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The Beer Thinker: Summer Brew

Summer has been too hot, and it's time for cooler, foamier heads to prevail. Thursday night I'm heading to my local cooling station in Lincoln Square, only this one will by outside in the fading sunlight. Impossible, you say? Not when I'll be sampling a variety of cool beers from the many Midwestern craft breweries participating in the first Summer Brew.

Remember Winter Brew? Well, Summer Brew, sponsored by the Lincoln Square Chamber of Commerce, is its warm-weather cousin. It's also the opening night event for this weekend's Square Roots Festival In Lincoln Square, an event we have been hearing for months will feature an array of craft beers.

I'll let Josh Noel detail the full Summer Brew beer menu, but I can tell one of the featured brews I'm most interested in trying is Founders Frangelic Mountain Brown. It integrates three of my favorite things: beer, coffee and hazelnuts (Seriously, I'm a sucker for anything hazelnut).

FBM should be an interesting departure from the crisp kolsch beers or citrusy wheats that are some of my summer standards. Seasonal brews are a hallmark of the craft beer universe, though there also has been a lot of debate about whether breweries and distributors are pushing seasonals out too early for the seasons they celebrate. I've also heard some craft beer folks complain that seasonality in craft beer is a marketing creation and unnecessary - all styles and all good beers should been enjoyed at all times.

Still, production breweries have their limits. They can't produce everything they want to year-round, and observing the calendar is an obvious way to plan and manage different styles and recipes. Also, it's hard to argue the concept of limited edition seasonals when beers like those in Goose Island Farmers Market Series are one possible result.

All I know is that I usually like to drink something dark, rich and heavy when it's cold outside, and something crisp, tart or citrusy when it's warm. At Summer Brew, though, I'll make a few exceptions.

Some recent craft beer headlines:

* Girls Like Beer Too has the latest on still more new craft breweries opening in Chicago.

* Beer Pulse has more Twitter thoughts from Lagunitas founder Tony Magee on the company's Chicago brewery plans.

* Chicagoist says Colorado favorite Oskar Blues Brewery will start distributing in Chicago next month.

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Previously in The Beer Thinker:
* Tapping Lincoln Square
* Size Matters
* Lagunitas Changes Everything
* Make Beer, Not War
* Collaboration Brewing

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Dan O'Shea is The Beer Thinker. He welcomes your comments.



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Posted on July 18, 2012


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BOOKS - Americans Still Wrong About Climate Change.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Beachwood Gift Guide: Chicago Photo Booth.


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