1. In episode 220 of the Hop Cast, Brad Chmielewski and Ken Hunnemeder venture away from American craft beer for a moment and open two Bière de Gardes; one from France and the other from Belgium. First up is the Cuvée Des Jonquilles from Brasserie Bailleux in France. This 7.0 % ABV Bière de Garde is fantastic and might leave you running towards this style to stock up. Next Brad and Ken open the Bière De Belœil from Brasserie Dupont in Belgium, it packs a little more of a punch at 8.5%.

    The Bière de Garde is an interesting style of beer that can be difficult to define. Bière de Garde is french for "Beer for keeping". These beers were originally brewed in french farmhouses during the winter and spring with the intention of keeping it stored for a period of time until it matures, usually a few months at least. Originating from the border between Belgium and France. Bière de Gardes are malt focused and can range from blonde to brown in color and tend to have a bit of a cellar character. American brewers and others have been reinterpreting and brewing this style with varied results over the years. Brad and Ken share their findings with you so you can be a better informed drinker next time you're out and perhaps be more inclined to give this style a try.

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  2. Brad Chmielewski & Ken Hunnemeder are joined by Sergio Salgado in episode 219 of the Hop Cast. In this episode the three guys open a couple funky beers. Not funky bad, but funky good. First up is the Fantasia from Upright Brewing in Portland Oregon. This 5.7% ABV America Wile Ale is in the vein of a Lambic style of wild beer. What makes it really unique is that it was fermented entirely in oak barrels that are filled with fresh peaches from Baird Family Orchards. Yum! It's one that should be shared with friends because everyone should have a chance to try this one. Next up is a special release from Goose Island Clybourn for their 25th Anniversary. This one is a 7% ABV Flanders Red ale that was fermented with lacto and Brett and aged in wine barrels to give a distinct tartness to this very deep red, malty beer. If you didn't get your hands on a bottle when they were released, you might be out of luck. But if you know a friend who has one make sure you're around when they open it up.

    Cheers & Thanks for watching the Hop Cast!

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  3. You better get your beer goggles on for this Hop Cast. In episode 218, Brad Chmielewski and Ken Hunnemeder open two fantastic beers from one of the staple midwest breweries, Bell's. Bell's Brewery has been around for 28 years and they continue to make new and fantastic beers every year. You'd be hard to find a craft beer lover that hasn't fallen in love with Two Hearted. Over the years we've done a number of Bell's beers on the Hop Cast; Christmas Ale, Kalamazoo Stout, Cherry Stout, Best Brown and 25th Anniversary Ale. Today Brad and Ken open a couple of their "newer" beers, Lager Of The Lakes & Midwestern Pale Ale. First up is Lager Of The Lakes, a 5% ABV American Pale Lager that will quench your thirst any day. Following up the Lager Of The Lakes is the 5.2% ABV Midwestern Pale Ale. This American Pale Ale is made almost exclusively from pale malt.

    Truthfully, it's hard to go wrong with a Bell's beer and just because they aren't the rarest or the newest kids on the block, doesn't mean you should forget about them. They are making some fantastic beverages! Cheers, and thanks for watching the Hop Cast.

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  4. Local beers with hibiscus? Yep! In episode 217 of the Hop Cast, Brad Chmielewski & Ken Hunnemeder crack open two great local beers. First up is the Chloe from one of the newest breweries to find themselves in the Chicago craft beer scene, 18th Street Brewery. This 7% ABV beer has subtle tartness and citrus notes of hibiscus that balance this French Saison in the sweet caress of the blood orange. The Chloe was packaged and distributed by Pipeworks Brewing Company and it's nice to see the local breweries help each other out as they are getting started. Following up the Chloe is a beer from 5 Rabbit Cerveceria. 5 Rabbit continues to improve and make some interesting beers and the Huitzi Midwinter Ale is no exception. This is a 8.7 % Belgian Strong Golden Ale, brewed with hibiscus flowers, ginger, thai palm sugar and local Chicago honey. Local brewery and local ingredients, that's something you love to see.

    The Chicago beer scene continues to grow and we're seeing some interesting beers on the shelves. Do yourself a favor and spend a couple bucks on one of these new beers and let us know what you think. Cheers and thanks for watching the Hop Cast. P.S. Sorry about the windy audio.

    # vimeo.com/74492703 Uploaded 115 Plays / / 0 Comments Watch in Couch Mode
  5. In episode 216 of the Hop Cast, Brad Chmielewski and Ken Hunnemeder reach into the cellar and pull out a couple big stouts to enjoy on this warm summer day. First up is the 10.2% ABV 2011 Imperial Russian Stout from Southampton. With such a low bottle count, this was likely hand bottled and with a couple years on this beer, it held up rather well. If you still have one hanging around in your cellar it's time to drink it. Next up Brad and Ken raise the ABV a bit and crack open a 12% ABV Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout from Cismontane. For the Black's Nocturne, Cismontane took their Imperial Stout (sans coffee) and aged it for nearly a year in fresh Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels and then blended in an attempt to tame the bourbon beastliness. Man, this beer packs a punch!

    Who knew imperial stouts tasted so good on a warm summer after noon. Cheers! And thanks for watching the Hop Cast.

    # vimeo.com/73479475 Uploaded 93 Plays / / 0 Comments Watch in Couch Mode

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