With the weather about to turn for the better, one of our favorite pastimes is the bar crawl — a jaunt through your neighborhood stopping at each watering hole along the way. It’s a great way to patronize local business while experiencing something different and enjoying a walk in the nice weather.
We took a trip to the Uptown / Andersonville area where there are a number of places within walking distance of each other that feature a wide array of craft ales. Here is a map of five places for you to grab a pint on your next crawl.
View Uptown / Andersonville Pub Crawl in a larger map
A deadline has been set and the battle lines are drawn in what is shaping up to be one of the most significant changes to Illinois liquor laws since the original bill was passed in 1934. Following a ruling by a federal judge that certain sections of Illinois state liquor laws were unconstitutional because they favored in-state distributors, the Illinois General Assembly has until May 31st to rewrite the bill.
Illinois, like many states, currently has a three-tier system with brewers, distributors and retailers. One provision of the amendment would allow some small brewers to act as their own distributors.
As with any issue where a great deal of money is involved, brewers large and small have started lobbying efforts to sway amendments their way.
Beer-giant Anheuser-Busch, which recently purchased Chicago’s Goose Island Brewery, is using this opportunity to push the state house to allow all brewers to self-distribute. The court battle that precipitated this change was over whether Anheuser-Busch should be allowed to own a distributor in the Chicago area. Barring a wholesale change, self-distribution limits would be so small that few brewers will be able to avoid using a third-party distributor.
The Illinois Craft Brewers Association is opposed to the bill, saying that the Senate version is imposing production caps that rule out almost all small brewers. Under the current version, brewers who brew 15,000 barrels per year can self-distribute half of their product (7,500 barrels per year). Goose Island, one of Chicago’s most well-known craft brewers produced around 130,000 barrels in 2010, according to the association. You can see their entire statement here.
The Chicago Journal has an excellent analysis of why craft brewers deserve special treatment. The costs of working with a third-party distributor – both monetary and administrative – are often prohibitive to small brewers, reporter Amysue Mertens notes.
Guys Drinking Beer, a Chicago-based blog, has taken up the cause of local craft brewers and is following the news out of Springfield daily. They’ve definitely got a point of view, but for day-to-day analysis, they can’t be beat.
The bill as of April 21, 2011 appears below. It has been referred back to committees in both the House and the Senate.
If you’ve ever been to a brewery, chances are you’ve been exposed to what I like to call ‘brewer-ese’ — the unofficial language of beer brewing. Suddenly, a ‘malt’ is no longer a cold, cream-based treat, and ‘hops’ aren’t the Easter bunny’s preferred method of travel. So, what’s a wannabe beer connoisseur to do? Consult the Loopster’s beer dictionary, of course, courtesy of BeerAdvocate.com. Find out the difference between lager and ale, top-fermenting yeast and bottom-fermenting yeast, and everything else you need to know before making your way to your local brewery.
Alcohol: Ethyl alcohol or ethanol. An intoxicating by-product of fermentation, which is caused by yeast acting on sugars in the malt. Alcohol content is expressed as a percentage of volume or weight.
Ale: Beers distinguished by use of top-fermenting yeast strains. The top fermenting yeast perform at warmer temperatures than do yeast’s used to brew lager beer, and their byproducts are more evident in taste and aroma. Fruitiness and esters are often part of an ale’s character.
Bottom-Fermenting Yeast: One of the two types of yeast used in brewing. Bottom-fermenting yeast works well at low temperatures and ferments more sugars leaving a crisp, clean taste and then settles to the bottom of the tank. Also referred to as “lager yeast.”
Draft (Draught): The process of dispensing beer from a bright tank, cask or, keg, by hand pump, pressure from an air pump or, injected carbon dioxide inserted into the beer container prior to sealing.
Fermentation: Conversion of sugars into ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide, through the action of yeast.
Hops: Herb added to boiling wort or fermenting beer to impart a bitter aroma and flavor.
Lager: Beers produced with bottom-fermenting yeast strains at colder fermentation temperatures than ales. This cooler environment inhibits the natural production of esters and other byproducts, creating a crisper tasting product.
Malt(ing): The process by which barley is steeped in water, germinated, then kilned to convert insoluble starch to soluble substances and sugar. The foundation ingredient of beer.
Pasteurization: Heating of beer to 60-79˚C/140-174˚F to stabilize it microbiologically. Flash-pasteurization is applied very briefly, for 15-60 seconds by heating the beer as it passes through the pipe. Alternately, the bottled beer can be passed on a conveyor belt through a heated tunnel. This more gradual process takes at least 20 minutes and sometimes much longer.
Secondary Fermentation: Stage of fermentation occurring in a closed container from several weeks to several months.
Shelf Life: Describes the number of days a beer will retain it’s peak drinkability. The shelf life for commercially produced beers is usually a maximum of four months.
Top-Fermenting Yeast: One of the two types of yeast used in brewing. Top-fermenting yeast works better at warmer temperatures and are able to tolerate higher alcohol concentrations than bottom-fermenting yeast. It is unable to ferment some sugars, and results in a fruitier, sweeter beer. Also known as “ale yeast.”
With all of this talk about the debt ceiling and the government shutdown, Chicago Loopster got a little anxious. What if the nation’s beer supply chain shuts down as well? To guard against this unspeakable fate, the Loopster decided it would be in our best interest to learn how to make the stuff ourselves. We spoke with John Tedesco, veteran beer brewer and proud Oklahoman, to guide us through this most necessary of processes.
What fun are pub crawls, beer brewing and beer tasting without some phone and tablet applications added into the mix? From drinking game apps at parties to at-home brewing apps to apps that test your sobriety, smartphones and tablets have thought of everything to make tossing back a beer a whole new technological experience. Here are some of the most popular beer apps for Android and iPhone smartphones, as well as iPod Touches and iPads.
-iQuarters–$1.99 on iPad, iPhone. 3.5 out of 5 stars latest rating
It’s no surprise that one of the most popular beer games for iPhones is Quarters. And the app is played just as the real life drinking game of quarters. Players flick a virtual quarter into a glass to pass a level, with points varying based on difficulty. Players can also try for ricochet shots.
Besides the obvious appeal, reviews listed realistic graphics and physics as well as fun music as reasons to get the game.
-Beer Pong Challenge–$0.99 on iPad, iPhone. 2.5 out of 5 stars latest rating
No more need to turn a disgusting door into a pseudo-table and dip a dirt-covered ball into your beer—now Beer Pong Challenge allows players to play the game of beer pong on a touch screen by flicking a virtual ball to simulate tossing a ball into cups of beer. Players can challenge friends to a game of beer pong, or compete against themselves in single-player mode.
The downside to this virtual beer pong seems to be an update to the app that was released last fall. Reviewers are now complaining that targets move slower, the music is worse and the game often doesn’t reset once a player shoots.
Toss at your own risk.
-Power Hour Drinking Game–$0.99 on Android
The game is simple: take a shot of beer, every minute, for one hour. This app helps you with that slow countdown to victory. The app burps every minute alerting a user to drink again, and even will run in the background if a user gets an incoming call. Start gulping.
Out on the Town
-Find Craft Beer–$0.99 on iPad, iPhone. 4 out of 5 stars latest rating
This simplistic app lets users find the closest location with craft beer, using GPS to determine a user’s current location. You can also search for craft beer within a specific city, and even limit the types of locations you’re interested in, such as brew pubs, breweries, bars and stores.
The app got a major revamp when it was released again in early April. Users conclude it’s a must-have for any beer lover, and that it’s useful for finding places that serve more than just Bud Light, Miller Light and Coors Light.
-College Bars–$0.99 on iPad, iPhone. Not enough ratings to display an average for the current version, released on April 10
This app is perfect for visitors to a new college campus who just want to find a bar. The app describes itself as a reference guide to locating popular college bars, with more than 500 establishments registered. Users can find a bar using the state/city directory or through a map. The app also provides links to a bar’s Yelp and Facebook pages.
-BeerChooser—free on iPad iPhone, 2.5 out of 5 stars latest rating
For the beer novice, this app is a must have at a bar. A user rate beers on the app and teaches BeerChooser what he likes and doesn’t like. After a few beers have been rated, the app gives recommendations tailored to a user’s preferences. The app also keeps a list of all the beers he or she has tried. Users can also browse what other app users are drinking at the moment, and can even see what beers are trending near him or her at the moment.
-Beer Ratings Guide–$2.99 on iPad and iPhone, 4 out of 5 stars latest rating
This app promises to help you find a great beer, and offers more ways to search. Its database includes searching for beer by name, price, style, food pairing, flavor profile, region, producer and designation. Users can also keep track of discovered beer with the personal ratings list.
Reviewers overwhelmingly enjoy finding and learning about new beer with this app, so the next time you’re wondering what beer to pair with what food, try this one out.
-The Beer Expert–$2.99 on Android
This app helps you identify every beer you’ve ever tasted by taking a picture of the beer’s UPC code, typing in its name, or speaking it into your phone. The app will provide the user with the beer’s commercial description, style, user reviews, and even a picture.
And once users have sampled the beer they can also give it a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down,” adding to the app’s usefulness.
-iBrewMaster–$9.99 on iPad, $6.99 on iPhone, 4.5 out of 5 stars latest rating
Always wanted to brew your own beer? Get started with this app. Users can add, edit and manage your own recipes, but the app also comes with 50 pre-installed recipes that include grains, hops and yeasts from all over. The app instructs you to create a batch of beer from the recipe database, and then track its progress along the way. The app will calculate alcohol content, color and calories for you as it lets you know where your batch is in the process (primary, secondary, bottle, aging, etc.)
-Home Brew Calculators—free on Android
This app also helps a home brewer with the process by offering a boil timer with saved hop schedules. The app also offers calculators to help with carbonation, hop bitterness, strike temperature and yeast pitching.
Random Beer Apps
-Beer Counter—free on Android
This app does just what it says: keeps track of beer consumption. The app also plots the number of beers you’ve had at your location on a map, so you can keep progress of where you’ve been and how many beers you’ve downed. Perfect for crawls!
-iBeer Keg–$2.99 on iPad (the iBeer app on iPhone is $1.99), 4.5 out of 5 stars latest rating
Ever wanted to simulate brewing, pouring and drinking beer out of a keg? With the iPad app iBeer Keg, you can. The app can be paired with the iPhone/iPod Touch’s iBeer app for those users who want to pour beer out of a virtual keg into a virtual cup. More drinks are available for virtual pouring besides beer—champagne, wine, water, cola and milk can all be waved around in this interactive liquid simulation.
-DrinkFit–$1.99 on iPhone, 3 out of 5 stars latest rating
How many calories are in a beer or any other kind of alcoholic beverage is usually a concern to most after a weekend at bars and parties. If you dare to find out how many calories are in your favorite beer, this app provides nutritional information on beer, cocktails, liquor, wine coolers and mixed drinks. Facts include serving size, calories, total fat and percentage, total carbohydrate and percentage, total protein and percentage and total sugar.
-Drunkometer–$0.99 on iPad and iPhone, 4 out of 5 stars latest rating
The Drunkometer app is something every college student has needed at one time or another. Its top feature? It tests whether you’re drunk by checking your reaction time and stability. If the app then determines you’re drunk, it gives you the option to email your current location to a friend. If a friend can’t come get you, the Drunkometer also looks for nearby taxis.
The app, however useful it may be, does give the caveat: don’t drink and drive. Even if the famed Drunkometer determines you’ve passed the test.
Beer apps for Android were found with the help of http://www.appbrain.com.
Beer apps for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch were found in the App store on those devices.
Craft beer enthusiasts are up in arms over the recent acquisition of Goose Island by beer giant Anheuser- Busch. Now look at the details of buyout and the reaction from the specialty beer community.
* The image at Chicago Loopster’s main page is courtesy of SteveR/flickr.
Looking back at the regular season, Chicago won three of its four games against Indiana, a team that hasn’t made the “contender” list on many power polls. Indiana only came out on top after head coach Jim O’Brien was fired and replaced by the more capable assistant coach Frank Vogel for the remainder of the season. Also, the Pacers victory was eked out in overtime while the Bulls won their games by 13, 19 and 21 points. Let’s look at the starting lineup match-ups:
Point Guard: Derrick Rose v. Darren Collison
Though stat geeks have built a strong case opposing the “Derrick Rose for MVP” freight train, those favoring the eye test over analytics don’t think his candidacy is worth much debate. Collison did have a solid sophomore season, but don’t look for him to slow Rose down more than anyone else.
Shooting Guard: Keith Bogans v. Paul George
Though coach Thibs has been defending his decision for Keith Bogans to be part of the Bulls starting lineup since last year, the maligned shooting guard plays fewer minutes than any Bulls rotation player besides Omer Asik and CJ Watson. The Pacers’ Paul George has been a pleasant surprise as a rookie, but this match-up is likely to have the least impact on the outcome of the series.
Small Forward: Luol Deng v. Danny Granger
Luol Deng has been revitalized by Coach Thibs and his improved three-point shooting has been a critical part of the Bulls offense. But his defense has been even more impressive, gaining individual recognition on a defensive powerhouse that is typically credited only as a unit. Much of Indiana’s success hinges on Granger, whose decrease in scoring was offset by an increase in health this season, appearing in more than 67 games for the first time in three years. Deng has won their head to head battles this season however and that should continue here.
Power Forward: Carlos Boozer v. Tyler Hansbrough
Tyler Hansbrough may have benefited the most from the Pacers in-season coaching change, as he more than doubled his scoring average under Frank Vogel. Carlos Boozer has significant playoff experience and will look to take some of the scoring load off Derrick Rose in the first round with the anticipation of more difficult series to come.
Center: Joakim Noah v. Roy Hibbert
Joakim Noah looked unhindered by his right ankle sprain in the season finale, and should be able to use his athleticism and often grating enthusiasm to contain the much improved, but still inconsistent, Roy Hibbert.
The Bulls don’t have a specific bench player who will be in the conversation for Sixth Man of the Year, but a discussion of the award identified the Bulls second unit (aka The Bench Mob) as one of the league’s strongest, specifically on the defensive side. Look for this group to completely shut down Indiana’s reserves and even their starters as they often see time early in fourth quarter against opposing starting units.
Coach: Tom Thibodeau v. Frank Vogel
Both rookies, Thibodeau is a favorite for Coach of the Year, tying Paul Westphal and Bill Russell for the most victories by a rookie head coach. Vogel is an “interim” coach who is unlikely to lose the interim tag. Dunzo.
The Pacers 37 win record would put them 12th in the West and is one of the poorest playoff records in recent NBA history. Also, they don’t have the The White Mamba.
Prediction: Bulls in five.
There isn’t much the Chicago Bulls didn’t accomplish this year. After an offseason where a few of the NBA’s best players took their talents elsewhere, the Bulls added a new head coach and 10 players to their roster, and entered the 2010-2011 season with soaring expectations.
The results were the league’s best record at 62-20, the overall No. 1 seed in the playoffs and leading candidates for Coach of the Year and Most Valuable Player. And all of this despite losing key players to injury for nearly 60 games. In short, it’s been a remarkable season.
But the Bulls aren’t done. As the team opens the playoffs Saturday against the Indiana Pacers at the United Center, expectations are even higher than at the start of the season. Led by All-Star point guard Derrick Rose and tireless coach Tom Thibodeau, who some credit as the key to the Bulls success this year, the team is primed for a deep post-season run.
Chicago Loopster takes a look back at some of the top plays from this season and reasons why the city of Chicago is looking forward to the running of the Bulls.