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Goose Island Climbs Aboard the Crypto Bandwagon with $1 Million in Bourbon County NFTs

Plus, Piece Brewery and Pizzeria mourns the death of its award-winning founding brewmaster

The necks of eight beer bottles.
Bourbon County will hop aboard the NFT bandwagon on Friday.
Goose Island Beer Co.

Credited as the first beer aged in bourbon barrels, Goose Island Beer Co.’s Bourbon County line has attracted many passionate fans who have form long lines at liquor stores to snap up the full line of new flavors before they sell out. Often they butter up store clerks beforehand to suss out when the latest shipment will arrive, and afterward flaunt their purchases on social media. Some have even thrown fits online when snafus inevitably occur.

The celebrated brand will on Friday venture into new and even more exclusive territory — and hop on a growing trend in hospitality — when it puts more than 2,000 Barrel House Collection NFTs on sale at $499 each, plus tax. The company values the NFTs at more than $1 million, according to a rep. The move is designed to mark the 30th anniversary of Bourbon County Stout, the first brew in the lineup (though reporting from the Tribune makes a strong case that its real debut was not in 1992 but three years later, in 1995).

NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are records — irreplaceable digital receipts for art, video clips, basically anything — on the blockchain, a fast-growing web of decentralized digital ledgers for cryptocurrency transactions. For those who aren’t neck-deep in the crypto universe, it may be helpful to think of NFTs as unique, limited-edition digital baseball cards: in essence, a symbol of its holder’s exclusive ownership over something in the digital world.

The long-term efficacy of NFTs, which are currently still enjoying the shine of novelty and scarcity, remains in question. Goose Island’s Barrel House Collection NFTs provide a buffer against that uncertainty with tangible perks, including autographed tap handles, access to special events, and — how quaint — actual Bourbon County beers. A portion of the proceeds will go to Chicago social services nonprofit Erie Neighborhood House. Many, many more details are available on Goose Island’s website.

Brewmaster Jonathan Cutler dies at age 49

Jonathan Cutler, the founding brewmaster of Piece Brewery and Pizzeria, who led the business to 29 medals at the Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup during his 19-year tenure, has died at the age of 49, Piece announced in an Instagram post on Monday. Josh Noel, the Tribune’s beer writer, posted a more complete accounting of Cutler’s achievements and legacy in a Twitter thread, reserving particular praise for Cutler’s pale ales, which, he writes, were “the most consistently delicious I’ve ever had.” Cutler was not working at Piece when he died, Noel added — he’d been laid off in 2020 at the start of the pandemic — but the restaurant continues to serve his beer.

Why shouldn’t a fur baby go to the prom?

It is prom season, and why should dogs be excluded from this quintessential American experience? (Or, rather, why should their owners be excluded from watching their “fur babies” embark on this rite of passage and then remark on how they grow up so fast?) And so Etta in River North will host a “pup prom” on Monday, May 16, to kick off patio season, according to a rep. Dogs can pose for photos in their formalwear and then sit down on the patio for “puptails” and “paw-sta.” Dates are encouraged and human chaperones are required. It was not mentioned whether there will be dancing and if so, if the dogs will be ordered to leave room for the holy spirit. Reservations ($10 per human) include a cocktail and a swag bag with tennis balls and are available on the Etta website.

Andersonville Farmers Market opens Wednesday

The Andersonville Farmer’s Market opens for the season this afternoon, May 11, and will operate every Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. through October 30 on W. Catalpa Avenue between Clark and Ashland. This year’s lineup has 30 vendors — an assortment of farmers, bakers, beekeepers, confectioners, and chefs — all from within a 200-mile radius; newcomers include Crumb What May, Onigiri Kororin, and Magic Crepes.

The Biebs hits RPM Italian for some bucatini

As is now customary for any visiting celebrity who wants their presence in Chicago to be widely advertised, Justin Bieber, who was in town earlier this week for a pair of shows at United Center, dined with his wife Hailey at an RPM restaurant. Monday’s choice was RPM Italian in River North, where the couple sat in the middle of the main dining room where everyone could watch them eat Mama DePandi’s bucatini. Show opener Jaden Smith also had dinner at RPM Italian, but separately, with friends. Previously, in his wild bachelor days, Biebs ate at RPM Steak but scandalously ordered only a salad. RPM is owned by celebrity couple Bill and Giuliana Rancic and Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises.

A late Holocaust survivor’s blintz recipe lives on

Maureen O’Donnell, the Sun-Times’s great obit writer, wrote an especially wonderful story last week memorializing the life of Golda Indig, who survived the Holocaust as a young teenager and went on to lead a long life that centered around cooking for her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren (the story begins, “Golda ‘Goldie’ Indig spoke six languages and could urge you to nosh in all of them”). As a public service, O’Donnell included recipes for Indig’s potato latkes, cheese blintzes, and “creamish” (also known as krémes). It should be noted, however — and it was, by the Reader’s Ben Joravsky in his weekly newsletter — that the print edition neglected to include one cup of milk in the ingredient list for the blintzes, so readers who want to try Indig’s recipe should use the online version.

Goose Island Beer Co.

1800 W Fulton St, Chicago, IL 60612 (312) 226-1119 Visit Website

RPM Steak

66 West Kinzie Street, , IL 60654 (312) 284-4990 Visit Website


1840 West North Avenue, , IL 60622 (312) 757-4444 Visit Website

Lettuce Entertain You

5419 N Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL 60640 (773) 878-7340

RPM Italian

52 West Illinois Street, , IL 60654 (312) 222-1888 Visit Website