Tag Archives: Blue Moon

Revolution Brewing Fist City Chicago Pale Ale

Revolution Brewing is my favorite Chicago brewery—that disaster with the hibiscus ale being excluded—now has new to me—it was available this spring in cans—called Fist City Chicago Pale Ale:

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Described as “a supremely drinkable brew for those who love hops” and I would argue that it is the ideal craft beer replacement for schwag macro lagers that populate dive bars. Yes, I am looking at you Old Style. While I respect the adherence to the Old Style cult that has gripped Chicago since the mid-1980s, which is about the same time the rest of America gave up on the brand, it is time to stake your taste buds to something a little better and a little more local. Firing down pint after pint of super hoppy pale ales does not appeal to everyone, but Fist City could easily slot in as the “go to” replacement for forgettable canned lagers that come in thirty packs. Life is too short to drink beer based on its per can price.

The beer is really drinkable at 5.5% ABV and “just” 40 IBU. Yep, it’s about a percentage point higher in alcohol content than a basic macro lager but it is not a beer that is going to put you on your ass after drinking three of them.

Somehow the brewers managed to squeeze in every hop beginning with a C: Centennial, Citra, Chinook, Cascade and Crystal. Too bad there is not a Chicago hop variety. This leads to a somewhat muddied hop profile where none of the characteristics of any variety stands out. It’s not bad, per se, but it leaves the drinker looking for a particular flavor or aroma wanting something different. Call me a hop head or a beer snob. I like to taste and smell individual and unique hop notes. Yeah, I sound like one of those ass clowns in “Sideways” talking about notes of oak and udon.

Back to the matter at hand. If you need a six pack or thirty pack to take to your next event and want something that can please a lot of people without being boring—yes I am looking at the guy who always beings a twelve pack of Blue Moon to a party—give Fist City a shot:

Purchase 3 Mug Rating

See what others are saying about Revolution Brewing Fist City at Beeradvocate.

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Revolution Brewing Bottom Up Wit

Wit or white ale are the gateway drug into the craft beer addiction. You wake up one morning from a Natty Light hangover, realize that you graduated from college almost a year ago, and decide that on your next night out you will not be that guy crushing light lagers.

At the bar you are offered a plethora of choices—unless it is one of those bars with two taps reserved for Budweiser and Busch Light, which are always classy establishments where no one ever gets stabbed with an improvised edged weapon—that almost causes paralysis by analysis. Do I want a European pilsner? Or is an IPA a better choice? A Russian imperial stout sounds like a lineup of ex-Soviet hockey players, but is it right for me just a few days removed from wondering which beer came in 30 packs for less than $20?

You look around and notice a lot of people have tall glasses of a hazy, golden beer with an orange. How bad can it be if it has an orange in it? What is that beer that every girl in a sundress and flower crown is drinking on the patio? It’s Blue Moon. What’s a Blue Moon? A Belgian style white ale.

Here is the deal. There is a reason that Coors made Blue Moon its entry into the faux craft movement…people want different that is not too different. You cannot expect people to go from drinking beer measured in twelve pack increments to throwing back IPAs with IBU ratings in the seventies. They are going to run back to the beer cooler for something familiar and never come back. You need a gateway drug. Belgian style white beers are that gateway drug.

Revolution Brewing understands this and brews Bottom Up Wit:

Revolution Bottom Up Wit

How is Revolution Brewing’s wit different than Blue Moon or Shock Top? Not so much. These are easy drinking beers. How easy? At 5.0% ABV and 14 IBU it compares favorably, statistically speaking, to a Bud Light at an estimated 4.1% ABV and 8-10 IBU. With a little coriander and orange peel there is a lot more going on in terms of flavor, so you feel like you are drinking something that is more artisanal or original than a light lager.

At the end of the day white ales or wits are fairly boring. Maybe it is a style of beer that someone will do something original with and blow people away, but until then I will stand by my assertion that brewers keep this style in their quiver to have something almost anyone can drink when visiting a taproom:

Purchased One Mug Rating

Here is what other people are saying about Revolution Brewing Bottom Up Wit @ Beeradvocate

Miscellaneous Colorado Beers

Unfortunately, I did not get to try as many beers along the Front Range as I would have liked but that leaves more things to do next time.

While on a break from biking along the Ten Mile Canyon trail at Copper Mountain I got a chance to have an Avery Brewing White Rascal:

The White Rascal is Belgian wheat.  Unfiltered, low bitterness (22 IBU), and moderate in alcohol (5.6% ABV) this beer is very drinkable.  Granted, I was over an hour into my light ride and the temperature was 10 degrees warmer than planned—thank you global warming—so I was a little dry.

Avery Brewing was not a company that I had heard of until I saw the beer listed on the menu.  This is the great thing about beer, there are so many different beers from so many different brewers that it always leads to discovery.  It’s why it is great to get out of your usual and try something new.

One thing I would like to see go away is serving a big chunk of fruit on a glass of beer.  Coors’ Blue Moon started this trend in bars a while back and now every unfiltered Belgian beer is served with a chunk of orange or a wedge of lemon.  Stop the insanity.

This pint made me want to see what else the folks at Avery Brewing are doing.  Next time.

At a shop in Breckenridge I picked up two six-packs of Odell Brewing Company beers: Easy Street Wheat and St. Lupulin.  Often, Odell is described as the other brewery in Fort Collins because of the omnipresent New Belgium.  I have found that the smaller brewers, owing to smaller scale, are able to push the boundaries because there is less push to satisfy mass taste.  Granted, even large craft brewers like New Belgium push the boundaries all the time with beers in the Lips of Faith series.

Easy Street Wheat is described as being “light and refreshing.”  That pretty much sums it up:

Low in alcohol (4.6% ABV) and very low in bitterness (15 IBU) Easy Street Wheat, like White Rascal above, is a very drinkable beer.  Not much else to say beyond that.

St. Lupulin is a different story:

Following Easy Street Wheat this beer is a little bit of a smack to the palate.  Not in a bad way, but a little shocking.  It’s a lot stronger (6.5% ABV) and bitter (46 IBU) than the first beer.  Furthermore, the beer tastes like it has been dry hopped which leaves a strong hop aroma in the beer because the beta acids are not driven off during the boil.  Used sparingly, this technique can produce strong aromas without making the beer overly bitter.  Used excessively, the beer ends up smelling like someone opened the door to a coffee shop in Amsterdam.  St. Lupulin falls more toward the sparingly end of the spectrum.

To no fault of the beers from both Avery Brewing and Odell Brewing, I got sick after my first morning in Breckenridge and spent the better part of a day in bed or hanging my head over a toilet.  It’s hard to separate the beers from that experience.  Getting sick sucks…