I’ve loved beer since my first sip of a Belgian kriek in Brussels, on January 2nd, 2007. I knew at that moment, for the next 2
weeks, I was going to have a beer with every lunch and dinner. It was as expensive as water sometimes, and tasted waaay better. Also, what better place to start drinking beer with seriousness than Belgium,
Austria, and Germany? I tried as many as I could and when I came back, despite still only being 20, I knew I must continue to try different beers at school. I found friends who liked me enough to listen to exact and strange orders for beer runs. One girl kept asking me if I was sure it was called an Oatmeal Stout, “Oatmeal? Really? Oatmeal?”. ::sigh::
I quickly exhausted Walmart and Gerbes’ selections, and found myself going with my mom to Binny’s, Sam’s, Cost Plus World Market and Trader Joes when I was home and Arena and Hyvee at school.
A consistent goal of mine has been to “complete” a brewery. I’ve only done this a few times, as good breweries keep releasing new seasonals or testing new beers entirely. My stipulation is not to include trying beers available on tap only, though that would be ideal, it’s not really feasible as my beer wall relies on cutting out the box. For bottled beers, I’ve only finished Leinenkugel, New Belgium, and Goose Island. I am really close on Schlafly and Boulevard (just missing some seasonals). Of course, some breweries don’t make that many styles, so for example, Berghoff is much easier to get through than Schlafly.
I have incredible pride in my hometown, Chicago, and consequently, one of my favorite breweries is Goose Island. I hold many great memories of those boxes. The first time I drank Honker’s Ale in a keg at a friends party in Wrigleyville, the refreshing sips of 312 had outside Cloud Gate at Millenium Park, and many more.