Beeriety Visits Chicago: Part 2

Posted on August 10th, 2010

Last week we covered some of the great places and great beer we had while in Chicago, but that wasn’t all the town had to offer. While the Goose Island Brew Pub and Miller’s Pub were a lot of fun, there were plenty more beer-centric locales to try while in town; fortunately we got to try two of them.

The Hopleaf Bar

This is one of the premier beer bars in the Chicagoland area. It’s known for its eclectic collection of beers from all around the world and its friendly atmosphere. While I was there I got the chance to try the Two Hearted Ale, from Bell’s Brewery, one of the most respected craft breweries in the Midwest. It was a tasty treat with piny and citrusy hops to spare. I also enjoyed a glass or two of the St. Louis Gueuze Fond Tradition from Van Honsbrouck in Belgium. It was a really lovely sour ale with a tart taste and smooth finish. Although it might not seem like it at first, gueuze and other wild ales with a sour taste to them are enormously refreshing in the hot and and humid months of summer. That little bit of lip-smacking tartness goes a surprisingly far way towards cooling you down.While at the Hopleaf I also had my very first Newcastle Summer ale. I was a bit surprised that Newcastle, a brewery synonymous with brown ale would be trying their hand at a wheat beer. Unfortunately, after having a few of their new brew, I have to suggest that they stick to what they know. It was a fairly generic summer brew, not too far from a Blue Moon.

The Map Room

The Map room is another of Chicago’s greatest beer bars. This place is a bit unique in that it’s not just a bar, but a coffeehouse as well. To accommodate these sometimes conflicting passions, the place is open from 6:30am to 2am most days of the week. Although the crowd that shows up early for a cup of joe is probably not the same folks sticking around for last call, it was clear from our brief visit here that all were welcome. We didn’t try any coffee, but their beer selection and beer eduction classes made it clear where their passions lay. I sampled some of the Ska ESB,  another of the growing number of craft ales available in a can. It was tasty but more of a pale ale than a traditional ESB. I followed that up with some Bockor Cuvee Des Jacobins Rouge, which is a hard enough to say when your sober, let alone after you’ve had a couple. This sour ale was similar the the Fond Tradition we tried earlier in our trip but noticeably much darker. I also sampled Köstritzer, which is a really amazing Schwartzbier, or black lager, and New Belgium’s Belgo, a tasty IPA with five different types of hops in it.

Everyone from Team Beeriety had a blast while we were in Chicago and hope to return one day. If you’re in the area be sure to check out these bars, or let us know about your favorites in the comments.