It is human nature to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries: They are like mileposts, marking our journey over time. After the 1st or 2nd anniversary, most folks tend to celebrate them less regularly, but still mark the major intervals – 5 years, 10 years, and then as you get further along – 25 years, and then 50.
But as expected, expect the unexpected at Beer Geeks. They are pulling out all the stops in celebration of their 7th anniversary! Yup - Lucky Number 7! As owner Jason Owens notes…there are “seven days of the week, seven colors of the rainbow, seven notes on the musical scale, seven deadly sins, seven seas, seven wonders of the world and seven continents. Hell, Snow White even had seven dwarves!”
And while technically their anniversary was September 26th, the celebration party will kick off at noon on Saturday, October 7th, and will include a ‘Greatest Hits’ food menu, live music from Delmark recording artist ‘Linsey Alexander’ and the debut of their collaboration beer with 18th St. Brewing….’What’s in the Box!?’
Yes – What’s in the Box, a name referencing the 1995 movie Seven, which Roger Ebert described as “one of the darkest and most merciless films ever made in the Hollywood mainstream.” If you have never viewed this movie, I recommend it strongly, but be forewarned – it ain’t easy. Not giving away the ending, this film’s plot revolves around a serial killer who targets his victims based on the Seven Deadly Sins: Lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, envy, pride and wrath. And it’s the last sin, wrath, which finishes the movie, with a guttural cry of desperation….What’s In The Box?!
You’ll never forget the scene, once you see it, and my guess is, you’ll remember its namesake beer, if 18th Street has anything to say about it. What’s in the Box will be a lactose (milk sugar) white stout brewed with cocoa nibs, star anise, cinnamon, clove, Dark Matter Coffee and Madagascar vanilla beans. There’s a whole lot going on there, so let’s take a closer look.
First off, you’re thinking – white stout? In beer terms, we generally have come to assume that stouts are dark and roasty brews, but the term stout originally was meant to be associated as simply a strong beer. But over the past few years, creative brewers have developed a white stout recipe, which omits the dark and roasted malts from the grain bill (which imparts a stout’s darker color) and replaces them with coffee, vanilla, and cacao nibs which impart the desired bitterness and roast characteristics, but not the color. So, in reality, the beer, as 18th Street brewer Rich Mendoza notes, is essentially a tricked up IPA.
Jason Owens was involved in the process from recipe design to mash-in to bottling, having told 18th Street to “put him to work”, and describes the brew as being very precise in terms of process and ingredients. The beer features Crystal and Falconer hops, and should check in at around 7% ABV. Bombers of the beer will be available for sale at 18th Street (alas not at Beer Geeks, as their license doesn’t allow it), price to be determined.
When asked – why partner up with 18th Street?, Owens indicates that Beer Geeks has had a strong relationship with 18th Street since Day 1, having hosted a tap takeover for 18th Street during their first year of opening the brewery, featuring their Hunter Stout series. And, Owens further says that “18th Street is a beer that customers consistently look for on draft” and that they “come out with beers that make you go ‘wow’.” I’m definitely looking forward to sampling this brew!
But the beer release is only part of the party – let’s talk about the food. Originally, the idea was to have a greatest hits menu, featuring some of their recipes past and present, tied into a 7 deadly theme, but as Jason says….”how do we narrow down a ‘Greatest Hits’ food menu when damn near all of it has been a grand slam?” The answer was to KISS (my homage to Jason’s favorite band) and Keep It Simple, Stupid.
Thus, the menu will consist of five items, with some from their regular menu and some that were only done for one-off events.
Check these out:
• Rub Your Grits if you Love Big Poppa
• Chicken Gristle Eatin', Biscuit Suckin' Muthafucka
• Caribbean Jerk Chicken Tacos #CircleJerk
• Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese #BigPopper
• Korean Bulgogi Tacos w/Kimchi slaw #TacoFlavoredKisses
Now that’s what I’m talking about – this isn’t a menu you’ll find at your neighborhood Applebee’s for sure! I’m thinking I’ll be rocking the Korean tacos, for sure.
And then, there’s going to be blues – how could Beer Geeks throw a party, and not play the blues? Linsey Alexander, a veteran of the Chicago blues scene and a member of the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame, will be taking the stage around 7:00. Alexander has genuine blues bona fides – born in Mississippi, raised in Memphis, and schooled in the blues on Chicago’s south side, Alexander has played with the likes of B.B.King, Bobby Rush, Buddy Guy, Little Milton, Magic Slim, Johnnie Taylor, A.C.Reed, Larry McCray, Bither Smith, John Primer, Otis Clay, Eddie Clearwater, among many other great blues performers.
But, he’s very much his own man, and will be playing a variety of original blues and R&B songs, taken from four albums recorded over the years. As Alexander says "Blues is not hard- it's just a documentary about life." This is a free show, so no cover - and if you’ve never seen a live blues show at Beer Geeks, now is the time. The blues just sound good inside Beer Geeks – trust me.
So, what have I missed? Hmmm, that would be you, as what’s a party without you? Make your way to Beer Geeks on the 7th, and help Jason and his crew celebrate the day. Now, I’m betting you didn’t know that the traditional gift for the 7th anniversary is copper or wool, or that camellia is the anniversary flower (I sure didn’t!), but don’t fret – there’s no need for presents, because on the 7th, you’ll find out What’s In The Box!!!!