The newly extended Chicago Craft Beer Week is nearly upon us. Running from Thursday May 15th to Sunday May 25th, CCBW sees a busy 10 days of tappings, beer dinners, new brews and old favorites. There’s sure to be something for everyone’s taste. If you want to try something classic, original, unique or just plain great tasting, check out this list of the best beers to try during craft beer week.
ABV: 5.17% // IBU: 7
Who? Stevens Point Brewery, Stevens Point, WI
What? An unfiltered wheat ale with a balance of “au naturel” raw and red wheat. It has a light and refreshing flavor.
Why? Only available in the summer, perfect for outdoor drinking. Find a patio, kick back and enjoy the sunshine.
ABV: 6.5% // IBU: 70
Who? Revolution Brewing, Chicago, IL
What? Your classic American hop-tastic craft beer. This IPA features a blend of four hops for a crisp, bitter flavor and a citrus aroma.
Why? Drink Local! Revolution’s brewery is located in Logan Square, right in the heart of Chicago’s West Side. Pro tip: pair it with “Revolution Anti-Hero Braised Short Ribs” at Sweetwater on Michigan Ave.
ABV: 4.2% // IBU: 13
Who? Abita Brewing Company, Abita Springs, LA
What? A refreshing summer lager with real Louisiana Strawberry juice added after filtration, giving you a subtle sweet aroma and taste.
Why? Fruit beers are growing up, as American brewers are forming their own Belgian-inspired beers. Get it on draft and get it first at the Chicago Craft Beer Week Launch Party with Abita at The Boundary. Pro Tip: Pair it with a cheese plate.
Rye of the Tiger
ABV: 7.5% // IBU: 92
Who? Great Lakes Brewing Company, Cleveland, OH
What? An American rye IPA with a beautiful cloudy orange color. Tropical fruit aroma and a sweet and very refreshing taste.
Why? Sweet and fruity, this Rye IPA offers something a little different for any seasoned IPA lovers looking for something new.
ABV: 3.8% // IBU: 21
Who? Surly Brewing, Minneapolis, MN
What? A classic English-style Mild. One of the finiest examples this English expat has ever tasted.
Why? Drinkability. This is one of the ultimate session beers, not sacrificing flavor or a beautiful color for the session-able lower ABV.
ABV: 6.5% // IBU: 50
Who? Anderson Valley Brewing, Boonville, CA
What? Cascadian Dark Ale/Black. This dark ale has a prevalent pine and spruce aroma and a hoppy, clean taste.
Why? Only 7 kegs of this mysterious, rare, and unique brew will be available in the Midwest (5 of which will be at Howells & Hood for the Anderson Valley Open House event on May 21st.)
ABV: 6.1% // IBU: 40
Who? Allagash Brewing Company, Portland, ME
What? Allagash put their spin on a Belgian farmhouse style. Golden in color, with malted rye and spices on the nose and a similar malty peppery taste.
Why? You may think you know Allagash, but this Saison shows their more diverse side. Pro Tip: Try the Allagash #CCBW Flight Special at Old Town Pour House for a sampling of four of their beers.
Sunday Session APA
ABV: 4.8% // IBU: 23
Who? Ale Syndicate, Chicago, IL
What? A “Sunday Session Hopped-Up Ale” from a new chicago brewery. This mellower beer is light and crisp, with subtle citrus notes.
Why? The clue is in the name; another day-drinking-friendly ale that still serves up some fun for the hop-lovers out there. Pro tip: Pairs very well with hearty beer-fodder food such as Brats and burgers.
Chainbreaker White IPA
ABV: 5.6% // IBU: 55
Who? Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR
What? A delightful hybrid of wit beer and IPA; balancing the citrus and coriander aromas with a enough hop taste to warrant the IPA stamp.
Why? Pro tip: The chef’s at South Branch are putting on a Chicago Craft Beer Week food special of Chainbreaker Grilled Octopus Salad.
Anything by Pipeworks
ABV: various // IBU: various
Who? Pipeworks Brewing Company, Chicago, IL
What? Pipeworks have a huge archive of their past brews, and include unique recipes such as the Pineapple Bling (Pilsner), the Ninja Vs. Unicorn (Double IPA), and the Hey Careful Man, There’s A Beverage Here! (Russian Imperial Milk Stout).
Why? A truly inventive brew team, Pipeworks never attempt to make the same batch twice. Try something weird!
Share a comment on these great beers, and share your top recommendations or Pro tips below.
Enjoy Chicago Craft Beer Week!
by Lee Jarvis.