I admit, it’s a bit soon to be reviewing another beer from Pipeworks Brewing—their Abduction Imperial Stout occupied this space just six weeks ago. But at FOBAB I chatted briefly with Pipeworks’ Beejay Oslon, and he told me that Citra Ninja, which the brewery had just released, is his favorite creation so far. That was enough to get my attention, since I’d picked the beer upon which it’s based—the double IPA Ninja vs. Unicorn—for the Reader‘s 2012 Best of Chicago issue in June.

Besides, Pipeworks has shipped at least 26 varieties of beer since starting production in late February. On account of I need decent pictures and plenty of notes for these posts, I’m effectively restricted to beers in bottles (as opposed to on tap only) so I can review them at home, and I’ve got to find one worth talking about pretty much every week. An extravagant rate of innovation like that provides a lot of low-hanging fruit.

Philip Montoro has been an editorial employee of the Reader since 1996 and its music editor since 2004. Pieces he has edited have appeared in Da Capo’s annual Best Music Writing anthologies in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011. He shared two Lisagor Awards in 2019 for a story on gospel pioneer Lou Della Evans-Reid and another in 2021 for Leor Galil's history of Neo, and he’s also split three national awards from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia: one for multimedia in 2019 for his work on the TRiiBE collaboration the Block Beat, and two (in 2020 and 2022) for editing the music writing of Reader staffer Leor Galil. Philip has played scrap metal in Lozenge, drummed with the Disasters, the Afflictions, and Brilliant Pebbles, and sung for the White Outs. He wrote the column Beer and Metal from 2012 till 2015, and hopes to do so again one day. You can also follow him on Twitter.