One of the best parts of craft beer is the unique collaborations. It’s a time when breweries come together to create something new, something interesting – something that’s more than the sum of its parts.
So when Amoretti premium syrups joined us at this year’s Chicago Ale Fest (Winter Edition), they asked if we could set them up with a collaboration beer and we gladly agreed. Amoretti is a family owned company that’s been making premium syrups for two decades. Their syrups are used by the top chefs, mixologists, and breweries across the country.
They’ve partnered with Tangled Roots Brewing Co from Ottawa, Illinois to create two limited-edition collaborations that will only be featured at Chicago Ale Fest. To make things even better, Amoretti and Tangled Roots are giving one lucky winner a Chicago Ale Fest prize pack of to bring 10 of their friends to the festival to try the collaboration.
We sat down with Tangled Roots Head Brewer, Louie Rizzo to learn more about their brewery, their beer and what went into these two special collaborations.
Chicago Ale Fest: Tell us about Tangled Roots Brewing
Louie Rizzo: Tangled Roots is brewery in Ottawa, IL made up of a bunch of people from every corner of the globe who came to this tiny little town in search of making beer away from the more saturated scenes like Chicago.
The name “Tangled Roots” is a representation of the fact that we’ve all come from different origins and roots of life, and are intertwined in this one cool concept called craft beer.
CAF: What kind of beer do you make?
LR: We like to brew a lot of your classic, standard, to-style beers. Nothing crazy, nothing too off the wall. We like to brew things to style, so you know what you’re getting.
We’re also a “Farm to Foam” brewery which means we grow our own hops, we grow our own barley. In fact just down the road a little bit, we have an eight acre hop farm. We have a beer called 4188, which are the coordinates of Ottawa, which features our Ottawa-grown barley, which we had malted by a small malting company, and our own Nugget and Cascade hops. It’s 100% Ottawa grown. The goal is for our whole lineup to eventually be “Farm to Foam.”
CAF: How did this collaboration with Amoretti come about?
LR: Amoretti wanted to do a special beer with an Illinois brewery for this year’s Chicago Ale Fest and we were chosen. They sent us a ridiculously awesome sampler kit, and I just started trying things out until I found something I liked. The syrups enhanced the flavors in our beers to bring about a new complexity that I really enjoyed.
I’ve enjoyed these samples so much that I come here after work, pour myself a beer and start mixing in syrups for myself. I get people asking me all the time, “Hey what are you drinking, it looks darker than mine!”
CAF: Tell us about the first beer, Devil’s Paintbox IPA with Blood Orange
LR: Devil’s Paintbox is an American IPA that leans more towards a West Coast style. It’s a little piney, a little resin-y, with a lot of bright citrus flavor, and grapefruit. We’re adding the blood orange puree which I love in this beer. It brings out an even more complex citrus flavor that’s primarily grapefruit with a little lemon and lime zest. There’s a bit of a tart bitterness from the blood orange, and it makes a complex fruity flavor and aroma. It’s moderately bitter, with an intense citrus flavor.
CAF: And the second beer, Matthierssen English Mild With Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean?
LR: This is one of my favorite beers. Everyone sees a dark beer and automatically assumes it’s going to be super heavy or super boozy, which is the absolute opposite of what it is. It’s called “mild” for that reason — it’s mild. It’s only 4% alcohol but has a lot of flavor packed into a tiny beer. I wanted to add something that would really contribute and the Madagascar bourbon vanilla bean just added so much.
This beer tends to be a bit dry for the style, and the vanilla adds an instant sweetness. That mixed in with a bit of that rich, bourbon flavor really adds a whole new dynamic to this beer. It’s got a nice bit of toffee flavor mixed in with a little bit of chocolate and graham cracker.
There aren’t too many people who will put bourbon into a 4% beer, but we’re going to try it!
2018 Chicago Ale Fest – Winter Edition
Saturday, January 20th, 2018
Aon Grand Ballroom @ Navy Pier
Early Entry: 11am to 3pm
General Admission 12pm to 3pm
Early Entry: 5 to 9pm
General Admission: 6 to 9pm
Tickets on sale now!