Profile: The Hop Review

Following years of drinking brews from blue cans & several mediocre attempts at homebrewing, we thought we'd explore other ways to exercise our interest in beer. After moving to Chicago, college pals Jack & Tom began falling further into the craft scene, and set out in an effort to better document it, by way of folks who know it best. Thus was born, The Hop Review. After the welcome additions of Chicago-native Robert and recent transplant Nick, THR has continued to expand. Now, the four of us have been fortunate to sit down with some of the area's best brewers, shop owners, distributors and brand managers. And, we've been grateful for every hoppy sud-soaked minute of it.

NoteStream NoteStream

NoteStreams are readable online but they’re even better in the free App!

The NoteStream™ app is for learning about things that interest you: from music to history, to classic literature or cocktails. NoteStreams are truly easy to read on your smartphone—so you can learn more about the world around you and start a fresh conversation.

See the full list of Authors here: link




NoteStreams By The Hop Review

10 Questions with Baja Brewing Co.'s Jordan Gardenhire

Mexico is a country often associated with beer, though certainly not of the craft variety. Anyone who's visited our neighbors to the south will tell you there's a lot of cerveza, and most is the same — light, sessionable lagers rule.
As we've seen in the US, the scene is evolving quickly.

Interviewed March 28, 2018 at Dovetail Brewing - Northcenter, Chicago
The Hop Review
Photos provided by Baja Brewing Company. Words by Tom White.

Category: Craft Beer

View NoteStreamSave to App

The Ideal Temperature for Storing Various Beer Styles

One of the most important things to get right when it comes to beer is its temperature. There’s nothing sadder than an otherwise perfect brew ruined by less-than-ideal serving conditions. The best bartenders and brewpub managers have this down to an art, of course—that’s why they’re at the top of our list.
But what’s a dedicated beer drinker to do with all those bottles at home? You should have the same great flavor experience at your house as you do from your favorite tap, right?
The Hop Review

Category: Craft Beer

View NoteStreamSave to App

The Hop Reviews Vol. 21: A February Beer Review

Each month, we share a handful of beers that we think you should know a little more about, through the perspective of our collective palate.
This month, we explore UK offerings, pale ales are popular, and gimmicks are abound.
The Hop Review

Category: Craft Beer

View NoteStreamSave to App

The Hop Reviews Vol. 20: A January Beer Review

We tasted through the following 13 beers for January and rated them according to our very own interpretation of the BJCP scoring guidelines, on a scale of 100, listed in alphabetical order. We considered aroma, appearance, flavor, mouthfeel, overall impression and trueness to style. It's not an exact science–we know this. We just don't like to pass on the opportunity to drink more beer.
The Hop Review

Category: Craft Beer

View NoteStreamSave to App

Master Cicerone at MillerCoors: Jason Pratt

Of the nearly 90,000 to have gained some level of Cicerone Program certification, only 13 have reached its pinnacle. These select few have proven themselves to be veritable encyclopedias of beer knowledge. One of the 13 is Jason Pratt, Sr. Manager of Innovations at Tenth & Blake, and Master Cicerone at MillerCoors.
Photography by Hilary Higgins.
A huge thanks to Jason Pratt for taking time out of his day to walk us through his life, take us through the Know Your Beer program, and even teach us the wonders of the Pilsner Urquell Mlíko. Follow news concerning Tenth & Blake, the craft division of MillerCoors, for updates on innovations made by Jason and team.
Interviewed June 26, 2017 at MillerCoors - Chicago, IL
The Hop Review

Category: Craft Beer

View NoteStreamSave to App

Confluence of Craft

Why Mark Legenza returned to Chicago to create On Tour Brewing.
The Hop Review

Category: Craft Beer

View NoteStreamSave to App

A Pub Crawl with Lauren Woods Salazar of New Belgium Brewing

Since beginning at New Belgium Brewing in 1997 as a part-time assistant, Lauren Woods Salazar has only continued to move up, into roles that didn't even exist prior.
The Hop Review

Category: Craft Beer

View NoteStreamSave to App

Logan Plant & Jenn Merrick of London's Expanding Beavertown Brewery

The UK–birthplace of the IPA–is witnessing a beer renaissance. A renaissance that had quietly been taking cues from fellow scenes, simmering on the back burner and just waiting to boil over.
The Hop Review

Category: Craft Beer

View NoteStreamSave to App

Ed Atkins & Elk Mountain Hop Farms

Despite how the acreage looks today, things haven't always been so golden at Elk Mountain Farms.
The Hop Review

Category: Craft Beer

View NoteStreamSave to App

A Chat with Dogfish Head, Victory, Stone, & Deschutes

What happens when you put some of the top brewers all together in one room? Magic.
They touch on the importance of collaboration, and some very strong opinions on the heart and soul of brewing.
The Hop Review

Category: Craft Beer

View NoteStreamSave to App

Crafting a Lager Brand: Sean Farrell of Lake Brothers Beer Co.

By The Hop Review 710
Founder of Lake Brothers Beer Co. Sean Farrell and his partner are looking to fill a market niche many maybe didn't notice was missing.
The Hop Review

Category: Craft Beer

View NoteStreamSave to App

From Mexico to the Glass: Interview with Chef Rick Bayless

With a half dozen restaurants under his belt, along with an Emmy, several cookbooks, a food line (Frontera), Top Chef judge, Top Chef Master winner and several other prominent accolades, this Chicagoan can now add 'Brewery Owner' to the list of accomplishments.

Category: Craft Beer

View NoteStreamSave to App

Brewer Q&A: Vaclav Berka of Pilsner Urquell

If you've ever reached for an cold pilsner at any point in your drinking career–and if you're reading this, there's no doubt you have many times–there's but one brewery you can give thanks to: Pilsner Urquell.

Category: Craft Beer

View NoteStreamSave to App

Barrels, Legislation & Festivals: Interview with Katie Long

Chicago Craft Beer Week is upon us. Eleven days and hundreds of events, from the North Shore to the south 'burbs, celebrating Chicago's favorite beverage. Kicking off with the acclaimed Beer Under Glass event in Garfield Park, and coming to a close several beer-filled days later in Lincoln Square, it's no small feat to put on a celebration as large as CCBW. And more impressive yet, is that it's made possible because of a team of just two, one being Guild Coordinator Katie Long of the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild.

Category: Craft Beer

View NoteStreamSave to App

Beer + Whiskey with Jay DiPrizio of Chicago Distilling Co.

It's no secret that the Second City loves to imbibe. Yet as popular as craft beer and artisan cocktails have become, it's surprising how few distilleries have rebounded within Chicago since Prohibition. And while there are over 1,000 craft distilleries across the U.S., there's only a handful who've managed to set up shop in Chicago. One such operation calls a very popular stretch of Milwaukee Avenue home; Logan Square’s Chicago Distilling Company.

Category: Craft Beer

View NoteStreamSave to App

In Ontario with Founder Luke Pestl of Bellwoods Brewery

Like many growing up in the Midwest, our perception of Canada was practically limited to what Ontario could convey. As such a large landmass–stretching from New York to Minnesota–it only makes sense that the province be producers of plenty great exports. But sadly, in terms of beer, we may never had known. Ontario craft beer just hasn't made its way across the border. At the heart of this great region, on Lake Ontario, sits the country's largest city: Toronto. A city, that in the last few years, has undergone it's own impressive beer renaissance.

Category: Craft Beer

View NoteStreamSave to App

Cider Making With Paul Cade Of Broken Nose

If you're a beer fan, you already know about the explosive growth of the craft industry. Heck, with over 4,000 breweries now in operation in the US, you can bet there's one not too far from your front door. But often overlooked amidst the bevy of beverage options available is the craft cider, beer's apple-centric distant cousin. A long time favorite of drinkers in northern Europe, cider is making quite the comeback in the United States, growing by leaps and bounds in recent years. That trend hasn't gone unnoticed in Chicago, as places like Eris Cider House and cider focused pub, The Northman aim to open their doors in 2016.

Category: Craft Beer

View NoteStreamSave to App

The Beer Travel Guide To Tucson

In the Southwest, it's Arizona rising as far as craft beer goes. With a statewide brewing scene that's just starting to make waves, folks are turning to cities like Tucson for a look into this recent beer ingenuity.

Category: Craft Beer

View NoteStreamSave to App

Interview with Goose Island Brewmaster

As it is at any brewery, there's no position more important than Brewmaster. That person is usually the be-all and end-all for brewing decisions, whether it be creating the next brew day recipe or picking out equipment for the expansion of the facility.
At a brewery as big as Goose Island, the job of Brewmaster comes with even more responsibility and a constant magnifying glass on every decision made. The man making those decisions for Goose today is Jared Jankoski, former brewer at New Glarus, now leading one of the most talented brewing teams in the industry. Over glasses of Bourbon County Coffee – fresh off the bottling line – we sat down with the fourth Goose Island Brewmaster to dig into his past, present responsibilities, why he doesn't always like Goose Island alumni breweries, and even the name of his 'famous' cat.

Category: Craft Beer

View NoteStreamSave to App

Culinary Focus Brewing: Moody Tongue

As hand-crafted beer continues to diversify and mature, we're starting to see more breweries cater to a different type of drinker. A market previously dominated by wine and cocktails, you're now almost as likely to see beer at the tables of your local BYOB restaurant. High-end restaurants have also taken notice as an increasing number of menus from the hottest chefs in town are built with beer in mind. Great beer and food have always been quite the pair, something that people everywhere are starting to remember. You won't find a bigger proponent of this idea than former chef, and Founder of Moody Tongue Brewing Company, Jared Rouben.

Category: Craft Beer

View NoteStreamSave to App

Discussing Collaborations with Cleetus Friedman

Cleetus Friedman is the Executive Chef at the Fountainhead group of restaurants that also includes nextdoor shop Fountainhead Market, THR favorite The Bar on Buena, neighborhood dive Montrose Saloon, and The Northman, the soon-to-be Northcenter cider pub. When not busy managing the fantastic food at each location, Cleetus has somehow found time to brew dozens of beers, collaborating with some of the biggest names in the local and national craft beer scene.

Category: Craft Beer

View NoteStreamSave to App

The Brewers of Goose Island Clybourn

Chicago is a brewer's kind of town. The city's history is chock full of beer, dating back to the 19th century, persisting through the dark days of Prohibition, and finally to the near constant industry expansion we see today. If you define, as most do, the "modern" craft beer movement as beginning sometime in the late 1980's, there's an unquestioned name that pioneered the local movement during an otherwise miserable time for craft beer in Chicago. That name is Goose Island, founded in 1988 by John Hall. With over 60 breweries, either open or planned, now gracing our Chicago city brewery map, Goose Island is by far the oldest consistently operating brewery.

Category: Craft Beer

View NoteStreamSave to App

Talking Beer With 21st Amendment Brewery

The Chicago beer scene just got a little bigger thanks to new arrival 21st Amendment Brewery's distribution. Since 2000, they've been pumping out award-winning beers from their San Francisco brewpub, located just a few blocks from AT&T Park. With a lineup that includes a session ale, black IPA, Baltic porter and–arguably their most famous beer–a watermelon wheat, there's a little something for every beer drinker. And for the first time ever, Chicagoans will have easy access to their recognizable lineup of craft cans – thanks to their new Midwest distribution footprint that began April 1 here in the city.

Category: Craft Beer

View NoteStreamSave to App

T.J. Bennett of Montañita Brewing Company

At the end of last year, I [Jack] made the trek down to Ecuador to visit a few friends and take in this small, beautiful country. Of course, as it's been, I can no longer travel without also exploring the beer culture of any given place. Such was the case with Ecuador, too. Besides the widely-available mass produced lager offerings, I stumbled upon a few smaller craft operations. Unfortunately, my experiences with them were not all that exciting at the time. To help sway my (and hopefully your) opinion of South American "craft," brewer T.J. Bennett of Montañita Brewing Company and I connected to discuss the subject further.

Category: Craft Beer

View NoteStreamSave to App

Rebekah Graham of The Publican

Ever since acclaimed chef Paul Kahan opened what is now arguably the anchor of the West Loop, in 2008, The Publican has received nothing short of rave reviews. Just ask anyone in Chicago who fancies themselves a fan of pork. Or is looking for some of 'America's best brunch.' Or is conscious of local, sustainable fare. Or, well, the James Beard Foundation.
Add to the aforementioned list: fanatics of great wine, beer and cider. And ever since their original beverage list was composed, it's needed tending to in order to stay atop the ever-changing trends. Enter: Rebekah Graham; extensive traveler, industry veteran and all-around fan of the adult beverage. She's been with The Publican since day one. And we've been excited to sit down and talk with her since we met while judging a beer fest last year. And our excitement was warranted, we can say with certainty, because Rebekah has one of the most unique perspectives of anyone we've spoken to thus far. That's in part due to the fact she is both a Certified Sommelier as well as a Cicerone CBS. We caught up to learn how it is possible to balance such an extensive beer, wine and cider knowledge – all the while managing at one of the Midwest's best restaurants.

Category: Craft Beer

View NoteStreamSave to App

Ecuador: Beautiful Country With A Beer Problem

It's quite possible you couldn't paint a more beautiful landscape if you tried. Honestly, much of this place looks like a frame right out of Jurassic Park. Thick, lush vegetation pinned between the Andes to one side and Amazonia to the other. You could spend half your time in this place snapping photos worthy of gracing any postcard. The perfect place to enjoy a delicious, hoppy, local pint...
Recent travels had landed me in South America, a respite from the bitter Midwest winter. The country: Ecuador. My to-do list included Andean hikes, Incan ruins, a cuy dinner, something dubbed "the swing at the end of the world" – and a now current staple of any of my travels: a craft beer hunt. The latter being the hardest bit to accomplish, but not much of a surprise really.

Category: Travel

View NoteStreamSave to App

Kevin Cary of Begyle Brewing

Begyle (and that's pronounced Bee-gyle), is a relative newcomer to the Chicago craft scene but has already made a big splash. Hot off their accolade "Best New Brewery: 2013" by Chicago Magazine, they've been managing to keep quite busy, and their neighbors happy. Their tiny growler-filling room tucked away between the L and Metra in North Center has quickly become a destination for thirsty beer geeks in the know.
With the city on the brink of Chicago Craft Beer Week, we sat down with Kevin Cary, founder and brewer at Begyle to discuss everything from Michigan roots, pre-Untappd beer tracking, and how it all came together to form one of Chicago's most exciting, and community-centric breweries.

Photography provided by the infinitely talented and beer loving Melinda Myers.

Category: Craft Beer

View NoteStreamSave to App

Claudia Jendron of Temperance Beer Co.

It's not a stretch to say that the people behind Temperance Beer Company are pioneers. For one, the brewery is the first to open in the city of Evanston since the Prohibition era; no simple feat in a community that was dry until 1972 and still has a practicing temperance movement.
And as it is with any brewery, there must always be a Brewmaster. Claudia Jendron is carving out her own path in a largely male dominated industry, and she's leaving quite the foot print. Her English Style IPA Gatecrasher has just won a silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival; a huge (and as we found out, unexpected) honor. On a recent trip along Evanston's Purple Line, we stopped in to chat with the award-winning brewer to discover her roots, what's going on at Temperance, and what the future holds for one of the country's brightest brewers (in our humble opinion).

Category: Craft Beer

View NoteStreamSave to App

Calvin Fredrickson of Spiteful Brewing

As the craft beer industry continues to explode, breweries everywhere are getting bigger to meet ever increasing demand. Just this week alone, we've heard plans for a $40 million expansion for Michigan's Founders and an all new, massive river-front production facility in planning for hometown brewery Finch. This is, undeniably, a good thing, as craft beer continues its seemingly unstoppable march toward market-share relevance.
Spiteful Brewing in Chicago's Northcenter is not taking this approach. In an industry where the trend is to get big, fast, a few guys in a one-thousand square foot basement are brewing some of the city's best, and freshest beer. Spiteful has committed 100% to their neighborhoods, to their accounts, and to Chicago.
Meet Calvin Fredrickson, Spiteful's Business Guy #2. Since joining the team in February 2014, he's been the man tasked with distribution, marketing, and event planning... in addition to helping brew, bottle, and label their product each week. Someone this busy doesn't have much time to chat, but we were able to corral him long enough to talk fresh beer, the challenges of working in a small space, and the past and potential future for Spiteful Brewing.

Category: Craft Beer

View NoteStreamSave to App

Lagunitas and Tony Magee

"Lagunitas Sucks."
The founder of the nation's second largest craft brewing operation, Tony Magee, said so himself. The statement is something he embraces and hopes holds true, too. According to his reasoning, you're always improving and you're bound to make mistakes along the way; but by definition – if you are to improve – it must mean that you 'suck' at the moment.
It's that kind of no-bull-brutal-honesty (and mild self-loathing) that has been the backbone of the Lagunitas brand from the beginning. But don't be fooled, the business savvy that's helped build Lagunitas Brewing is really what's impressive here.
The road to get the Petaluma, California-based brewery to where it is today has been no small feat. And Tony will tell you himself, in the matter-of-fact but friendly way that only he could. He never doubted he could do it, despite the improbable journey he's taken since 1993. He'll also tell you thatLagunitas really is a 'Chicago' brewery. And, in a way, it was this city that influenced the West Coast craft movement and in turn, built one of the world's top beer brands.
Photos by Melinda Jane Myers

Category: Craft Beer

View NoteStreamSave to App

Cicerone Certification Program Explained

So you think you know beer? Could you blind taste one and put it in its correct style category? Would you be able to diagnose and fix a problematic draft system in order to pour a perfect pint. Do you know what a beer clean glass is and how you go about creating one? In order to complete any of the three levels of the Cicerone Certification Program you better be able to do all that, plus much more.
Founded in Chicago by the legendary Ray Daniels, the Cicerone program aims to educate its students on all things beer. We sat down with Virginia Thomas, long time Business Manager for Cicerone, and she explained what it takes to become a Master Cicerone. With only seven Master Cicerones in the world, if you can pass the final exam, you'll be joining an elite club.

Category: Craft Beer

View NoteStreamSave to App