By Michael Sears
President, Forest City Brewers
As you may have noticed from past articles, I have some favorite breweries. This has come from trying a beer and liking it very much. At that point, I identify the brewery and try to seek out other styles that brewery makes. Sometimes it seems the beer I liked was a one-hit wonder and I really don’t care for the other styles that brewery makes. Other breweries have a couple I really like, and the rest are just OK or passable. Occasionally, I run across a brewery that seems to excel in all styles they brew. It takes some time to conduct this kind of discovery, and sometimes leftover beer in your refrigerator that you just don’t care for. Alas, there is a way to try multiple styles from a craft brewery without accumulating those unwanted beers.
This week, I would like to talk about something in the craft beer community known as a “tap takeover.” A tap takeover is an event put on by a bar or pub that highlights a certain style, or sometimes they will feature a lone brewery. These are excellent chances to sample without having to purchase an entire six-pack.
Last Thursday (March 13) night, I stopped in to Kryptonite in downtown Rockford for one of these tap takeovers. For those of you who have not been to Kryptonite recently, they have installed an eight-handle tap system of a rotating selection of craft beers. On this particular night, Kryptonite was featuring Distihl, the microbrewery from Bloomington, Ill. Along with the beer, Distihl sent brewery reps Katy and Mike to answer questions about the brewery and talk beer with Krytonite patrons. To those who attended the event, Kryptonite and Distihl gave out T-shirts and pint glasses with the Distihl logo. Nice!
Here is a list of the beers that were featured: Hoperation Overload (Imperial IPA), Dead Head Double Red (Imperial Red Ale) and Vetex IPA (West Coast IPA), all of which are available year round; and the seasonal beer, Strawberry Blonde (American Blonde with fresh strawberries added). There were also the special releases of Tenbrus (Black Rye IPA), Black Angel (American Stout) and Counter Clockwise (wild sour series). Last, but not least, there was the American Pale Ale called Downstate Pale Ale that was randalled through peaches. The process of randallizing is a double-chamber filter filled with flavor-enhancing ingredients, in this case, peaches, which are connected to a tap of your favorite beer.
My favorites of the evening, in no particular order, were Counter Clockwise, Vertex IPA, Strawberry Blonde and Tenbrus, which our group voted for to be Distihl’s next release in cans from their recently installed canning line. I did not care at all for the Downstate Pale Ale. In my opinion, the hops of the Pale Ale and the peaches were a poor match.
There are a number of local bars that have tap takeovers periodically, and if you get a chance to attend one, by all means, treat yourself to an enjoyable evening with some fellow beer geeks.
Michael Sears is president of the Forest City Brewers. The Forest City Brewers is a homebrewing club dedicated to the art of finely crafted beer. The club meets the first Wednesday of each month at Thunder Bay Grille on East State Sreet. For more about Forest City Brewers, go to http://forestcitybrewers.org. If you have comments or recommendations, please contact Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the March 19-25, 2014, issue