Today I traveled north with my buddy Jacob to Chicago Joe's in Lynden to drink a tall Heliotrope IPA, (my favorite of Kulshan's), with a Chicago dog and a hot beef. I was curious to see if the dog and the beef were up to the standards I had grown up with, living outside of Chicago for so many years. I was also aching to have an actual good beer with my Chicago-style food. What can I say, the heart wants what it wants. As far as Chicago Joe's goes, it seems that the owner understands the role sports play in The Windy City, as all teams were represented in team flags across the walls of the joint. The city of Chicago flag was also prominently displayed. The food itself was not bad, in fact, the flavor was surprisingly spot-on. The bread for the beef sandwich was of a higher quality than I am used to eating with my beef, and therefore did not fall apart before I was done with the sandwich. I now see why it is important that this happens, and I will never complain about soggy bread again.
As far as the beer goes, Kulshan Heliotrope never disappoints, and this much is true of this culinary experience. The IPA was a perfect palette cleanser and foil for the rich, beefy taste of both the dog and the beef. I would suggest this beer as a pairing with any serious red meat dish you serve. It is flavorful but not heavy, so the meat is not competing, but rather, elevated by the taste of the beer.
Jacob is not from Chicago, so we decided to split both the Chicago Dog and the beef in two and each eat half. Unfortunately, the only sharp knife on hand was Jacob's pocket knife which was in no way clean enough to cut these without giving us both some type of food-borne illness. We decided to eat half each, and switch half-way through. This is where things got somewhat dicey.
Evidently, I eat too fast and too much food, because when I looked up from my beef, Jacob was gobbling down his half of the Chicago Dog while attempting to scold me about "Bogarting the sammy." Some people. As they say where I come from, "if you want more, eat faster."
PNW Beer News
Ferment Brewing in Hood River announced the seasonal release of Woodsmen Porter and ESB to signal the changing season in the small mountain town. Previously available in 500ml bottles, both beers are now also available in cans. Woodsmen Porter is brewed with malts from England, Belgium, Germany, and Chile, the rich malt of the 5.6% ABV. Ferment added Doug Fir tips, which were foraged at the base of Mt. Hood in late Spring. Ferment ESB embodies the quintessential English-style ale, Extra Special Bitter. A can of the copper-colored beer sports a soft fruity ester, an easy drinking balance, and a modest alcohol content at 5.4%.
Pike brewing in Seattle just released Layer Up Double West Coast IPA. It is filled with both fruity and dank flavors along with notes of candied citrus, pineapple, and dank sticky resin and a mid-palate linger plus dry finish. Layer Up Double West Coast IPA boasts an impressive 8.5% ABV, so sip this beer and enjoy as it warms and brings out its more subtle notes to the palette. This is a limited seasonal release. Layer Up Double West Coast IPA is available through October at select retailers and Pubs throughout the Puget Sound Region and also as a six pack or on draft at Pike Pub, Pike Fish Bar and Pike Taproom Ballard.
Ecliptic Brewing in Portland celebrates ten years with a new release. Tenth Orbit: Rice IPA is brewed with Pale and Pilsner malts, as well as rice, which helps give the beer a light body. Simcoe, Citra, Cascade, and Amarillo hops add lots of hop character for this refreshing beer, clocking in at 7% ABV.
National Beer News
Evidently, the most popular beer in the US is Guinness. If I had to settle for a multinational conglomerate beer, I think I would most likely settle on that as well. Very happy I don't have to.
Another "evidently", Dunkin Donuts has partnered with Harpoon brewery to release donut flavored beers. I closed my laptop and threw it against the wall after I read this news, so if you want to do more, you are going to have to do the leg work on that one. I don't have the stomach for it.
Epic Brewing, out of Salt Lake City, Utah, is releasing some new beers with some interestingly ironic names: Naked Baptist, S’Mores Big Bad Baptist, Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt Big Bad Baptist, Blueberry Pie Big Bad Baptist, Coquito Big Bad Baptist. and, last but not least, Brewers Keep Big Bad Baptist. Again...Google it if you need to know more. I believe in a healthy separation of church and brew.
International Beer News
A two liter bottle of beer costs less than a Euro in Bulgaria, which might be why the tourist trade there is booming and even nearing pre-Covid levels.
Heineken was named number one beer in the world for 2023. Guess that goes to show how tastes differ from place to place. If I had to choose, and again, so glad I don't have to, I would go with Guinness. Guess that proves I'm an American after all.
Tsingtao beer is experiencing a bit of a problem after a video of a worker, who looks to be pissing into a beer tank in a Chinese beer plant, went viral. The clip has been viewed tens of millions of times since it aired last Thursday.
Monroe, Louisiana-based Flying Tiger Brewery has become the first craft beer producer in the state to utilize the progressive packaging that biodegradable, compostable, and even edible rings for its beer. These are "technically" edible- they still taste a bit like cardboard, recognized primarily for sustainability, not so much for their deliciousness.