Groucho heads out west for an anniversary brewery crawl with Dude Night’s Hogdawg. (Cheers to you who remember Dude Night!) It had literally been 10 years to the week that Groucho and CHUD came out to San Diego for the Stone 10th annual beerfest. This time, we behave ourselves and hit a few new brewhouses and enjoy our drinks with a little more moderation!
On the show:
Lost Abby Confessional
Tony Guinn beer
CHUD’s philosophy on food establishments.
Thrillist list guided our day of breweries.
32N Brewing. Totally cool brewery. Best Coast IPA was great!
Little Miss Brewing Company. Groucho liked it! 2 months old.
Ale Smith IPA.
Blue Angel Interruption!
Groucho rails on Watermelon Dorado… Again! This horse is beat for God’s sake!
Thanks to Hogdawg for making the time to host another great day imbibing.
I will admit to being pretty blessed when it comes to this silly little podcast that CHUD and I have been plodding along with for the past decade. It’s taken us to San Diego where we met new friends and interviewed Greg Koch. It’s gotten us VIP visits to breweries and opportunities to work with those breweries to get a handle of the topic. We have interviewed top Brewers and up and comers. It’s even gotten Groucho a steak dinner in DC! If we made a list of benefits that come from our 6 bucks a month invested in a domain and online space… It would be an article unto itself.
Adding to this amazing pile of benefits was a recent invitation I got from Dustin “The Voice” over at Drunken Lullabies podcast. If you don’t know them, they are the other Pekin beer podcast. Apparently this town IS big enough for two! Dustin was doing a remote show at the Social Kitchen in Lasalle Illinois with a few musical acts… And figured out through shared friends that I followed one of the artists. Primarily, he was talking about Bob Walkenhorst of the Rainmakers. Also filling out the bill was Cody Diekoff, more known as the solo artist “Chicago Farmer”.
Cody is from Delavan. He has been plugging away from complete obscurity a decade ago to near local celebrity in Peoria at this time. The last time I saw him play was back in 2005 at the Farmhouse in his hometown. He played against a wall to a local crowd that payed him no mind. At the time it seemed a little sad, but in hindsight appears to be a testament to the perseverance that it took to get to where he is now.
Bob Walkenhorst. The reason I listed all the great things that TBR has brought to us was to show you the reverence I had for seeing Bob. This is right up there as a top benefit to doing the Beer Report. I have been following his band The Rainmakers since their first major release in 1986. Yeah, that’s a bit of time. Bob still plays with the band, but recently seems to spend more time doing solo engagements as he travels across the Midwest. I pretty much own everything he has produced… Several times over as media has transformed from LP’s, Cassette and CD’s. If Dustin was looking for a Bob expert to tag along for this show… There are few in the Peoria area more qualified.
Drunken Lullabies does specialize in craft beers for its podcast. But it also serves double duty by focusing on local bands. Dustin had a unique advantage for this hosting job when he was manager of the local record shop, Co-Op Records. Even though he is not there anymore, his love for music is evident in his efforts to bring local artists like this to the public.
The invite was to co-host this episode. Of course, I was taking this gig!
The best part about taking part in something like this was coming across a new venue for great food, craft beer and music. The Social Kitchen was new to me…. I had no idea that Lasalle was hiding this little gem on its historical Main Street area.
Pre show, we sat down to dinner. Social Kitchen’s menu is a fresh and inventive mix of local flavors. They combine that with off the wall items. Delicious lobster corn dogs anyone???
I had one of the amazing salads and a few Revolution IPA’s. We shared a table with some other folks and everyone raved about their dishes. Had we been to the Social Kitchen just to explore a new restaurant, this would have been enough to call the night a success.
Dave Gualandri got up to introduce tonight’s acts. Dave is a rabid music fan turned promoter. His sheer will and love to music is driving a series of concerts at Social Kitchen called the “Songwriter Series”. I was not prepared for what he was announcing next. He said that Bob and Cody would be playing side by side passing a virtual baton back and forth as they sang songs about subjects they had agreed to over dinner. Of course, both artists are from small Midwestern towns, so the overall theme would consist of music aimed at this part of the world we call home. I was game. I wanted to hear whole show of Bob… But hey, this concept sounded interesting.
For nearly two hours, Bob and Cody (Who had never met until this night) went back and forth with songs themed with subjects ranging from cars to love. It was a compelling show that sucked you in and made a couple hours disappear long before I wanted. Adding to charm of the performance, the Social Kitchen acoustics were paired perfectly with the two artists acoustic guitars and voices.
So, you may be saying… OK Groucho… This all sounds amazing. I know that I write everything like a Penthouse Forum letter. I am just that enthusiastic! What do you have to show for this? Funny you should ask. Dustin had setup a special recording of his podcast with the artists after the show. What I have to show is Drunken Lullabies Episode 43.
If you want to hear a couple of great Midwestern artists sing a few songs and drink Oktoberfest beers while being educated about beer by a completely entertaining writer named J.A. Konrath… You have to listen to this one. Oh, I’ll take credit for inspiring this episodes title as well when Konrath and I have a little fun with each other.
This was a great idea that we came up with for the 2016 Jaycee’s Peoria International Beerfest.
The introduction of The Beer Report Beerfest “Confessional”. All we asked is that VIP attendees stopped by and shared who they were and what beers they loved. Here are the results.
An actual booth? The noise pollution was almost unbearable. A small PVC framed booth with a cloth exterior might make this easier on the ears.
Tighter framing. I zoomed the frame in during post… The only reason its not tighter was because of the short gal and Gene’s Vanilla Ice shirt… I had to make sure people saw that awesomeness!
A warning light. We had some people use the camera when the memory card was full. The Go-Pro light would not have been flashing at that time, and I wish I would have been told before I noticed it myself. Live and learn!!!
Otherwise… This was totally fun. We need to copyright and patent this thing for a mobile beerfest activity.
This week, Rhodell Brewery, an institution of downtown Peoria stepped up and spread its wings. This move and upgrade filled in another gap in the continued effort to revitalize downtown Peoria.
Rhodell brewery has been a staple of bar hoppers in the Water Street Area of downtown for nearly the last two decades. You can get a lot of opinions about their beers, but one thing is for sure, they have outlasted many other Peoria establishments. While longevity is not an argument for quality, it is a testament to a solid fan base and established business model. Tonight, Groucho got a chance to stop by the new and improved Rhodell at its new location, the Murray Building.
The new location is just two blocks NE of the old brewery that had been next to Kellehers Irish Pub. The new residence, the Murray building, is an old warehouse style building with lots of red bricks and air of Peoria history. It fits the bill for a building that can be molded into modern dwellings and business’ while still keeping the look of authentic. Future plans call for artist and studio space to fill the rest of the building.
The new digs are great. Walking into the new brewery I immediately noticed the touches of steel, glass and polished wood creating a modern atmosphere. Looking around, there is no doubt that lots of money was spent to make this move. The floor plan is wide open. Lots of tables of varying sizes and tons of large windows are a great improvement over the previous venue. The outside seating (Smoking) space is small, and they have used everything they have to work with. Even is the size is on the small side, its still a vast improvement over the previous location. The brewing system takes up more floor space than you might expect, but they have done a good job of wrapping the area with seating for those folks who want a front row seat on brew day. One part of the new bar/brewery that did not make sense to me, the inclusion of the old bar from the Water Street location. I completely understand nostalgia and honoring the past, but the old bar was dark and grim with a personality that screamed of 70’s plywood paneling. I was taken aback when I saw that bar with its original roof facade sitting in the middle of this re-birth.
The beers for this week are plentiful. It would be obscene to sit and sample all the beers they had available. I counted 14 on draft and cask. I started with the top of the list and had a Hopgasm IPA. After that, I tried the Mad Cow Milk Stout. The Hopgasm was very good and the Milk Stout was above average. Normally, Rhodell beers have similar notes of flavor. This has been a criticism of them for years by local beer aficionados who don’t consider them a “True” brewery. I can tell you this. Both beers I had were flavorful and fit the bill for what I was looking for. I did not taste any “Rhodell” profile in either of my beers so it makes me wonder if its been greatly improved over the years or a psychosomatic trick to seek out undesirable flavors. I look forward to trying some more of their beers to see if they have advanced as much as the facility.
The Hopgasm IPA I had tonight was $7.50 and the Mad Cow Milk Stout was $5.50. These prices might be where I might struggle with coming back. Nothing was listed about ABV, Hops or ANYTHING about the brewing process for these beers. Yet, in my mind, premium money is being asked for the beer. I felt like I was in a reverse kickstarter… Normally, my donation would come with the promise of one overpriced beer or t-shirt. Today those premium prices made me feel like I was overpaying as some kind of quick repayment for the work done. It will be interesting to see if those prices stay in place when the “new brewery smell” wears off.
In all fairness, it was the 2nd night of operation and it would be expected that they might have some things to flesh out. Beer listings with information would be a great addition. I noticed that the chalkboard at the door was still blank on day two… Another indicator that the operation is brand new!!!
If the goal with this new location is to serve thirsty travelers and businessmen who come downtown, then Rhodell have hit the mark. Prices seldom matter to company credit cards and proximity to Caterpillar World Headquarters will make this an easy stop after work. Craftbeer fans in the Peoria should check it. This is what a modern brewery atmosphere should be in downtown Peoria. Craftbeer nerds and naysayers of Rhodell should visit and appreciate an awesome temple of beer. They have certainly earned my respect with the commitment to the new facility. Its a comfortable space and a welcome addition to the riverfront that seems to struggle with keeping businesses thriving. This alone warrants a visit.
10 years kids! Who would have thought that Groucho and CHUD could start a little show in July 2005 and keep it going consistently (fairly) for the last ten years. Certainly not us!
Beers on the show: “Weez” and “Mean Old Tom” by Maine Brewing Company.
On the Show:
The Drunk Dial.
The Names: Groucho & CHUD.
10 years of progress in Craft Beer in Central Illinois.
Broadway Liquors sustained the show the first three years of the show.
Biaggi’s review from years ago.
Farm to Table in Central Illinois is finally coming!
Live from Gravyfest! Bubby and Doc.
CHUD Rant! Whats gone wrong with the world in the last 10 years!
Bloom County is Back!!!!
Groucho’s guilt. TBR confessions!
Grapefruit Shandy! Killer Leinie!
The Future of TBR!
Shoutout to Superfans!
CHUD’s favorite episode: 4
Still embarrassed about mocking Avery Hog Heaven.
One last shoutout to Jeff and Greg at Craftbeer Radio… And a promise to podcast longer!
Now… If you listened all the way through, you might be questioning the resolve of the owners of this show to be the beer crazed nuts that we have been in the past. We still love beer… We still love hanging out with each other… But the fact of the matter is… CHUD now has a life as well! Its going to be hard to pretend that we can get away with this much bad behavior forever! We will still be out and about. We will still hang and record. But, events and launches are back burner events at this point.
PLEASE GOD… Isn’t there anyone else in Peoria Beercasting to fill the void??? Kinda shocking that there is not! There seems to be a beer podcast in every town over 30,000 people!
Beers purchased at some cool co-op in Vermont. Thanks to the “dude” for help grabbing some cool beer!