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Saturday, July 25, 2015

My Visit to Miller's Pub...Chicago

Just over a week ago, I had the chance to shoot up to Chicago for a few days which is just about always a good time. A good thing about this trip was that I was not going for work, and it was all about just kicking back and having a little fun. And that my friends, meant a little time to eat some good food and drink some good beer which is always good for me.

While I was not fortunate to make it to some of the breweries, I did get a chance to visit a few of the key spots downtown that offered wonderful beer selections as well as great food for pairing nicely. Miller's Pub offered great ambiance and history and was one of the first places I visited, which happened to be for dinner. It seemed to be a favorite of many as well, as the restaurant seemed to fill up fast and consistently received patrons making their way into the establishment.

Miller's Pub really turned out to be a pleasant surprise. It was nice seeing some of the old photos and the heritage of the restaurant. In today's world, I always appreciate finding a place of character and this place has just that. As far as the beers, the list of offerings is not one of lacking. With 22 on draft, 16 Belgian bottled ales, 19 bottled or canned lagers, 34 bottled or canned ales, 5 hybrid styled beers and 2 cider offerings, anyone is sure to find something for their palate. And then there is the food, which is equally delicious from a wide variety and they are very generous on the portions. If there is anything where I could provide a knock, it may be with some of the beer prices versus what I see in Cincinnati, but it is Chicago. Just like New York, Miami and cities like San Francisco or Los Angeles, paying more is expected. So what beers did I try on my visit here?

  • Goose Island Matilda (7% ABV) - A very impressive Belgian Style Pale Ale fermented using wild yeast. It is a top notch beer and is very smooth.
  • Houblen Chouffe Dobbelin (9% ABV) - A Belgian IPA that is a blend of a strong IPA and a Belgian Tripel. It is unique and definitely worth a try.
  • Off Color Apex Predator (6.8% ABV) - A Farmhouse Ale that is a decent option. It does have a nice finish and mouthfeel and stands well on its merits, but it didn't knock me back.


Miller's Pub is definitely a must stop on any beer enthusiast's visit to Chicago and has my recommendation for sure. The service was also very friendly and courteous which also added to the experience. Here are some more pictures as well and I hope that if you are in the area that you definitely visit. I know that you will be pleased. Cheers until next time!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Going Back with Malt Liquor

Just hanging out tonight and chilling to the musical sounds of "The Boombox," which is channel 846 on Directv if interested. A nice throwback station to the old sounds of hip hop and with it comes visions of some of the fun we used to have back in the day and of course some of the beers we used to drink. Of course back then, we were limited to what we had on hand versus the versatility of the beer scene nowadays. In fact, in hindsight, it feels like it was ultra limited as I sit hear laughing. The beers were a lot more watered down back then so it seemed we often would have to turn it up by getting malt liquor. Oh yeah, the old 40's that we used to enjoy at the park. Man, those were some days, and some bad beers, lots of laughs. Now this going back a ways, I mean that I am going back a ways to the late 80's and early 90's when I was able to start to buying beer. Technically, I wasn't legally able until 1991, but I had my ways before then {wink wink}.
Sitting in one of my buddies backyards we used to laugh and just tell stories while drinking Mickey's Big Mouths. There would be a group of us and we would just clown on each other while getting our buzz on at the time. These little wide mouth bottles that would hold 12 ounces of beer but carry an abv of 5.6%. They were like little grenades to us, small in size but packing a punch of power. We were never much Budweiser guys in high school, in fact, I am still not much of one, unless it is an only choice. I don't know why that is, but they just never caught on for me as a beer of a choice. Anyway, Mickey's was a favorite especially in those later high school years. Chug them and go, and you were in your groove! Oh yes, just seeing the bottle takes me back to some good times.

Now, later on came along Schlitz and their Red Bull series and back then we only knew one size it seemed, the forty ounce. Although, later we found out you could get them in 16 oz cans, but we were more like go big or go home. If you never had the Red Bull, I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing, but just like the adrenaline drink, it too gave you wings. This one bolstered an abv of 5.9%, so a little bit more than Mickey's, but really negligible. However, back in day on the pedestals of malt liquors, it tended to hold a higher respect. Not sure why that was, but hey, like fashion, sometimes it's just what is chosen at the time and we just went along with it. Funny, looking back at these beers now, as I wouldn't pick up either, but we had to start somewhere. And these were, just two that put me on beer road long ago. It is a winding road, and sometimes comes with circles depending on the path you chose and how inebriated that you may be. What about you?

What are some of the beers from your past that were your firsts to wet your whistle?  Maybe like this, ones that you probably wouldn't go back to try but just became part of your experience. Let me know by leaving a few comments, if you like. I would love to hear some of the other stories out there.


***Malt Liquor is a North American term referring to a type of beer with high alcohol content. In legal statutes, the term often includes any alcoholic beverage with 5% or more alcohol by volume made with malted barley.

Brewery Tour and Review - Urban Artifact On Location


Friday, July 3, 2015

Beer Tasting at BrewRiver Gastropub

Last Sunday, I took some time to make a visit down to the BrewRiver Gastropub, here in Cincinnati, which is nice little spot to chill and grab some new beers to try. The great thing is that they have an awesome Happy Hour on Saturday from 3pm to 5pm where just about all pours are $2.95 per glass. It really is a hidden gem. Located at 2062 Riverside Drive, I think many may easily tend to miss it. For years, I know that I did as I would pass it on the way to my softball games at the ballpark. Wow, how many beers have I missed...too many. But, I digress.

The establishment is pretty peaceful and tranquil, especially when you can just relax and chill in the
open courtyard. It proves to be a great place to gather thoughts, read a book or just have some pleasant conversation. The pub itself was from is a converted home, which is another reason that it may be missed as you drive by. The view from the courtyard shoots across the street and down to the Ohio river which can also create a nice relaxing feeling as you fixate on the flow of the river. The ambiance tends to remind me of my visits to New Orleans without the great music.

But away from all of that are the beers that make this place so awesome. With a wide selection available, there is no doubt that anyone will be able to find something fitting for whatever their thirst desires. Porters, Pale Ales, Stouts (which are really a strong Porters), Pilseners, Sour Ales, Quads and many others will be on hand for your perusing and hopefully drinking. I definitely recommend that if you are a beer enthusiast in Cincinnati that you pay them a visit and check out their offerings. And if you decide to stay and eat, well, you will be pleased there too. Well cheers, and I hope you get a chance to visit. Oh, by the way, below are some of the beers that I was able to enjoy as well as Eight Ball's Mick Czech and Nowhere in Particular's Hitting the Grit which are not pictured.

Deschutes The Stoic
Rhinegeist T-Rex
Ballast Point Victory at Sea

I will also be uploading a review on one of the beers so stay tuned and for more beer reviews make sure to check out my YouTube channel as well: Rod J Beer Ventures!

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