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Pipeworks Brewing debuts Big Lebowski-inspired beer

(Courtesy of Pipeworks )
November 11, 2013|By Kate Bernot, @redeyeeatdrink | RedEye

The beer nerds abide.

Chicago-based Pipeworks Brewing Company, which has quickly become synonymous with small-batch, outside-the-box beer styles, continues that tradition with a white Russian imperial milk stout called Hey, Careful Man, There's a Beverage Here.

The beer, whose name is an homage to cult movie "The Big Lebowski," debuted in early November and was a crowd favorite at last weekend's Beer Hoptacular festival.

"We didn't expect it to be as popular as it was," said Mike Schallau, Pipeworks' head of operations and director of barrel-aging. "What we like to do here is subvert expectations, as long as the beer’s delicious."

Being fans of both word play and "The Big Lebowski," the team at Pipeworks came up with the idea for a white Russian imperial stout, a play on classic Russian imperial stouts. The beer is light in color but with a big body and relatively high alcohol content.

Pipeworks' brewers added cocoa nibs, vanilla bean and coffee from Logan Square's Ipsento to a base of barley, malt and lots of oats to create Hey, Careful Man, There's a Beverage Here. The most important ingredient, though, may be the lacto sugar, a sugar derived from milk that stands in for the cream in a white Russian cocktail.

Sweet, malty and surprisingly drinkable, the white Russian imperial stout certainly stood out from the pack at Beer Hoptacular.

"It works in that [festival] setting," Schallau said. "You're going to have 12 double IPAs, but you're probably only going to have one white Russian imperial milk stout."

Hey, Careful Man, There's a Beverage Here was distributed to liquor stores more than a week ago, and a few bottles may still be available on shelves.

If you can't get your hands on it now, Schallau promises a barrel-aged version of the beer is in the pipeline.

kbernot@tribune.com | @redeyeeatdrink

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