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Beer spots in Chicago

I'm going to be in Chicago over the summer for a couple of days. Are there any particular beer spots I should check out?


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  1. If you are looking for an incredible selection, The Map Room would be a good bet (maproom.com). They literally have hundreds of beers available including a couple of dozen available on tap. Goose Island (gooseisland.com) and Piece (piecechicago.com) are both brewpubs. GI has fairly standard pub grub and usually around 15 brews on tap while Piece serves New Haven style pizza and usually has 6 or so beers available on draft.

    1. BeerAdvocate typically has very good recommendations for the big metro areas:

      1. Hopleaf in Andersonville. Over 100 Belgian beers.

        1. My favorite beery spots in Chicago:

          Hopleaf for belgian beer and mussels
          Map Room for local/regional drafts
          Goose Island for brewpub beer - and Sam's across the street is a must to pick up bottled beer
          Resi's Bierstube for German bier
          Clark St. Alehouse
          The specials at Rock Bottom are usually good
          Edelweisse in Norridge for a crispy Schweinshaxen and liters of bier

          2 Replies
          1. re: LStaff

            if your going to be near the Lakeside area of Chicago, Monsignor Murphys on Broadway is a great neiborhood bar. and another site to find bars and pubs is pubcrawler.com

            1. re: LStaff

              Hopleaf - cold beer and some fries. Nice saturday afternoon treat.

            2. I haven't been in many years, but I used to like Sheffield's, in addition to the other places mentioned. More for the afternoon, since it was kind of like a frat party when I've been at night.

              Don't forget to hit Sam's and load up your hand truck for the return trip home. Or if you're flying out, maybe walk up the street and ship it, since I'm not sure how psyched the airlines are going to be these days to check a case of beer.

              4 Replies
              1. re: ted

                i visited chicago for a long weekend a couple weeks back and the only beer bar we really had the opportunity to drop into was sheffields and I LOVED IT.

                goose island looked pretty dull inside and i'm not very fond of their beers. not bad but not great. sheffields was fantastic (this comign from a mid-twenties beer loving gal) and the service was great. i'm a one-pint-wonder, which is a pity for a beer lover but they were happily passing me tasting portions so i could taste everything i wanted without being completely toasted. i can't comment on varieties as i am sorely restricted in toronto and it would be my only comparison,

                love their little beer menu booklet too. i should have asked to take one.

                they recently started up a smoked meats menu too.

                1. re: pinstripeprincess

                  Cool. Glad you liked it. They used to have this gigantic fat cat that would occasionally waddle through during the day. Even in my late 20's I was much less excited to elbow my way to the bar. The last time I was there, there was an afternoon baseball playoff game on, and the bartender was relatively chill as she got stuff ready for the evening rush.

                  Clark St Ale House used to let you do a flight of small pours to try a bunch of stuff.

                  1. re: pinstripeprincess

                    You mentioned Toronto -- ever been to BeerBistro? I've never been, but I've met one of the owners, the prolific beer writer Stephen Beaumont.


                    1. re: peetoteeto

                      beerbistro is one of my goto restos when i want something moderately priced and feel like getting a new brew into me. i went to a pairing dinner for the brooklyn brewery and was pretty impressed with what the chef was able to pull together for it. i summarized the meal and you can see photos here: http://tongueandcheek.ca/2007/03/14/w...

                      overall the food is quite good there but definitely a couple misses. their beer menu is extensive but after several visits i find it doesn't change much. hence my comment on being limited. i do absolutely love that they incorporate beer into every menu item and do it quite successfully, especially desserts.

                2. don't know if you'd be into a side trip -- unfortunately for my tripto indy and fortunately for you in chicago, three floyds brewing is much closer to chicago than it is indianapolis.......

                  1. SmallBar at Division & Damen approximately has a pretty good variety of beers on tap. Their service is pretty good and it's in a cool room. Very neighborhood-y, nice crowd, decent prices.

                    1. Your best bet is to go to Clark St. Ale House and pick up the "Beer Enthusiats Guide to Chicago". The owner of Clark St. put this guide together and it lists every good beer bar w/ ratings and directions. I bought one knowing I would be visiting and it was a life saver. Everyone seems to be hitting the key spots, Clark St, Maproom, Hop Leaf, and you should stop in Goose Island for a couple.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: chops

                        My favorite spots, all mentioned by others already:
                        --Map Room in the Bucktown neighborhood (on Armitage about two blocks West of Damen), best overall selection. No food but decent restaurant options in neighborhood.
                        --Sheffield's in Lakeview, (On Sheffield around Roscoe) has a pleasant beer garden. Recently started serving BBQ but haven't tried it yet.
                        --Hopleaf in Andersonville (near Foster and Clark), good selection of Belgians and decent food.
                        --Clark St Alehouse in River North (700 block of North Clark just South of Chicago ave), good selection of Microbrews, so so beer garden. No food served but many options nearby.

                      2. The Goose Island Brewery is located in Chicago - they make excellent beer, you should go on a tour and then sample their beers in their bar!