chicago brewery

Charlatan (Maplewood)

Brewery : Maplewood
Beer : Charlatan
Style : Pale Ale / American Pale Ale / APA
Variance : None

9 / 10

I don’t really know what it is exactly about this beer that makes me love it so much, I just know that I do. Could it be it’s super clean and sessionable quality? Perhaps. Could it be it’s amazing can design? Could be. Could it be the perfect balance of malt and hop flavor making love to my taste buds? Sounds about right. I’m going to go ahead and say that it’s probably all of those things but the one thing I hate is knowing that this is my last Maplewood beer for now until I can get my hands on some more. I honestly feel sadder than my ding-a-ling knowing that it’ll never get to hear Chuck Berry sing about it in all it’s glory ever again (RIP Chuck) but let’s just hope that my wiener doesn’t tear up because I’m pretty sure that means I have an STD. A super fucking smooth citrus flavor starts this off tasting like a great mix of grapefruit and lemon before some floral hops mix in with a balanced bitterness that makes itself known without being to harsh all while leading up to a sweeter malt flavor mixed with a slight pine twist to wrap things up. I feel like just saying the word “Charlatan” means I should be dressed in an over the top fancy suit while a woman wearing a dress with a wire cage underneath it making it look huge at the bottom slaps me in the face with a lace glove. Anyways, if you love the style or if you are new to the style, pick this up because it is the shit with a capital S. I guess that would actually make it the Shit. Much better. Basically this is a must drink for any level of drinker out there so just get your asses to Chicago, grab a can, and suck this baby down! Cheers!

Written by: Steve B.


Pipeworks “Something Hoppy This Way Comes”

91 A-

Something Hoppy This Way Comes is an Imperial IPA with rotational release. It features an interesting addition of white wheat, as well as two other hop varieties I don’t recall ever seeing before. Pipeworks is a fairly new Chicago brewery that began with money raised on Kickstarter. Aromas are fruity like peach, ripe grapefruit, and lemon. Grassy hops are detailed by pine needles. Malts appear as lightly caramelized sweet notes.

The palate makes a bittersweet introduction saturated by herbal hops, including flavors of fresh-cut grass and green onion. As smooth wheat accumulates, sweetness rises slightly above the bitterness for a brief moment. Citric sour notes rise up on the back in a lemon tart flavor combined with grapefruit zest. Next comes a quick splash of fruity flavors related to pineapple and plantain. Perpetual hop oils continue to cling in a bitterness flavored like grapefruit peel and mint. The mouthfeel is smooth over dull carbonation, departing clean, skipping the palate wreck effect.

Overall, I think this is a tasty double with steady sweet support, which may actually come across a touch too sweet according to some. The thing is, bitterness is fairly low, so there’s not as much counterbalance (although this does open up a steady stream of pleasant hop flavor). Drinkability is impressive, especially considering the high ABV. That lower than average bitterness also opens up room for more alcohol exposure, because it comes across a little boozy, and 10% isn’t easy to hide. It’s good, but not great. I still recommend it.

Known Hops: Sorachi Ace, Zythos, Cascade

Known Malts: 2-row, white wheat



Chicago, Illinois


Beer of the Night

In my right hand is Sofie, a Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale from the Goose Island brewery in Chicago.

Tart, dry sparkling ale with spicy white pepper notes, a hint of orange peel and a creamy vanilla finish.”

In my left hand is Sophie, my 15-year-old dog of debatable heritage.

“Mostly deaf, failing eyesight, and somewhat stinky. Often found sleeping with her tongue sticking out. A voracious lover of treats and a world-class snuggle-dog.”


Pipeworks “Citra”

96 A+

Citra is an Imperial IPA with rotational release. This will be my first experience with Pipeworks. Thank you, Dave Melam! Aromas are bursting with citrus in a bittersweet combination of grapefruit and orange. Tropical fruit notes provide juicy details resembling mango and pineapple. Herbal hops come across like wild onion, weeds, and grass. Malts provide a candy-like sweetness reminiscent of butterscotch. Its deep amber color reveals a heavy-handed malting.

In many ways, the palate closely resembles the nose. A sweet introduction of caramel malts slide in with a firm, supportive body which keeps to the low register. Hops emerge with bright highlights of citrus targeting sweet orange, then shifts toward bitter/sour grapefruit. Herbal hops overlay dank, grassy tendencies while the middle palate develops toward a tropical fruit character revealed like pineapple. In conclusion, earthy hops dig deeper toward a bitter climax revealing green onion and grass. Fruity esters remain as the final contributor. Mouthfeel begins quite wet and oily, concluded by a bit of hoppy dryness balanced with sticky malts. Carbonation lands a tad empty (I would prefer a bit more bubbly). Astringency is considerably low, which greatly contributes to the drinkability factor. Alcohol comes through with a bit of warmth on the aftertaste, but manages to withhold intrusive flavor.

Overall, I find a stunning balance of bitter and sweet, where malts provide more assertive input than your average double IPA. The sweet balance distorts my ability to perceive the dense bitterness. So, I can see why Pipeworks chose the ninja to visually represent this. The sustain is quite short, allowing for considerable ease in drinking. If you’re a genuine hop head, you’ve got to appreciate how the Citra hop variety performs on its own. Time and time again, this little hop proves it can hold its own with a dynamic display of aroma and flavor. This is one firecracker of a double IPA that’s certain to satisfy your hop thirst. It’s a great introduction to Pipeworks, so I look forward to even more hoppy goodness from this Chicago brewery. I recommend it!

Known Hops: Citra



Chicago, Illinois