cabbage relatives like Brussels sprouts and kohrabi); storage crops like onionspotatoes, and apples, and winter stalwarts micro-greens/sprouts and mushrooms.

WHERE TO FIND LOCAL FOODS

These stores specialize in local foods:

We await the opening of Butcher and the Larder.

C&D Pastured Pork’s sales around town.

We bet, if you look around, you can also find local foods at various grocery stores, especially local apples, onions, winter squash and potatoes.

WHAT TO DO SOON

Wednesday – December 22

Green City Market at the Peggy Notebart Nature Museum from 8 AM to 1 PM.  Demonstration by Sarah Stegner and George Bumbaris of Prairie Fire and Prairie Grass Cafe

WHAT TO DO LATER

Wednesday – January 5

Soup and Bread at the Hideout benefiting local food pantries – 1354 W. Wabansia, Chicago – 530 PM – 730 PM

Sunday – January 9

Logan Square Farmers Market – 2135 N. Milwaukee – 10 – 2 PM – All sorts of things on for Sunday including Otter Creek cheddars, Mint Creek lamb, and Tempel Farms eggs; Otter Creek Organic Farm also has grass fed beef and pasture raised organic pork and chicken – Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee – 10 AM – 2 PM

Palatine – Winter market associated with Faith in Place at the Countryside Unitarian Universalist Church

Chicago/Glenwood (Rogers Park) – This well received, new market continues its indoor market with sausages, apples, and more including organic produce. The market will continue to accept Master Card and Visa and is extending our Market for All matching fund program for Link/SNAP guests. The Glenwood Sunday Market is located at the intersection of Glenwood & Morse Avenue (1400W-6900N) in Rogers Park, conveniently located at the Morse “L” stop. 9am -2pm

Monday - January 10

City Provisions Supper Club with Casa Noble Tequilla – Email supperclub@cityprovisions.com for details and reservations.

Saturday - January 15

Green City Market at the Peggy Notebart Nature Museum from 8 AM to 1 PM. Theme: Snout to Tail

Oak Park – Winter market associated with Faith in Place at Unity Temple – 875 Lake, Oak Park – 9 AM – 1 PM

Saturday – January 22

Beekeeping class at Hull House offered by Chicago Honey Co-op - 800 S. Halsted, Chicago – 10 AM – 3 PM

SAVE THE DATE!

March 17 – 19 – Familyfarmed.org Expo including Financing Farm to Fork, Chicago Food Policy Summit, Localicious Party and Consumer Day.




Put Local Food on Your Holiday Table, Give the Gift of Local Food with This Local Calendar

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Posted: December 16, 2010 at 5:41 pm

The holiday season really gets a-goin’ this weekend.  We implore you to find local foods to serve your family and guests, and we implore you to present your friends and relatives with gifts of local foods.  Look below to WHAT TO BUY NOW for what we mean.  If you need more holiday gift ideas, see Wendy’s excellent resource here

We strive to make this your best source for knowing what’s in season and where to find it, but we very much appreciate any ideas, suggestions, inclusions and omissions.  Please leave us comments for a making a better Local Calendar.

WHAT TO BUY NOW

You can easily build you holiday menus from what is in season still (as in what’s being sold at area farmer’s markets and retailers).  This is mostly the season of root vegetables: beets, rutabagas, carrots, celery root, sunchokes.  Stock up on these because you will not see them at markets much longer.   You may or may not be able to find indoor grown greens like rocket (a/k/a arugula), chard, spinach or lettuces.  About running out are radishes, winter squash, cabbages (and cabbage relatives like Brussels sprouts and kohrabi).  Through the winter there should be storage crops like onionspotatoes, and apples. All winter you should find micro-greens/sprouts and mushrooms.

The gift of local food.  If you showed up at my door with a rutabagas like these, I’d be like, wow, what an excellent gift, but most people want something a bit, well, less vegetal.  As I’ve noted above, we’ve put together an excellent list of eat local gift ideas.  I’m not going to give you a whole new set of suggestions, nor am I gonna list all of the many companies that offer good food.  Rather, I’m just going to throw out a bunch of categories of things you can find when shopping this coming week at farmer’s markets and the like:

  • Jams and jellies
  • Pickles, relishes, chutneys, and salsas
  • Candies and pastries
  • Popcorn, caramel corn
  • Ice cream

WHERE TO FIND LOCAL FOODS

These stores specialize in local foods:

We await the opening of Butcher and the Larder.

C&D Pastured Pork’s sales around town.

We bet, if you look around, you can also find local foods at various grocery stores, especially local apples, onions, winter squash and potatoes.

WHAT TO DO SOON

Saturday – December 18

61 ist Street Farmer’s Market at Experimental Station – Variety of breads, meats and produce from our friends at Genesis Growers. 6100 S. Blackstone Ave., Chicago 9 AM – 2 PM

Woodstock – We learned of this market when we went out to McHenry to give a talk. At the Extension Office/Farm Bureau office in Woodstock (1102 McConnell Road), this market promises pastured meats, winter produce and other fun stuff 9 AM – 12 PM through December.

Olivia’s Garden – Find Tomato Mountain (sold by the Cook Book Addict), Mint Creek, C & D Pastured Pork, honey from the Pullman community garden and other goods at this Beverly garden center 10730 S. Western, Chicago – 9 AM – 1 PM through

Geneva Community Market – Inglenook Pantry – 11 N. 5th Street, Geneva – 9 AM – 1 PM

Meeting outdoors, the Grayslake market continues with meat, vegetables, cheese and other goodies – Downtown Grayslake in Centinial Park – 10 AM – 2 PM

Green City Market at the Peggy Notebart Nature Museum from 8 AM to 1 PM.  Demonstration at 1030 by Jason Hammel of Lula’s and Nightwood

Sunday – December 19

Logan Square Farmers Market – 2135 N. Milwaukee – 10 – 2 PM – All sorts of things on for Sunday including Otter Creek cheddars, Mint Creek lamb, and Tempel Farms eggs; Otter Creek Organic Farm also has grass fed beef and pasture raised organic pork and chicken – Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee – 10 AM – 2 PM

1st Annual Chicago Local & Fair Trade Holiday Gift Bazaar – Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N Cannon Dr. on Sunday December 5TH and Sunday December 19th, 2010 from 11-5 pm – Details here.

Winter Farmer’s Market at the Chicago Botanic Garden – 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe – 10 AM – 2 PM

Wednesday – December 22

Green City Market at the Peggy Notebart Nature Museum from 8 AM to 1 PM.  Demonstration by Sarah Stegner and George Bumbaris of Prairie Fire and Prairie Grass Cafe

WHAT TO DO LATER

Wednesday – January 5

Soup and Bread at the Hideout benefiting local food pantries – 1354 W. Wabansia, Chicago – 530 PM – 730 PM

Sunday – January 9

Palatine – Winter market associated with Faith in Place at the Countryside Unitarian Universalist Church

Monday - January 10

City Provisions Supper Club with Casa Noble Tequilla – Email supperclub@cityprovisions.com for details and reservations.

Saturday - January 15

Green City Market at the Peggy Notebart Nature Museum from 8 AM to 1 PM. Theme: Snout to Tail

Oak Park – Winter market associated with Faith in Place at Unity Temple – 875 Lake, Oak Park – 9 AM – 1 PM

Saturday – January 22

Beekeeping class at Hull House offered by Chicago Honey Co-op - 800 S. Halsted, Chicago – 10 AM – 3 PM

SAVE THE DATE!

March 17 – 19 – Familyfarmed.org Expo including Financing Farm to Fork, Chicago Food Policy Summit, Localicious Party and Consumer Day.




A Local Dinner from Angelo Caputo’s

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Posted: December 16, 2010 at 9:45 am

We freely admit there are many hurdles involved in eating local.  Even at the height of farmer’s market season, it can be difficult to acquire items needed to make full meals.  One needs to bop around, order online or get to a friendly farmer for basics like beans or meat.  We get to the cold and it is that much harder.  The amount of farmer’s markets dwindle to a number easily categorized in a Local Calendar.  And those markets do not carry enough food to sustain regular meals.  Instead, Chicago area locavores like us are forced to preserve and store their own foods to ensure a steady supply of daily sustenance.  Or we can look to our local grocery store. 

We cannot and should not expect our local grocery store to keep us in good stock unless our local grocery store was one of the few eat local specialists like Cassie’s Green Grocer or Cleetus’s City Provisions.  Still, we can selectively shop.  Just find the local.  It’s there.  If we say one thing around here, we say this.  The reasons to eat local are the reasons to eat local.  It does not matter what time of year, nor does it matter where you shop.  Eating local does not just apply to shopping at a bountiful farmer’s market.  So, look around and do your best.  Try.  Look how this Local Family did it.  We found two local the other night at the nearby Angelo Caputo’s in Elmwood Park.  Local good enough for a comforting winter dinner. 

The Cook Book Addict made stew from Strauss veal.  Sure there was a time when the Cook Book Addict would have never made veal, local or not.  Too many scary pictures of crated babies in the pages of the Nation scared her away from veal.  Now that she knows she can make veal from pastured babies, from local babies.  She does not shy away from veal.  It helps that Angelo Caputo’s now sells Strauss products.  She served the veal stew over locally produced Cipriani egg noodles.   Why did we use Cipriani noodles.  We used them because they are produced not too far away in Chicago Heights.  It is a commercial product.  We do not deny that.  It just tastes a little better to us because it is a local product.  It tastes a little better because we know it does not require a lot of energy and effort to bring Cipriani products from Chicago Heights to Elmwood Park.  We know it tastes a little better because there is still a small company, in the Heights, making this stuff with a bit more care than rice-aroni.  And of course, the Strauss veal tastes better.  Look for products like Strauss and Cipriani where you shop, and we bet your meals will taste better too.

Not all of our recent meals have come from the shelves of Angelo Caputo’s.  We have one more week of our Tomato Mountain CSA.  Dinner on Wednesday night featured beet greens from our box.  During Hanukkah, we made latkes from Wisconsin potatoes picked up cheaply at the restaurant supply house.  We seem, already, to be eating a lot of mushrooms.  We have a pretty good store of food, and I will do an inventory soon.  We continue to address the hurdles of eating local because we believe in eating local.

Seasonal eating is not just about gouging on asparagus in May.  It means adjusting your expectations for the time of year.  It means that part of the year live off of market salads and another time live off of grocery store meat.  It can be done, and it can be done in a way that stays true to all we care about.  We have no problem turning to Angelo Caputo’s to eat local.




A Letter from the Beet’s Resident Forager – Looking for Help Getting His Food Truck Going

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Posted: December 15, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Hi, my name is Eric May. Besides writing for the Local Beet about foraging, I am also an artist, a summertime chef at a 100 year old art school in Saugatuck, MI called Ox-Bow, and the director of a nonprofit art center in Noble Square called Roots & Culture. I am also pursuing a Master’s degree in Fine Arts at Northwestern University in multi-disciplinary art practices, in particular exploring the intersection of food, ecology, and art.

I am trying to launch a new Food Truck project. It is part of my thesis work and I hope it will be a long term project beyond school. The University’s Center for Interdisciplinary Research in the Arts awarded me $9000 for a grant that I wrote to fund the project. After about five months of shopping for a used concession trailer I realized that it would be best to buy a new model. I am trying to raise another $3000 which will cover the extra costs and equipment and licensing costs as well.

E-Dogz is more than just a food truck, it is a Mobile Culinary Community Center. And what exactly does that mean? Food is a medium for social interaction. All over the world, street food- food that is prepared and served in public- provides moments which bring together communities. My city, Chicago, has a distinct lack of this type of culture. I would like to launch this project as a means for not only serving great food, but also ideas and conversation about food. I would like to inform and stimulate people’s relationships and attitudes towards what they eat.

The Center will host a range of public activities that will inspire community conviviality such as block parties, cook-offs, and a visiting chef series that will feature everyone from professionals, to amateurs, budding young cooks, and talented grandmas. The Center will also host educational programming such as cooking demonstrations and urban food awareness workshops. Even through the cuisine itself, which will feature unlikely ingredients that may be foraged from the landscape or grown at the Center itself, an awareness and appreciation of food sources will be promoted.

Some of you will be familiar with the Kickstarter website for small project fundraising. It is incredibly easy to use and pretty fun to look at. Please consider making a small donation for the project through this website. It can be as small as $1. I will have 45 days to reach my fundraising goal and they only release funds to fully funded projects. I have some pretty cool rewards for donating a variety of levels which will be spelled out on the site. The address for my project is:

 http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/525541465/e-dogz-mobile-culinary-community-center

So, check out my (slightly embarrassing) video and please consider a small donation.
 
Thank you so much for supporting my projects and research!  Hopefully I’ll be cooking up some crazy cuisine on a street corner near you!
 
Very Best,
 
 
Eric



We are Just Keeping Up with The Local Calendar

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Posted: December 9, 2010 at 3:45 pm

We don’t have a lot new to report in this Local Calendar.  Besides, we are on our way for a few days in not-so-sunny Florida, but we want you to keep on eating local. Without much updates, we still want you to know there’s local food to be had and there’s several ways to get it. 

Need to know what this time of year tastes like, see here.  Want to know what winter generally tastes like, see here.  Need some tips on how to “winter market”, see here.  See below for what’s in season and where to find it.

WHAT TO BUY NOW

Not much need to modify last week’s report.  The snow and the cold means you will like see some but less  greens: rocket (a/k/a arugula), chard, spinach or lettuces.  There should be plenty of onions, root crops (radishes, beets, rutabagas, carrots, celery root, sunchokes), potatoes, hard squash, cabbages and apples. All winter you will find micro-greens/sprouts and mushrooms.

WHERE TO FIND LOCAL FOODS

These stores specialize in local foods:

We await the opening of Butcher and the Larder.

C&D Pastured Pork’s sales around town.

We bet, if you look around, you can also find local foods at various grocery stores, especially local apples, onions, winter squash and potatoes.

WHAT TO DO SOON

Saturday – December 11

61 ist Street Farmer’s Market at Experimental Station – Variety of breads, meats and produce from our friends at Genesis Growers. 6100 S. Blackstone Ave., Chicago 9 AM – 2 PM

Woodstock – We learned of this market when we went out to McHenry to give a talk. At the Extension Office/Farm Bureau office in Woodstock (1102 McConnell Road), this market promises pastured meats, winter produce and other fun stuff 9 AM – 12 PM through December.

Olivia’s Garden – Find Tomato Mountain (sold by the Cook Book Addict), Mint Creek, C & D Pastured Pork, honey from the Pullman community garden and other goods at this Beverly garden center 10730 S. Western, Chicago – 9 AM – 1 PM through

Geneva Community Market – Inglenook Pantry – 11 N. 5th Street, Geneva – 9 AM – 1 PM

Meeting outdoors, the Grayslake market continues with meat, vegetables, cheese and other goodies – Downtown Grayslake in Centinial Park – 10 AM – 2 PM

Green City Market at the Peggy Notebart Nature Museum from 8 AM to 1 PM.

Logan Square Kitchen Christmas Market – 2333 N. Milwaukee, Chicago – Details here.

Drink AND shop for local stuff – Empty Bottle Farmer’s Market – 1035 N. Western, Chicago – Noon – 4 PM

Sunday – December 12

Logan Square Farmers Market – 2135 N. Milwaukee – 10 – 2 PM – All sorts of things on for Sunday including Otter Creek cheddars, Mint Creek lamb, and Tempel Farms eggs; Otter Creek Organic Farm also has grass fed beef and pasture raised organic pork and chicken – Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee – 10 AM – 2 PM

Logan Square Kitchen Christmas Market – 2333 N. Milwaukee, Chicago – Details here.

Chicago/Ravenswood – Winter market associated with Faith in Place at the First Free Evangelical Church – 12 PM – 3 PM

Chicago/Glenwood (Rogers Park) – This well received, new market goes indoors with sausages, apples, and more including organic produce. The market will continue to accept Master Card and Visa and is extending our Market for All matching fund program for Link/SNAP guests. The Glenwood Sunday Market is located at the intersection of Glenwood & Morse Avenue (1400W-6900N) in Rogers Park, conveniently located at the Morse “L” stop. 9am -2pm

Wednesday – December 15

Green City Market at the Peggy Notebart Nature Museum from 8 AM to 1 PM.

WHAT TO DO LATER

Sunday – December 19

1st Annual Chicago Local & Fair Trade Holiday Gift Bazaar – Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N Cannon Dr. on Sunday December 5TH and Sunday December 19th, 2010 from 11-5 pm – Details here.




The Local Beet’s Holiday Gift Guide for Eating & Drinking Local – UPDATED

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Posted: December 6, 2010 at 6:54 pm

It’s that time of year, and everyone, and I mean, everyone, is doing a gift guide. Not ones to sit on the sidelines, we’re doing a gift guide, too, although ours has a distinct locavore slant. These are meant to be suggestions, so please don’t be mad if we left anything or anyone out (but do post below if we did). Oh, and please excuse any quirkiness. We like an odd gift here and there.

For The Food-Lover

Local cheese. For instance, Uplands Rush Creek Reserve. (Keighty wrote about it here.) Uplands’ newest cheese, and it’s already a sensation.

Local Honey. Honey Co-op’s honey is made from Chicago bees.

Sustainable, local caviar from Collins Caviar.

A deck of restaurant discounts from A La Card.  This well-curated, Beet-approved, list of restaurants includes many that are focused on sustainable, local cuisine.

For The Home Cooks

Martha Bayne’s Soup and Bread Cookbook. Already have it? How about Martha’s newest soup delivery, a Soupscription? For $60, you’ll get five new soup recipes and a bread recipe delivered to your door every month through November, 2011.  Part of the proceeds from sales of both the Soup and Bread Cookbook and Soupscriptions will be donated to the Greater Chicago Food Depository to help fight hunger.

Chef Susan Goss is about as local as they come – born and raised in Indiana, and a Chicago restaurateur since 1991. Hot off the presses, she has co-written The West Town Tavern cookbook, along with her husband and fellow restaurateur, Drew Goss. As West Town Tavern focuses on regional contemporary cuisine, the cookbook includes many recipes that utilize our Midwestern bounty.

For The Local Tippler

Home cocktail-crafting has developed an avid and passionate following in recent years. For the mixologist in your life, select one of local Koval’s liqueurs, which can be creatively integrated into original cocktails. Koval is Chicago’s first post-prohibition distillery, and its liqueurs are made in a variety of unique flavors such as chrysanthemum honey, ginger, jasmine, coffee, and my favorite, Rosehip. Or buy a bottle of Adam Seger’s Hum, a botanical spirit blend of hibiscus, organic ginger, green cardamom and kaffir lime, created and distilled locally by the Chicago-based mixologist.  On the other hand, for those who don’t want to play bartender, get them the excellent Tomato Mountain Bloody Mary mix for easy fixings. Also sold at Green Grocer in Chicago. (*Note: Rob’s wife works for Tomato Mountain.)

Ever go to The Violet Hour and covet their eyedropper bottles of housemade bitters behind the bar? For $10, Bittercube Bitters gets you close to having one, as well as a terrific stocking stuffer. They’re made in Milwaukee (one of the partners is a former Violet Hour bartender). Some varieties include Cherry Bark Vanilla (with hints of cherry, cocoa and Madagascar vanilla), Jamaican #1 (with Jamaican Spice overtones and hints of ginger and black pepper), Jamaican #2 (with grapefruit and hibiscus overtones and underlying island spice notes), and Blackstrap (with molasses, clove, sassafras and sarsaparilla aroma and flavors). They are sold at Lush wine stores.

For a wine-lover, might I suggest ordering a few bottles from the somewhat obscure Wyncroft, which produces premium estate-grown wines on Lake Michigan shore. Probably the closest thing the Midwest has to a garagiste-style winemaker, Wyncroft sells its wines only through its website or mailing list. The only other ways to try their fantastic quality wines are at a restaurant, or at Reserve Wine Bar in Grand Rapids, which pours them by the taste or glass. Wyncroft’s whites, in particular, its chardonnay, have gained a following among winedrinkers. I recently tasted the 2006 chardonnay, which is reminiscent of a California chardonnay, has a gorgeous yellow color, and tastes of a variety of tree fruits with a lingering finish.

For those friends satisfied with a good brew, they’ll be happy to know you live in a beer drinking Mecca.  Look at your options.

For The Outdoorsperson

Dead-of-winter can be tough for those who like outdoor activities, but one activity that you can engage in year-round is fishing. Give the fisherman or woman in your life a “certificate” for a day of fishing at Rushing Waters in Palmyra, Wisconsin (no license required). Rushing Waters’ fish is served at many Chicago restaurants for a premium (with good reason), and catching them yourself costs only a fraction of the price. Otherwise, you can order fish from them directly. Rushing Waters promises that all orders are filled when placed – so your fish will be swimming at the time you order.

The Gift That Says You Should Eat Local

A CSA subscription!  Our full searchable, sortable list from 2010 is a great place to start.

For The Preserver

Most grocery and hardware stores carry starter packs of Ball jars in assorted sizes (I recommend 1/2 pints for jam, pints for canning vegetables, and quarts for juice). But for the more ardent and experienced canner, check out the sleekly-designed Weck canning jars, produced in Crystal Lake.

Just getting started, get them some lessons from the Glass Rooster.

For the Preserver Who Never Gets Around to It

Dried fruits from Seedling Farm.

Jams from Rare Bird Preserves.

For The Marketeer

Consider a membership to the Green City Market for an ardent GCM shopper.

Know a fan of the much-lauded Madison farmer’s market? The market offers signature logo totes.

The Local Foods Wheel will help you eat seasonally even in winter (Rob collaborated with several others on this project).

For The Meat Lover

Although the benefits of sustainably-raised meat are many, it can be expensive. One way to reduce costs is to buy a side of cow or pig that can be butchered into cuts and stored in your freezer during the winter. Two options for sides and quarters are Dietzler, in Elkhorn, Wisconsin (for beef), and Cedar Valley, in Ottawa, Illinois (for Angus and “Milk and Meadow” beef, and pork).

A holiday ham or turkey.

Rob’s wife, the Cookbook Addict, suggests you also get your meat lover Good Meat by Deborah Krasner.

For The Gardener

Worms. (Need I say more?)

Our resident urban gardeners, Ava George Stewart and Peg Wolfe, have weighed in with their suggestions.  Ava suggests that Earthboxes would be great gifts for urban gardeners. Here’s a starter kit.  Also making great gifts:  Heated seed flats  or Kneeling cushions.

Peg suggests subscriptions to really good gardening magazines, such as Garden Design, BBC Gardens Illustrated, Organic Gardening, or Horticulture.  Ava vouches for Garden & Gun

For The Charitably-Minded

If you’d like to make a donation to an hyper-local organization in lieu of a gift, may we suggest the Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry (an organization close to the heart of Beet Founder, Rob Gardner), or Purple Asparagus, Melissa Graham’s organization dedicated to bringing families back to the table by promoting and enjoying all the things associated with good eating.

Some other worthy organizations that we support:


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Chizakaya: A Local Delight

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Posted: December 6, 2010 at 11:42 am

Chizakaya

I moved to Roscoe Village in 2002. It was a year before I got pregnant with my son, but my husband and I were hoping to soon start a family. So when we were looking for Chicago neighborhoods, we wanted to find one that was “kid-friendly.” Eight years later, the neighborhood that calls itself as a “Village Within the City” fits the bill for good and for bad.

We’ve got a terrific library, kid activities planned throughout the year, kid-friendly businesses, and family restaurants. But it’s the last in the series that make us in the Graham family a little batty. I find it little ironic that kid-friendly in Roscoe Village tends to mean restaurants that give little care to their sourcing, especially meat. There are a few exceptions, but because of this phenomenon, most of our restaurant trips are outside of driving distance.

When construction began on a former bakery on a particularly desolate stretch of restaurant desert on Lincoln Avenue, I didn’t give it much thought. But then I heard the buzz about the place – two L20 alums opening a restaurant serving Japanese pub food. Given its proximity to our ‘hood, we figured it was worth a try.

Early on a weekday evening, my husband, the little locavore, and I visited Chizakaya for the first time. Opening the menu, I knew was in for a treat. On the back page, they listed their suppliers, an honor roll for local foods, including Growing Power and Dietzler. We’ve been there three times, ordered a broad variety of items on the menu from the snacks, yaki, and noodles, and have been very pleased. While I’m not sure they’d be pleased about being billed as “family-friendly,” the restaurant’s casual vibe certainly isn’t off putting to families with children. Their small plate approach makes it easy for us to get Thor to try a number of different items, though must haves for him are the delicious baked sweet potato fries and one of the seasonal noodle dishes. We’re simply tickled that we’ve acquired another restaurant in our neighborhood that fits our values, deliciously.




Rush Creek Reserve, Almost

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Posted: December 6, 2010 at 10:41 am

Editor’s Note: We at the Local Beet believe in all things local. That means local beer, local wines and local cheese.  It’s not that there are not great cheeses around the world, but that there are so many great local cheeses that we (hardly ever) need to eat foreign fromage.  And when a new local cheese gets so much acclaim, we send our resident caseophole Keighty out to try.  She almost got it.

The New York Times and countless others have written about it, everyone’s talking about it, but will we be able to try it?   The newest creation from Wisconsin’s Uplands Cheese  is causing quite a stir among cheese enthusiasts. Dubbed Rush Creek Reserve, this the second variety of cheese created at Uplands. The American Cheese Society recently award it grand first to , Pleasant Ridge Reserve;  the third (an unprecedented third) time this cheese received the Best in Show from the American Cheese Society. In other words, these people know what they’re doing. 

Realizing I was late in the game, I was sure that there wouldn’t be any cheese left for me when I borrowed my friend’s car and drove out to Oak Park to visit the Marion Street Cheese Market late one Tuesday night – but I hoped I was wrong. Sadly, I was not. The two men behind the counter informed me that they sold out of the stuff in 24 hours. They wouldn’t get any more in until after December 1st. I was disappointed but also excited about the incredible selection of small batch local and independent creameries. I asked the man behind the counter, who introduced himself as Bernie, if he had any recommendations. He gave us samples of some of his favorites. I told him I was a sucker for cave-aged cheese, especially when it gets those calcified bits inside – so crunchy and delicious. Patrick, who I took to be in charge, told Bernie to cut off a little of his favorite cheese that fit my descriptions. But this cheese isn’t local (and not cheap for that matter) so I bought a tiny bit and will probably get some later for special occasions. 

We did pick up a bit of the Crave Brothers’ ‘Les Freres’ European style cheese. The fruity, gritty rind juxtaposed against the creamy, melt-in-your-mouth center is a dreamy dessert served with fresh fruit, bread and a sparkling wine. I went home and devoured our little piece in the previously described manner.

cheese - crave

Finishing the wine, I remembered why I had gone to the Market in the first place. I was supposed to write a piece about my experience with the new Uplands cheese. I would have to postpone this, however, seeing as there is no cheese to be tried. Yet, for what it’s worth, the boys at the Market told me it was incredible. I just emailed them to tell them I want to be notified when a new shipment arrives. Until then, we can all drool over the picture and dream of when we can taste it.


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Preparing for Prosperity in 2011- Quick Hoppin’ John

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Posted: December 6, 2010 at 9:27 am

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Hoppin’ John is this southerner’s love.   It’s a perfect dish showcasing rice from my native South Carolina and one of the sweetest looking legumes there is, the black-eyed pea.

You can see why it’s called a black-eye immediately. This legume has a slightly nutty taste and this particular rice and bean dish has special powers.

Yep.  Everyone in my household has to have at least a spoonful, to insure prosperity in the New Year.  This particular dish should be eaten, dare I say it, weekly because who can’t use more prosperity?

The problem comes with all classic bean/legume dishes; you have to plan to have them.  Dried beans are inexpensive and keep for a pretty long time so they should be in your pantry.  Canned beans taste horrible, so while I do have them, I’m gravitating away from buying any more because I’ve also got a pressure cooker.  That let’s me decide in less than an hour before eating when legumes sound like a good idea and I can take even the longest cooking legume, garbanzo beans, and still have them cooked in about 45 minutes.

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That said, there’s a great offering in most produce sections of the grocer and that’s fresh black-eyed peas. These serve as the base of my Quick Hoppin’ Johns and let’s you control both the taste and the texture of your peas, a problem whenever canned peas are in the mix.

The problem with beans and rice is how to prepare them.  There are two schools of thought and they can be just as controversial as whether to eat the center of the Oreo first or take it as it comes.  Should the black-eyed peas and rice be served as a mix or separate?  You know, the black-eyed peas ladled over the rice.

I’m decidedly in the camp that believes Hoppin’John should be served with the rice and black-eyed peas mixed together.

Rooster Spur Pepper from our garden

Rooster Spur Pepper from our garden

Hoppin’ John serves 8

2 c. long grain rice
3 c. water
4 t. olive oil

36 oz. of fresh black-eyed peas (look in your produce section)
2 bay leaves
9 c. water
6 allspice
1/2 t. celery seed
4 garlic cloves, rough chopped
1 bell pepper, diced
1 onion, chopped

2 T. olive oil

1     Rooster Spur or other hot pepper, minced (wear gloves)

For the rice: Place oil in pan on medium heat.  Heat the oil until it begins to glisten. Add the rice to the pot.  Stir for 3 minutes (the rice should be translucent). Add water and bring to a boil.  Occasionally, lift the pan and swirl contents. Reduce heat to low for 15 minutes.  Then turn off the heat and wait another 15 minutes, no lifting the lid to peak.

For the black-eyed peas: Cover peas in a dutch oven with water.  Add bay leaves, celery seed, and allspice.   Bring to a boil.   Reduce heat and cook for another 15 minutes (up to 20 minutes if you like a softer pea) at low boil. Drain peas and reserve cooking liquid.

Add 2 T. of olive oil to a dry dutch oven over medium heat.  Heat oil until golden then add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.   Add bell pepper and continue cooking for another 2 minutes.   Add garlic and cook for another minute.   Add hot pepper.    Stir pot.   Add salt to taste.  Add hickory smoke seasoning, peas and rice.  Mix to incorporate.  This will create distinctly separate grains of rice and a firm/dry Hoppin’ John.   Add half a cup at a time of reserved cooking liquid if desired.   Mix to incorporate all of the liquid into the grains and peas.
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Back for More Local Food with this Local Calendar

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Posted: December 3, 2010 at 11:12 am

Last week, every time we re-booted our hopelessly crappy Beet computers, we found out there was one less place to get your local food in the days following Thanksgiving.  This Local Calendar, however, contains more surety.  There is local food to be had. We do warn and note that many of the Green City Market vendors are only showing at the Saturday markets. 

Not only are there markets and stores for your to visit to meet your eat local needs, we assure you there is plenty of local food to be had.  See here if you need to know the three phases of winter markets. Continue to shop.  Continue to use our handy set of winter market tips. Continue to live the locavore life.  See our Local Calendar below for all the details.

WHAT TO BUY NOW

Continue to stock up on various onionsroot crops (radishesbeets, rutabagas, carrots, celery root, sunchokes), potatoes, hard squash, cabbages and apples.  Continue to eat your greens: rocket (a/k/a arugula), chard, spinach or lettuces.  Supplment your diet with micro-greens/sprouts and mushrooms.

WHERE TO FIND LOCAL FOODS

These stores specialize in local foods:

We await the opening of Butcher and the Larder.

C&D Pastured Pork’s sales around town.

We bet, if you look around, you can also find local foods at various grocery stores, especially local apples, onions, winter squash and potatoes. 

WHAT TO DO SOON

Friday - December 3

The {Office} Holiday Party…Mad Men Style - Get your thin tie on and join West Loop Studio to celebrate Mad Men style in their designed “office.” Retro inspired food (vegan and GF friendly) from FIG Catering, classic holiday booze by Vinejoy, tunes from Ultimate Photobooth by West Loop Studio, {perhaps a visit by Santa}.  The Mad Men inspired publicists say you don’t have to see these people tomorrow in the office, so any social faux pas that ‘might’ occur are less embarrassing!  Buy your here as they will not be sold at the door. $70 per person – 730 PM – 1130 PM – 17 North Elizabeth, Chicago

Saturday – December 4

Meet the Beet and learn how to be a four season locavore with our friends at Green Grocer Chicago.  Me, Rob Gardner, will give a talk at 10 AM on how you can eat local through the winter and beyond.  1402 W. Grand, Chicago

61 ist Street Farmer’s Market at Experimental Station – Variety of breads, meats and produce from our friends at Genesis Growers. 6100 S. Blackstone Ave., Chicago 9 AM – 2 PM

Woodstock - We learned of this market when we went out to McHenry to give a talk.  At the Extension Office/Farm Bureau office in Woodstock (1102 McConnell Road), this market promises pastured meats, winter produce and other fun stuff  9 AM – 12 PM through December.

Olivia’s Garden – Find Tomato Mountain (sold by the Cook Book Addict), Mint Creek, C & D Pastured Pork, honey from the Pullman community garden and other goods at this Beverly garden center  10730 S. Western, Chicago – 9 AM – 1 PM through

Geneva Community Market – Inglenook Pantry – 11 N. 5th Street, Geneva – 9 AM – 1 PM

Meeting outdoors, the Grayslake market continues with meat, vegetables, cheese and other goodies – Downtown Grayslake in Centinial Park – 10 AM – 2 PM

Green City Market at the Peggy Notebart Nature Museum from 8 AM to 1 PM. Top Chef Stephanie Izard of the Girl and the Goat does a Demo 1030 AM.

Sunday – December 5

Logan Square Farmers Market – 2135 N. Milwaukee – 10 – 2 PM – All sorts of things on for Sunday including Otter Creek cheddars, Mint Creek lamb, and Tempel Farms eggs; Otter Creek Organic Farm also has grass fed beef and pasture raised organic pork and chicken – Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee – 10 AM – 2 PM

Deerfield – Winter market associated with Faith in Place at the North Shore Unitarian Church, 2100 Half Day Road, Deerfield – 10 AM – 2 PM

1st Annual Chicago Local & Fair Trade Holiday Gift Bazaar – Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N Cannon Dr. on Sunday December 5TH and Sunday December 19th, 2010  from 11-5 pm – Details here.

Wednesday – December 8

Green City Market at the Peggy Notebart Nature Museum from 8 AM to 1 PM. Demonstration by Paul Fehribach of Big Jones at 1030 AM

Another opportunity to see the documentary Living Downstream.  After the movie, Terra Brockman, of the Land Connection, leads a discussion of the impacts of industrial agriculture. The Reader notes that Uncommon Ground will serve a three-course meal that includes an entree choice of “faux pho” (vegetarian) or shepherd’s pie. 6:30 PM, Uncommon Ground, 3800 N. Clark

WHAT TO DO LATER

Saturday – December 12

Logan Square Kitchen Christmas Market – 2333 N. Milwaukee, Chicago – Details here.

Drink AND shop for local stuff – Empty Bottle Farmer’s Market – 1035 N. Western, Chicago – Noon – 4 PM

Sunday – December 13

Logan Square Kitchen Christmas Market – 2333 N. Milwaukee, Chicago – Details here.

Chicago/Ravenswood – Winter market associated with Faith in Place at the First Free Evangelical Church – 12 PM – 3 PM

Chicago/Glenwood (Rogers Park) – This well received, new market goes indoors with sausages, apples, and more including organic produce. The market  will continue to accept Master Card and Visa and is extending our Market for All matching fund program for Link/SNAP guests.  The Glenwood Sunday Market is located at the intersection of Glenwood & Morse Avenue (1400W-6900N) in Rogers Park, conveniently located at the Morse “L” stop. 9am -2pm

Sunday – December 19

1st Annual Chicago Local & Fair Trade Holiday Gift Bazaar – Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N Cannon Dr. on Sunday December 5TH and Sunday December 19th, 2010  from 11-5 pm – Details here.




RECYCLED – What Will Winter Taste Like – Continued

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Posted: December 3, 2010 at 8:47 am

Editor’s Note: Last week, we re-posted our guide to the three tastes of winter.  This week, we follow up with how we followed up last year, expanidn on the taste of winter.

If you were like me, shoveling snow before the crack of dawn this AM [ed. this will probably read better on Saturday AM], you know winter is here.  Last week, we noted the three tastes of winter.  Today, let’s discuss a bit more how winter will taste.  The wonder and experience of seasonal eating is not just the parade of fruits and vegetables coming around for their period.  Different times of year just taste different.  Spring food (and in Chicago local eating, we use that term loosely) tastes sharp and bright and green because the onions and garlic are new and green.  If we could say that spring foods taste alive, of renewal, does that mean that winter foods taste like death and decay?  Well, let’s not quite go there, but winter tastes are the tastes of food holding on to their last grips of life and flavor.

Think peppers.  From summer, well into fall, we can mark-up our foods with fresh peppers, both sweet and hot.  During the winter, we have to rely on the peppers we have dried.  Food will taste different.   With dried peppers come my first batch of harissa:

Soak dried peppers in hot water until they soften, about an hour; combine in a blender, food processor or mortar with a clove or two of garlic and a smidgen of cumin, drizzle in olive oil until a nice paste forms. If your peppers are very hot, like mine, use a bit of the water to dilute.

I’m rather smitten with Tunisian cuisine where harissa goes into everything.  Try this Tunisian style salad of raw, grated turnips for winter eating: grate turnips, salt, let sit five minutes, add harissa, lemon juice and olive oil. 

Another big difference in the way winter food tastes will come from the lack of fresh herbs, or perhaps the limited supply of herbs.   Certain dried herbs, especially oregano, can be used to great effect in the kitchen, but again it will taste different.  Winter is also time to make full use of the “Marco Polo Exception” to local eating, as Bill McKibben explains:

I considered fair game anything your average 13th century explorer might have brought back from distant lands. So: pepper, and turmeric, and even the odd knob of ginger root stayed in the larder.

Winter braises and mashes take especially well to spices. What better to join your home-made harissa than a North African inspired tangine. Think also how spices go into winter desserts like gingerbread cookies and fruitcakes (good fruitcakes!).

There is nothing to stop you from using dried peppers and ancient spices in your food all year long. It’s just that in other times of year we have options. Yes, we have to eat what is present, but it is also nice and good to have a winter that tastes different. Us locavores revel in this difference. Moreover, the seasonings of the season go best with the foods of the season. Lastly, there are other benefits to using these flavorings now.  Spices like ginger and peppercorns give a warming effect to food.

Today [ed. tommorrow?] will not be the first time I shoveled snow this winter. It surely will not be the last. At least I will have the unique tastes of winter to sustain me over this period.


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Is Chicago becoming a true beer mecca?

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Posted: December 3, 2010 at 1:38 am

Sure, the craft brew market is growing at about 5% a year, while the megabrewers are even or slightly down for the same period, despite massive advertising expenditures. (Advertising expenditures don’t always help a brand. I worked at Leo Burnett when it produced the “Drink Schlitz or we’ll kill you” campaign. That, plus a cheapening of the recipe, backfired. It was the brand that ended up dead.

But that 5% number sounds low for us in the Chicago area these days. While Chicago has long had a relatively small number of outstanding craft brew destinations, recently the beer scene seems to be exploding. Let’s explore the categories:

The Veterans have been around a number of years, and continue to be recognized for their excellence. The Great American Beer Festival earlier this year, and the World Beer Cup prior to that, recognized some of the Chicago area’s best breweries.

Goose Island — its 312 Urban Wheat Ale won the Gold medal for an English-Style Summer Ale at the GABF. Its Bourbon County Stout won a bronze. In the World Beer Cup, a Gold Medal went to the Goose in the “English-Style India Pale Ale category,” for its India Pale Ale. Goose won another gold for its American-Style Brown Ale “Nut Brown Ale,” hogging that category by also receiving a bronze for its Christmas Ale. Its Lolita [a sour Belgian-style Raspberry Ale] got the Silver in the “Fruit Beer or Field Beer” category. And Ratebeer rated Goose as the 26th best brewery in the world.

Piece — its Top Heavy Hefeweizen won bronze in the World Beer Cup’s South German-Style Hefeweizen/Hefeweissbier category. And it was among the top 100 brewpubs in the world according to Ratebeer — even though many think its primary focus is on New Haven-style pizza, rather than beer.

Two Brothers won a bonze for what may be its flagship, Domaine DuPage, in the Belgian- and French-Style Ale categories – quite a feat for a French-style ale, considering that Belgian styles usually dominate the category. And its wet-hopped Heavier Handed should challenge Three Floyds or an in-your-face hop experience.

Flossmoor Station won a bronze in the GABF’s Brown Porter category, for its Pullman Brown, and Ratebeer named it the 75th best brewpub in the world.

And, of course, what might be the region’s best brewer, just over the border in Indiana, Three Floyd’s Munsterfest won a bronze in the German-Style Märzen category.

Strangely, Woodridge-based Pabst also won the silver and bronze in the American-Style Specialty Lager or Cream Ale or Lager category, for its Rainier and Old Style brews, respectively. However, these aren’t brewed in the Chicago area; it’s likely they’re contract brewed by Miller.

The Toddlers have opened in the past year or three, and are already making a significant mark on the local beer scene.

Metropolitan bucks the trend of extreme beers … its Krankshaft, Flywheel, Dynamo and others reflect the ultimate in subtlety and drinkability. Doug and Tracy are all about beers for the connoisseur who doesn’t want a beer that slaps them silly upside the head.

Half Acre’s Daisy Cutter was rated as the world’s fourth best American Pale ale (ratebeer.com), and it probably produces the best canned beer in all of Chicagoland. Its retail outlet is interesting – not quite brewpub, not quite liquor store. You can buy a growler there, or just taste a sample, but don’t expect anything in the way of food.

Revolution continues to amaze, with new brew styles seemingly every week. Josh Deth knows what he’s doing, and he and his team do it well, with over 30 different beers brewed so far in its short life. Excellent food, too.

Newborns and in-utero

Argus Brewing, a father-son team brewing in the historic Pullman neighborhood, is in the early stages of building its distribution. It might be the best brewery in the entire South Side of Chicago.

Finch’s Beer Company will be located in Albany Park, and expects to begin production of its ornithologically named beers in 2011. The brewmaster, Richard Grant, is a refugee from Flossmoor Station.

Haymarket Brewing recently opened in the Randolph Street Corridor. The brewmaster is Pete Crowley, who raised the Rock Bottom Brewery at State and Grand to standards well beyond what could be reasonably expected for any chain brewpub, and currently serves as the President of the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild. Great stuff is to be reasonably expected, probably opening the first week of December.

Pipeworks Brewing has its roots in Belgium (including collaborations with Ratebeer’s 2008 #1 brewery in the world, De Struise Brouwers). We told you about it here. http://www.thelocalbeet.com/2010/04/07/the-newest-chicago-brewery-in-the-pipeline-has-belgian-roots/ They’ve taken an interesting approach to raise funds to get their production brewery going ( http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/pipeworks/pipeworks-brewing-chicago-small-batches-big-beers?ref=city), and recently reached their funding goal.

Then, there’s a rumor that Evanston may be getting a brewpub of its own next year. Take that – home of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union.


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More Buying Opportunities for Good Foods – Logan Square Kitchen Christmas Market – 12.11 & 12.12

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Posted: December 2, 2010 at 10:10 am

Celebrate Logan Square Kitchen’s recent zoning victory by attending their Christmas Market on December 11 and December 12; 10 AM – 1 PM.   This certified sustainable kitchen is in full action.  Not only can you find the ideal locally produced, locally sourced gift or sweet treat, you can learn what makes a kitchen truly green.  Logan Square Kitchen is Chicago’s only LEED Gold certified kitchen and event space.

Logan Square Kitchen

2333 N. Milwaukee Avenue

Chicago, IL 60647

773-342-2333

RSVP:   Please RSVP to help the vendors plan quantities: www.pingg.com/LSKXmas

 ADMISSION:              $1 for adults, kids are free

These vendors will be here BOTH Saturday and Sunday:

Salted Caramel
Provenance Food and Wine
Mayana Chocolate
Katherine Anne Confections
Jo Snow
Ipsento Coffee House
Happy Bodega
Fritz Pastry – donuts

Flour Cake and Pastry
Celestial Kitchens
Black Dog Gelato

SATURDAY-ONLY vendors:                              

Sweet Miss Givings     
Nonna Santi’s Biscotti                             
Fritz Pastry – baked goods                      
Floriole Bakery                                      
Auntie Jo’s Yummies                                

SUNDAY-ONLY vendors:

tinycakes (vegan cookie sampler)
St. Bernard’s Underground Bakery – rustic bread
Nice Cream
Defloured (gluten-free)
Cheap Tart
Fritz Pastry (vegan donuts)


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We’ve Got Worms! Wednesday, December 1st, 2010
Many of Our Friends Selling their Goods and Wares at the The 1st Annual Chicago Local & Fair Trade Holiday Gift Bazaar – This Sunday, A Week from Next Sunday (12/5 & 12/19) Wednesday, December 1st, 2010