The Chicago Beer Society held its 15th Annual Brewpub Shootout over the weekend in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood, just a few blocks west of where the White Sox play baseball in the summer.
Here are a few random thoughts:
- As organizer Jeff Sparrow noted, it was great to have 5 Rabbit Cerveceria among the 13 breweries competing. One of the brewery’s principals, Randy Mosher, helped start the BPSO back when there weren’t so many brewpubs around. On Saturday he served as the brewery’s chef, presenting a savory cheese cake made with triple crème. Most days he also serves as 5 Rabbit’s creative director.
- This is the second year in the Zhou B Art Center, and despite my own personal nostalgia regarding the Irish American Heritage Center (I walked there from home a few times for past Shootouts, and it’s hard to beat the Fifth Province when the fireplace is lit), I am warming to the new home, especially now that the beer society added some lighting.
- About one-third of this year’s entries involved desserts. This included a nice Chocolate Torte with a Smoked Porter Glaze, from Flossmoor Station Brewpub; Three Floyds Brewing’s Pan-fried Pound Cake, w/ Dark Lord Ice Cream, and a Bacon Rice Crispies dessert that Half Acre paired with its Double Daisy Cutter.
- That plethora of sweets might have been inspired by the success of Revolution’s beer-ice cream offering in 2012. Rev pastry chef Courtney Baldy came back this year with a Spicy Mocha Sundae w/ Guajillo Ice Cream and Porter Sprinkles. This year’s dessert paired so well with brewer Wil Turner’s Coffee Eugene Porter, that Revolution took the prize for best pairing. Expect the desserts trend to continue next year.
- Among my favorite beers were Pete Crowley’s (Haymarket Brewery & Pub) Cranberry Saison, the Double Daisy Cutter and the Citra-laden American IPA bonus beer also from Haymarket. But there were so many great beers. Three Floyds’ Dark Lord received the first place nod from the voting attendees.
- Was there cheese with the beer? Well, maybe not enough, but some cheesy dishes, (in addition to 5 Rabbit’s) included a brie and Cream of Brie Soup with Cremini Mushrooms from Blue Cat Brewing (Blue Cat ALWAYS brings great soups), and there was Capriole goat cheese in the lovely, complicated micro green salad from Haymarket.
So, hats off to my fellow board members at CBS for putting together another nice event. If you missed it this year don’t miss it next year, and watch for other events from CBS, which has been promoting great beer in Chicago for more than 35 years.