Chasing the Beer Scene in Chicago

Revolution Brewing's Logan Square Brewpub // Photo courtesy of Revolution Brewing's Website

Revolution Brewing’s Logan Square Brewpub // Photo courtesy of Revolution Brewing’s Website

Revolution Brewing Company //

Tour of Logan Square

It might be a stretch to attribute any sort of political upheaval to an individual beer, but Revolution Brewing’s beer might be that good. Revolution recently opened a production facility to distribute locally, but their beers pair best with the burgers, pizza and charcuterie at their Logan Square brewpub, which fits right in on the eclectic Milwaukee Avenue. Many bars strive to embody their neighborhoods, but few accomplish this with such aplomb.

An ethnic, blue-collar neighborhood that made room for Chicago’s creative and intellectual classes, Logan Square feeds off of its many identities. Revolution hits on all of these things with its sometimes militaristic imagery (Anti-Hero IPA) and egalitarian revolutionary spirit (Eugene Porter, named in honor of noted socialist and union activist Eugene Debs). These beers are for all, and everyone should enjoy them in the brewpub.

A visit to Logan Square would not be complete without a stop at the square itself. Browse the collection at City Lit Books and ogle the steel-framed bikes at Boulevard Bicycles, Logan staples that unite the neighborhood’s academic class. Lucky visitors can catch a show at the Logan Square Auditorium, a venue with populist appeal that remains true to its art deco roots.

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Ale Syndicate //

Kayaking the Chicago River

Ale Syndicate enjoys an almost phantasmic existence right now. Haunting every worthwhile tap list Chicago, they occupy no physical space within city limits. But this will soon change, adding gravity to an already lively Bucktown beer scene.

Chicago was always the goal for Jesse and Samuel Evans. After industry related stints around the United States, they finally found the right opportunity to brew the beers they wanted, in the place they wanted. Currently under construction, Ale Syndicate found a home in the Green Exchange, a sustainable-business incubator in a former industrial space near the oddly serene north branch of the Chicago River. To prepare for Ale Syndicate, launch a kayak at Diversey Avenue. Heading north leads to the Skokie lagoons and south provides easy access to Goose Island and The Loop, worthy endeavors themselves.

The beers reflect the sensibilities of well-traveled individuals who know where they hang their hats at the end of the day. Sunday Session provides ample excuses to imbibe early on the Sabbath, using hop scaffolding to prop up a refreshing malt backbone. Municipal IPA pulls no punches with generous helpings of cascade hops that lend itself to food pairings across the board. At the end of the day, though, all that matters is the beer.

Related Post: Chasing the Beer Scene in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

DryHop Brewers //

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Picnic at Belmont Harbor on Lake Michigan

The economy of this new lakeview brewpub alone makes a visit worthwhile. Nestled on Broadway, a street known for far-reaching cuisine, and within a stones throw of Chicago’s happening gay district and historic Wrigley Field, DryHop makes the most of its limited space. The entire concept relies on balance—balanced malt bills, balanced food pairings, and balanced beer selection. DryHop’s products share strengths and play off of one another, carving out a little niche in a distinct, expressive neighborhood. A wait is guaranteed, but don’t worry. There’s plenty of room at the bar.

DryHop’s interior feels simultaneously austere and cluttered. Open windows in front give way to a hallway full of mash tuns and fermenters. Servers buzz around patrons while the brew team goes about its duty of quenching thirst. But there’s a rhythm to the room. Hit-or-miss names aside (“Shark Meets Hipster”? Groan…), the beers display a knowledge of both style and history. Batch 001, an eminently drinkable steam ale, forms a great base for DryHop to build off and they follow it up in style. The decidedly certain Heisenberg Altbier pairs exceptionally with the bratwurst and pickled goods, and the APA exhibits that oft-elusive trait in the brewing world—balance.

The best part is that DryHop offers growlers to go and there’s an entire Great Lake to explore nearby. Pack a picnic and head over to Belmont Harbor to watch the ships come and go, an image that represents the best parts of Chicago summers.

5 Rabbit Cerveceria //

Pizza in Little Italy

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The contours of Chicago loosely subscribe to a quadrant system with Madison and State Street acting as the bisectors. Most breweries occupy former industrial spaces on the northwest side, but to end your tour there is to leave out some of the most important parts of the story.

5 Rabbit Cerveceria on Chicago’s southwest side makes some of the most innovative and drinkable beers in the 60638 zip code. Immersed in the rich Latino heritage of CEO Andrés Araya, 5 Rabbit makes beer that integrates seamlessly with more than just food. Their beer resonates with the very core of the human condition: pride, gluttony, desire, wisdom. You name it—they make a beer with a flavor to match.

5 Rabbit’s home in the Southwest industrial quarter is not easily accessible from The Loop, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth the trip. Head south into a wealth of cultural opportunities that many Chicago residents are just noticing. Stop by 3 Aces on Taylor Street, the heart of Little Italy, and load up on fresh pulled mozzarella and piping hot pies from their wood-burning oven. After that, sample some 5 Rabbit beers at the Bridgeport mainstay, Maria’s Packaged Goods and Community Bar. 5 Rabbit, the brewery’s flagship, and its amber companion, 5 Vulture, add a refreshing kick to almost any meal and any occasion.

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Comments

  1. Great article. There’s much more to chase in Chicago and around. I’ve been doing just that for a while. Here’s the (not final, still growing) result: http://www.communitywalk.com/chicagoland_breweries/chicagoland_breweries/map/1575502

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