In this week’s Hoplinks, a local brewer journeys north, Chicago welcomes it’s first ever Cider Week, a much anticipated taproom is set to open, the beers that got us to where we are today are ranked, and a big time beer site is handing out awards.

NORTHCENTER, CHICAGO — In a move that will surely be welcomed by our northern neighbors, Half Acre announced plans to begin distribution in Wisconsin within the next few weeks. A full list of cities that will receive their packaged goods is available on the site. Be sure to check out our interview with Half Acre Head Brewer Matt Young from early 2016. [Half Acre blog]

CHICAGO, IL — The first annual Chicago Cider Week kicks off Monday with a slew of events happening throughout the city. Starting at The Northman, Chicago’s first cider bar and bistro, and culminating with the huge Cider Summit at Navy Pier, this is a great opportunity for cider fans both new and old to explore the wide world of the diverse apple beverage. Check out the site for a full list of events. [THR Wire]

NILES, IL — One of Chicagoland’s most anticipated taprooms finally has an opening date. Une Année and owner Jerry Nelson’s “dark” side project Hubbard’s Cave will open their new Niles home this Thursday. The brewery will open for extended hours to accommodate the likely large interest and details for event can be found through their Facebook page. Une Année has certainly come a long way since our early 2014 interview at their original west side location[Une Année Facebook]

PASADENA, CA — We’re suckers for short films about beer and this one (embedded below) from Wire Walker Studios is no exception. Focused on Mark Jlig, Founder of Craftsman Brewery in Southern California, speaks to what beer means to him. Spoiler alert — it’s not always about the money. [THR Wire]

USA — In the face of never ending innovation in beer, the classics that got us to this point are too often forgotten. Food & Wine looks back on the founders of American craft brewing with their list of the 25 most important craft beers brewed in this country. While lists are always up for debate, it’s tough to argue with any of these choices. [Food & Wine]

GLOBAL — As is their yearly tradition, beer review site RateBeer is gearing up to release their Best of 2016 awards in a number of categories. The first winners were announced yesterday and the remaining categories will be released daily through February 3rd. [RateBeer]


Photo of apples waiting to be pressed from our harvest 2016 visit to Virtue Cider and interview with Founder Greg Hall in Fennville, MI — by Jack Muldowney.