Once again we have discovered intelligent beer outside of Beervana’s atmosphere. No, I am not refering to Ashville, North Carolina, I am refering to the great Midwest.
This Friday, Brewpublic journeys to Chicago to discover the wonderful beer around the area. We have already mapped out a number of hot spots in and around the Windy City-some are further away than others. The following are the seven spots we most anticipate visiting during our less than seven days there. Chime in if you have any other recommendations.
1. Three Floyds – Okay, so this isn’t in ChiTown, but it is about an hour’s drive away in Munster, Indiana. I’ve said before that in Oregon, we only need one Floyd (Jamie), but honestly, Three Floyds is one of the best breweries in the United States, if not the world. Their viscous Dark Lord super Imperial Stout, and an assortment of high octane, hopped out brews like Alpha King, Dreadnaught, and Gumball Head are worth the trip alone.
2. New Glarus – Again, a stretch from Chicago. In fact, about three hours drive away in Wisconsin. A quaint little town with a rich Swiss heritiage, New Glarus’ chief brewery of the same name makes world class beers including the lauded Wisconsin Belgian Red ale made with Montmorency Cherries. If you ever get a chance to sip on this world famous brew, by all means, don’t pass up. Other noteworthy brews from NG include a Tart Raspberry ale and an assortment of one-offs in a series known as Un-Plugged. Should be fun.
3. Goose Island – Some of the brands of Goose Island are making a comeback in the Pacific Northwest. Most noteably, the Bourbon Imperial Stout, which you may have noticed around at select brew shops. You may have also had the priviledge to enjoy Matilda at last year’s Oregon Brewers Festival. This fruity, spicy, yeasty Belgian-styled brew is highly enjoyable and superbly refreshing. A number of other wonderful beers are produced from GI’s Chicago brewery and many talented beer minds have passed through the brewhouse en route to other jobs nationwide. Their original Clybourne Pub has facilitated sessions in conjunction with the regal Siebels Institute of Technology, and Northside Wrigley Pub should be a must stop for us after catching a Cub’s game next door at one of America’s most famous ballparks, Wrigley Field.
4. The Map Room – Known as “A Traveler’s Tavern”, the Map Room features 26 taps of craft beer and, in total, 200 unique brands that span about 35 unique brew styles. Featuring International nights that highlight different countries and cultures from around the world, the Map Room also keeps a constant Real Ale cask conditioned tap on at all time. According to their website, right now, that beer is Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale.
5. Bell’s Brewery – Ah, Bell’s…Not located in Chicago, or Illinois, but a jaunt Northeast to Michigan, where many other key stops that include The Livery and New Holland can be found on this adventure. We plan on hitting up the Kalamazoo Brewery and enjoying the selection of delicious beers such as the Kalamazoo Stout, Hop Slam, and an ale that goes by the name of Hell Hath No Fury. Sounds right up our alley.
6. Hopleaf Bar – With several beer related events like brewers dinners and pairings, Hopleaf, like The Map Room, features an impressive array of tap handles from which pours a rich selection of to die for brews. Beers from sweet Midwest breweries such as Two Brothers, Bell’s, Three Floyds, and Surly as well as international favorites make Hopleaf a must visit locale.
7. Piece Brewery & Pizzeria – Another notable brewery in Chicago and the Midwest, Piece, having been around less than ten years has already won world class acclaim for their brews. In 2008 the brewery won a silver medal at GABF for their Dark-n-Curvy Dunkelweizen. The brewpub was also named World Beer Cup’s 2006 small brewpub and brewmaster. Brewer Jonathan Cutler makes quirky named beers like the Wingnut DIPA, Dysfunctionale, and Fornicator Bock. We highly anticipate checking out theri grubbin’ brews and food.
Okay, there’s a ton more that I am not listing here, so, if you have a must hit spot for great beer in the area, hit us up and we’ll see if we can’t get it into our schedule. We’ve got 6 days to get it all in, and some of that might involve other cultural events like baseball games and rock shows.
It must be noted that we will sadly be missing wonderful NW events such as Fred Fest and Seattle Beer Week. Please enjoy these events for us!
Angelo grew up in Maine and is proud to call New England his original home. Cascadia is now his home. He fell in love with great beer in Oregon, Washington, and Northern California.
He has been a correspondent for the Portland Tribune's Guest on Tap column, LivePDX.com, and has been featured in publications such as Beer Northwest and PDX Magazine. Angelo also has a great interest in independent music, and has been a booker and organizer for shows around the Portland under the name Pop Tomorrow! Angelo garnered much knowledge regarding beer from his experiences homebrewing, working at Belmont Station, Pyramid Brewing, Upright Brewing, By the Bottle, Beer Revolution, Olde Depot Public House, Falling Sky Brewing, Cascade Brewing, and from many many knowledgeable, passionate, and loving people along the way. It is Angelo's mission to bring "infotainment" and "edumation" to the readers of this website. If you have any questions or comments, or would like to contribute, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org