Friday Four Pack- Tavern King, Balloon Barrage, Cubbie Gummie, Dean Street IPA

After a week off, we’re back this week with four more of Chicago’s finest IPA’s. Temperatures continue to stay about 10 degrees below seasonal norms and if April showers really do bring May flowers, I’d expect to have severe allergy flare ups next month. But with these beers, we remain undeterred as hope springs eternal. As we close out this month, here are the four beers that made the cold, rainy weather just a little more tolerable.

Hop Butcher for the World- Tavern King (8% Double New England IPA)

This beer got me about as excited as any in recent memory. It combines two of my favorite Hop Butcher Beers- Tavern Cut & Kielbasa King- and my favorite food- pizza. The perfect mash up. I know guys who’ve been cuveeing or mixing Hop Butcher Beers for years and appreciate HB leaning into it with us. On this guy I get a big ole dank berry nose. All Vic. Palate is rindy citrus, bitter and oily. Then Nelson turns up for a sweet berry finish.

As for the pizza, this was an especially critical pairing. I went with my “baseline” pizza- Little Italian west, half cheese, half pepperoni pineapple. Friday night pizza and fantastic, fresh beer. A tradition unlike any other.

Phase Three Brewing- Balloon Barrage (7.7% ABV Double New England IPA)

Rumors have been running rampant through the Chicago suburbs that Phase 3 has made a slight tweak to their water chemistry. I surmise it’s to strip out some of the malty sweetness that comes with some of their double IPAs. I’m not sure if the new water made it in to Balloon Barrage, but this is one banger of a beer.

As good looking as they come, I get soft notes of fluffy berry and pineapple on the nose. The pineapple accelerates as the beer warms. Juice bomb of a palate stripped clean of any malt flavors. Finish is full of pineapple and some spicy dank. An excellent beer.

Noon Whistle Brewing- Cubbie Gummy (6.1% New England IPA)

If you could boil me down to two things in this life, outside of being a father, I’m a Cubs fan and a cracker crust pizza man. Some of my favorite memories growing up were watching the Cubs with my Grandmother and Father. But after all these years, I still can’t understand why anyone would want to play baseball in Chicago in April. Especially without two or tree Cubbie Gummies.

Boy is this beer and easy drinker. Fresh cut grass on the nose with soft notes of citrus. Palate is light and breezy- like the wind out of the south at Clark and Addison. A fresh, light finish that would be best enjoyed in the bleachers.

Riverlands Brewing- Dean Street IPA (6.8% ABV Hazy IPA)

I saved one of my more favorite beer of the month for last.  This is a wow beer. The best part about having a beer a second (or third) time around is to experience and appreciate the progression. Dean Street was great the last time I had it, but this is perfection. A perfect looking beer with a pungent orange peel nose. Heavier than you’d expect palate with some nice bready notes. Dries out nice and finishes with a juicy orange that pops on the way down.

And just like that, another month in the books. Here’s to warmer weather and more sun in May. Until then, indulge in some fresh, local beer and a great pizza. That is the ultimate pick me up.

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