Chicago Cream – A Cream Ale Recipe and Review

Every now and again, a brewer will discover a new favorite style – to brew, to drink, or both. I can confidently say that I’ve recently experienced the joy of such a moment.

During the pandemic, I reconnected with a brewer friend of mine and frequented his brewery (Temperance Beer Co.) more often, especially with their ingenious and safe tailgating option. Temperance offers a wide range of interesting and tasty beers, but I fell in love with a cream ale they brew called “All the World is Here.” I decided to try my own hand at a cream ale, but wanted to be different than what Temperance offered.

I can confidently say I’m somewhat obsessed with what I created: an easy drinking, moderate abv (~5.2%), crushable beer.

  • Grains
    • 6 lbs – 2 Row
    • 2 lbs – Flaked Corn
    • 1 lb – Flaked Rice
    • 0.5 lb – Honey Malt
    • 0.5 lb – Biscuit Malt
    • 05. lb – Carapils
  • Hops + Schedule
    • 1 oz Hallertau Mittelfruh (60 min)
    • 0.5 oz Czech Saaz (10 min)
    • 0.5 oz Czech Saaz (5 min)
  • Yeast
    • White Labs WLP080 – Cream Ale Blend
  • Adjuncts
    • 1 lb Rice Hulls
    • 1 pack Clarity Ferm

It’s a pretty simple recipe (perhaps not as simple as the Red-X Smash featured earlier), but that simplicity translates into a thoroughly enjoyable drinking experience. This is a no-nonsense beer that fits almost every situation, from reading a book about Bitcoin on the porch alone, to throwing back a few proper pints with good friends on Zoom, to an outdoor gathering with family. It does it all without any air of pretension.

Perhaps the most complicated aspect of this beer is its yeast. Cream ales traditionally utilize both types of yeast, top and bottom fermenting. Fortunately for me, I was able to control the temperature to fit nicely within the tolerances of the yeast without sacrificing personal comfort or resorting to, uh, other methods.

“But it worked, didn’t it?” – Nick, Co-Founder of Wall Brew Co.

What I’ve finally named “Chicago Cream”, after going through a number of truly awful D&D themed names, will definitely be a staple in the rotation of my brewing as things begin to open up and I’m more frequently hosting thirsty friends and family.

It holds its head high, rightly so, and offers subtle sweetness, a bit of biscuit, a kiss of bitterness, and an incredibly light body. This cream ale is possibly one of my most balanced beers. If you can’t tell, I’m incredibly proud of it. I like it so much, in fact, that it’s with a heavy heart I realize the one I sample while I write this review is… well it’s the last one.

Still, I doubt I’ll ever be as excited as the Roscoe Village brew house’s beer cat, Charlie, was when it was initially poured. He repeatedly headbutted the glass, demanding the silky smooth-beverage pet and pay fealty.

There can be only one king per kingdom, I suppose.

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