It’s beginning to actually feel like winter in Chicagoland now and when the chilly temperatures arrive, that means it’s time to break out the winter warmers! Here are five beers from local breweries that I usually keep on hand to enjoy while getting the feeling back in my fingers after clearing snow.
Alter Brewing Company’s Swedda Wedda is not only fun to say – it’s really fun to drink too! Even at 6.0% ABV, you can usually start feeling the warmth pretty quickly. As an oatmeal stout, the layers of complexity really mask the higher ABV. With notes of chocolate, coffee, toffee, and vanilla, this smooth and creamy stout usually satisfies my craving for a hot chocolate.
Moody Tongue Winter Ale can only be found on draught but I think you’ll really enjoy it if you happen to be at a bar or restaurant that serves it. This 6.5% ABV Belgian-style dark ale has notes of toffee and candied orange peel along with cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger aromatics. As a Moody Tongue beer, it’s made to be paired with food. They suggest braised short rib, roast leg of lamb, a panettone, or date honey nut cake – anything rich and indulgent can work.
Spiteful Brewing’s Jingle Balls is a winter ale that comes in at 6.7% ABV and is perfect as an afternoon beer. Perfectly spiced with ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon, this winter ale starts off as an amber ale made with Maris Otter malt so you know it’ll have a nice subtle sweetness to it.
Hopewell Brewing Company’s Long Shadows was something I’ve been waiting to crack open for the first substantial snowfall but I couldn’t wait that long. This red-hued Winter IPA is piney and citrusy with a toasty malt backbone. At 7.5% ABV, this IPA is a great pairing for a holiday roast or a beer to end the evening with.
Of course we had to include Goose Island Bourbon County Stout if we’re talking about local winter warmers because every single BCS is a great winter warmer. As the originators of the barrel aging style, their newest 2023 lineup was packed with great collaboration like the Bourbon County Brand Eagle Rare 2-Year Reserve Stout and Angel’s Envy 2-Year Cask Finish Stout but the one I look forward to most every year is their Proprietor’s. It’s usually the most experimental and most out of the box and I really enjoyed this year’s. Unofficially, I’m calling it the BCS Rice Pudding and I think it’s a perfect treat for the holidays. The toasted rice, vanilla custard, dried fruit, and spice flavors make me feel like I’m in a Dickens novel. At 14.3% ABV, it’s going to be a winter heater for some but it’s perfectly toasty for me.
Here’s the warmth scale just because I liked the way it looked. Maybe I’ll make a Winter Warmer Flight out of it!
My wife and I share a favorite season and it’s finally here – Autumn! Not only can we put on our favorite sweaters but we can finally go on walks with our pup without worrying about overheating, hot pavement, and bringing enough water for all of us. As part of the season, everyone seems to go pumpkin crazy, and though many people love that flavor, there are lots of other great fall flavors to enjoy with the cooler weather. We have some amazing brands in our portfolio make delicious beverages that highlight some favorite fall flavors.
Don’t get me wrong – I don’t hate pumpkin spice – I don’t like it because I think it overshadows all the other amazing flavors of fall. During this season, I really enjoy the flavors that bring warmth to the palate with a little bit of spice. I really enjoy all the individual ingredients in pumpkin spice but when all four (sometimes five) ingredients are put together, I just don’t enjoy them as much. Luckily, we have some amazing brands in our portfolio that think the same and make delicious beverages that highlight some of these favorite fall flavors. (Click on the images to try them yourself)
Founders French Toast Bastard is a deliciously decadent beer that would be great any time of year but I particularly enjoy it in the fall. It’s got so many things that just make it an autumn drink for me. The cinnamon, vanilla, and maple notes in it create a spiced sweetness that makes me want to put on my flannel and start building a bonfire. On top of that, it’s a barrel aged beer in bourbon casks that imparts that flavor in a way that simple extracts can’t match.
Another fall activity that I have enjoyed with my family since we’ve lived in this country is apple picking. I have so many vivid memories of driving up to Michigan and visiting the farms out there. We would picnic and I would stand on my dad’s shoulders to get the “good” apples as my mom would point to the ones she wanted for our bags. Eris E-Phoria drinks very nicely as their fall seasonal because it is more of a pastry baked sweetness that I enjoy as the weather cools. With a nice touch of vanilla, I can see this as a perfect way to spend the last few weeks on the deck watching the leaves change.
The golden hues of the senescing leaves reminds me of another fall flavor that I enjoy – caramel. No matter how you pronounce it (I personally change based on the context), the rich complex sweetness of caramel feels like a great fall complement. Caramel alone is a bit too much for me but when paired with the tartness of an apple like in Blake’s Caramel Apple Cider, it is a perfect combination when pulling a taffy apple isn’t convenient.
Ginger is also part of the pumpkin spice medley but it’s probably the most subtle of all the flavors in there. Growing up in a Korean household, if it had ginger in it, you knew it had ginger in it. I think that early high exposure has really numbed me to a lot of ginger flavored things but one drink in our portfolio that still wakes up my ginger senses is the Sprecher’s Ginger Beer. It’s part of my recipe for Vodka Mules that I make for guests during Thanksgiving. Here’s the recipe if you want to give it a try:
If you’re someone who wants to try something different this fall, I hope these drinks I mentioned will help complete those fall-vibes for you.
We’ve made it fam – football is back. It’s time for Monday, Thursday, and Sunday night watch parties and vibing with friends and family, enjoying food and beers while watching the game.
Hmm, actually as of late I’ve been enjoying more than just beer.
So, let’s say you’re hosting your own Sunday football at home party – you, of course, have a bucket of Bud Light (the NFL’s official beer partner – wink wink) for the beer drinkers there, but what about for those that are looking for something a bit different? Let me help you out with some options for your next party.
January marks the beginning of a new year. We hear it all too often – this is our year – I’m going to become a completely different person – say goodbye to the old me, say hello to the new me.
Obviously this rarely happens. You create some vague arbitrary goal that you don’t really have a plan for or set waypoints to follow along that journey. One of the biggest New Year’s goals is to “be healthy”. That is such a large all-encompassing goal, that it’s hard even thinking where to start. We here at Lakeshore Beverage are composed of all different kinds of people, and plenty of us have thought about drinking things that are “better for you”.
What is “Better For You”? Well, that too is an all-encompassing label. But in reality, it breaks up into several different things. For Lakeshore Beverage, “Better For You” could mean beverages that are lighter in carbohydrates and calories, it could mean real, minimal, and non-processed ingredients, lower alcohol content, or no alcohol content at all. You might be looking at some, or all of these things.
“Better For You” is really up to the person making the journey, and we here at Lakeshore Beverage want to help by providing you options and information to help you along.
And hey, even though this only covers the beverage part of your health, you can take the momentum and apply it to other parts of your journey.
So, let’s get started, shall we?
It’s the start of a new year and a new decade which means many of you are beginning your New Years resolutions to start the year off healthy. Chances are those extra helpings of turkey at Thanksgiving and that full plate of cookies you ate at Christmas are catching up to you, no judgement here. Luckily being healthy doesn’t mean entirely cutting out the beverages you love to drink. Whether you are sitting down to dinner, going out with friends or having a night in, these beverages fit any and all occasions.
Guten tag, Chicago!
Oktoberfest is officially underway!
Bars, pubs and restaurants across the city are pouring German beers, serving up traditional German fare and raising their steins to celebrate their German heritage.
No matter if you’re celebrating at one of the many Oktoberfest parties across Chicagoland, celebrating at a German style pub, or having a small gathering among friends, here are five Oktoberfest beers that should be in your liter sized stein glass these next two weeks.