Open Mic/Ro Night: A Spotlight For The Homebrewer
Typically, open mics consist of people going on stage with acoustic guitars, singing about their feelings, or people telling stories often beginning with "this one time, in high school, I got so hammered I (fill in the blank here)". But Lakeview's Beermiscuous (2812 N. Lincoln Ave., 855-450-2337) is taking a different approach with the concept.
Held bi-monthly, "Open Mic/Ro Night" is a chance for homebrewers from across the city to converge and share their work with complete strangers. Homebrewers ranging from 10 months experience to 15 years participated for October's show, each showcasing different styles of beer and stories behind themselves and their concoctions.
How the event works is the home brewer gets on the microphone by the bar and talks a little about him/herself, the style of beer they're presenting, and what ingredients, techniques or process they used for their creation. Small samples are poured for the audience to try.
Audience participation isn't limited to just drinking, as they're handed evaluation forms prior to each brewers presentation. As an audience member receives a beer, they fill out ratings on color, aroma, flavor intensity and mouth feel. Once completed, the evaluation is given to the brewer so he/she can see what they're doing well, and what they can improve on. It's a very interactive process.
For this show, three beers were on tap, with an American IPA, by Matt McClay, to start. The ale was light in body, but followed with a strong hoppy bitterness. A Saison was served next, by Jeff Whelpley, an official certified beer judge and member of CHAOS Brew Club, which helps organize the event. His beer was unique in he replaced aroma hops with elder berries and elder flowers to provide a dry, white wine flavor and mouthfeel. When asked why he chose to forgo the aroma hops, Whepley said he didn't want them to overpower the flavor.
The night’s finale was a hybrid between a Belgian and an American Pale Ale brewed by Zigmas Maloni of Southbridge Brewery, a upcoming nano brewery . Named "Southside Ale" the ale was citrusy, and also had an excellent copper color, which gave the appearance of a more professional product than that of an amateur.
All in all, each beer was wonderful in its own right, providing flavor and conversation for the night. The people were warm, the beer was cold, and if you're a homebrewer looking for solid critique and to share your work "Open Mic/Ro Night" is the place to be. One can sign up through the Beermiscuous website on a first come, first serve basis, with a maximum of five presenters.
For those who love good beer, "Open Mic/Ro Night" is worth the visit because in the world of craft beer, some of the most experimental stuff is being made in a basement, and not a warehouse. The next one is on Dec. 11.
By Ben Kramer