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Chicago’s 36 Best Local Craft Beers

What to Drink This Summer and Beyond

(page 3 of 4)

Piece's Golden Arm, Haymarket's Mathias Imperial IPA, Half Acre's Over Ale, Finch's Cut Throat, Revolution's Bottom Up Wit, and Flossmoor Station's Pullman Brown Ale
(Clockwise from top left) Piece’s Golden Arm, Haymarket’s Mathias Imperial IPA, Half Acre’s Over Ale, Finch’s Cut Throat, Revolution’s Bottom Up Wit, and Flossmoor Station’s Pullman Brown Ale

FOR A TASTE OF THE FATHERLAND
Lucky Monk’s Fallen Angel Amber Lager

No dough for a pleasure cruise down the Danube? Don those lederhosen stashed in the back of your closet and swim in a river of Fallen Angel, a mild and toasty brewski cooked up German-style at this year-and-a-half-old suburban pub. 4.8% ABV. $6.95 pint, $60 five-gallon keg. The Lucky Monk, 105 Hollywood Blvd., South Barrington; 847-898-0500, theluckymonk.com

 

FOR A STELLAR STOUT
Lunar’s Total Eclipse Stout
(Click here for a sample tasting sheet for this beer)
Talk about once in a blue moon: Lunar’s longtime brewmaster left in January, leaving the brewpub scrambling to re-create his half-recorded recipes. We don’t know what Total Eclipse tasted like before, but the oatmeal stout we inhaled couldn’t have been better, hitting all the right cocoa and coffee notes with none of the bitterness or thinness that can derail the style. As of presstime, Lunar’s other year-rounder, Moondance IPA, was still in the fermenter, but we won’t need any convincing to revisit this charming bar. 6% ABV. $5.50 pint. Lunar Brewing Company, 54 E. St. Charles Rd., Villa Park; 630-530-2077

 

Related:

« BEST HOMETOWN BREWS
Check out the 36 best brews in Chicago

10 THINGS… »
Homebrewing and beer-drinking tips, plus our beer-making video and details on our beer release party

TOP BARS, GASTROPUBS, AND LIQUOR STORES »
Our 15 favorite places to find craft beer

BEER SCHOOLED »
A history of the Siebel Institute of Technology

WHAT’S IN YOUR FRIDGE NOW? »
Four connoisseurs tell us what they’re drinking

THROWING A BEER TASTING PARTY »
Pros tell us how to pair beer with food

CCBW 2011 »
Check out pics from this year’s Chicago Craft Beer Week

Plus:
Download your own tasting sheet (PDF)

And vote in our poll to name Chicago’s signature summer brew on our Facebook page

FOR URBAN BIKE SNOBS
Metropolitan’s Flywheel

It’s a steamy Friday in July—no, August—and you’ve just cycled your ten-mile commute home from work. You’re sweaty and thirsty, so what do you do? Crack open a Flywheel, stat. With its grapefruit aroma and grassy zing, this revitalizing pilsner is the perfect reward for a hard-core pedal pusher but, unlike some watery alternatives, is by no means a pushover itself. 5.2% ABV. $9.79 six-pack.

FOR MOVIES ALFRESCO
Metropolitan’s Krankshaft

Lots of local breweries shy away from slow-fermenting lagers, but Metropolitan, in Ravenswood, rises to the challenge. We can’t say enough about Krankshaft: Each buttery, salty swallow reminds us of popcorn, which leaves us longing for another summer-in-Chicago favorite, the Outdoor Film Festival in Grant Park. Then again, maybe this German-style kölsch will inspire us to start our own backyard cinema. First up? Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, of course. 5% ABV. $9.79 six-pack

Archer Liquors (5996 S. Archer Ave.; 773-582-4767) and other locations; metrobrewing.com

 

FOR THE SUBURBAN PROUD
Mickey Finn’s 847 Suburban Wheat Ale

Too bad Mickey decided its Amber was the ale to can. The brewpub’s other year-rounder is the sort of beer we’d carry to parties to please a majority of palates without sacrificing taste. This friendly revenge on Goose Island’s 312 is served so chilly you won’t taste the wheat until the beer warms up. Let it. Once you’ve fought for a seat at Mickey’s cutthroat bar, you’ll want to savor your victory. 4.28% ABV. $4.50 pint, $18 growler ($15 refill). Mickey Finn’s Brewery, 412 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville; 847-362-6688, mickeyfinnsbrewery.com

 

FOR HOLDING HUNGER PANGS AT BAY
Moonshine’s Able Danger

If happy-hour specials weren’t illegal in Chicago, we’d head to Moonshine after work and chug this IPA by the bucket. It’s got enough heft to sate growling tummies—but then again, why abstain? Able Danger’s assertive apricot and pepper notes will slice right through the tavern’s ooey-gooey four-cheese mac ($9), and with house drafts just $3 to $4 most nights, who needs happy hour? 6.9% ABV. $3–$5 pint, $16 growler ($12 refill). Moonshine, 1824 W. Division St.; 773-862-8686, moonshinechicago.com

 

FOR QUENCHING EPIC CRAVINGS
Piece’s Golden Arm

Too bad Piece wasn’t around in Nelson Algren’s day. We can imagine The Man with the Golden Arm author and onetime Wicker Park scenester putting away quarts of this kölsch, pale as watery sunlight the morning after a bender. Order two at a time and guzzle ice-cold. (Golden Arm is Piece’s only always-on option, but look for frequent cameos by Dark-n-Curvy Dunkelweizen, a.k.a. zucchini bread in a glass; smoky-as-a-charcuterie-platter Big Black Mariah; and clean-as-a-whistle Full Frontal Pale Ale.) 5% ABV. $5 pint, $16 growler ($12 refill). Piece Brewery & Pizzeria, 1927 W. North Ave.; 773-772-4422, piecechicago.com

 

FOR POOLSIDE LAPPING
Revolution’s Bottom Up Wit

This swimmer-blond witbier—a Belgian-style wheat—calls to mind cold dips and chlorine and long days in the sun. Crisp and invigorating, with a whiff of cilantro and a tangy kick, it’s a lifesaver for fans of Three Floyds’ blink-and-you’ll-miss-it seasonal Rabid Rabbit—and for those of us with no pool to lounge beside. We could drink it by the gallon. Dive in, the water’s fine. 5% ABV. $5 pint, $16 growler ($12 refill).

FOR FOUR-SEASON SATISFACTION
Revolution’s Eugene

God bless you, Revolution, for seeing the light: No way is a porter too rich for summer. When we want a velvety pint or three, calendar be damned, we turn to this inky beauty. For those who’d rather save dark beers for cooler weather, Eugene does wonders to help ease Chicago’s annual transition to arctic tundra. 6.8% ABV. $6 pint, $18 growler ($14 refill)

Revolution Brewing, 2323 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-227-2739, revbrew.com

 

Photograph: Anna Knott

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