The breweries and taprooms of our time tend to favor laid-back, rustic touches or minimalist aesthetics. Not Twisted Hippo (2925 W. Montrose Ave.): This Albany Park spot pops with larger-than-life decor and zany colors — most notably hot pink, the color of the brewery's mascot.

The vibrant creature, which is represented on murals, glassware, and lots of swag, captures the business' fiercly whimsical spirit. It looks like a hippo with wings, but upon closer observation also features the corkscrew tail of a pig and the antlers of some well-endowed member of the Cervidae family. Fittingly, Twisted Hippo's motto is "Embrace your strange."

The look here is a wholly different than that of past tenants Breakroom Brewery and Finch Kitchen, and a recent visit suggests that it's well worth it to let your freak flag fly at full-mast. Every seat was filled on that Saturday evening, as people lingered to sip on beer mixed with ingredients like beets, plum, and peanut butter.