Illinois Brewing Insiders: The Midwest Brew Review guys on Maplewood and Art History doing great things, the charm of New Glarus, and how Horse Thief Hollow’s award-winning pilsner is ideal for summer
Insiders: Matt Psenicka, Billy Nauss, Brian Nauss
Midwest Brew Review on You Tube
Favorite breweries: Growing up and living around Downers Grove, we’ve had the pleasure of watching both Alter Brewing and Goldfinger turn into two outstanding breweries in their own right. Goldfinger’s rich tradition and strict discipline in their brewing process produce some of the best, most true-to-form lagers we’ve ever had.
We could go on and on with favorites! In Chicago, Maplewood continues to impress, turning out great every-day drinkers, big-time barrel-age stouts and everything in between. Out west, Art History is making quite the name for themselves with a knack for nailing traditional styles and serving up complex, yet approachable beers.
Art History is making quite the name for themselves with a knack for nailing traditional styles and serving up complex, yet approachable beers.
It would probably be easier to answer this question by telling you the beers we do not prefer! (Sorry, hefeweizens) Currently, Matt has been leaning toward the clean crispy stuff (thanks again, Goldfinger). From the beginning, Brian and Billy have always been suckers for West Coast IPAs. In general, we tend to drink with the seasons, so there is always something interesting to look forward to.
Recent beers that have caught your eye:
Billy: Cruz Blanca’s Chelada Mexican lager with lime and sea salt.
Matt: Miskatonic has put out an incredible schwarzbier. Horse Thief Hollow took gold in the World Beer Cup with their Little Wing pilsner. We got to talk with them at Beer Under Glass in our video there too. It’s one of the cleanest and most crisp beers we’ve had. It deserved the gold for sure.
Although not an official style, hoppy lagers such as Old Irving’s Doji really hit the spot on a hot day. Or for a more refined experience, grab a saison from Afterthought Brewing Company to pair with a nice meal.
What are you looking forward to enjoying on draft this summer?
We love finding beers that are packed with light and bright flavors that do not weigh you down. Although not an official style, hoppy lagers such as Old Irving’s Doji really hit the spot on a hot day. Or for a more refined experience, grab a saison from Afterthought Brewing Company to pair with a nice meal. Of course, as soon as summer starts to close out, you will find us scooping up as many Oktoberfests as we can get our hands on.
Favorite beer bar: Hands down, our favorite beer bar is the Bavarian Lodge is Lisle. This place has one of the most thoughtful, well-curated beer menus you will find. They have relationships going back many years that gives them access to some of the most sought-after beers in the world. As good as the beer is, the food menu and atmosphere are equally fantastic.
The Bavarian Lodge in Lisle has one of the most thoughtful, well-curated beer menus you will find. … As good as the beer is, the food menu and atmosphere are equally fantastic.
Secret beer spot: Tucked underground down right field stands at Guaranteed Rate Field you will find the Leinenkugel’s Craft Lodge. This hidden gem has one of the best craft beer offerings you will find in a stadium and it is loaded with some of Illinois’ best breweries. Even a Cubs fan such as Matt can appreciate cracking open a massive Hop Butcher IPA while taking in a ball game.
Best brewery you’ve hit on vacation: Matt: Kristina and I hit New Glarus while traveling to a friend’s place in Wisconsin. With a Swiss theme to the entire town, it’s truly a “destination brewery” and totally worth the trip. The inside of the brewery is like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory for beer drinkers with all of the copper kettles and brewing equipment. The place is also spotless.