Low ABVs

Low ABV 150 – New Glarus Kriek

Save your whales – all we need to celebrate our big 150 is an absolutely perfect wild sour cherry beer from New Glarus. Ryan has a surprising take on the kids in taprooms debate, we taste that Wisconsin terroir, and we plan the next generation of Low ABVs. (Hint: it involves the chugging of milk and curds in a cheese form.)  

Low ABV 149 – Wizard Beers

The short of this Low ABV is this: Craig did a crime against wizards. The long of it is that Craig went to Harry Potter World in Orlando and Gryffted out some “beers” to try, including a non-alcoholic “Butter Beer” and a hand-growlered Wizard Stout. Listen to two men who have the wispiest knowledge of a beloved franchise stumble their way through tasting two divergent oddities before just manchilding this whole thing to Simpsons Land and Nintendo Town.  

Low ABV 148 – SARA Love’s Armor

Leftover from our torrid reunion with the incredible Sante Adairius Rustic Ales, this wild ale is a blend of a barrel-aged dark saison and a rye porter with cherries. It’s dark, mysterious, and oh so interesting – the very antithesis of this Low ABV that’s mostly about Tetris and other Nintendo bullshit. We do play a new game we’re (sadly) calling the Brewleywed Game, and we learn more about each other than we ever have. You’re the dog now, man.  

Low ABV 147 – Everything Eventually

This hazy pale from Hacienda out of Door County (and soon to be Milwaukee) is a love letter to Citra hops. We talk about the MKE beer scene, Ryan shares his least favorite question set-up, Craig the Tech Genius helps us keep our dongles in order, and we fear the Flagship February blowback. This is one of our drunkest recordings. It’s a real First Person Craiger.

Low ABV 146 – Permastank

We’re just Murphin’ around on this one with a DDH DIPA from Transient, and we’re sauced from the beginning so the stream-of-consciousness verbal foolishness is more than usual. We revisit our baseball walk-up songs, examine Craig’s extreme tats, and consider aloe as the ultimate value add.

Low ABV 145 – Going In Circles

This beer is a collaboration between Mikerphone and Bearded Iris, a Sour DIPA with peach puree, peach rings, and lactose. It’s surprisingly good. We do a dumb thing with predictive text, reflect on a mixed bag of experiences from these breweries, then just kind of talk about Jewel and pop for a while. You know, going in circles, and whatnot.

Low ABV 144 – CBD Pilsner

Certainly the first we’ve had of its kind, this pilsner from Untitled Art features 5 milligrams of CBD – a dose that barely registers as having an effect on most users. But Craig is not most users. Find out what we think about the beer while Craig rides the magic schoolbus. We also talk a lot about vanity license plates and why all 311 songs go to heaven.

Low ABV 143 – For The Helles Of It

Light on flavor but heavy on content, this Low pairs two very different Helles lagers – one from Dovetail, and another from Sierra Nevada. We try to develop the perfect consumption triangle, wrangle a cadre of goofballs, examine our dangling participles, create the next great action franchise, and praise the most practical Cenobite. We also play another round of our new hit game, Stumptappd! (Patent pending.)

Low ABV 142 – Dancing Gnome Dead Sleep

We have a can of a chocolate stout from new-to-the-show Dancing Gnome Brewery out of Pittsburgh, and like, you know what they say about first impressions? Well this one isn’t good. But that’s okay because this Low is an instant classic in the ABV canon, asking critical questions about 311 (just days before the big holiday) and introducing our new Japanese/Goth fusion restaurant, Sushi and the BansheesⓇ. We also invent the most niche Calvin peeing sticker and have a few SkaSnacks.

Low ABV 141 – Rolling Meadows ILL IPA

Courtesy of a mysterious box from Good Beer Hunting, we taste this (newly-anointed) farm brewery’s take on an IPA, Done the Illinois WayⓇ. Can Illinois develop its own unique IPA designation? It’s looking doubtful. But we also talk about the worst infomercial, become lawn chair poppin’ daddies, and market to the computer-owner demographic.

Low ABV 140 – Cherry Stems

Another set of regrettable decisions (recording after a drunken show, the choice of beers) leads to this Low ABV’s creation. We try two cast-offs from our Cherry On Tap show: Anderson Valley’s Cherry Gose and Lagunitas’ Cherry Jane. We also embrace our evolution into a retro gaming podcast, do some ball hoardin’, and explain how milkshakes have replaced my Sucks.

Low ABV 139 – Brickstone Milkshake IPA

Here at ABV Chicago Inc., we strive to bring you better takes than the lazy, curmudgeonly fare offered up on Beer Twitter whenever a trendy new IPA style is mentioned. Though naturally a bit skeptical at first, we always want to try a breadth of offerings on a style before being dismissive. And we have now tried many Milkshake IPAs, including this one from Brickstone with pineapple, mango, vanilla, and lactose. It’s time to get dismissive. Neither of us are eager to be the defender of this style, and this beer doesn’t help. So instead, listen to this because Craig makes an important Girl Scout cookie discovery, Ryan outlines his plans to officially befriend Christopher Cross, and there’s a game about music conspiracy theories.

Low ABV 138 – Ninja vs. Unicorn vs. Ninja vs. Unicorn vs. The Haze

We close out #FlagshipFebruary with a revisit to Pipeworks’ nü-classic DIPA and then bring in the haze for a little showdown. Who will emerge victorious?!? You will NOT be shocked. Also, Ryan’s brain is poisoned by 90s Spotify, Craig gets caught up in the classicness, we flip through the late night infomercials, time those barrel blasts in DK3, and smoke a goddamned lizard. Fat boy, wait ‘til tomorrow.

Low ABV 137 – Beer Cocktails

We’re going to need Men In Black-era Will Smith to erase all of our memories after this drunken disaster of a Low ABV. So after a whole night of drinking wine, beer, and liquor, we took it a step further and tried our hands at mixing up some beer cocktails using some Herbalist Gin and Rye Whiskey from Wisconsin’s Great Northern Distilling. Find out how at least one of us made a successful beer mixed drink from this Chopped basket of ingredients: Chambord, lemon juice, ginger beer, New Glarus Wisconsin Belgian Red, Lost 40 Baltic Porter, Sierra Nevada Hop Bullet, New Holland Passion Blaster, clove, ginger, Bing cherry sauce, and pickle juice. Seriously, we’re okay if you just forget this one happened.

Low ABV 136 – QDH Big Pulpy

To celebrate their 4th anniversary, the hazemaztersⓇ at Maplewood made a quadruple dry-hopped version of their juicebomb double IPA. When you have more hops than liquid in the tank, how long until we’re drinking straight hop syrup or chipping away at some hop glass? We also talk about the levels of dry-hopping, how to streamline the show, and the best new mashup album idea. Big Yankee Style.

Low ABV 135 – Dragon Banana

After the release of Proprietor’s Bourbon County in 2017, we all expectantly awaited the barrel-aged banana stout craze to take over the nation. And after all that, what we got was…..this atrocity? New Holland dropped this vile liquid into bottles a few months back, and after a whole night of drinking, we sip upon this liquid Laffy Taffy until we just can’t. So instead, we seize upon the dragons theme and get into a trivia game with Game of Thrones characters, which Ryan knows nothing about! Meet Craigery Slunder the Knight, and his far better counterpart, Kreg TightTunic. We also try to spell names as weird as we can, and there’s a whole bit about songs we’re slutty for that may surprise you.

Low ABV 134 – Barrel Theory This Isn’t Even My Final Form

Here’s a theory for you: your beer name is too long for something that’s just so-so.  Expect some more scorching-hot takes like that one on this SCANDALOUS new Low ABV where we drink some hazy pale ale from a fat crowler of disappointment. We plan our escape and get some travel advice from Will Smith, contract a nasty Sty Stallone, swing on down to the Orifice Depot, and jump in early on the Creamy Wilds craze. Shit, I just thought of another celebrity that sorta rhymes with home: Raven Symone.

Low ABV 133 – Pipeworks Speed of Sound

This double dry-hopped oat IPA reaffirms Ryan’s assertion that Pipeworks is ready to snatch that hazy crown for Chicago in 2019, but it also brings out the music in us. Almost everything not beer-related on this Low is music-related, including an AMA about one of this decade’s most important soundtracks, and then there’s a bad lyrics game that pits Coldplay against new U2, because we’re edgy like that. Save us, RefuJesus!

Low ABV 132 – Kinslahger Baltic Porter

Ahoy! We set sail on a tiring nautical theme as we drink the heavenly Baltic Porter from Oak Park’s lagermeisters at Kinslahger. It’s a silky dream of a beer and everyone should drink it. Now that the review has been spoiled, know that, for some reason, this whole thing just kind of nosedives into two children saying “poop,” so we’re sorry about that. But we do play another round of StumptappdⓇ™ on nautical-themed beers, and we obsess a little on Coke-blending.

Low ABV 131 – Afterthought Saison Avec Lemons

Ho hum – yet another Afterthought beer, and yet another classic saison with a twist that outshines the rest. It’s almost like we should actually do a whole Afterthought show sometime, right?? Well this Low also includes another confusing journey with Craig through the grocery aisles, and Ryan explains why he’s always IBS. There’s a game about Santana collaborations, and we hope for a P.O.D Pod to drop on our lawns soon. Have a Migo, or two, and stay awhile!

Low ABV 130 – Abnormal Hazy Dreams

To kick off a night of California beers, we open this hazy IPA and attempt to cram ten pounds of fun into a five pound Low ABV bag. We consider great straightforward t-shirts, lament the loss of our freaky Tumblr accounts, fortify our plan to protect DeviantArt, consider Sonic’s dick, misquote Eleanor Roosevelt, expand a few lawsuits, invent the worst diapers, and sip on Gene’s Weird Beers. What even is this show anymore? Thanks for donating in 2018 – we’ll keep pumping out the good stuff in 2019!

Low ABV 129 – Christmas Leftovers

We’re further breaking down the Bitter Pops Advent Calendar for parts, as we pull out three Christmas Ales for review, and they are all wildly different: Anchor’s Merry Xmas and Happy New Year (2018), Bell’s Christmas Ale, and Begyle’s Christmas Ale. This stocking is fully stuffed, as we also talk about inspirational mountains, Abysses’ Day, how there are only 50 trees, and Slim Goodbody’s Thin Christmas. And what’s that sizable lump tumbling out of the toe? It’s round two of our new favorite game, Stumptappd, and the subject is Christmas beers! Thanks for the Snackwells, dick.

Low ABV 128 – Lagunitas Hoppy Sparking Water

In a move that we’re pretty sure nobody on Earth asked for, Lagunitas has rolled out 4-packs of a hopped-up alcohol-free sparkling water drink that claims to be made with hops and yeast. It’s wonderfully weird and leaves us mystified as to how the hell this thing is made. Also, Ryan finally announces where he’s going to be taking his teeth after a rumor-filled offseason, we seek out a tiny coolship, and we reach out to Tony, Tony!, and Toný.

Low ABV 127 – God Damn Fudge & Coconut Pigeons

Spiteful’s God Damn Pigeon Porter is a gem of a beer in its original form, but with a release of a mixed 4-pack of adjunct-assisted variants, we had to put some to the tasting test. On this one, we try the Chocolate Fudge and Coconut variations. We also talk about the terrifying implications of rideshare scooters and play a game to address our Zydeco blindspots. Where da coconat?

Low ABV 126 – New Glory Citra Dream

It’s another hazy beer, and another brewery with a name that is almost a thing already, especially if you’re into bad turn-of-the-century pop punk. We play an obvious game based on that reference; we struggle to remember forgettable bands; we shower in colors; we reveal the origin of Stumptappd; and we find the worst worst beer name. All in about 17 minutes.

Low ABV 125 – Revolution Heroes, Issue 5


In the latest “issue” of the Revolution Heroes series, there are two new additions: El Dorado and Cashmere. But a surprising new Hero also hit the shelves separately: Brut Hero. We assemble all these heroes and size them up in our usual way. But we also introduce our new hit game, Stumptappd (name under construction) where we see if we can outwit brewers’ by coming up with original beer names based on a style. This round’s feature is the Brut IPA! We also talk about when cynicism starts, the difference between Mac and Me and Roger and Me, and how we were weirded out by a particular brewer/inventor of a certain style…

Low ABV 124 – pFriem Flanders

Hold on. First of all, everyone cool? We cool? Everyone good? OK. We pluck the last liquid delight from our pFriem box for this Low, and it’s a Flanders-style Red that is in line with what you’d expect pfrom the brewery with a pfunny name. But we also recap our very different Black Friday experiences, talk about how UB40 swears perverted our young brains, and play a game based on toy fads of yesteryear, so there’s your heaving helping of nostalgia for this one.

Low ABV 123 – Tired Hands PurPec

Listed as an “Oak-fermented mulberry ale” (as if that were a thing), this sour from a collaboration between Tired Hands and Forest + Main divides us more than it excites us, but we drank it anyways and recorded ourselves talking! But we also try to figure out exactly how one loses part of their finger in an Uber; we become swayed by odd powers of suggestion; and we wonder aloud about where the hell Heavy Gem went.

Low ABV 122 – SciPAs

What we have on this Low ABV is pretty amazing, on a few fronts. For one, we are drinking two beers that utilize Arcane Distilling’s vacuum-distilled hop oils: Pipeworks’ Unicorn Vs. Science IPA and Hop Butcher for the World’s Traveling Scientist Pale Ale. Secondly, we very organically give birth to LARPing for Pizza, our new favorite thing we’ve imagined. There’s also the (dreaded) return of the Bathroom Boys, some odd hop initial blends, and a solid minute of Dan Grzeca art appreciation.

Low ABV 121 – Juice Medals

Is it the juice or is it no juice?!? Whatever it is, it’s a medal winner. We drink two hazy IPAs that won medals at this year’s GABF for their JuicyHazy style: from Chicago, it’s Alarmist’s Le Jus (Gold in Juicy or Hazy IPA) and from California, it’s Alvarado Street’s Contains No Juice (Bronze in Juicy or Hazy Imperial IPA). We pitch a way to use political pettiness for small positive change, talk CostCo staples, fix that glycol chiller, palm mute, blow our asses straight through our chairs, and indulge in some light FoBAB nostalgia. But don’t listen to this until you go vote. Seriously. We can wait.

Low ABV 120 – Cake & Pie IPAs

We all saw Pastry IPAs becoming a thing, right? Well here we are drinking a Southern Grist Strawberry Upside Down Cake IPA (thanks to Matt Millam!) and an Alarmist  Cherry Pie Hopper Pie-PA. One works very well, and one is a bit of a letdown. We also go over some Improv 101, take a Pie Personality test, and talk sports instructional songs along with the long dreamt-of collabo between John Fogerty and Tom Emanski.

Low ABV 119 – Crane Tea Weisse

Over the summer, longtime supporter and Patron Don Kasak hooked us up with a beer from Crane Brewing out of Missouri, and we were excited to check out more from this brewery we’ve heard so much about. Too bad this beer seems to have a tart grudge against us, as things went south fast. We also talk about butt checking, Barry Royboss, cootie catchers, and the – uh – potential challenges navigating the new GABF layout? (This was recorded in July.)

Low ABV 118 – Pumpkin Runoff

As a companion to a forthcoming show on that trendy style everyone is talking about (if this were 5 years ago), we drink two more pumpkin beers – which has to be some sort of a record. We taste Blue Moon’s Harvest Pumpkin Wheat and New Belgium’s Atomic Pumpkin Voodoo something-or-other. They both suck in unique ways. We get some more #dogtales out of Craig, argue over what actually constitutes pumpkin flavor, consider our harvest sacrifice, and meet the awful dog-skeleton-man called the “Voodoo Ranger.”

Low ABV 117 – New Glarus Imperial Weizen and Wild Sour Ale 2018

We saved the wettest, wildest, hottest GABF takes for this Low ABV in this Too Hot for Podcast! Edition, fueled by two more excellent new Thumbprint series releases from New Glarus. We don’t exactly make good on all that promise, but both of these beers are amazing in their own way. We talk about pocket chips, scooter tricks, flat bananas, heavy elbows, and a memorable pizza order thanks to Denver being Denver. We’ll try to do better on our FoBAB Confessions Low ABV, set to drop in late November.

Low ABV 116 – Will It Blend? Piña Colada Edition

Call this the “pilot episode” for an ongoing Low ABV experimental series. We take two beers – Windmill Brewing’s Fakie (New England-style Session IPA w/ pineapple) and Hop Butcher’s Watch for Falling Coconuts (Pale ale w/ coconut) – review them separately and see if we can create a piña colada beer by blending them. Then it emboldens us to take two more beers – Two Brothers’ Pahoehoe (Coconut blonde ale, 1+ year old can) and Two Hat’s Pineapple (discontinued light lager w/ “natural pineapple flavor”) – and see what horrors abound. There’s also a ton more, including Ryan’s grief over the Dance Time Boys, some hop rubbing ASMR, and a timid pineapple man. Will. It. Blend??

Low ABV 115 – 5 Rabbit Cacao

Put on your most distracting facial accoutrements and get ready to anté up at the table that we call Cacao. Thanks to Patron and friend Randy, we have a big and chocolatey offering from 5 Rabbit, and we’re drunk before we even open it. So we talk about board games on TV, whether or not Craig knows what quinoa is, and then there’s some Dorf trivia that takes an odd turn. As it should.

Low ABV 114 – Tree House Hurricane

As their newest addition to a rotating year-round lineup, Tree House’s Hurricane builds upon their style-inventing juicy and hazy IPA foundation by bringing a sizable hop wallop from Citra and Simcoe. This Low also has some notable diversions that include Ryan’s harrowing spider stories, Craig and a trunkful of beer, some College F*ckParty Juice, and a few bootleg Air Bart shirts.

Low ABV 113 – New Glarus Champ du Blanc

Part of the 2016 R&D releases, this barrel-aged sour ale with Chardonnay grapes is New Glarus at their absolute best. I wish I could say the same for us! (*slide whistle*) We talk about Footloose-ing some awful block parties, wonder if it’s candy or hard seltzer, and make Craig be Michael Strahan. There’s also a game Craig calls the $100,000 Craft Beer Pyramid, and we do more anagrams of Patrons’ names.

Low ABV 112 – Belgian Beer Blending Battle

Recorded after a night of drinking Belgian sours, we decided to spit in the face of artful tradition and take these masterfully-crafted beers and slosh them together into some glasses to try and make the most interesting blends that we can. And if that doesn’t already sound like the drunkest thing we’ve ever done (and it is), Ryan throws in an element of chaos courtesy of one of the worst beers of the year. We also talk about hot, ripped brewer bods – I’m looking at you, Joe Short. 

Low ABV 111 – Working Draft Future Tense

Possibly the first Brut IPA made in Wisconsin – a prestigious designation, no doubt – this beer from Working Draft has us continuing to question everything we know about this new “style” like whether or not there’s any sort of baseline, or why half of them are really bad, or what about the shelf life?? There’s also a few minutes of an interview with Clint Lohman of Working Draft about this very beer, and some other stuff as well. We also go on a tangent about live music, the confusing impact of Herbal Essences on a pre-teen, and the new knowledge that Craig has never bought grapes. Again with The Bollweevils?

Low ABV 110 – 450 North Pixel Bomb

Though they might be better known for their hazy Triple IPAs or their over-fruited Berliner-styles, the folks from Indiana’s 450 North can crank out a damn solid pale ale as well. We drink that, and we attempt to find profundity in the mundane struggles of two guys who have no real things to complain about. (Wait, did I just describe every podcast ever made?) Ryan talks a bit about disappointing Indiana distribution, we invoke Billy Mitchell again, and Craig explains why 450 is, and I quote, “like Hill Farmstead.” Whoa-oh, clickbait alert!

Low ABV 109 – Hubbard’s Cave Fresh IIPA V18

Described in a Facebook post as something of a tribute to Pliny the Elder, this beer utilizes the same hop bill as the original Double IPA but jazzes it up with that newfangled haze. We experience Actual Bitterness and Challenging Dankness (Must Love Dank) and just dang appreciate those elder American hops. Also, Craig tries (and fails) to start the next exhausting Die Hard-style movie debate, and Ryan puts on the Beer Carnac hat for another round of our second or third favorite reoccuring game segment on the show. And anagrams!

Low ABV 108 – Haizon

This convergence of styles born from the collaboration from Central State and Transient has us getting extra philosophical with a new question meant to inspire a zen-like trance. We measure the degradation of culture through the evolution of rafts then discuss superfluous collaborations and shitty pop-up bars. We also bid on some items in the Baderbrau auction, and continue our anagram tribute to our Patrons.

Low ABV 107 – Yueng N’ Sam

It’s a simple concept: two old breweries with two new beers that we attempt to crush from the cans. But it gets much longer than that, as we kick off another “Low ABV Game Night” series with this one, and Craig tries his hand at a little timeline challenge. There’s also a failed can experiment, licking the hourglass ridge, an extreme free-climbing movie, superior can design, and a Nacho Fries web of lies. We also anagram some of your names, so check it out!

Low ABV 106 – Southern Grist Hoppy Timbs

Everybody diversify now! On this jam-packed shortie, we check out an ass-kicking DIPA from the rapidly growing Nashville brewery, Southern Grist. Craig waxes on about flipping the IPA discussion, but then has a little mustache trouble. We also talk about the problem of being both a mixologist and DJ at the same time, our solution to naming hazy beers, and a potential chopped and screwed episode. Thanks to Matt for the beer!

Low ABV 105 – Very Short Fuse & Tavern Cut

We have two sides of the NE-style coin on this one, as the first beer is cut, ahem, short as it is obviously a mistake. But the second beer, like a fine square of pizza, makes us reach for more. See if you can guess which beer is which! We make some math-enhanced movie pitches, smell stinky dog juice, find ourselves in some weird time bubbles, and fear the presence of ghost hops.

Low ABV 104 – New Glarus Murder Tag

You’re it! In this cellared Low ABV (recorded back in March), we drink two very different New Glarus beers featuring cherries – Enigma, an oak-aged sour with cherries and Cherry Stout. This drunken mini-sode is an untethered, careening rail car of diversions, including weird kids videos, transcribing our podcast, us at 1.5x speed, good old Joey Cigarettey, what life was like before podcasts, and the gory new horror thriller we’re working on: Murder Tag.

Low ABV 103 – Shared Shaeson

Another one from the side project of Side Project, this tart saison features lavender and lemon and all the summer feelings. It’s lovely. (Thanks Don Kasak!) But we also talk about oddly specific cartoon fantasies (not like that, you perv), share some St. Louis memories, and try to establish an incredible line of idiotic gag gifts.

Low ABV 102 – Hubbard’s Cave/Pulpit Rock Samarbeid

This collaboration – a Double IPA with passionfruit – made by one of our favorite Illinois breweries and an up-and-comer from Iowa might be the secret answer to the great sour IPA question. We also have some super relevant, extra hot takes on….Goldfinger and Breaking Bad, all while unlocking the mystery of BDSM.

Low ABV 101 – Sierra Nevada & Weihenstephaner Braupakt

With a combined 1,016 years of brewing experience between them, is it any surprise that the result of this dream collaboration would turn out excellent? We drink this killer hefeweizen while getting totally BRO’D OUT. We discuss a nacho fry shortage, the sliding scale of Sierra Nevada freshness, MasterBeerMan, and a bold take on racism. There’s also a sort-of trivia game regarding buddy cop movies. Cool, bro?