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DineWise: Create Your Own Chicago Craft Beer Pub Crawl

Thu, Jun 16, 2011

Chicago Craft Beer Week just ended. This annual exhibition of the City’s craft beer community is a must for beer aficionados. If you missed it, don’t fret. We’ve compiled a do-it-yourself tour to enjoy at your leisure.

But first… what are craft brewers?

An American craft brewer is small, independent and traditional. Small: Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less. Independent: Less than 25% of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member who is not themselves a craft brewer. Traditional: A brewer who has either an all-malt flagship (the beer which represents the greatest volume among that brewer’s brands) or has at least 50% of its volume in either all-malt beers or in beers which use adjuncts to enhance rather than lighten flavor.

Chicago is a hub of pubs and restaurants offering the ever-so-tasty craft beers. If you want to re-track this year’s Craft Beer event, check out these spots for great brew.

South Loop locations: Kroll’s (1736 S. Michigan Ave., 312- 235-1400), Reggie’s Bar (2105 S. State St., 312-949-0120), Weathermark Tavern (1503 S. Michigan Ave., 312-588-0230), Jimmy Green’s (825 S. State Street, 312-386-9000), Wabash Tap (1233 S. Wabash St., 312-360-9488), and Flo and Santo’s (1310 S. Wabash St., 312-566-9817) — all offering a great selection of craft beers.

The Beer Bistro (1061 W Madison Ave. at Aberdeen, 312-433 0013) carries 22 beers on draft and more than 140 bottles and cans, a wide spectrum from around the country including The Brooklyn Brewery. They also have “real ale” a cask conditioned ale weekly.

Check out the free Saturday tours at Revolution Brewing (Logan Square. 2323 N Milwaukee Ave. between California and Fullerton. 773-227 2739, noon to 1 p.m. Tours hold up to 25.

Other venues to sample great craft beers include: Twisted Spoke (501 N Ogden Ave. between Grand and Race. 312-666-1500); Rock Bottom Brewery (1 West Grand, 312-755-9339) and Faith & Whiskey (1366 W. Fullerton, 773-248-9119)

Going upscale

There are a number of casual and fine dining restaurants offering impressive craft and small batch beer selections. Benny’s Chop House (444 N. Wabash Ave., 312-626-2444) boasts an impress list of 34 brews including some hard to find selections like Founders Centennial IPA, Daisy Cutter Pale Ale from Chicago’s Half Acre Brewery, and Arcadia “Ship Wreck” Porter.

Drink at home

There’s nothing better than celebrating with friends and the summer is the perfect time to celebrate with craft brews. Whole Foods – Lincoln Park (1550 N Kingsbury St. at Weed, 312-587 0648) has an admirable selection or pick up some great selections from Chicago’s own Goose Island Beer Company (1800 N. Clybourn, 312-915-0071). Goose Island was voted best for its craft beers in 2010; try the Green Line, an American Style pale ale.

National Beer Events

Great American Beer Festival

Date: September 29 – October 1
Location: Colorado Convention Center (Denver, CO)
One of America’s greatest beer celebrations: 49,000+ attendees, 2,200+ beers, 3 days. Registration for the 2011 Great American Beer Festival opens on June 9. This registration is for both the competition and the festival. For more info, visit www.greatamericanbeerfestival.com/

World Beer Cup

Date: May 2, 2012
Location: San Diego, California
Winners Announced: May 5, 2012
Gala Awards Ceremony & Dinner at the Craft Brewers Conference, Town & Country Resort, San Diego.
Every two years a highly qualified professional panel of beer judges honors the top three beers in 90 beer-style categories with gold, silver and bronze awards. Go to www.worldbeercup.org for more information.

Craft Brewers Conference

Date: May 2 – 5, 2012
Location: Town and Country Resort
San Diego, CA
Mark your calendars now to join thousands of brewing professionals in San Diego for the conference and BrewExpo America®, the largest tradeshow in the US for the brewing industry. Visit www.craftbrewersconference.com for further information.

About DineWise

DineWise Chicago is written by Cindy Kurman Barrie and Lee Barrie, the principals of Kurman Communications, Inc., a Chicago-based marketing and public relations agency. The DineWise column appears weekly in StreetWise magazine. Please visit their blog atwww.gotbuzzatkurman.com and check out all DineWise articles atwww.dinewisechicago.com.

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