GLADSTONE PARK — Hot dog — and beer — lovers who want to be among the first to try the lovechild of Superdawg and Lake Effect Brewing should be sure to show up early Thursday in Gladstone Park to get a taste of Super Bier.
The German-style brew was made specifically to complement the Norwood Park institution's pure beef frank in a poppy-seed bun topped with mustard, piccalilli, a dill pickle, chopped Spanish onions and a "memorable" hot pepper, said Clint Bautz, the founder of the Portage Park brewery.
"The hot dog and beer connection is an important one," Bautz said.
The initial keg of Super Bier will be tapped at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Garage Bar, 6154 N. Milwaukee Ave., in Gladstone Park. Ten to 12 cases of the lager will also be on hand — but the beer won't be available in wide distribution until mid-July, Bautz said.
"It will be almost like a prequel or sneak peek," Bautz said. "It will be a very limited supply."
The light, refreshing beer with a malty backbone with hints of spice and smoke was the product of an intense, nearly year-long development process, Bautz said.
"It is very drinkable, approachable beer," Bautz said. "It is something you can have a few of, and not lose your head."
With 5.2 percent alcohol by volume, Super Bier has less booze than most craft beers, Bautz said.
The Superdawg/Lake Effect lovechild beer was conceived on Twitter, when Ben Ustick, Superdawg's social media manager, reached out to Lake Effect Brewery, which set up shop about a year ago.
"We thought it would be a fun thing to do to help bring some attention to the Northwest Side," Ustick said.
Although Superdawg celebrated its 65th anniversary this year, Ustick uses social media to keep one of the last remaining drive-through hot dogs stands relevant in the digital age.
On Twitter, Superdawg responds to nearly every Tweet, often with its employees' iconic greeting of "Hiya."
"It is an extension of the customer service that made Superdawg a neighborhood institution," Ustick said.
But Bautz and Ustick want craft beer aficionados to know that Super Bier, despite its origins, is a serious beer that was developed after an intense process that began with Superdawg and Lake Effect Brewery folks sitting around a table, sampling ingredients.
"We tried working with hot dog ingredients, but it just didn't work," Bautz said, adding that they tried incorporating mustard seed, piccalilli and even using the water the hot dogs were boiled in to brew the beer.
After 30 experts were invited to taste five different formulations of the beer — some with hot dog ingredients and some without — they decided to create a beer that would complement the taste of the hot dog, Bautz said.
"In Germany and Europe, they brew beers to go well with food, and Super Bier is part of that transition," Bautz said.
"It is fairly traditional with a few twists," Bautz said. "We took it very seriously. We enjoy bringing good beer to our neighborhood."
Ustick and Bautz have one word of warning for those looking to pair an iconic Superdawg and Super Bier.
"It says it right there on the label," Ustick said, laughing. "No ketchup."
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