Tuesday, January 30, 2007

January 2007 - Chicago Style

The Memphis Beer Club is going to focus on one my favority cites in the US, Chicago. We are going to sample some of the local Chicago brew from Goose Island and some staple Chicago foods.

Chicago Style Hot Dogs
The style, once known as a "Depression sandwich," is generally acknowledged as having originated at Fluky's, a well-known Maxwell Street stand, in 1929. Chicago-style hot dogs are boiled or steamed to a temperature above 170 degrees Fahrenheit (~77 degrees Celsius) before adding the toppings. They can also be grilled, though these are referred to as "chardogs" in Chicagoland. The natural casing of the hot dogs gives them their distinctive "snap." The most common dog weighs 1/8 lb. and is made with Vienna Beef.

Chicago-style hot dogs with all the toppings are sometimes called "dragged through the garden" because of the unique combination of condiments. Chicagoans traditionally shun ketchup because of the belief that ketchup, unlike other condiments, overwhelms the flavor of the dog itself. The Traditional Chicago-Style Hot Dog is a Vienna® Beef Hot Dog steamed to 170ºF. Nestle it in a steamed poppyseed bun. Pile on the following toppings in this order: this order; Yellow mustard; Bright green relish; Fresh chopped onion; Two tomato wedges; Kosher pickle spear; Two sport peppers ; A dash of celery salt.

Deep-dish Pizza
The Chicago-style "deep-dish" pizza was invented at Pizzeria Uno in Chicago in 1943, reportedly by Uno's founder Ike Sewell, a former University of Texas football star. However, a 1956 article from the Chicago Daily News asserts that Uno's original pizza chef Rudy Malnati developed the recipe

The pizza begins with a simple, thin layer of dough (made with olive oil and often cornmeal) that's laid into a deep round pan and pulled up the sides, then parbaked before the toppings are added to give it greater spring. The crust is lined with meats and/or vegetables such as Italian sausage (a Chicago staple), onions, and bell peppers, either under or mixed with mozzarella cheese. On the usual pizza, about a pound of cheese is used. Then a layer of seasoned crushed tomatoes goes on top and the pizza is baked to completion Besides Uno, famous deep-dish restaurants in Chicago include Uno's companion restaurant Due, which was opened just down the block by Sewell in 1955,Gino's East, Edwardo's, Connie's, Giordano's, Pizano's (which is owned by Rudy Malnati's son, Rudy Jr.), and Lou Malnati's (which was begun by another of Rudy Malnati's sons and is now run by his grandsons and has 23 Chicagoland locations).

Goose Island
Goose Island is the only island on the Chicago River. It is separated from the mainland by the North Branch of the Chicago River on the west and the North Branch Canal on the east. The canal was dug in 1853 by former Chicago mayor William B. Ogden for industrial purposes, thus forming the island. Because he formed the island, at times, it has been known as William B. Ogden Island. After Irish immigrants moved to the island, it took on the name Goose Island as well as Kilgubbin, which was the immigrants' original home in Ireland. The Goose Island Brewery makes Kilgubbin Red Ale, in honor of this name.

Goose Island was open in 1988 by John Hall and produces several regular and seasonal styles of craft beer, the best-known of which is Honker's Ale. In addition to distributing their beers over 15 states, they also operate two brewpubs in Chicago (in Wrigleyville and Clybourn).

When the first Goose Island Brewpub opened its doors in 1988, domestic, mass-produced beer was deeply ingrained in Midwestern culture. The craft beer industry was still in its infancy, with only a handful of brewpubs in existence in the Midwest. In his travels across Europe, beer-lover John Hall had enjoyed a distinctive local brew in each region he visited. Hall was convinced that Midwesterners could produce beers as good or better than those he’d tasted in his travels. Living on the shore of the largest system of fresh water on the planet Earth, in a city with rapidly evolving tastes – John decided that his hometown, Chicago, would be the ideal place to do just that.

The key to building interest in craft beer, Hall decided, was to allow consumers to watch the brewing process – while providing them with the then-novel experience of enjoying a wide variety of distinctive beers that had been produced on-site. Hall wanted to not only cater to his customers’ tastes, but to challenge them as well. Goose Island’s brewers set to work crafting a diverse selection of unique beers – and on Friday, May 13, 1988 Goose Island Brewpub was born.

It turned out that John was right; Chicagoans palates evolved rapidly once Goose Island Brewpub opened its doors, thus introducing the city to distinctive craft beer. In fact, by 1995, the brewpub had become so popular that John Hall and his son Greg, who had by then become Goose Island’s brewmaster, decided to open a larger brewery and bottling plant to keep up with demand. Finding still more room for growth, in 1999 the father-son team opened a second Goose Island Brewpub just a stone’s throw away from historic Wrigley Field.
Today, Goose Island continues to brew an innovative selection of over 50 craft beers at the brewpub, the best of which are then bottled at their Fulton Street brewery. Goose Island is also involved in the production of a small selection of craft sodas. The company currently ships its beers to 13 states and the U.K.

The first beer of the evening will be the flagship brand, Honker Ale English style pale ale. Inspired by visits to English country pubs, Honker’s Ale combines a spicy hop aroma with a rich malt middle to create perfectly balanced ale that is immensely drinkable. A smooth, drinkable English Bitter for those looking for more from their beer.

The next beer was an American Wheat, 312 Urban Wheat. Like the digits suggest, it's a beer that's densely populated with flavor and loaded with character. We don't filter it, so none of its life and soul is stripped away.

The first thing you notice is the hazy, cloudy appearance. That's how you know it's unfiltered. What hits you next is the spicy aroma of Cascade hops, followed by the crispy, fruity ale flavor delivered in a smooth, creamy body, the result of blending barley malt with torrified wheat. It's not like any other Goose Island Beer, but no less than you'd expect.

To stay with the Chicago theme we had one of the last Bells Oberon from Bells Brewery in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Bells wasn’t happy that their local distributor was bought by one of the Mega-Distributors so the pulled the plug in Illinois. A lot of Chicago’s were very disappointed, but Bells did it on principal.

This was the better of the two American Wheats. An American wheat ale brewed with Saaz hops. Spicy and fruity, Oberon is the color and scent of a summer afternoon. Most drink it with a orange, but I prefer it with out fruit. If you every have a chance to have a Bell’s don’t pass it up.

The Goose Island Nut Brown Ale is brewed in the traditional English style. Nut Brown Ale combines the finest domestic and imported malts to produce a chestnut-hued ale of unusual complexity. Subtle notes of chocolate, honey and fine tobacco give this world champion ale an enjoyable and satisfying "nutty" finish.
The last beer of the evening was the Goose Island India Pale Ale. All of the extra beers where drank before the end of the night. This IPA recalls a time when ales shipped from England to India were highly hopped to preserve their distinct taste during the long journey. The result, quite simply a hop lover's dream. And this classic ale adds a fruity aroma, set off by a dry malt middle, to ensure that the long hop finish is one you'll remember.

Man this looks good. I would love to be active in this club again.

I keep trying new beers all becasue of you Traf.
Where can you buy Goose Island beer in Memphis? I need me some 312, ASAP.
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