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Chicagoist's Beer of the Week: Greenbush Brewing's Brother Benjamin

By Jason Baldacci in Food on Mar 1, 2013 8:45PM

2013_3_1_brother_benjamin.jpgIt's the first day of March and, while there's snow on the ground and more on the way, it's safe to say that we're closer to the end of winter. For us, that's enough of a reason to raise a glass. Preferably, that glass will be full of one of the best local beers we've tasted all season.

Brother Benjamin is an Imperial IPA from Greenbush Brewing. Brewed with clover honey and beet sugar, the beer pours a deep, ruby red in the glass. There are subdued notes of melon and citrus on the nose, which amplify immensely on the palate. The citrus notes are incredibly juicy, giving us the essence of lip-smacking fresh grapefruit. The hops turn a little floral on the finish, which is quite dry. At 10.1 percent alcohol content, Brother Benjamin is well rounded and weighty on the palate. There's a complex malty backbone underneath all of those hops and an added layer of texture from the honey. As you would imagine, honey lends a lot of sugar to the mix, but those sugars ferment like the ones from the malt to add to the alcohol content, so there's almost no residual sweetness left behind.

Greenbush Brewing fired up the kettle in Sawyer, Mich. in summer 2011 and has been on a whirlwind ride ever since. They started an expansion shortly after they opened, began serving house-smoked meats and other foods in their tasting room, and have brewed a plethora of collaboration beers with local chefs. Those collaboration beers have helped them get very involved in the food scene here in Chicago, where they've taken part in some of the bigger foodie-themed events like Dose Market and Taste of the Nation. As a matter of fact, the recipe for Brother Benjamin was developed with a lucky guy who won a chance to be "Brewer for a Day" at Taste of the Nation's Chicago last year. How many breweries give us the opportunity to do something like that while we raise money for charity?

The beers of Greenbush have only been available on draft up to this point, but they recently rolled out bottles for their home-state, and we're hoping to see some cases start to show up in Chicago sometime over the next few months. Try Brother Benjamin on draft this weekend at Hackney's Printer's Row.