The Drinker’s Guide: 29 Great Winter Brews

DRINK A NEW BEER EVERY DAY: One for each day in February, recommended by the resident beer geeks at 14 terrific stores

MORE FROM THE DRINKER’S GUIDE TO CHICAGO: 20 Best Cocktails in Chicago (PLUS: our Foursquare challenge) | Best Wines at Every Price | How to Build a Home Bar | Top-Shelf Spirits for Your Liquor Cabinet | Finding Your Go-To Cocktail | Duchamp’s Kris von Dopek on His New Cocktail | Winter Cocktail Recipe Challenge | Nine Stylish Items for Your Home Bar

SEE ALSO: Chicago’s Best Craft Beer »

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2 years ago
Posted by RoyE

For Chicago Magazine it would have been nice to see some Chicago (or Illinois) beer included.

2 years ago
Posted by chihammy

29 beers and not ONE local product? Chicago is a burgeoning craft beer city with many outstanding breweries and more on the way. In July 2011, it was considered important enough to warrant the magazine's cover and feature article. Seven months later, these "resident beer geeks" look everywhere but Chicago to find "great winter beers." No offense to the brewers and beers here, but one would have thought that "Chicago" Magazine might have at least featured something local, or am I missing something?

2 years ago
Posted by rogerd

What? No Illinois beers on the list, in a magazine called "Chicago"? What about the great winter seasonal beers from Goose Island, Two Brothers, Half Acre, Flossmoor, Argus, Metropolitan, and many others? Their total absence is glaring, and makes me question your whole list.

2 years ago
Posted by Elizabeth Riley (Chicago magazine)

Hey Everyone,

Thanks for commenting. In regards to your comment about the presence of local brews, we recently did an extensive feature article on Chicago's craft brew scene, which you can view here:

For this list, we changed it up by surveying local liquor store owners about their winter beer preferences. So this particular story focuses more on where to get good, seasonal beer no matter where you are in Chicago. Hope that clears up our reasoning.

Thanks again for your feedback.



2 years ago
Posted by chihammy

Thanks for your followup, Elizabeth.

Those of us who love craft beer are not completely parochial. We certainly appreciate quality beers, regardless of where they are brewed.

But I find it hard to believe that local store owners would fail to mention even one local winter seasonal. More surprisingly, some of the highlighted beers are not winter seasonals at all (e.g, Nøgne Ø Saison, De La Senne Taras Boulba, Vanberg & DeWulf Lambickx, Kasteel Rouge, Cantillon Classic Gueuze, Grand Teton Bitch Creek, Firestone Walker Double Jack). Improved research and fact-checking should have revealed that.

2 years ago
Posted by Nora O'Donnell

Hello there!

I'm one of the writers for this story. Just to clarify: We asked experts what are their favorites that are available in stores right now, so some are winter brews, some are not. We were hoping that some of the beers on this list might be ones that readers haven't tried yet!

Thanks for reading!


2 years ago
Posted by Markisan

While I do appreciate the recommendations for winter brews, I agree that this feature is a minor fail. It's called CHICAGO magazine... You should have included a section for local winter brews in addition to this. Second, you need a beer editor who actually tries these beers, instead of relying on the input of vendors. I would happily volunteer my services. I've been drinking Two Brothers "Northwind" and it is a fantastic winter stout that definitely deserves to be on a winter brew beer list in Chicago magazine.

2 years ago
Posted by Jeff G.

While I appreciate the effort, I'm not sure all liquor store owners qualify as "experts" on beer. A qualified Ciccerone, who knows a thing or two about winter beers, would be a better choice. Putting an ESB on there and calling it a winter beer is a good hint you've gone off the rails.

2 years ago

Thanks for thinking locally . . . not!

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