Mini Chicago Beer Adventure

I didn’t touch alcohol until well after I turned 21 and was under the impression for a very very long time that all beer “tasted like piss”. I tried really hard to like beer because it was cheap and it was what everyone else was drinking. So I tried a long line of beers trying to find one I truly enjoyed drinking. About five years ago that was Sam Adams Light. Somehow over the course of doing research on craft and micro brews I stumbled upon Goose Island. I tried Goose Island 312 and it quickly became my favorite beer. From then on I was content to live in a world where I was drinking the tastiest, trendiest beer and that beer was 312.

Last March Goose Island was bought by Anheuser Busch and a side of the craft beer world I had never seen before came out of the woodwork to spout some of the most insane hateful shit I had ever read. This lead me to do some research. If Goose Island wasn’t the tiniest of the tiny brewers, then who was? One brewery in particular caught my eye and that was Half Acre here in Chicago. A week or so later I stumbled upon cans of Gossamer Golden Ale at the local Whole Foods. I cracked open the can, poured it into one of my beer glasses and took a sip. I was blown away, there was flavor to this beer like I had never experienced before. By the end of the glass I had cracked open another can and was declaring it my new favorite.

I then read online that production at Half Acre wasn’t able to keep up with demand and the beer was going to be scarce and possibly only able to be found in the city limits of Chicago. For months I scoured all the local high end liquor stores looking for more Gossamer, but alas none was to be found. Then in November Half Acre mysteriously reappeared at Whole Foods and all was well. But something was bugging me. Half Acre’s brewery was so close to my house, why hadn’t I just driven out there and gotten some fresh from the tap Gossamer Golden Ale?

The week before New Year’s Eve the stars aligned. Half Acre was brewing up a batch of Callow Knife beer special for NYE weekend and it sounded absolutely delicious. I got to my destination early and pulled up Google Maps. It turned out the brewery was less than a half mile away ON THE SAME STREET I WAS STANDING ON! So me and my friend Cliff (who doesn’t even drink) made the just over quarter mile trek to Half Acre. I bought my growler and walked it back to my car. On New Year’s Eve I cracked it open and fell in love all over again with a Half Acre beer.

My weekends usually consist of me doing household chores and playing video games and quite frankly I was sick of it. I decided I was going to have a mini Chicago beer adventure. Well…..I had to be in the city anyway and all this stuff was within 3 miles of each other so….again I got lucky. I started off by having lunch at the Wriglyville Goose Island. My beer with lunch was Mild Winter. Now I’ve had Mild Winter from the bottle and it’s great. I’ve had it form the tap at bars and it was really good, but from Goose Island it was a whole different beast. It tasted much more smooth than any other glass of Mild Winter I have ever had with the rye bread flavors being a bit subdued. On the food side of the equation I had the BBQ Pulled Pork sandwich and while the meat was pretty average the Honker’s Ale BBQ sauce was outstanding. My wife who could write a BBQ sauce blog like I could write a video game blog even said it might be her favorite sauce ever. I suggest asking for a side of it and some fries.

I left with a growler of 312 and my first glass out of the growler was a tad disappointing it had a weird funkiness to it. However I poured myself a second glass and it was much better. I’m starting to wonder if the first glass wasn’t dirty. Once again straight from the brewery beer > out of a bottle or even away from the brewery. The 312 was fresh and made me remember why it was my favorite for so long.

After that we drove down the road to Half Acre and much to my amazement Callow Knife was still being poured! I expected to leave with a growler of Gossamer or even Daisy Cutter but I quickly handed over my growler to have it filled with the Knife. I cracked it open Sunday and it was even better than I remember. I’m thinking of heading down there in a couple days just to get a refill for Super Bowl Sunday The Big Game.

If you have slightly more than a passing interest in beer (as in you drink it because you like the way it tastes, not to get drunk) I urge you to check out what small breweries might be in your area. Or try something different next time you’re at the liquor store, might I suggest the now practically nationwide Goose Island. And if you need any advice or help, I am definitely willing to lend a hand. Now if only someone could help me get my hands on a Bourbon County Coffee Stout….

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