It has been a while since the last beer post. It has been crazy but time to get back in the swing.


I was in Chicago over the weekend to drink beer (a lot of beer) and see Pearl Jam finally get the chance to play at Wrigley Field. First up, the beer:


I flew into Milwaukee for a couple reasons: 1. It is a lot easier to fly into Milwaukee than either of the Chicago airports and is pretty easy to get to Chicago from Milwaukee, and 2. I have family in the Milwaukee area and I was going to the concert with a friend that lives in Milwaukee.


Pretty much as soon as I got off the airplane, I started drinking. Kicked off the weekend with a bunch of Spotted Cow from New Glarus Brewing Company from New Glarus, Wisconsin. Great crisp refreshing beer for the hot humid weather that I walked into. Had the chance to have dinner with family at Caf?? Hollander in the Village area of Wauwatosa. Great meal but even greater beer. Had a couple glasses of Confession Grand Cru, a Belgian Strong Ale brewed by the Lowlands Brewing Company exclusively through Brouwerij Van Steenberge, Ertvelde, Belgium, and served exclusively in Wisconsin. The Grand Cru was golden in color, dry, fruity with a hint of tartness, with a nice spicy and yeasty flavor with hints of honey. At 9% alcohol, a couple of them had me feeling mighty fine. Followed that up with some softball with friends and a couple Smithwick's and New Glarus Hometown Blond ale.


Before the concert we hit Goose Island Brewing in Wrigleyville. Mad wait due to the concert but well worth it. Temps outside in Chicago were mid 90s and humid so we opted for lighter beers. Had both the Goose Island 312, an American-style wheat beer, and Goose Island Green Line, an American pale ale. While neither of those styles are my favorite beer styles, they were quite tasty and refreshing in the heat and humidity. Neither beer was overly hoppy, both were quite restrained in overall IBU levels. Nice amount of bite in both. Alcohol content on both are around 5 to 5.5%, so not too strong that you have to stop drinking after two. Distribution is through Anheuser-Busch, so they can be found in various places around the Midwest and the US.


The concert:

Seeing Pearl Jam play is always an event. I have seen them perform about a dozen times, from small venues to outdoor arenas to indoor sports arenas. While this was not my favorite show, it was one of the most memorable. We had tickets in The Pit right in front of the stage. No opening act, Pearl Jam came on about 8:15 PM. They opened with more mellow songs and built up from there. Unfortunately, at 9 PM Eddie Vedder announced that due to the incoming severe thunderstorm, the field needed to clear. We were all herded off the field into the concourses beneath the outfield bleachers. After a 2 hour wait, the show finally started up again. Thankfully, Wrigley Field extended the curfew from 11PM to 2AM, so the band was able to play a full set. After the rain delay, the band performed "All the Way", a tribute song to the "loveable losers", the Chicago Cubs, and at the end of the song they brought Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks up on stage. Cool, once-in-a-lifetime moment. The band played until 2AM and had a great mix of old classics, radio favorites, obscure items, and covers. They also played 3 songs off the album set for release in October 2013. The playlist was:

Set 1:

Release, Nothingman, Present Tense, Hold On, Lowlight, Come Back, Elderly Woman Behind The Counter in a Small Town

2 Hour rain delay

Set 2:

All the Way, All Night, Do the Evolution, Setting Forth, Corduroy, Faithfull, Mind Your Manners, Lightning Bolt, State of Love and Trust, Wishlist, Even Flow, Leatherman, Eruption, Bugs, Why Go, Unthought Know, Rearviewmirror

Set 3:

Chloe Dancer, Crown of Thorns, Porch, Wasted Reprise, Life Wasted, Black, Mother, Future Days, Rockin in the Free World


All in all, a damn good show. Heard some songs live that I had not heard before. Cool to see Bugs played live (Eddie Vedder alone on the accordion) and a kicked up way to end with Rockin in the Free World.


Getting into Chicago was easy, getting out after 230AM was a nightmare, but made for interesting memories and stories to tell.


On to NFL news...


Training camps open up this week! Finally! I don't know about you, but I am ready for some football! As camps kick off I will have more opinions as to how things look and what players and teams are up to.


One bit of potential concern for me is the huge contract offensive lineman Ryan Clady signed with the Denver Broncos last week. I have witnessed it too many times where a player signs a huge contract and then loses his drive and desire to play at a high level. If that happens, Peyton Manning will not survive the entire season and I personally don't think that backup quarterback Brock Osweiler will lead the Broncos to the division title, no matter how bad the rest of the AFC West looks.


Just my opinion...


Friday will be a new addition on the Beer Style of the Week! Until then, keep drinking good beer and enjoying sports!

Comment #1 has been removed
July 22, 2013  10:15 PM ET

Good call flying into Milwaukee.. appears you had a good time with family & friends and good brews

July 22, 2013  10:27 PM ET

Sounds awesome.

July 23, 2013  10:19 AM ET

Milwaukee is an easy airport to use for Chicago trips. Public transit is fairly easy to find. Unfortunately when the concert ended at 2AM, by the time we got to the L station, he line we needed was shut down. Ended up bumming around until 4AM when we finally got a taxi that would take us where we needed to go. There are some interesting people and things to see that early in the morning in the neighborhood around Wrigley Field!

July 23, 2013  03:56 PM ET

I've flown into O'Haire & Midway.. ain't the best experience I had.. would rather fly into Atlanta than fly into Chicago

July 23, 2013  04:06 PM ET

Ouch! I would put O'Hare, Midway and Atlanta on even footing. All suck, all have delays, all cancel flights way in advance of bad weather!


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