Chicago Beer Bar Discoveries

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(As originally published on our other blog,

Back when Goose Island was the only local brewery in town, Chicago already had some better beer bars, like the classic 20-year-old Hopleaf. Today there are over 50 breweries (most of them without tap rooms as of yet), and a slew of newer beer bars that locals and visitors are quick to recommend, like the Map Room and Local Option.

We recently dedicated five full days and nights to finding out what’s new on the Chicago beer scene, so everywhere we went we asked for advice from local bar patrons and beertenders. With their advice, we found some great places for craft beer in Chicago that you may not have heard of – yet.

Strange Brewfest 2015. These go to 11

Outside at Strange Brewfest.

It’s time to make plans for the 11th Annual Strange Brewfest. The celebration of quirky beers happens on January 23rd and 24th in Port Townsend. This year, the event takes place on Friday night and Saturday, and they decided to skip the Sunday session. Now that I have successfully secured my Strange Brewfest lodging, I…

No-Li Van Lambert Sour Cherry Ale, sneak peek this Saturday


I just learned that this Saturday No-Li Brewhouse in Spokane will release a limited number of bottles of its Van Lambert Sour Cherry Ale. Here’s the announcement from the brewery. Santa has come a bit early this year! With the holidays just around the corner, No-Li will be offering a “sneak peek” at our latest…

Holiday Ale Festival raises $20k for Children’s Cancer Association


I don’t like to get involved in the “us versus them” thing. Seattle is a great beer town and Portland is a great beer town. I don’t like to waste time pondering which is better. That said, there’s no denying that Portland kicks Seattle’s butt when it comes to beer festivals. Over the course of…

President Obama – now a member of the American Homebrewers Association


A couple years ago, the world learned that the White House kitchen staff was brewing its own beer at the behest of President Obama. We reported on that story in 2012 (read it). Sam Kass, a chef at the White House and the Senior Policy Adviser for Healthy Food Initiatives, is the one who’s actually…

The Bergschrund set to open in Ballard this Friday


Because liquor laws are so frequently governed by bizarre pretzel logic, we can’t actually declare this new Ballard drinking establishment to be what it actually is. Instead of saying exactly what it really is, I must tell you it is something else. So here it goes. The Bergschrund is a new beer-focused bar in Ballard…

Flying Bike Cooperative gets closer to takeoff


Today is an exciting day for the 900 member-owners of Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery. It was in April of 2011 that I first told you about Flying Bike and its unusual approach to funding, building, and operating a brewery (see all of our stories about Flying Bike). Today, almost four years later, I am happy…

Holiday Brewmaster Dinner at the Jolly Roger this Sunday


Maritime Pacific has something Jolly lined up for the holidays this year, and I’m not just talking about Jolly Roger, the company’s beloved Christmas Ale. On Sunday, December 21st Maritime Pacific hosts a Holiday Brewmaster Dinner. The event marks the finale of the first-ever “It Must Hold Beer” Stein Contest (details below). At the dinner,…

Lake Tapps Brewing releasing whiskey barrel-aged Parliament Porter


This Thursday, December 18, from 6:00 – 8:00, Lake Tapps Brewing Company invites you to stop in and try the first release of its Parliament Porter, a beer aged in Parliament Distillery Ghost Owl Whiskey barrels. Like Lake Tapps Brewing, Parliament Distillery is in Sumner.  The beer has been resting in the barrels since Lake…

Grab a beer on top of the world


There’s only one place in the city of Seattle where you can enjoy a tasty beer at 900-something feet above sea level.  I’m talking about the Sky View Observatory, located on the 73rd floor of the Columbia Center, where you can now get some tasty food, beer and wine at the Sky View Cafe. For…