We've got some great stuff for you today in the Afternoon Bender. Lots of scientific & tech innovation, food & restaurant reviews and a few things in between. Good luck if you're trying to get tickets to the GABF today!


Presale today – Are you going to the Great American Beer Festival? If so, we are super jealous! Maybe next year the whole BTL team will be able to go. For now, we can daydream over this incredible list of breweries at the festival.
Great American Beer – Breweries at the Festival 2015

Number don’t lie, right? Steady growth all around for the craft beer industry. Are concerns about quality warranted?
Craft beer growth posts solid numbers ... again

I have really enjoyed the few beers that I have had from Marz Community Brewing. This is a good review of all of their beers.
Mars Community Brewing – The Machine

Well, it’s not really beer and it’s non-alcoholic, but we’d try it just for the hell of it!
Chocolate Beer: Mast Brothers Chocolate Makers Craft Cocoa Brew

A new type of nitrogen can! This one delivers draft-style beer out of a can without the little widget ball in the can. While none of the technology is really new in separate parts, Vault Brewing found a way to put it all together in cans. Overall, a great piece on Nitro canning and packaging.
Nitro Can delivers widget-less pub-style beer

The best – yes, I said it – restaurant in Chicago, especially if you don’t want to spend $1,000, has the chef and owner profiled by NPR. Girl & The Goat makes vegetables and everything else taste amazing!
Salad Ties And Breadsticks: Star Chef Started At The Olive Garden

Speaking of veggies, is meatless the new trend? Google just tried to buy a meatless burger company called Impossible Foods.
Google Just Tried to Buy a Meatless Burger Company

Back to regular burgers. Shake Shack releases a new burger, The Roadside Shack. Why are we talking about it? There’s beer involved, of course! Read all about it here.
Shake Shack’s Newest Burger Is All About Beer, Bacon, and Americana

Going to Oak Park to visit the Frank Lloyd Wright District or Hemingway’s place of birth?  The Culture Trip has food recommendations, including one of my neighborhood pubs The Kinderhook Tap, which always has an amazing local tap list.
Top 10 Restaurants in Oak Park: Chicago's Cultural Village

Science! A new strain of lager yeast has been discovered. Lagers are kind of under appreciated a lot even though they are difficult styles to produce well (Metropolitan, we're looking at you! Excellent.) and this could mean a big revolution in how lagers are made and treated by beer consumers.
Beer Recipes Are About To Change: New Strain Of Yeast Will Make Better Lagers

Science rules again! Do you have Celiac disease or other problems with gluten? That also means that most of the time, you can’t have beer. That could all change for you in a few short years.
Pill That Allows Gluten-Averse to Have Bread, Beer Comes to Stores 2017

Science-y! This succinct but very informative piece tells you all about oxidation and what it means for beer.
Off-Flavor: Oxidized

Import laws are making it almost impossible for brewers to get what they need to produce beer in Venezuela! In just a few short weeks, there could be no beer to be had.
Venezuela Is About to Run Out of Beer

From the Chicago Tribune, a little write up about a documentary film that we’d love to see. Beer is an important part of almost every aspect of life and filmmaker Ron Faiola shows us how religion and beer go together in this 30-minute short.
'Tilt-A-Whirls, Cowbells and Beer' explores the world of Wis. church festivals