April Fools’ Day at The Whistler

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The Whistler conducted their 2nd Annual Cocktail Challenge a few weeks ago, and just announced the winners. Each will be featured on the menu on April 1st, April Fools Day, in what is basically a customer-cocktail takeover! In addition, 25% of the night’s profits will go to local Logan Square-focused charities. So you can check out some delicious customer concoctions, enjoy the intimacy of the Whistler’s space, and donate to charity, all in one April Fools Night.

The Winners and their cocktail names:

  • Joey Jo-Jo Junior Shabadoo by Patrick Gettings
  • Malmacian Houseguest by Eric Hodek
  • O’Leary’s Mistake by David Imbordino
  • The Campfire Headphase by Van Nguyen
  • The Iron Ranger by Erik Westra
  • Scaffa di Tomarr Trott by Tyler Wong

I guess if you want to know what’s in the cocktails, you’ve got to show up! I’m pulling for The Campfire Headphase to be the most delicious, as it references Boards of Canada, a favorite of mine.

 

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Fermented #29 – Founders Brewing Black Rye

I’ve put off this review for too long because of bad photos.  But I can’t any longer. This beer will slowly be disappearing from taps and shelves as it’s seasonality (for Founders) comes to an end. This is a beer I can drink all year round though. Delicious porter-like notes of roasted coffee beans, toasted bread, and dried cocoa powder lay underneath a bitter forest of hop aromas. All that gets wrapped up with a dry, spicy rye finish.

If you haven’t tried this beer yet, you owe it to yourself to find some for this nice spring weather. You might even be able to sip one of these on your porch this week.

ABV: 7.5%

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Hops: German and American mix

IBUS: 78

Known Malts: 2-row, rye malt, wheat (one of those two might be dark, might debittered)

 

Recommended! Uptown

I’ve been wanting to restart this series, and while I start writing up 4-5 starting points for some other hoods, here’s a re-post from the old blog.

For my purposes, I’m counting Uptown as a sort of odd shape that goes up Clark and Broadway to Lawrence (I consider North of this intersection on Broadway to be Edgewater, and North of it on Clark to be Andersonville), starting at Irving Park, bordered to the West by North Center and Ravenswood, to the South by Wrigleyville/Lakeview.

What I’m going to do with this list is just regularly update it (as I discover more spots I love, OR, more spots I forgot to include the first time I posted).

Rayan’s – reliable liquor stores at Clark/Wilson and Ashland/Montrose (is this east North Center or West Uptown?), owned by members of the same family or by the same family, I forget at the moment. One of these stores is where I often stop to pick up some limited releases from Revolution and Firestone-Walker, limited releases that come in cool boxed bottles. This is sort of that second tier of store where there’s plenty of stuff for the average drinker, but impressive finds for those who in a rush, or when something’s out at Bottles & Cans or In Fine Spirits, etc.

Demera Ethiopian – my favorite Ethiopian spot in Chicago. Barring someone telling me there’s a hole in the wall still open with better food, this place nails it. Quality ingredients, a few wines and beers that work well with the food, and a nice environment. Staff is solid, and there’s a lot of smiling and laughing here always. I highly recommend their beets, the red and yellow lentil dishes, and the Doro Wat with Dry Creek Chenin Blanc (a pairing they recommend as well). Their Kitfo, a classic ethiopian version of tartar heavy on herbed butter and chile powder, is a must-have.

Tweet Let’s Eat -I’m not huge on brunch as a restaurant concept, but I will be honest and say that Chicago does it better than most cities, especially once you venture away from downtown and river north. Affordable, well-thought dishes with some creativity and solid execution aren’t rare at northside brunch spots. Tweet’s philosophy ” is to prepare and serve, with love, the freshest, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, organic when possible: eggs, dairy, vegetables and fruit, subject to market availability. Pastured pork and beef also subject to availability.” That resonates with me (I think some of my other favorite northside brunch spots work under the same umbrella).  You know what also resonates for me? Hollandaise needs execution, and Tweet’s stands out.

The Bar on Buena – whiskey and whisky, a craft beer menu curated by people I know and love, silly events, solid food. If you live IN Uptown, you should be a regular here already. If you’re visiting Uptown, you should stop here. The beer list balances classics and imports with national and local craft brands, a pretty cozy room. The food meanders down the bar food path with a BoB (as staff and regulars call it) twist, and the outdoor seating takes advantage of a Buena being a quieter street.

The Long Room – a classic chicago bar with a craft beer focus. Rumors have been swirling about some renovations coming up, or maybe they’re done, though on my last visit in May, I was too hazy and too overwhelmed with pals to notice. The bar lives up to its name, with a long bar and single row of two-tops behind it, which opens in the front to the windows and some space, and in the back to a section with tables and booths. These folks always surprise me; there’s always a beer on their list I’ve not had or never even heard of, or just recently heard whispered about in the dark corners of bars. I’ve had many firsts here, and I once turned down a date with someone because they didn’t like this place and preferred a different bar in the immediate area.

Nha Hang Viet Nam – the pho is on point with Tank’s (which I haven’t been to in awhile), and the rest of the food is top-notch, interesting, and made with love. More notes on this place to come because we’re going back soon. BYOB.

 

Fermented #28 – The Local IPAs series – Begyle Hophazardly

The general principle, drink local, makes a lot of sense across a wide spectrum of styles (and none at all with others), and perhaps none more so than IPAs. Most of the country gets their hops from the same place, and most of the grain comes from the Midwest anyway. In particular, there’s probably someone in your town making a killer IPA that is worth supporting enthusiastically. In Chicago, there are many, and the goal is talk about them a little bit more. You don’t need that Whale of an IPA from California or the East Coast, when you’ve got some of these in your own backyard.

Last month or so, I started this series with a few beers in mind – Ale Syndicate Municipal IPA, and this delicious offering from Begyle, Hophazardly IPA.

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My review notes basically remain the same as from this summer, posted on the old blog: “Nice orange, bordering on red beer, with an almost white, eggshell head. Floral and citrus, almost candy and perfumey aroma. This beer brings all the goodness of midwestern IPAs, with a mashbill that does some of the work to compliment a nice array of American hop varieties. I have mixed feelings on bombers, but this is the perfect amount of Hophazardly. Strangely, I’ve been drinking this one after a good run.”

The Hops: Citra and Simcoe. I like the idea of these two together – Citra being the new kid on the block, and Simcoe being everyone’s hop love affair back in like the 2006-2010 years, when I first got obsessed with beer and homebrewing. Kevin from Begyle said they were aiming to brew a “sexy IPA that was not overly bitter” and keeping these hops to light bittering use but heavy late additions would push the profile that way. Nice malty backbone from the caramel malts that also give it that reddish hint. The malts also push that candy and caramel aroma.

I will add that besides being a great beer for a bomber, because you’re going to want more than a glass of Hophazardly, it is also great in a 32 oz growler, as pictured above. Share it, have a 2nd healthy pour (its 7.1%, slow down there champions of the 64 oz and 128 oz growler).

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Glenfarclas in Chicago – Get Farc’d!

Glenfarclas is a family owned, Speyside distillery, now on the 6th generation of the Grant family. There’s a strong sherry influence from sherry barrels (details at this blog with some info on casks used). Two Glenfarclas events, one today, one tomorrow (I’ll be there tomorrow).

Read all about Glenfarclas here and here and here.

The Franklin Room, Monday, 3/9

Fountainhead, Tuesday, 3/10

Get Farc'd

Get Farc’d at Fountainhead. 3/10. 20+ Glenfarclas pours, Nips and Pints from $13 and up, and half ounce pours of any of the +20 year old bottlings.

“Join us for a fantastic night of Glenfarclas with 6th generation owner George Grant.

Featuring:
We will be doing Pre Sale of 20 bottles of the rare and critically acclaimed 5 star Fountainhead Single Cask Glenfarclas Ferd in the Spey 2000 vintage for $69. George will be signing the bottles that night and the bottles will be available for pick up at the soon to be open Fountainhead Market.

Featuring 20+ Glenfarclas Whiskies

We will be offering .5oz pours of any Glenfarclas over 20yrs old.
We will be doing Nips and Pints from $13 up
We will be doing flights of all of our Glenfarclas selections.”