My first Chicago drink (this time) was in Rock Bottom Brewery (more on this in a further post) a couple of hours after I arrived, knackered but slightly freshened after a shower in my lovely Hilton room. (Hotwire does not suck). I met Joel there and had a couple of decent beers while we caught up. Aware of the fact that I'd been up a long number of weary hours, I started slowly with a Chicago Gold, a lightly hopped, well balanced drinkable beer and followed up with a very nice Belgian Wit which was refreshing and lemony. Joel's German style pilsner was great too. Then off on the El to Piece (a brewpub) to meet the Rock Bottom brewer, Pete, really nice guy, whose last day it was. I should add here that he is leaving Rock Bottom to set up his own brewpub, so another one is coming for the well established Chicago scene. On entry a remarkable co-incidence. A colleague of mine from BSF at GBBF was there. We gave a double take as we recognised each other. Well you would do wouldn't you? Carl, had been stranded by the ash cloud and was awaiting his return to Amsterdam. Piece's beers will be covered later but were pretty drinkable, though by that time who knows what my palate was like, but I am informed by Andy my friend, that some mystery extra beers arrived at the end, including an "awesome barley wine". Things were slipping by then but I remember the pizza was also excellent.
Then the other boys joined us to make eight and it all went downhill. Off to Revolution Brewing next where we bumped into American writer Lew Bryson, an old mate of ours, big and cheerful as ever, whose laugh could be heard throughout the packed and noisy pub (as always.) Iron Fist Pale Ale was my beer of choice with its very moreish Cascade/Centennial/Amarillo mix, but I also tried tasters of various others and while not overwhelmingly brilliant, were all very decent beers and not too strong either. Around 1.30 a.m. realising I had been up for over 26 hours, I retired, still in reasonable shape - well I was by 26 hours up standards - back to the hotel where sleep was instant. It was there (Revolution) that one of the lads fell asleep, but by then I already was, albeit in bed, not the pub.
That set the pattern, but unbeknown to me, my next drink would be a tequila cocktail. Yes really and what a cocktail and the best Mexican meal ever at Frontera Grill. Photo is the exterior of Revolution Brewing
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
This blog mentions specifics; pubs and beer, good and bad. The opinions will be forthright, but you can always disagree, just don't be offended. Comments from those mentioned are particularly welcome and a right of reply is hereby offered.
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