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Bruz Beers' First Inaugural Denver Belgian Brew Fest
Drink, Food,

Bruz Beers’ First Inaugural Denver Belgian Brew Fest

Anyone who knows anything about Denver knows that it’s a craft beer capital in the United States. For the uninitiated, craft beers combined with 5280 feet of altitude can mean a swift end to your day and a cab ride home, but for the experienced aficionado, it’s just another day in the Mile High City.

Bruz Beers' First Inaugural Denver Belgian Brew Fest 3

If you can handle your booze, you should consider checking out Bruz Beers’ first inaugural Denver Belgian Brew Fest. To be clear, the beers are belgian style, but brewed right here in Denver.  If you’re not familiar (you’re missing out!), Belgian style beers tend to be ales (not lagers), that have a heavy focus on malts and lots of fruity yeast flavors. In other words, a style both myself and my boyfriend can enjoy without having to compromise for each other.

Bruz Beers' First Inaugural Denver Belgian Brew Fest 3

Participating breweries at Bruz Beers’ Belgian Brew Fest include:

I could drink beer all day and be entertained by the calamities that ensue, but that’s not all the Belgian Brew Fest has to offer patrons. In addition to UNLIMITED four ounce pours from 10 excellent Denver breweries, you’ll also be treated to the musical stylings of Velvet Compass and The Goonies. And fear not – 4 tasty food trucks will be in attendance so you can chase heavy drinking with heavy eating:

Can you think of a better end to the work week?

Bruz Beers' First Inaugural Denver Belgian Brew Fest 3

If you’re seriously a trooper, your Belgian Brew Fest wristband gets you happy hour pricing in Bruz Beers’ taproom once the festivities are over.

Belgian Brew Fest 2017 happens Saturday, April 29, from 1-5pm. Tickets are $48 (purchase in advance on Eventbrite) and grant you access to everything you need for an awesome Saturday in Denver.

Bruz Beers' First Inaugural Denver Belgian Brew Fest 3

Will you be attending Belgian Brew Fest this year? Let me know in the comments below, and look for a drunk girl snapping pictures for Instagram – that could be me (or any other girl at the festival).

How to Drink Glendalough Whiskey (1)
Drink, Food,

How to Drink Glendalough Whiskey 6 Ways for St. Patrick’s Day

You might not be a whiskey drinker for 99% of the year, but come St. Patrick’s day, everyone is Irish for the day (or week as it may in fact be). In order to honor this special designation, it’s necessary to chase every Guinness with a drink made from fine Irish whiskey.

Glendalough Distillery is Ireland’s first craft distillery. So no, it’s not as old as the beautiful castles in the countryside, but what it lacks in age, it makes up in flavor.

Glendalough Irish Whiskey is available at bars in major cities around the US. If you’re looking for a special St. Patrick’s Day treat (instead of moumtains of cheap beer), here are 6 ways you can drink Glendalough Whiskey – at a bar near you, or even at home if you’re feeling like a mixologist.

ATLANTA

Cocktail: Interdimensional Crossrip
Personality/Venue: Sean Gleason from the Biltong Bar
2 oz. chai-infused Glendalough Double Barrel
0.75 oz. Vin Picon
0.75 oz. Sorghum pecan syrup
0.5 oz. lemon juice
1 oz. of egg white
Method: Shaken up in a cocktail glass and garnished with crushed chai tea 

CHICAGO

Cocktail: Irish Spiced Sour
Personality/Venue: Carley Noel Gaskin from Bad Hunter in Chicago
Glass: Coupe
Ingredients:
1 ½ oz. Glendalough Double Barrel
¾ oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
1 oz. Banana Chestnut Puree*
½ oz. honey
½ oz. Don Ciccio walnut liqueur
1 egg white
Ground cinnamon to garnish

*Banana Chestnut Puree
1 C chestnut puree
2 bananas peeled and chopped
1 C coconut milk
Add all ingredients to a blender or VitaMix and pulse into smooth.
Method: Dry shake all ingredients and then shake hard with ice. Double strain into a coupe glass and garnish with ground cinnamon to taste.

Chicago Tasting Events

  • Bernie’s Lunch and Supper: St. Patrick’s Day Special featuring Glendalough Pop-Up cocktails from March 11th-18th
  • The Drifter Bar: Featuring Glendalough cocktails throughout the month of March and hosting a Glendalough Night on March 16th
  • Bangers and Lace: Glendalough whiskey flights and St. Patrick’s Day cocktail running throughout the month of March
  • East Room Chicago: Jams & Jammers featuring Glendalough Irish whiskey sampling and cocktail specials on March15th

BOSTON

Cocktail: Red Legs
Personality/Venue: Jace Sheehan from Citizen Public House in Boston
Glass: Rocks
Ingredients:
1 ½ oz. Glendalough Double Barrel Irish Whiskey
¾ oz. Pineapple Juice
¾ oz. Lime Juice
½ oz. Ango Amaro
Roasted pineapple wedge garnish
Method: Add all ingredients to a shaker filled with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with a wedge of roasted pineapple.

Cocktail:
St. Kevin Sling
Personality/Venue: Ezra Star from Drink Fort Point in Boston. (voted Best Bar at Tales of the Cocktail among many other accolades.
Glass: Highball
Ingredients:
1 ½ oz Glendalough Double Barrel Irish Whiskey
½ oz Fresh Lemon Juice
½ oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao
¼ oz Grenadine
4 dashes Orange Bitters
Soda Water
Garnish Long Lemon Swirl
Method: Add your whiskey, juice, Dry Curaçao, Grenadine and bitters to a shaker with ice, and shake up a storm. Then strain into a highball glass filled with ice and top it up with soda water. For full effect, your lemon swirl should wrap the whole way around the inside of the glass.

DC
Cocktail: Carmilla
Personality/Venue: Lead Bartender/Partner Mick Perrigo from The Left Door
Ingredients:
1 1/2 oz. Glendalough Double Barrel
3/4 oz. Yzaguirre Vermouth
¼ oz. Benedictine
2 dashes of star anise tincture
Method: Pour on the rocks and stir

DC Tasting Events

  • Whiskey Seminar at James Hoban’s Irish Restaurant & Bar (3/14)
  • Glendalough Takeover at  The Left Door (3/15) – On Wednesday, March 15th at 8 p.m., guests are invited to The Left Door for a special Gothic St. Patrick’s Day Party hosted by Glendalough Distillery, Ireland’s first craft distillery.
  • Glendalough Pop-Up Cocktail Night at Granville Moores (3/16)
  • St. Patrick’s Day Party Bar Deco (3/17)
  • Glendalough Pop-Up Cocktail Night at  Kingfisher (3/18)
  • Glendalough Pop-Up Cocktail Night at RiRa in Georgetown (3/24)

IRELAND
Cocktail: In the Navy
Personality/Venue: Aaron Hayden of Peruke & Periwig in Dublin. This is a twist on the classic Navy Grog and was voted best cocktail during the Dublin Cocktail Festival.
Glass: Rocks Glass
Ingredients:
1 ⅓ ounces of Glendalough Double Barrel Irish Whiskey
⅓ ounce Amaretto
1 ounce grapefruit juice
⅔ ounce lemon juice
½ ounce caramel liqueur such as Giffard’s Caramel Toffee
2 drops Peychaud’s bitters
Method: Shake and strain into rocks glass, garnish with grapefruit and mint sprig.

The good news? You have options.

What’s your favorite thing to consume on St. Patrick’s Day? Corned beef and cabbage is a perfectly acceptable answer. Share your preferences in the comments below!

chicago cheap ass
Drink, Food, Guides,

The Ultimate Chicago Brewery Bucket List

Have you been on a Chicago brewery tour? I’m convinced we play host to some of the best beer in the country. Check out my ultimate guide to Chicago brewery tours for dates, times, pricing and everything you need to know to have a great experience!

The Ultimate Chicago Brewery Bucket List

5 Rabbit Cerveceria

6398 W 74th Street, Bedford Park, Illinois (by Midway)

Come try 5 Rabbit Cerveceria‘s 5 Lizard, or 5 Vulture beer ,and take a tour or eat in the taproom (or both).

Brewery Tour:
Saturdays at 3pm. Buy tickets ahead of time.
$10 buys you the tour, beer, and a pint glass.

Ale Syndicate Brewers

2601 W Diversey Ave, Chicago, IL

Ale Syndicate is a Chicago brewery that recently ran a Groupon giving brewery tours, though they’re  not officially open to the public yet. You can find out where to buy their beers and official events on their website.

Brewery Tour:
Limited availability with the purchase of a $16 Groupon deal for two. Check with Ale Syndicate for updated information.

Argus Brewery

11314 S Front Ave, Chicago, IL

Argus Brewery is a Chicago brewery that’s a bit of a hike for city dwellers, but an excellent way to round out your experience with Chicago beers. They’re located in the old Schlitz distribution stables – this is a brewery with history! Their Oktoberfest celebration is not one to miss.

Brewery Tour:
(Most) Saturdays at 12:30pm, 2pm, and 3pm.
$15 buys you the tour, beer, and a pint glass.
There’s also a Groupon which gets you 1/2 off for two people.

Atlas Brewing Company

2747 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL

No tour at this Chicago brewery, but coming gives you the chance to drink Atlas Brewing Company’s own beer straight from the source.

Begyle Brewing Company

2747 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL

With tours and a taproom, Beygle Brewing Company is an underrated Chicago brewery really has it all. Serious fans may consider their beer subscription service.

Brewery Tour:
Saturdays at 12pm.
$10 buys you the tour, a beer and samples, and a tulip glass.

Breakroom Brewery

2925 W Montrose Ave, Chicago, IL

Breakroom Brewery is a relatively new Chicago brewery created by a bar concept company – so you know you’re in good hands. I visited and loved their diverse selection of draft beers and fun taproom space. Decide for yourself how you feel about their Scotch Eggs. Bring home your favorite beer in a sealed metal “Crowler.

DryHop Brewers

3155 N Broadway St, Chicago, IL

Foodies will love DryHop Brewers, a Chicago brewery/restaurant concept. Come in and pick from one of their especially hoppy beers on draft, get a cheese plate, and pig out on gourmet comfort food. These guys offer crowlers, too.

Empirical Brewery

1801 W Foster Ave, Chicago, IL

Brewery tours at Empirical Brewery are first-come, first-served and limited capacity. Get there at 12 to all but guarantee your spot.

Brewery Tour:
Saturdays at 1pm and 2:30pm. Check the website for “brewer-led” tours that go more in-depth on technical brewing topics.
$10 buys you the tour, beer samples, and a pint glass.

Exit Strategy Brewing Co.

7700 W. Madison St., Forest Park, IL

Exit Strategy Brewing is a relative newcomer to Forest Park, one of the closest Chicago suburbs (accessible via Blue Line). Skim through Exit Strategy Brewing’s beer list and multi-cuisine menu if you have a reason to come out to the suburbs.

Finch’s Beer Co.

4565 N Elston Ave, Chicago, IL

Finch’s Beer Co has one of the best Chicago brewery tours, if only because they let you get absolutely loaded. You get a half can pour each time you go back or more, which means you’ll get a good taste of each of their beers (and then some). They’ve been known to run Groupon deals from time to time. Even the pickiest beer drinking can’t escape the lure of their colorful cans.

Brewery Tour:
Saturdays at 12pm, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm
$10 buys you the tour, unlimited beer, and a pint glass.

Forbidden Root Brewpub

1746 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL

Botanic-flavored beers and food to compliment them. Take your favorite tastes home in steel growlers.

Brewery Tour:
Offered once a week. Call the restaurant at (312)929-2202 for details.

Gino’s brewing company

500 N LaSalle St, Chicago, IL

Did you know? Gino’s East, one of Chicago’s best deep dish pizza makers now makes beer in-house at the River North location! I personally can’t wait to sample their Witte Chicks Dig Me, a Belgian Witbier). Growlers are available to-go.

Goose Island Clybourn

1800 N Clybourn Ave, Chicago, IL

25 of your favorite Goose Island drafts (and likely some you’ve never tried) are available to pair with delicious bites at this Chicago brewery. They tap at least one new beer a week and you can give it a try at their Thursday Beer Premiere events.

Brewery Tour:
Saturdays at 12:30pm, 2pm, 3:30pm
Sundays at 1:30pm and 3pm
$10 buys you the tour, 6 beer samples and a branded pint glass.

Half Acre Taproom

4257 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL

I bet there’s at least one Half Acre beer that gets you excited when you see it on tap at a Chicago bar. This Chicago brewery has both tours and a taproom with enticing food options.

Brewery Tour:
Every Saturday (except major holidays) at 11am. Get there early – these tours sell out.
$10 (cash only) buys you the tour, 3 samples, and a branded pint glass.

Haymarket Pub & Brewery

737 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL

This Chicago brewery is home to the Drinking & Writing TheaterHaymarket Brewing is a brewpub with personality. They run free party shuttles (including beer) to and from every Blackhawks game.

Brewery Tour:
Sundays at 12pm, 2pm, and 4pm.
$15 buys you the tour and 28 total ounces of beer.

Hopewell brewing Co.

2760 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL

Hopewell Brewing Co. is a relative newcomer to the Chicago brewing scene, situated in Logan Square. They’re open for drinks everyday but Monday – check out their beers on tap.

Lagunitas Brewing Company

1843 S Washtenaw Ave, Chicago, IL 60608

Lagunitas is the only Chicago brewery that offers their beer and brewery tour absolutely free(besides Revolution). Visiting Lagunitas is an amazing experience that I once shared on this blog. They also have an excellent taproom “edibles“. Live music starts everyday at 4:20pm. Is it any surprise that this company originates from California?

Brewery Tour:
“Every freaking day” at multiple times – check the website.

Lake Effect Brewing Company

4727 W Montrose Ave, Chicago, IL

Nestled away in Jefferson Park, Lake Effect Brewing Company is just a hop, skip, and jump (approximately) from the Montrose Blue Line Stop. Homebrewers will appreciate that these Chicago brewery tours are always led by the brewer.

Brewery Tour:
Saturdays at 2pm, 3:30pm and 5pm.
The tour is free with samples available for purchase in a flight at a steps-away satellite bar. Must sign up on their website.

Motor Row Brewing

2337 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL

Motor Row Brewing is one of two breweries on Michigan Ave (the other is Vice District Brewing Company), with a focus on traditional European ales and lagers. Enjoy the warehouse-like space with an upstairs taproom and a downstairs tasting room.

Off Color Brewing

3925 W Dickens Ave, Chicago, IL

Did you know Chicago’s Off Color Brewing was open for tours? Come in on Fridays and you can make purchases (only on a debit or credit card) of their freshest beer batches.

Brewery Tour:
Saturdays at 2pm.
$10 buys you the tour, beer samples, and a branded pint glass.

Piece Pizzeria & Brewery

1927 W North Ave, Chicago, IL

Piece Pizzeria is a Wicker Park favorite. They’re known for their New Haven Style Pizza, especially when they collaborate with other beloved Chicago chefs and restaurants. They also brew their own unique styles of beer.

Revolution Brewing

Brewery: 3340 N Kedzie Ave, Chicago, IL
Brewpub: 2323 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL

If you live in Chicago, there’s no way you haven’t tried beer from Revolution Brewing – its one of the most “Chicago” breweries that exist. Their Kedzie Street location offers tours and taproom, while the Milwaukee Avenue location offers no brewery tours, but an excellent brewpub experience.

Brewery Tour:
Wednesday – Friday at 6pm and 7pm.
Saturday – Sunday at 3pm, 4pm, 5pm, and 6pm.
Tours are free and include beer samples.

Temperance Beer Company

2000 Dempster St, Evanston, IL

Yes, you can drink beer and do yoga, and Temperance Beer Company is proof of that fact. If you don’t have a car, Purple Line will get you most of the way there.

Brewery Tour:
The second Sunday of every month at 1pm.
$10 buys you the tour, beer samples, a pint glass and 10% off on merchandise the day of the tour.

Vice District Brewing Company

1454 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL

Vice District Brewing is a relatively new addition to the Chicago brewery scene in the unlikely South Loop area. It is the brainchild of two passionate brewers who were neighbors, first. They offer members several specials, and an interesting spectrum of beers.

There are so many amazing Chicago breweries with new ones opening on a regular basis. What’s on your Chicago brewery bucket list? Share your picks in the comments!

Download a printable Chicago Brewery checklist!

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DELICIOUS ITALIAN WINES DON’T HAVE TO BE EXPENSIVE
Drink, Food, Reviews,

Delicious Italian Wines Don’t Have to be Expensive

A few weeks ago, I attended an event where I was introduced to the wonderful world of Sicilian wines.

Let’s get one thing straight – I’m no sommelier. I’ve been known to hit up Trader Joes for 2 buck chuck when the need for wine has arisen. But this year I’ve given wine another chance as not just a means to an end, but a tasty experience.

To be truthful, I’ve never really liked reds, but after attending an event earlier this year featuring wines from the Rioja region of Spain earlier in the year, I knew I needed to open up my mind. This was the beginning of my personal wine tasting transformation. I also took a trip the Bom Bolla, a new Cava bar in Wicker Park, from the people behind Pop’s for Champagne. Needless to say, I’ve since graduated from 2 buck chuck.

So my explorations into more sophisticated wine choices had already begun right before tasting delicious Sicilia DOC wines.

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At the wine event I attended, I had an opportunity to talk to one of the Marketers, and also one of the family members behind the Sicilia DOC winery!

Between delicious sips of Sicilia DOC, we talked about how the winery has been in the family for many generations. The people representing the wineries had such an infectious passion for their wine. Italian wine is so good… It makes sense that Sicilian wine is some of the best of the country.

12346917_10153779403667760_780953322_n

It’s easy to find Sicilian Wines in Chicago. They’re available at Binny’s and are under $20 a bottle. The ones I liked best were in the $13-$15 range. So whether you want to indulge for yourself, or give a gift that makes you look like a wine connoisseur, these wines are the perfect choice.

My recommendation? The Planeta Rosé was my favorite of the various sips I tried before or after the event. To me, most rosés taste like a haphazard attempt to marry what people like about whites to reds. But this rosé was balanced in a way that made it distinctly different from both.

When shopping for Sicilian wines, be sure to look for “Sicilia DOC” on the label to ensure quality and consistency!

SiciliaDOC_Label

What’s your favorite kind of wine that’s a little more complex than two buck chuck? Share your picks in the comments so we can all get one stop closer to sommelier status!

 

OKTOBERFEST? TRY ARGTOBERFEST AT ARGUS BREWERY
Drink, Events, Food,

Oktoberfest? Try Argtoberfest at Argus Brewery

Munich, Germany is the official start of and home to Oktoberfest. Oktoberfest has been officially underway since September 19 this year, and will continue through the first Sunday in October… which is coming up this weekend!

You don’t have to be in Munich to enjoy the festive feelings and Chicago’s own Oktoberfest events. One I’m particularly excited about is the first-ever Argtoberfest at Argus Brewery, and not just because of the play on words.

Argtoberfest is this Saturday, October 3rd – the day before the end of Oktoberfest! If you’re looking for an excuse to go out and celebrate, here’s what you can expect…

$20 gets you entry and includes 4 beer tokens, samples from guest breweries (Atlas, Ale Syndicate, One Trick Pony and many more), a take home stein, live music, food (for purchase), stable games and more. Speaking of stable games… did you know that Argus Brewery is located in a stable? According to the Groupon for the event (which gets you an extra $10 to spend on Argus Brewery merchandise), the stable used to be used to house the horses who helped distributed iconic Schlitz beer. The more you know.

Argtoberfest runs from 3 – 9pm, but get there before 3:30 if you’re interested in a brewery tour! According to Argus Brewery’s Facebook page, the 3:30 tour will be the only one on the day of the event. There’s a Groupon for that too, obviously subject to availability on what’s sure to be a busy day.

So what are you doing this weekend? Buy your tickets on Argus Brewery’s website before time runs out!

This review was written in exchange for free tickets to Argtoberfest. Hope to see you there!

chicago cheap ass (22)
Drink, Food, Recipes,

How to Make the Perfect Sangria

A couple weeks ago, my company had a “Sangria Off,” where participants were charged with trying to create the best sangria amongst competitors. I studied abroad in Spain, and although I drink sangria whenever I have the chance, I’ve never actually tried to make it.

While doing some research, I came across an awesome infographic that breaks down the different steps and ingredients to creating the perfect sangria, with several options for each step.

How to Make the Perfect Sangria

Source: http://missouriwine.org/blog_build-your-best-sangria/

Here are my suggestions for each step of the process:

How to Make the Perfect Sangria

Red Wine:

If you’re making real sangria, you’ve got to use red wine. From Spain. Suggestions are:

  • Tempranillo
  • Garnacha
  • Merlot

If you want to make a white wine sangria (aka, a totally different drink), I’d suggest Cava. It’s a mix between a champagne/non-bubbly white wine, and is made in Northern Spain. Also goes great in mimosas!

Liquor:

Brandy is the standard. Honestly, I didn’t want to have brandy sitting around after this contest, so I got light rum. I guess it depends on your tastes – and how committed you are to winning.

Sugar:

Sangria has a LOT of sugar. I used a mix of honey and sugar to get a more interesting taste.

Mixer:

I used tonic water with lime. I think seltzer or ginger ale would produce very similar effects, so go with what you like.

Juice:

I added in fresh squeezed orange juice to my sangria. I think fresh squeezed lemon juice would play well with the refreshing nature of the drink as well. Depends on personal preference. Would’t hurt to add both!

Fruit:

The last but critical step – you can’t have an awesome sangria without fresh diced fruit. I added peaches, apples, and oranges. Berries would also make an excellent addition. Again – it’s all about what tastes good. The important thing to note is that you should dice the fruit up small for a visually-appealing effect.

How to Make the Perfect Sangria

Garnishes:

I didn’t put any garnishes on my sangria, but I think putting mint leaves in each glass would’ve sealed a win for me. Definitely something to think about for next time!

Finally, if you want to win at sangria making – make sure you let the sangria sit overnight! Trying to make it the day you serve it will not give it enough time for the flavors to fuze together.

How to Make the Perfect Sangria

 

Have you made sangria before? What’s your favorite recipe?

chicago cheap ass (24)
Drink, Events, Food,

Bacon AND Beer? Get Excited for the Bacon and Beer Classic

I’m a huge fan of festivals that combine an appreciation of craft beer with small bites for a satisfying experience all around. When those small bites all center around the theme of bacon… I’m in heaven.

The Bacon and Beer Classic happens yearly in New York City, Seattle, Indianapolis and of course… Chicago! You won’t have to wait long, since it’s happening Saturday, October 10 at Soldier Field. Depending on if you prefer your weekend sips earlier or later in the day, you can pick between the “brunch” session (1-4pm) or the evening session (7-10pm).

Bacon and Beer Classic

So what can you expect at the Bacon and Beer Classic? Let’s take a look:

  • 3 hours of drinking and eating craft beer and bacon
  • 48 2-ounce craft beer samples from participating breweries. If that’s not enough, you can purchase 10 more for $5
  • 40 bacon-inspired dishes featuring local Chicago restaurants, like Public House, Haute Sausage and Porkchop
  • Souvenir Bacon & Beer Classic glass
  • Music, games, photo booth, and more!

If you opt for VIP admission, you get in 1 hour early for either session and exclusive access to craft beer that you can’t get with a General Admission ticket. VIP is perfect for a real craft beer aficionado.

Tickets are $59 and $99 for General Admission and VIP and can be purchased on Eventbrite. Use code “CHEERS” for 20% off 🙂 See you there!

chicago cheap ass
Drink, Food,

Lagunitas Brewing Company Tour

 I’ve been dying to check out Lagunitas Brewing Company for the longest time. Last year for Christmas, I bought my boyfriend So You Want to Start a Brewery?, written by the founder of Lagunitas. They also sponsored Social Media Beast’s sister company Concierge Preferred at their annual trade show earlier in the year. I got a chance to hear the Marketing Manager (the founder’s sister!) speak about how much she loves her company, and more importantly, details regarding the newly opened taproom in Chicago.
Lagunitas Brewing Company Tour
So checking out Lagunitas Brewing Company has been on my radar for quite some time now.
An opportunity presented itself to take Reggie’s Rock Bus (YES), so we could go, drink as much as we pleased, and make it back home (or close enough) afterwards.
First of all, if you’ve never been on a Reggie’s Rock Bus, I highly recommend it. The bus itself is spray painted with trippy Chicago icons both inside and out. The driver is super friendly, and doesn’t care how rowdy you get on the bus. He’ll get you there safe, even though it seems like the bus could break down at any time. Oh! And the seats are super comfy, like little couches.
Anyways, we rolled up to Lagunitas Brewing Company early afternoon on a Sunday. It wasn’t too packed – seems like a good time and day of the week to check it out. There is parking if you want to drive, but I really need to stress the fact that if you go that route, bring a DD. Lagunitas Beer tends to be super thick and have a high ABV – don’t think you can just beat it by sheer force of will.
The walk up inside was intense. It was dark, with neon lights flashing down a long hallway. After getting wristbands, we were lead into a basement room to relax before our tour. In the basement, they had a bunch of different furniture sets. The pieces matched each other, but the sets didn’t have a consistent theme. It was like going to a resale store, but somehow it all fit together nicely. They also had saddle seats you could sit on – too cool.
Lagunitas Brewing Company Tour
The guys behind the bar at Lagunitas were so nice and fun. You could tell they genuinely loved their jobs, loved Lagunitas Beer and wanted us to have a good time. We were offered all the free samples we could drink – complete with biodegradable sample cups. How environmentally responsible!
One of my favorite tasters was their Brown Sugga’ Ale. Our bartender busted out bottles that ranged from 2006-2014. He let us taste two samples side by side to demonstrate a “mistake” batch they once made – and loved. Definitely a fun fact I would’ve never known if I hadn’t made my way to the Brewery.
Lagunitas Brewing Company Tour
The tour itself was pretty short – I assume they think people are there more for the beer-drinking experience than anything. It was awe-inspiring though, when seeing all the large tanks holding beer throughout different parts of the process, then learning they’re going to double the total! Lagunitas is the largest craft brewery in the United States. It was like nothing I’ve ever seen. I’ve been on a lot of brewery tours before – Guinness, Sam Adams, and Revolution, to name a few. I had previously been comparing Lagunitas Brewing Company to Revolution, but that was not giving them nearly enough credit – they’re approaching mammoth status (though still don’t occupy blocks of city space like the Guinness Brewery). Another fun fact – there was a scene from the Dark Knight filmed in the Lagunitas Brewing Company!
Lagunitas Brewing Company Tour
After the tour, we funneled into the Taproom. There was an in-house magician who was too good. I tried to figure out all of his tricks and couldn’t guess any of them – needless to say, he earned a nice tip from me. The food was good, though I’ll admit I wasn’t really focusing on it. I was sad there were no fries – the perfect accompaniment to beer. I seem to keep running into this problem at different restaurants – apparently deep friers are annoying to have if you don’t absolutely need them.
Lagunitas Brewing Company Tour
At the end of the day, there’s no way you can have a bad time at Lagunitas Brewing Company. The tour is FREE, the beer is FREE, and the food is perfectly complimentary (minus the lack of fries). All you need to do is figure out the best way to get there!
Have you been on any brewery tours lately? Share in the comments!
Big thanks to Brooke for her photo contributions!
chicago cheap ass (1)
Drink, Food,

Tequila: Not Just for Shots or Summer

Earlier in August, I attended a dinner at Moe’s Cantina featuring delicious Northern Mexican cuisine perfectly paired with Grand Mayan Tequila.

Screenshot 2015-09-11 21.28.20

I recently had the opportunity to attend another dinner featuring Grand Mayan Tequila, this time at Bottlefork. I’m a fan of Rockit Ranch… my favorite restaurant of the chain is Ay Chiwowa, followed by Rockit Burger Bar in Wrigleyville. If you haven’t had the Mac Attack burger, you haven’t really lived life. This was my first time at Bottlefork and I didn’t know what to expect… Bottlefork is one of the more upscale restaurants of the Rockit Ranch chain, but has an interesting edge in terms of decor. The layout is long but narrow, which makes for a more intimate dining experience.

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Before we talk about the amazing craft cocktails, let me tell you a little bit about the food that we ate with them. The first course was two different kinds of salads, with a non-traditional twist. I really enjoyed the grilled watermelon and arugula salad – complete with creamy goat cheese. The other was ensalada latina – it had a delightfully spicy kick.

My favorite course was the black bean and chorizo sope with avocado creme, cilantro leaves and goat cheese. The traditionally Mexican flavors played well together.

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The crowd favorite seemed to be the grilled beer soaked chicken thighs that we put in fresh taco shells with housemade salsa. It all came together in the end with a warm and creamy cheesecake with caveat peaches. I could keep eating this meal for a week and not get tired of it.

But really, this meal wouldn’t have been as good without the delicious cocktail pairings. Each one used a variety of Grand Mayan Tequila.

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The first one was interesting. It was called “The Grand Comote” and it featured Grand Mayan Blanco tequila and was infused with bacon fat. I don’t think I’ve ever had a drink infused in fat before! Other interesting ingredients included spicy things like ancho reyes and lime chili guajillo. The inclusion of egg whites frothed it up and gave it a hispanic edge.

My favorite was the last one – called “A Noble Soul.” I liked it so much, I asked them to make me another one! I think I was initially attracted to the pinkish color after all the ingredients were combined. This one also used Grand Mayan Blanco tequila (though not infused with fat), and a bit of Mezcal for a smoky flavor. There were a lot of sweet components: lychee, grapefruit and agave nectar. Angostura bitters floated around and gave the drink an extra kick.

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I can honestly say that before tonight, I’d never had a cocktail crafted with tequila. Tequila is my favorite liquor for shots, so I’m not sure why it took me until now to bridge the gap. I was so pleasantly surprised with how smooth and delicious these cocktails were that I kept asking for more. I think people usually put tequila in the summer drink category (Margaritas, shots, etc), but these cocktails were more reminiscent of fall with their complex bitter and spicy flavors. Beats the hell out of a Pumpkin Spiced Latte!

chicago cheap ass (6)
Drink, Food,

Grand Mayan Tequila at Moe’s Cantina

A few weeks ago, I went to a friend’s pig roast and was convinced to take a shot of cheap tequila. Before I go any further in this explanation, I’ll have you know – I love tequila.

But as soon as that shot hit my taste buds, I knew I made a mistake. The tequila was so bad that it almost prevented me from drinking for the rest of the night. Well, almost.

My point is that cheap tequila sucks. I usually fall in the middle range for price and quality, but even mid-grade tequila activates my gag reflex.

Enter – Grand Mayan Tequila.

Grand Mayan Tequila

If you’re the type of person who likes a full experience, not just one dimension of one, you’ll love this stuff. It starts with the beautiful bottle, hand-painted by Mexican artists. You’ll think that’s the greatest work of art until you get a chance to taste the magic inside.

Grand Mayan Tequila

Grand Mayan Tequila retails for about $100. I don’t know that I’ve ever had tequila that expensive before. Mixed into a margarita, it’s harder to tell the difference between the different types of tequila. It’s when you take a shot or sip the tequila that you can truly make that distinction. I’m not one to sip usually – more of a rip off the band-aid type when it comes to liquor. But I decided to try this tequila more slowly. I sipped on the Grand Mayan Ultra Aged Anejo… and it was so smooth. My definition of the perfect tequila, especially after such a rough experience just weeks ago. Honestly, if you can get drunk without a mixer… you’re saving yourself a lot of calories. This would be perfect for that.

What pairs better with delicious margaritas and tequila then guacamole and tacos?

Grand Mayan Tequila

While sipping on the signature Quetzal margarita, I tried a wide variety of northern Mexican specialties at Moe’s Cantina. There were tacos el carbon, crispy duck tacos, italian brick chicken tacos, and chicken mole tacos. The mole tacos were my favorite – I’m a huge fan of the bitter chocolate-y sauce. A new favorite Mexican dish for me were the pachuchos – ground beef and mashed potatoes wrapped in fried masa dough, served with a serrano salsa. A lot of the dishes had a bit of the serrano kick, including the guacamole. The pachuchos reminded me vaguely of Spanish croquettas.

Grand Mayan Tequila

Mexican and Spanish cultures always end their meals with churros con chocolate. In this case, the “chocolate” was a coffee sauce made with Grand Mayan tequila. I took a shot of the remaining liquid after my churros were thoroughly coated in it’s tasty goodness.

Grand Mayan Tequila isn’t your cheapest option – but it’s the perfect choice for a special occasion or paired with a tasty Mexican meal. There’s a lot I can handle when it comes to liquor, but in terms of true enjoyment… that’s hard to come by. Grand Mayan Tequila is worth every penny if you don’t want Malort Face after every shot of bad tequila. Chicagoans take note that you can buy Grand Mayan Tequila at Binny’s!

Grand Mayan Tequila

(Me and Bae)

Please note: This is a sponsored post. Dinner and drinks were provided at no cost to me. Photos courtesy of Digi Noggin/Foodie Fighters.