Is it Me, or Are There A Lot of Chicago Questions Lately?
April 2, 2007 9:37 AM   Subscribe

ChicagoFilter: I like beer. I like to explore local brews. What should I try out while I'm in Chicago in two weeks?

I'm visiting a friend in Chicago for about a week this month, and the green has been endlessly resourceful in helping me find things to do (thread examples here and here among others). But I come to you with a specific question: amongst all the touring and baseball-watching I'm going to be doing, I plan to sample the local flavor, specifically of the alcoholic variety.

I like hoppy beers (specifically a nice IPA), and have had my share of them here in Philly and on a trip last year to Cleveland (Great Lakes brews...yum). Obviously, friend has been in ChiTown for a while and will have her recommendations of places to find good drinkin', but what do you suggest, oh MeFites?
posted by sjuhawk31 to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm sure actual locals can give you better suggestions, but Goose Island is a Chicago brewery that makes a stellar IPA.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:48 AM on April 2, 2007

Not exactly Chicago but available in Chicago is The Lakefront Brewery IPA is supposed to be pretty good (and brewed pretty close to my house.
posted by drezdn at 10:12 AM on April 2, 2007

If you want to make a roadtrip, the Three Floyd's Brewery is in northwest Indiana. They make some of best hoppy beer in the Midwest, even the US. Check out their Dreadnaught IPA, it will knock you out.

While not local brews, the Hopleaf in Andersonville has a great selection of unusual Belgian beers and other imports. The Map Room in Bucktown also has a huge selection of beers, both domestic and import.
posted by rabbitsnake at 10:34 AM on April 2, 2007

I will second that Goose Island is a decent local brewery, though my favorite beer of theirs is the 312 Wheat Ale and that's not terribly hoppy.

A much better brewery (in my opinion) in the Chicagoland area is Three Floyd's. Unfortunately it's in the burbs, so you'll probably need a car to get to their brewpub. Their beers are available all over town, though, and they're awesome.

For great beer bars, the two that stick out to me are the Map Room and Hopleaf. Neither focus specifically on local brews, but they have amazing beers (both tend toward Belgians, especially the Hopleaf).

And, if you're really up for a drive, there is the Bell's brewpub, though that's a couple of hours. Once again, though, their beers are all over Chicago, so you won't have any trouble finding them. If you like really hoppy beers, try their Two-Hearted Ale. Hops til you drops.
posted by atomly at 10:35 AM on April 2, 2007

Piece makes their own fancifully named brews...they seem to have won some awards and yadda, yadda, I like them. I don't think they bottle their beer, either, so the restaurant's the only place anywhere you can get it.
posted by zadermatermorts at 10:37 AM on April 2, 2007

And, if you're really up for a drive, there is the Bell's brewpub, though that's a couple of hours. Once again, though, their beers are all over Chicago, so you won't have any trouble finding them. If you like really hoppy beers, try their Two-Hearted Ale. Hops til you drops.

Last I heard, Bell's is no longer available in Chicago. Something about a beer distributor and arcane state laws. If you can still find it, they make amazing beers.
posted by rabbitsnake at 10:41 AM on April 2, 2007

You might have a tough time finding Bell's in Chicago.
posted by funkbrain at 10:44 AM on April 2, 2007

Yeah, no more Bell's. But, as for local breweries: Two Brothers is my new favorite. They're out in the 'burbs. You can find their brews around town. Check 'em out.
posted by rhymesinister at 11:21 AM on April 2, 2007

Thanks, all, and keep the suggestions coming! But for a bit of clarity: I'll have no car, so the breweries themselves are out of the question. But as long as it's available SOMEWHERE in the city, I'll try to drink it.
posted by sjuhawk31 at 11:30 AM on April 2, 2007

If you like beer, just go to the Hopleaf. Seriously.
posted by elvissinatra at 11:51 AM on April 2, 2007

Nthing Three Floyds.

A good friend of mine, Steve (formerly at The Tap out in Haverhill, MA), just started work as a brewer at Three Floyds. Whenever he told his fellow beer-nerds where he was going, they all got this dreamy look on their face. So if you can beg, borrow, bus, or steal a ride out there, it'll be worth it. Plus you can freak Steve out by playing the imaginary fanboy, which might get you a free pint or two.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 12:14 PM on April 2, 2007

Nthing Goose Island (312), Three Floyds (Alpha King!!!), and Bell's (Two Hearted!!!!), but that's quite a drive.
A shorter drive would be to Milwaukee, where you can check out Milwaukee Ale house, which brews Louie's Demise, which i highly, highly, highly recommend. There's also Lakefront Brewery, which has great beer and a great tour, and Sprecher Brewery.
All of these are probably (hopefully) available in Chicago if you look.
posted by bradn at 12:37 PM on April 2, 2007

Seconding Two Brothers. I just went to a Brewmaster Dinner featuring all of their best brews. They have amazing stuff.
posted by MeetMegan at 12:41 PM on April 2, 2007

If you're going to the hopleaf, post on metatalk. Lots of us live within a couple of blocks.
posted by rbs at 1:13 PM on April 2, 2007

Most of the best suggestions are covered. Hopleaf and the Map Room are great beer bars, for any beer you'd like. Don't worry about a car, the original Goose Island brewpub is just a couple blocks from the North/Clybourn stop on the Red Line.
posted by kyleg at 1:52 PM on April 2, 2007

Hopleaf is great, but has gotten obscenely popular over the last year and a half or so. If you're in the neighborhood and find the Hopleaf too damn crowded, I recommend walking a few blocks to the Edgewater Lounge. Much smaller selection, but a comfy place with good food and a decent choice on tap.

I would also second the suggestion to look for Lakefront Brewery beers. And if you're really going to be here for two weeks, consider visiting the brewery in Milwaukee. Their IPA is good, but I love their ESB, although it may not be hoppy enough for your taste.

And finally, this has NOTHING to do with Chicago, but if you've never tried Hop Rod Rye, go find some... I think it's right up your alley.
posted by j-dawg at 2:06 PM on April 2, 2007

Seconding Piece Pizza, which has good pizza and truly great beer. They have some super hoppy varieties too, like Worrying Ale.
posted by Mid at 2:59 PM on April 2, 2007

Beeradvocate has a good guide to Chicago.
posted by pombe at 4:07 PM on April 2, 2007

Here was my similar question, answer, and the route that I ended up taking (I roadtripped from Chicago to Madison to Milwaukee and back in search of delicious beer). The New Glarus beers were excellent.
posted by Frank Grimes at 4:33 PM on April 2, 2007

Quenchers on Western and Fullerton has about 250 different beers at any given time, plus live band karaoke on Thursdays. Sheffield's on Sheffield and School has a nice selection, as well.
posted by jtron at 5:43 PM on April 2, 2007

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