Good Beer in Chicago

15 May

While visiting Chicago, I was usually getting dinner with other people who are into craft beer, making it easy to try a wide variety. It was a busy few evenings so I don’t remember all the details, but I jotted down a few notes of my favorites that I’m going to keep an eye out for in the future:

  • Vichtenaar, a slightly sour Flemish Red
  • Avery Maharajah, a very distinctively-flavored IPA (and one of a small number of IPAs I’m excited about these days– I’d had it before)
  • Half Acre Over Ale (a brown ale, a bit nutty, a bit like toast, quite good — sadly I don’t think they distribute outside of Chicago)
  • Half Acre Sanguis brewed with oranges and beets, and really excellent with strong food (smoked eel)
  • Brooklyn Sorachi Ace (Sorachi Ace is a particular unusual hop that I think smells a bit like dill– I only knew it from the Mikkeller Single Hop series tasting I did with some friends last year)
  • Revolution Coup d’Etat (from a local brewery, in the slightly funky belgian farmhouse/blonde/yeasty style)
As a side note– I liked the design of the Half Acre Sanguis label quite a bit– my photo of it is a bit blurry but I found a blog post from the designer with the image:
Other good beers:
  • Half Acre Daisy Cutter Pale Ale
  • Ivanhoe from Ridgeway Brewing in the UK (light caramel and malt flavors, round, smooth)
  • Vitus (unfortunately I don’t remember details about it, but I jotted down that I liked it)
  • Weihenstephaner (their Lagerbier? Or perhaps it was their wheat beer– I just tasted a friend’s)
  • Belhaven (pretty good in general)
I was less interested in:
  • Biere de Garde from Brasserie Castellion (though friends I was with liked it)
  • Goose Island Green Line (a pale ale, and I believe only sold on tap and only sold within Chicago– mild and reasonable but nothing special)
  • Three Floyds Zombie Dust (a pale ale, a distinctive hop flavor, good and something I’d drink again but not something I’d go out of my way for)
  • Two Brothers Cane and Ebel (rye and palm sugar– sort of fruity/sweet– complex, but I didn’t like it– fortunately I was just tasting a friend’s)

Half Acre has a nice little tasting room at their brewery (which was near where I was staying with a friend). I sneaked a peek in back at their small canning operation as well– ever since friends started The Can Van, I’ve been especially curious which craft beers come in cans and at what scale that happens. From chatting with people at the brewery, one of the barriers to canning more beers is the printed cans themselves– they have to get huge pallets/stacks of cans printed at any given time, making it unreasonable to can their smaller-run beers even after making the investment in a canning line.

2 Responses to “Good Beer in Chicago”


  1. Chicago Food: Avec, The Publican, Au Cheval « The Robot Must Eat - May 16, 2012

    […] ones I liked at Camino). This was part of a many-dish long, leisurely dinner over conversation and beer (their beer list is […]

  2. Belhaven Brewery « Roald Smeets - June 27, 2012

    […] Good Beer in Chicago ( […]

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