Speakeasy Booze

The correct answer, as far as I’m concerned, when someone invites me to a free beer event is always a resounding yes. Always. So when Jeremy of SubBeerBia asked me if I wanted to attend the Chicago launch party for Speakeasy Ales and Lagers as his guest? You KNOW I was all over it. I hadn’t even heard of the brand before that moment and I was all over it.

I’m sure no one is surprised by this.

So, Speakeasy Ales and Lagers. I didn’t know a darn thing about them, except their name, until I got there. I tend to like to be surprised. This probably makes me the complete opposite of your average blogger who gets an invitation to a launch of a brand they know nothing about. I figured I’d go in, meet some folks, and taste the beer with no preconceptions or expectations.

The company hails from San Francisco, California. They brought three beers, all in bottles, to this launch party. Big Daddy IPA, Tallulah Extra Pale Ale and Prohibition Ale. From that list, I’m sure my readers aren’t surprised in the slightest I went straight for the Prohibition Ale.

It was a solid beer, but a bit hoppy for my taste. And I was reminded, once again, that being from America’s west coast can almost be as much a philosophy as it is a geographic reference. In beer, that philosophy seems to be Everything Hoppier Than Everything Else, particularly with the bittering hops. Frankly, this philosophy is part of what gives the second place winner in our beer t-shirt contest at Beer 1Up!, its humor. It’s a Stone Brewing shirt, and they definitely enjoy hops.

Unfortunately, while I love the shirt, I don’t share the philosophy. I tend to prefer substantially less hoppy beers, and the very hoppy beers I’ve enjoy have also had a lot of malt to back-up the hops. Apparently this is “well-balanced”, but I’m not that advanced in my beer knowledge.

I will say, though, if you DO like “west coast style” beers, I think you should seek out Speakeasy’s offerings. The beer I did have was solid, and I liked it enough that I’m curious about their Russian Imperial Stout and other, maltier offerings. The Big Daddy IPA and the Prohibition Ale are very well rated at Beer Advocate (links above). I’m glad I got to check out the beer.

As for the rest? The event itself? It was a fine time. I’m very glad I went.

This launch party (apparently one of many) was held at the Chrome Industries Chicago store. I admit, this is not a venue I ever would have thought of for a beer launch, but I’m new at this sort of thing. I’d have expected a restaurant or bar.

But the shop worked well, for the most part. It was pretty open and wide, so there was plenty of space for people to cram in there (and cram they did), though as wide as it was, it was VERY crowded, a small area for a bar to dispense bottles and a spot for a table for snacks. Frankly, it was kind of fun to be in a whole new space and check it out. I probably wouldn’t have gone into the store otherwise, and now I’m pretty curious about it and their products (more on that in a moment). The only bad thing about the space was that it was face-melting hot in there.

When I walked in, there was a woman in a flapper outfit sewing a bag. It was kind of neat to watch, and I loved the colors. Black and “traffic cone” orange. What I didn’t realize, until later in the evening, was that the bag was one of a few prizes for attending and tweeting during the launch.

I suppose a launch is a place where getting buzz out via Twitter makes sense. I certainly had no issues with it. Plus, I hoped to win a bag. Or some glassware. Or whatever they were giving away. But only if the tweeting & winning didn’t come at the cost of paying attention to the people I was talking with.

For me, an in-person conversation almost always wins. I’m a “people person.” But I can pay some attention to twitter at the same time. It’s a bit like another conversation going on at a party; I slip into and out of it as is polite and easy. Sometimes I miss my mark. Sometimes I hit it. And sometimes (okay, once so far, and only on twitter), I win an awesome bag in the process. Custom made & waterproofed on the inside.

I’m very grateful to Chrome Industries, Speakeasy Ales and Lagers, and River North Beer, the Chicago distributor for Speakeasy (as I understand it) for putting on the party and donating the bag. I love the bag, and I suspect it’s going to prove to be so nice that I’ll be looking at them again when I want a new backpack or similar. Indeed, before this event, Bill had suggested Chrome several times as I tried to figure out a new laptop bag. 19 April 2014 Note: River North Beer has merged with City Beverage to form Lakeshore Beverage Company, so I’ve removed the links to River North Beer in this post.

If these beers make you curious, between the descriptions and the Beer Advocate ratings, check them out. Poking around on the River North website, I found that their event calendar includes several more launch parties, some with different beers than I tried featured. And one tomorrow, at Haymarket (a very nice brewpub), is also giving away the same awesome bag. Just so you know.

I did get into this event for free, because Jeremy Teel of SubBeerBia invited me to join him (he also got in for free – it seemed to have been invite only). He was an invited guest of, I believe, River North. I assume they hoped he’d write it up on his blog. They didn’t know me, and had no idea I also keep a blog. This entry was written because I wanted to, not because they asked me to write it up. As I write this, they don’t know I’m writing about it, and won’t until after it’s published and I let them know via Twitter. I’m telling you all about future events because my Chicago-based readers might enjoy them; especially since I seem to be in the minority of my beer-drinking friends for disliking very hoppy beers.

2 thoughts on “Speakeasy Booze

  1. Natasha,

    Thanks for the post! I’m really glad you were able to come to the Speakeasy party at the Chrome Store, and, even if you’re not a big fan of West coast IPAs and other overly hopped beers, we’re glad you got the chance to try some Speakeasy.

    When we invite bloggers to our beer launches, we don’t ask them to blog about it. We generally leave it up to them so they can post if they would like to — good or bad. If you’d like to get on our blogger invitation list, feel free to shoot me an email.


    – Matt

    • Thanks, Matt! I’m glad I got to try them too, and I’ll probably pick up a six pack for my friend to try (the 2nd place winner mentioned in the post).

      As you can imagine, I had no idea what the agreement you had with Jeremy. I’m glad to see you all take a fairly hands-off approach.

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