Craft-beer Q&A with Tommy Riemer of The Beacon Tap: A love of local breweries like Une Année, Mikerphone and Temperance, tasty winter stouts to check out, and escaping to Journeyman Distillery and Beer Church in SW Michigan
Beer Church in New Buffalo, Mich.
Check out this full article in the new winter issue of our sister publication, IllinoisBrewing.com
General manager of The Beacon Tap
1374 Lee Street in Des Plaines, IL
Favorite breweries: Fibs Brewing in Des Plaines. You’re sitting next to machines that turn your funeral ashes into diamonds. That place is hard to find, but worth a stop. Mikerphone nearby in Elk Grove Village is great. My favorite beer of theirs is Special Sauce. Anytime that comes out, I make sure I’m buying a bunch of it. Liquid Love Brewing is solid.
Phase Three, nothing they do is average. I have their Pixel Density IPA on draft at the Beacon Tap a lot, and a rye lager from them that’s really good. Une Année in Niles, too. They’re very creative with everything they do, whether it’s their stouts, sours or IPAs. Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee is another one I’ve always liked. They were doing great stuff well before most everyone else, before the craft-beer craze really hit.
We did a collaboration with Fibs Brewing — their Russian imperial stout that we brewed in Journeyman Distillery bourbon barrels and raspberry puree for six months. That should be up and ready to roll in February, exclusively at The Beacon Tap.
Drinking tendencies: They’re bad (laughs). Well, after years in the business, I can definitely drink anything. But my favorite style is definitely a double dry-hopped IPA. My buddy got me started on stouts last year, and I love anything that’s peanut butter and chocolate based.
Hop Butcher, Phase Three, Lil Beaver Brewery, love them all. Lil Beaver, I’ve been on their bandwagon for a few a years now — they do a great job. I find them, and a lot of phenomenal stuff, at Bottle Theory, which is a great craft-beer shop that just opened up in Elmhurst.
What are you looking forward to having on tap this winter at the Beacon Tap: Maplewood’s Morbidly Obese Pug: Cookies & Cream will be on tap this winter, and so much of what they do is so good. I’ve bought a lot of beer from them, and we carry several of their beers at the restaurant, but I need to go to the taproom and hang out soon.
We also have a great stout we did in collaboration with Fibs that’s their Russian imperial stout that we brewed in Journeyman Distillery bourbon barrels and raspberry puree for six months. That should be up and ready to roll in February. Exclusively at the Beacon Tap, so come grab some.
Une Année in Niles is very creative with everything they do, whether it’s their stouts, sours or IPAs.
Recent beers that have caught your eye: Energy City is a brewery that’s completely underrated — they do a peanut butter imperial stout (Patisserie Peanut Butter Cup Classic) that is one of the best I’ve tried. Real peanut butter in there, I’m telling you. I’ve cut the can open with a knife and was spooning it out to eat it (laughs). Not even kidding.
Temperance Beer Co. in Evanston does some awesome stouts in the wintertime. Especially their Might Meets Right varieties, like their chocolate peppermint stout that will make you feel like Christmas.
Best stop for a beer you’ve made on vacation: We were on vacation in the Indiana Dunes, and Beer Church Brewing in New Buffalo, Michigan, was a lot of fun. They converted a church from the Civil War era. And I know it’s a distillery and not a brewery, but Journeyman, in Three Oaks, Michigan, is a great time too. They do everything well, and it’s a beautiful venue.