Crawl through oldest and newest Chicago beer scene – Kankakee Daily Journal

To start off this crazy new year right, I put together a brewery tour that I think everyone can jump on board with. Seriously, this brewery crawl is one of the most user-friendly, beginner-friendly Chicago crawls I have come up with. It also includes one of my most anticipated taproom openings of 2017. But that’s just a teaser.

First stop on this crawl is Piece Brewery and Pizzeria, 1927 W. North Ave., Chicago, one of Chicago’s oldest and most award-winning craft beer destinations. Piece is the only one with street parking. (Off Color Brewing and Goose Island Brewhouse (Clybourn) have their own parking spots, but not a lot.)

Piece started in 2001 with the idea of high-quality beer and New Haven-style thin crust pizza in Chicago’s vastly cool Wicker Park neighborhood. Bill Jacobs, majority owner, told me in a phone interview his main conspirator in starting this concept of Pizzeria/Craft Brewery was Matt Brynildson, of both Goose Island Beer Company and Firestone Walker Brewing fame. The pair met on a Lake Michigan beach, but after Brynildson accepted a job at Firestone Walker, he recommended John Cutler.

Piece took home their 27th award with a silver medal at this year’s Great American Beer Festival for their Altbier – It’s Your Fault Alt. Piece has been a stalwart of the Chicago craft community since 2002 and has been winning medals at GABF ever since (14 in total). Start with food because it has some of the best pizza in Chicago, also featuring beer and pizza pairings.

Piece Brewery is a low-key, super cozy, laid-back affair with stand-up arcade games, an all-wood bar, open floor plan, old school feeling and some world class craft beer on tap.

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National panel suggests new alcohol regulations – WAND

DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) — Booze is Bobby Ghotra’s business, but he’s worried that business could run dry.

“Working here means everything to me,” Ghotra said. “It’s our bread and butter.”

Ghotra is the general manager of Famous Wine and Spirits in Decatur. His store has been a Macon County staple the past 12 years.

But sweeping changes could be on the horizon for the alcohol industry.

In a government funded study, the U.S. Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine recommended all states double alcohol taxes and limit the hours and days alcohol can be sold. The panel said those two steps could reduce deaths in alcohol-related crashes by as much as 11 percent.

But tax increases and more regulations on sales aren’t the only things the panel is recommending. They’re also suggesting lowering the DUI BAC threshold from .08 to .05.

Macon County deputies said that change would require a lot more training.

“[Our current training] is good for .08 but not .05,” Sgt. Ronald Atkins said. “There would have to be a new training protocol to come out to detect an impaired motorist.”

While Ghotra said he supports measures to curb impaired driving, he’s worried these proposed steps — especially the tax increases — could be “last call” for his store.

“There’s not going to be so much work,” Ghotra said. “We’re going to have to cut off employees…It makes a big difference. This is our home — our working home. This is where we make our money.”

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Flowery Branch weighing major alcohol code changes – Gainesville Times

Want to have a glass of wine while getting your nails done? In Flowery Branch, you might just get the chance this year.

The South Hall city is weighing a rewrite of its alcohol codes that would offer substantial new freedom to business owners, residents and visitors in the immediate downtown area. 

A few major reforms are being introduced in February:

A downtown dining district covering the area near Main Street would be created similar to Gainesville’s, allowing the carrying of alcohol beverage in open containers within the district.

Amenity permits would be offered by the city, allowing retail businesses like nail salons or art galleries to sell limited amounts of alcohol. The permit would also exempt those businesses from buying through distributors given the small amount of alcohol they would be serving, according to Flowery Branch attorney Ron Bennett.

Art shops would be able to allow customers to bring in alcoholic beverages, a change geared for bring-your-own-beer painting classes that are becoming more popular throughout the country.

Corkage code would be changed to allow diners to carry in growlers along with bottles of wine to restaurants in the downtown area. Many restaurants charge a “corking fee” to diners bringing their own bottles.

Growler bar regulations would be loosened, allowing bars to sell four 6-ounce samples, up from three 1-ounce samples.

The changes come after the city of Gainesville approved many of the same changes in the past year, including Gainesville’s downtown dining district that allows the open carrying of alcoholic beverages. But Flowery Branch’s district would allow for a limited number of bars or taverns that can sell alcohol without being required to also sell food.

A Flowery Branch entrepreneur hoping to open a new growler store in the town praised the reforms on Thursday, saying they were a

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Beer Choir requires no talent – San Diego Reader

From Irish pubs to German beer halls, European cultures have a deep history of breaking into song when they drink beer. That hasn’t been the case within the American craft-beer movement, but one very loose national organization is trying to change that, and it’s made its way to San Diego.

Composer Michael Engelhardt launched the first Beer Choir in St. Louis, Missouri, with a simple concept: people getting together to drink beer and sing. Since its inception in 2015, the concept has gone national so fast, he’s reportedly stopped keeping up with new chapters. Currently, dozens — and likely over a hundred — chapters exist in cities across the country, from Seattle to New York to Flagstaff, Arizona.

San Diego’s Beer Choir launched in October, with a sing-along event at the ChuckAlek Biergarten in North Park. After a November meeting at AleSmith Brewing in November, it returns to North Park for a third session on January 31st at Mike Hess Brewing.

The local chapter was started by the Choral Consortium of San Diego, an organization that unites more than 50 choir groups around the county to facilitate the scheduling and promotion of choral events.

Consortium president Carol Manifold says Beer Choir sounded like a fun way to promote local singing events to beer fans — though the opposite may also be true. “Personally, I was not a beer drinker,” she concedes, “but as I’ve gotten to visit these places and learn about craft beer, now I get it.”

While she estimates most of the 50 people who attended the first two meetings came for the songs, the breweries hosting have enjoyed a boost in sales. “They were absolutely thirsty and it was a great boost for our business,” confirms ChuckAlek cofounder Marta Jankowska. “They were a really fun group and

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Beer Hall: Bailey's Cellarfest, Breweries of the Gorge, and Bridgetown Beerhouse Turns Nine – Willamette Week

About

Parker Hall is a writer, musician, and home brewer from Portland. He is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio, where he studied jazz percussion with drum legend Billy Hart (Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock). Now a freelance writer and professional member of the city’s jazz and indie rock scenes, he spends most of his days writing, playing music or drinking brews in his spacious North Portland basement.

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