Steve and Arata do a 4-way gueuze blind tasting.
Best for Beer Noobs
Chicago Beer Fest at Union Station
Held twice this year, 3/31/12 and 10/6/2012
Organized by Drink Eat Play
Best for Beer Geeks
Festival of Barrel Aged Beers (10th Anniversary)
At the Bridgeport Art Center on 11/17/12
Organized by the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild
Best for Hooking Up
At the Chicago Riverfront Theater on 11/10/12
Organized by Jam Productions
Best Charity Festival:
At Carmichael’s Steakhouse – Warehouse on 9/14/12
Organized by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Best Neighborhood Festival
Oak Park Microbrew Review
Marion Street in Downtown Oak Park on 8/18/12
Organized by Seven Generations Ahead
Best Members Only Festival
Chicago Beer Society Picnic
Super secret location on super secret date (not really)
Organized by the Chicago Beer Society
Best Festival You Didn’t Remember Afterward
Brew Ho Ho
Secret event location (yes really) on 1/21/12
Organized by Chef Won Kim
Best Bar-specific Festival
At Goose Island Clybourn on 9/9/12
Honorable Mention: The Village Tap – Local Tap Takeover 9/6/12
Best New Festival
The Mash Tun Festival
Bridgeport Art Center – held twice – 5/19/12 and 10/5/12
Organized by Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar
Best Series Event/Festival:
At Fischman Liquors – Thursday Nights, Summer 2012
*) Best One Time Only Event/Festival
Revolution Brewing – Kedzie Brewery Grand Opening
Chicago Craft Beer Week Closing Party – 5/25/12
**) Best Outdoor Garden/Cocktail party without cocktails, just beer
Beer Under Glass
Chicago Craft Beer Week Opening Party – 5/17/12
The Garfield Park Conservatory
Special Guests: Jim and Russ Klisch from Lakefront Brewery. We talk with the brothers about the brewery’s 25 year history, and how they fit into the larger history of the craft beer scene. Other topics include discussion of trademark law and craft beer (no more Cascadian Dark Ale?), the state of beer today, and what’s coming up for Lakefront in the future.
Happy Thanksgiving BeerDownload Fans. Thank you very much for listening every week.
Chicago Beer Society (CBS) member Win Schaeffer recently posted the following message to the CBS email list:
Amazon Wine in operation – Can Amazon Beer be close behind?
Here is Steve’s perhaps somewhat lengthy response, which was discussed on episode 147:
While Amazon may well choose to sell beer too at some point, it will be problematic for the same reason that all online beer sales are: beer’s cost to weight ratio is too low, because after all, beer is mostly water.
As has been discussed on this list previously, bombers are typically a lousy value on an ounce for ounce basis compared to 12 ounce bottles, even when the exact same beer is in the bottle (Lagunitas – Little Sumpin’ Wild, Goose Island – Bourbon County Stout 2009 are two examples that jump to mind). This is odd, considering the normal model in food is larger package = less cost per unit weight, but that’s a tangential topic. Don’t get me wrong, some large bottle format beers are worth every penny, but these tend to be unusual beers with costly processes involved in their creation (read barrel aged beers and sours). If you’re paying $10 for a large bottle of standard IPA or stout, you’re almost certainly not getting a good value.
This is the core of the Amazon (and online sales of beer generally) Beer problem: the beers that would be worth ordering online will almost certainly not be available there. Beers that command a high enough price point to be worth shipping to an individual (BA and sour) are already in short supply, and there’s no reason for a brewery to give Amazon a cut of the profits on such beers, when they can keep them all for themselves, or share them with their wholesaler and retailer partners, who move the bread and butter beers for them.
Perhaps as breweries ramp up their capacity to make more and more of these high value added beers that can reasonably demand high price points, this dynamic will change. Until then, any Amazon Beer type service will be necessarily tilted towards heavily overpriced large format bottles of beer, and won’t be particularly compelling to the savvy craft beer consumer.
Program Director and Co-host of BeerDownload
P.S. It occurs to me that some new commercial brewers reading this post might take exception to my characterization of large format bottles that are not barrel aged or sour as overpriced. It may well be that to pay for the capital costs of starting a new brewery, selling large format bottles that for whatever reason command a higher price point is the only practical strategy. This is fine, I’m just not sure this is a sustainable strategy in the long term, when there are many other better established breweries out there making beer that is every bit as good and selling it for substantially cheaper. Time will tell I suppose.