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2009 Specialty Beers
Exploring the Foamy Fringe of Beer

By Jerald O’Kennard

Every year in the World Wine Championships, we dedicate one session to specialty styles of beer that include fruit flavored beers, beers made with unusual fermentables, barrel aged beers, and some Belgian specialty styles like lambic. When you open the door to brewers to send it their unusual creations you can be sure that you will get things that you’ve never seen before both good and bad.   more >>


To Quench and to Savor
Doing the Continentals

By Chad Wulff

Eariler this year BTI’s World Beer Championships held their annual tasting of Continental European Ale styles.  Maibocks were also included as they are in season this time of year.  A few tasty sessions of an eclectic assortment of brews turned out some excellent results.  Thanks again to all of the participating breweries and to our panel of judges.

Let’s start off with the Kolsch entries.  A great beer to introduce to your industrial lager-consuming friends as it is quite approachable.  Also, a great way to reward your self after the yard work is complete.  A unique beer that is top fermented and then lagered.  The result is a clean refreshing ale with a slightly bitter finish, but not as much as say a German pils.  One good Kolsch deserves another, but if you need to pair it with something a bit more substantial, try mild cheeses.  A little cured meat wouldn’t hurt here either.  A few notable entries included Goose Island Brewing Co.’s Summertime (92 points), Alltech Lexington Brewing Kentucky Light (85 points), and at the tie of (84 points), Grizzly Peak Brewing Co.   more >>


Always Bet on Black

By Chad Wulff

I’m really not much of a gambler and no; I’m not talking about Schwarz biers.  Porters and Stouts are the topic in this piece friend.  OK, not all porters are dark as stouts and still show some hints of deep ruby, but roll with me here.  It’s almost the end of 2008 and Chicago is nothing short of the Siberian tundra.  Fortunately, we have the advantage of the World Beer Championships Porter and Stout tastings falling on a rather appropriate time of year to keep us warm and satiated with malt bomb bliss.  Let’s see what happened….

In the Porter category we were treated to a handful of excellent examples.  Upland Brewing gave us the Bad Elmer’s Porter (87 points), Williams Bros.   more >>