Brief Chicago Beer Report
Got to Chicago for a few days and did our best to check out a bit of the beer scene (not as much as we would have liked). Here’s the rundown:
Piece Brewery: Nice place with well-made beers and good New Havens style pizza. Liked that they have a few “guest” beers on tap as well. Of Piece’s beers, we had the Worryin’ Ale (given to us by mistake—okay…the least interesting of the bunch); Sixth Anniversary (good, a little on the sweet side for me); Delusion Ale (good, somewhat hoppy, but could be stronger); and Top Heavy Hefeweizen (fantastic hefe—one of the best we’ve had). Also got Three Floyd’s Alpha King (wow – crisp, hoppy, perfect) and a sausage and mushroom pizza (they sauté the mushrooms—brilliant idea that not enough places do). Altogether, a great late lunch stop with some good beers.
The Map Room: If I lived in Chicago, I would live in Bucktown to just be near this great bar. Lots of beers on tap (both European and stateside selections) and a stellar bottle list. Under a time and alcohol limit restraint, so we couldn’t have as many beers as we would have liked. Enjoyed on tap the Arcadia Hopmouth Double IPA (good hops, but not quite as well-balanced as some of the best of the DIPA, like Pliny, etc., but still fantastic); a bottle of Dogfish 90 Minute IPA (strong, but not as strong as I was expecting…some balance, some floral, but need to try other Dogfish to decide); and a bottle of the Three Floyd’s X Anniversary Ale (wow, wow, wow!!! Loved this hoppy quasi-barleywine…what is it about the tenth anniversary that brings out the best in brewers? Need to buy more now).
Pizano’s/Midway: Had a Goose Island Honkers Ale at both the pizza joint and the airport. Don’t know why I ordered it twice—boring, too malty, not hoppy. I am just not a fan of GI’s beers.
Really wanted to go to the Hop Leaf, but ran out of time. Tried to go to Clark Street Ale House, but it was closed (it was 3 p.m. on Sunday, but people want beer in the afternoon). Didn’t get to try any Two Brothers either and really want to drink more Three Floyd’s. But we need a reason to go back, right?
Yeah, The Maproom is great. Love the beer selection. Next time stop by on a Tuesday for free food. Tuesday's they have a local restaurant bring in tasty eats.
The Hopleaf is mandatory. We have many fantastic German bars as well...Resi's Bier Stube, Maribel, Chicago Brau haus, etc. The Huttenbar in Lincoln Square has a lot of character as we.
I am so glad you made it to the Maproom and got to try a FFF anniversary ale. It has to be about the best beer I have ever tasted. It is disappearing off of store shelves quickly. Now that I know what style of beers you like, I can suggest some of the other 3 floyd's creations like dreadnaught and of course their flagship beer, alpha-king. The 2 bros. Hop Juice may interest you also.
You really should try to make a pilgrimage to the 3 Floyd's brewery in Munster Indiana. It is in a generic looking industrial park, but they always have some interesting specialty brews on tap, as well as a number of great "guest" beers. The food is actually pretty good by brewpub standards.
As far as Honker's goes, it is good middle of the road party beer. Not too flavorful for the B*d drinkers, but flavorful enough for the hop-heads. Goose Island's brewpub functions as a different entity than the brewery. While they do have the GI commercial stuff on tap, the pub features some very good specialty brews that are only available there. They also turn out small batches of high-gravity bottled beer that is only available in local stores.
BTW, how was the wedding?