HOPS! Oktoberfest (and other notes)



I should start this post by apologizing for never following up on all those Iron Brewer posts. You can bet that if I’d won, I’d have been all over it, but alas I did not. Amy Gentry, a fine Northwestern Indiana homebrewer whom I met at Three Floyds to trade bottles in person and save a little on shipping, won with her very excellent and worthy and delicious “Belgian specialty ale” (read: IPA) called “It Must Have Been The Roses.” Congratulations to her and best of luck as she goes on to the championship round! I’ll continue to follow the action on the Iron Brewer website and if I’ve interested you in the contest at all, I urge you to follow as well.

However, that’s not what I logged on today to tell you about.

August 27th was the Midwest Brewers Fest, and I had a great time volunteering. I was there with my homebrewing club HOPS! and the homebrew pavilion was a madhouse; we ran out of beer by 4:30pm.  From what I could see, we weren’t alone; the other homebrewing clubs involved also ran dry early. So we checked back in to the volunteers tent and were told we were done for the day and could go drink. As usually happens with these things, I took terrible notes and couldn’t tell you 90% of the beers that I drank. I had a couple of enjoyable conversations with brewers, including a fellow from Great River Brewery in Davenport, IA, who had a very good coffee stout that I enjoyed quite a bit, though to be honest the other 2 beers I tried from them were forgettable. I hope to try their beers again and give them the consideration they deserve: start sending them this way, guys!

I also enjoyed hanging out with some of my fellow HOPS! members outside the structured (somewhat chaotic to be sure but structured nonetheless) confines of the monthly meetings. I’ve run into a few of them at Haymarket before, and I’ve spent some time bullshitting with Bob at his great bar Skylark (at Cermak & Halsted in Chicago, definitely check it out if you haven’t been, maybe my favorite spot in Chicago now), and I’ve even been to a BBQ in Paul’s backyard, but that was the first time I felt like I connected with a few of them and it was definitely a nice feeling.

But that’s not what I logged on today to tell you about either. Speaking of HOPS! though…

It is now 10 days until HOPS! Oktoberfest! On Saturday, September 24th, from 2pm-7pm, we will be holding our annual Oktoberfest party. It’s 5 hours of all-you-can-eat-and-drink wonderfulness for the low low price of $30 per person, and from what I understand it’s a great time. I have not been to one yet, since last year it took place on the same day as my 40th birthday party, and in previous years I was not yet affiliated with or even aware of the club (besides not yet being a southsider).

I’ve been waiting to post about this, holding out for them to update some of the information on the club’s web site and finally an updated beer list has been posted here: http://www.chihops.com/HopsBeer2011.html  For those too lazy to click the link, the beer list includes homebrews by myself and other members of the club, as well as donations from local craft breweries like Haymarket, Revolution, Metropolitan, Rock Bottom, etc.   The beer* list stands at 58 confirmed with more yet to be announced. I may bring a few bottles of cider as well, and I’m sure there will be other last-minute unannounced additions.

As for food, the site has yet to be updated but I understand there will be a whole pig roasted as well as sausages, sauerkraut, and a number of other dishes. I haven’t yet finalized my own contribution; I was thinking of making Kassler, a cured smoked pork loin, but the menu seems a little meat-heavy already (am I really saying this? Have I grown this old? how can there be too much meat?) and I’m contemplating making some homemade spaetzle instead. Sauteed in bacon grease. And hell, maybe the Kassler too.

The event will be held at the VFW hall in Bridgeport on Saturday, September 24th. The address is:

Chicago Bridgeport VFW Post 5079
3202 S May St.
Chicago, IL 60608-6412

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Chicagoist wrote the event up a few years ago here: http://chicagoist.com/2008/09/15/review_hops_oktoberfest.php

Tickets are available from Brown Paper Tickets here: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/193891

I’m really psyched and greatly looking forward to this event; I hope to see a few of you there! (and yes, this event is what I logged on today to tell you about!)

* I guess calling it a “beer” list is inaccurate as it also includes some homemade wines, meads, ciders, and liqueurs.

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