Location: Chicago, IL
What you need to know: Founded in 2012, Begyle is a community supported brewery (they offer limited memberships with six or 12-month growler fill subscriptions, with a new signup opportunity starting June 1st) that offers a wide variety of approachable beers meant to bring their community together. Situated on the North Side of Chicago in the Ravenswood neighborhood, Begyle has become a neighborhood hangout spot as well as a destination for beer travelers. The popularity of their beer selection has grown to the point that Begyle started canning in early 2017, and later that year expanded their distribution to their owners’ (Kevin Cary and Matt Richley) native Southeast Michigan. Their mainstays include pale ale Free Bird, wheat ale Crash Landed, and Begyle Blonde (along with the Hophazardly they are bringing to Savor), and they are all good examples of their styles, plus they have plenty of limited releases that have garnered attention and acclaim.
Beer/Food Pairing #1: Boat Shoes (Kolsch / 5% ABV) paired with Pork Loin Tostada, Green Mole and Chicharron
Notes/Thoughts: Boat Shoes is the result of a 2017 rebranding of Begyle’s Kiki Cuyler kolsch, and both beers have very good reviews. The aroma gives off a bit more grassy and floral hop notes than the classic version of the style, but the flavor profile is spot on, with the light fruit flavors melding nicely with the softer malt flavors. The finish is clean, refreshing, and pleasant. Some of the flavors in the pairing make sense, but the food might be a bit too much for the beer. Regardless, this is a great refreshing beer that should be a good counterpoint to many of the other beers at the festival.
Beer/Food Pairing #2: Hophazardly (IPA / 7.1% ABV) paired with Chile Relleno, Asadero and Pine Nuts
Notes/Thoughts: Hophazardly is brewed with Citra and Simcoe hops, imparting aromas of citrus and pine and grapefruit flavors that combine with malty sweetness for a balanced, dry IPA with a milder finish. Reviews are pretty good, and this is a beer that Begyle has been canning and distributing, so it is one of their more popular offerings. The pairing of the beer with cheese is a natural fit, but the addition of the pepper will add some heat to the proceedings, so it may not be for everyone.
Overall Impressions: Inevitably, Savor is going to get warm and busy, and at some point, every attendee is going to want a break for their palate. When I get to this point, I’ll drink some water (a recommendation always worth remembering), and then I’m probably going to grab a Kolsch. There’s only a handful at the festival, and I’m excited that Begyle’s is one of them. Even though I’m not 100% sold on either pairing, I intend to take some time enjoying the Hophazardly as well. Chicago’s beer scene is clearly thriving, and it’s nice to see one of their well thought of breweries get a chance for a spotlight in DC.
Written by Bruce Webster