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Beer Time: Q&A With Arrowhead's Craft Beer Menu Creator

Arrowhead Restaurant manager Brian Whitkanack suggests craft beers that will help you cool off after a sticky summer day in Wheaton.

Arrowhead Restaurant and Bar's annual Craft Beer Menu is back for the summer, with 30 options of craft beers—plus the mix-and-match route of rotating beer flights—to quench that summer thirst that gets even non-beer drinkers thinking, "I could really use an ice cold one."

Patch talked to the beer guy (and manager) at Arrowhead—Brian Whitkanack—who creates and updates the restaurant's Craft Beer Menu, and knows just about everything about beer.

Wheaton Patch: Where did you get the idea to create this big, summery beer menu at Arrowhead?

Brian Whitkanack: "I’ve always been a big fan of beer. I worked at a place in Champagne that had over 100 types of bottles and 24 drafts, so that stirred my pssion for good beer, and now this movement going around is the 'craft beer movement'—a lot of people are getting into the local, small guy kind of beers.

"Sam Adams is the top beer in the country and a lot of people have taken note of that. …It’s my own personal passion, and it’s something I thought could make a good destination place to go get a good beer. With the quality of food, I thought a good beer would go well with that."

He added that one of Arrowhead's most popular beers, Lagunitas, will soon be local as Lagunitas plans to open a brewery in the Chicago area.

Patch: What’s the most popular choice on the menu?

Whitkanack: "Bell’s Obeiron—all of our wheat-based beers are doing well, (and) Two Brothers Ebel’s Weiss. But Bell’s Obeiron is hands down the most popular one.

"Any of the Two Brothers stuff—Ebel's Weiss is probably No. 3 on the bottle list. We have five of their beers, (and) they're all within the top 10."

The beers do change seasonally, he said, "It's good to be always evolving."

Patch: Break it down—Explain a few choices to those who don't really know what they're ordering. What should we try?

Whitkanack: "That’s the beauty of this menu—from the (30) craft beers... There’s something for everyone."

"For me, my top three are:

  • Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout: is as dark as dark comes, as flavorful as you’ll get and has 9.8 percent alcohol. Then you have a 
  • Lagunitas Little Sumpin Sumpin Ale: kind of an IPA base... (but) gives you the freshness of a beer. It's just the little something you need for a hot summer day.
  • Lastly, the Brouwerij Bosteels Pauwel Kwak: It's just wonderful—one of the best beers I've ever had in my life."

Patch: How much are these crafty beers?

Whitkanack: Monday nights, we do half-price pints. Tuesday, we do half-price Two Brothers beers. We also have a flight program, with three different beer flights of four samples that hit all of the craft beers. They are $10, $12 or $14, and run Monday, so a flight could be as cheap as $5.

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