Outlook: The self-proclaimed nerds have been hard at work in 2020. Besides the hand sanitizer created for first responders and the Lake County community, co-founders, owners and husband and wife distiller/mixologist duet (along with their larger than life compadre Ethel the Still) have been busy this year with two spirits: Vacation Curaçao and For Peat's Sake Whiskey. The libation aged in a boubon cask with broken oak staves, is a peated malt qhiskey made from barley. The flavor is smokey, rich and layered with a roudn body that is perfect for sipping while roasting chestnuts on an open fire. Visit the Green Oaks distillery to pick up a bottle of both new releases.
Outlook: This vino warms the soul during the wintertime. The concoction contains a half dry red wine, while the complementing percentage is port flavor. Vin Glögg is jam-packed with cinnamon, cadarmon spices, and it also includes an orange peel taste. The Grayslake adult beverage is intended to be served warm.
Outlook: This most eligible bachelor/bachelorette brew still doesn't have a date, but it recently took home some hardware at the 2020 Great AMerican Beer Festival last month. Alas, the solo suds remains "Still Single." The American Belgo-style ale just notched a bronze finish in the national fest is their second consecutive medal (won with their session beer Lite it in 2019). According to the Grayslake brewpuck masters, the Belgian ale is complemented by lonesome TV dinners, long strolls along the shore...with your feline friend, tacos for one and an entire frozen pizza in bed. The brew is served via full pour, half pour, taster glass or take-home 32 ounce crowlers/64-ounce growlers.
Outlook: The Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy is the perfect year-round libation in the land of lakes for a brisker forecast. The autumn-tinted, sweet-flavored ale, also that may be a bit overweight is rated 20 on the International Bitterness Units Scale. Due to the higher ABV content, the Mundelein brewery limits customers to only two of the pints in one visit. The brewery is open indoors and alfresco style from Thursdays-Sundays. Suds sippers must wear a mask when entering the building. The brewhouse is also running small batch Saturdays to-go.
Outlook: The name Ruckus & Riots not only commemorates the Gurnee brewpub's their fifth anniversary but also speaks to the civil unrest in the past few months. The adult beverage is stout dessert in a glass. The suds obtain a bouquet of roasted malts with char, oak, vanilla and bourbon characteristics. The Gurnee maestros also infused the barrel-aged brews with fudge brownies and Madagascar bourbon vanilla. The bourbon barrel-aged brownie batter stout is on tap and canned.
Outlook: After bringing you favorites like their gin, rum, bourbons and other spirits, Copper Fiddle Distillery has added vodka to their repertoire! The Lake Zurich liquor masons used their legendary rye, yellow corn and barley mash distilled in their copper pot and reflux for this clean finishing, very balanced and smooth triple filtered Midwestern vodka. The neutral spirit is 100 percent distilled grain.
ABV: 40 percent | 80 Proof
Outlook: Harbor Brewing Co. in partnership with North Point Marina opened Lake County's first beer garden in late May. To commemorate this accomplishment, the Lake County Libation Trail participant created a New England India Pale Ale called Locoe NEIPA. The delectable brew is their juiciest double dry hopped ale. The seven percent beverage is jam-packed with lotus and simcoe hops.
Outlook: The Barrel-Aged Warrior Paint Imperial Coffee is taking a victory lap through the Lincolnshire brewing company. The 11-percent ABV stout is brewed with Mexican coffee beans from Bannockburn’s Newport Coffee House. Beautiful aromas of molasses and coffee waft from this libation and the scents are paired with hints of oak and vanilla. Half Day Brewing Co. in Lincolnshire is open for pickup daily serving growler refills, four packs and family meal kits daily and with the start of Phase 3 Restore Illinois, the Lincolnshire brewpub is open for outdoor dining.
Outlook: This tropical wine from Vigneto del Bino is bursting with fruity flavors. The Antioch vineyard takes three of their white wines: Brianna, Summer Shanty and Frontenac Gris and combines them with flavors of pineapple, mango and coconut to create a sweet, refreshing blend that tastes like a piña colada. Perfect for both warm and cold weather days, one sip of this vino will have you wishing you were relaxing on a beach.
Outlook: Celebrate the legacy of Ray Bradbury and the City of Waukegan with this beer from Nightshade and Dark's Pandemonium Brewing. Named after the city's pre-prohibition brewery, this English Bitter is brewed with Cluster, Kent Golding and Fuggle hops making this brew extremely satisfying.
Swing by the brewery and grab a howler to-go.
ABV: 4.8 %
Outlook: The luck of the Irish will be on your side when sipping on this creation from The Onion Pub & Brewery. Their Irish Style Red Ale is infused with cocoa nibs, which gives this seasonal brew a hoppy finish with a touch of sweetness courtesy of the chocolate. This easily drinkable ale is prefect for St. Paddy's Day celebrations.
ABV: 5 %
Outlook: Side Lot Brewery has crafted a candy infused beer that will have you humming Aaron Carter's "I Want Candy" in your head. The Wauconda brewery's Citra and El Dorado hopped Candy Paint is brewed with Jolly Ranchers giving this Pale Ale an extra bit of sweetness. Each sip of this uniquely tasty brew will take you back to your childhood days.
Outlook: Oppidan Spirits deviated from the standard London Dry style to create a unique and refreshing perspective gin with floral and citrus notes that are usually unseen in this category. For citrus, the Waukegan distillery uses a freshly peeled pink grapefruit. Elderflower, hibiscus and Chamomile give the Oppidan Spirit American Botanical Gin a light floral nose, balanced by spices like ginger, cardamom and cinnamon. The result is a superbly balanced gin tastes great neat or in your gin cocktail.
Zümbier Brewery (Waukegan)
Outlook: Zumbier produces an extraordinary porter this time of year that is well-balanced and with its malty body pairs well with the cooler temperatures. After aging in barrels, this beer relays whiskey and vanilla tasting notes directly to your taste buds giving that nice warm feeling during the holidays. This drinkable treat is brewed once a year so be sure to grab some before it's gone.
Valentino Vineyards (Long Grove)
Outlook: Late harvest wines are made from grapes that are left on the vine, late in the season, after reaching peak ripeness. Plucking these berries later in the year allows the sugar content to become more concentrated. This gives the rosé a slight touch of sweetness. This versatile wine is the perfect complement to turkey for your Thanksgiving feast. Gobble, gobble!
Wright's Brew & Bistro (Lincolnshire)
Outlook: Did you know that bees have five eyes? Well, that is how this new honey ale from Wright’s Brew and Bistro located inside Lincolnshire Marriott Resort got its name. This cream ale is brewed in collaboration with Tighthead Brewing Co. in Mundelein. The award-winning brew house utilizes the honey that is produced in the beehives on-site at the Lincolnshire resort. One sip and you will see what all the buzz is about.
Mickey Finn's Brewery (Libertyville)
Outlook: BEAR DOWN, Chicago Bears. Being neighbors with Halas Hall (the Chicago Bears practice facility), the county's oldest brewery pays ode to the Monsters of the Midway with a brown ale. The brew heralding the inventors of the T formation is an English-styled beer that’s charismatically nutty and toffee flavor.
Glunz Family Winery (Grayslake)
Outlook: Glunz Family Winery & Cellars produces a trio of seasonal Sangria flavors: red, white and rosé. The intense citrus, berry flavors complemented by a dash of sweetnes, makes for a refreshing treat during hot summer days. The Grayslake vino can be enjoyed by the glass or by can!
Flesk Brewing Co. (Barrington)
Outlook: The newest hazy New England IPA from Flesk Brewing Co. is bursting with a citrusy aroma and fruity flavors. This juicy IPA brewed with Citra and Amarillo hops is the perfect complement for your summer adventures!
Buffalo Creek Brewing Co. (Long Grove)
Outlook: Chocolate AND bacon. Who can say NO TO that DYNAMIC duo? This choclate bacon stout IS rated 35 ON the International Bitters Unit Scale (IBU) AND can be thoroughly enjoyed YEAR-ROUND. WITH the village's Strawberry Festival in June, this is the perfect time to complement our favorite cocoa treat with an enormous berry.
Ravinia Brewing Co. (Highland Park)
Outlook: Cock-a-doodle-doo has NEW meaning WITH the Flight of the Rooster Saison. Utilizing NEW Zealand Nelson Sauvin hops, this brew obtains a sauvignon blanc palate. This brand of suds has 25 IBUs AND IS perfect FOR warmer months.
Harbor Brewing Co. (Winthrop Harbor)
Outlook: Your favorite cereal IS NOW a beer! AND it's good! This delightful IPA is brewed with zero boil hops and is packed with Citra and Mosaic hops for an incredible aroma and finish.
Only Child Brewery (Gurnee)
Outlook: Pucker up, buttercup. This Gurnee Pale Ale is brewed with lime zest and agave; the perfect combination of sweet and sour. The crisp finish of this brew pairs nicely with the assortment of food vendors that the brewery brings to their tap room most weekends.
Light the Lamp Brewery (Grayslake)
Outlook: Perfect for a chilly winter's day, Light the Lamp's Sin Bin Stout is the perfect mixture of roasted malts and a smooth, smokey finish. The English Oatmeal Stout is the perfect compliment to more than a few of the Grayslake brewery's finely crafted food menu.
Copper Fiddle Distillery (Lake Zurich)
Outlook: Pronounced "Fire Engine," this unique style of gin packs a punch. The spicy libation uses a full serrano pepper in each bottle which has been charred, roasted and cut by hand. Fyren Gin is the perfect companion for cocktails such as bloody marys, martinis and more. If you're looking for the perfect winter warmup, this is the libation for you. Fyren Gin perfectly accompanies cucumber, basil, tonic water, simple syrup and more in their featured cocktail, Lake Zurich Fire Department.
North Shore Distillery (Green Oaks)
Outlook: The delightful spirit starts with fermented honey turned into mead and then distilled with a variety or oranges, spices and herbs. Beehive Curaço is a phenomenal sipping liqueur for the holiday season. North Shore Distillery will host the libation's launch party on December 8 at the Green Oaks tasting room / distillery.
Lynfred Winery (Wheeling)
Outlook: The mulled libation is packed with aromas of cinnamon, cloves and gingerbread cookies; perfect for cold, long November nights. Pair with oatmeal cookies or chocolate berries for a real treat. The spiced wine can also be warmed for especially chilly nights.
Tighthead Brewery (Mundelein)
Outlook: The limited edition IPA is full bodied, incredibly refreshing and brewed by award-winning craftsmen. The Greenway Boogie IPA is a collaboration between Tighthead Brewing, REI in Vernon Hills and the Lake County Forest Preserves. A percentage of sales support the Preservation Foundation of the Lake County Forest Preserves.
ABV: 6.7% | IBU: ??
Roaring Table Brewery (Lake Zurich)
Outlook: This is a soft, hazy, fruity beer that goes well with hanging out with the best people in the world! Friends, family and Fido.
ABV: 5.4% | IBU: 20
Bosacki's Home Brew (Mundelein)
Outlook: A complement TO the newly released Raspberry Wheat, this American Pale Wheat Ale provides the subtle taste of blueberries AND allows the slight sweetness of the wheat through. This unfiltered wheat beer IS visually cloudy, WHILE obtaining a fuller body. The ale has a 5.3 percent alcohol BY volume AND IS rated AT 15 ON the International Bitterness Unit scale. Available FOR a limited time.
ABV: 5.3% | IBU: 15