Nothing says Chicago like Beer. Actually I made that up, but it certainly helps justify my decision to spend a day of my three day Chicago trip on a pub tour. What also helps justidy that decision is that the Chicago Beer Experience turned out to be an amazing time.
You may not realize this, but the US has some wonderful craft beer. The Chicago Beer Experience covers the tasting of both famous Chicago beers as well as highlighting other craft beers from the Mid West.
The tour takes visitors through three local pubs and one local beer store to sample a total of SIXTEEN unique beers. Sample is probably the wrong word…these were quite generous portions. So generous that I have to apologize in advance for the noticeable decline in photography you may see in this post.
Stop 1- Harrigan’s Pub
Harrigan’s Pub was the starting point of our day. Going off the Irish heritage we sampled a variety of Irish and Chicago brews including the local favorite of Goose Island 312 (so named because 312 is the Chicago area code).
Although I have tasted Guiness many times before, I was very impressed by the bar tenders ability to inscribe a four leaf clover in each pour.
But by far the the most interesting tasting was the first beer. It was a clear, light tasting beer which the tour proclaimed to be “An Award Winning Chicago Beer.” I have to admit it was tasty – but not exactly what I expect out of a craft beer.
As it turns out, that particular beer had won a award at the Chicago World Fair over 100 years ago. A blue ribbon for which it got its name – Pabst Blue Ribbon aka PBR. Yum. It is my beer of choice for tubing trips and the like.
Stop 2 – Paddy Longs
I don’t know why I am eating that bacon with my face. Guess it just seemed right at the time. You make some weird decisions when your daily calorie intake consists pretty much only of beer and pork products.
Sadly all good things must come to an end and soon it was time for stop #3.
Stop 3- The Beer Store
Here was the good thing about this tour: It involved very little walking and a lot of beer. (Did you catch that? There was beer on this tour? Did you pick up on the fact that I might of enjoyed that?)
The other good thing was that it was also really interesting. In addition to all the “sampling” we got to learn about the beer making process and even check out some of the materials.
We also learned about some fun beer lore. Like the fact that the former owner of the Goose Island brewery peed in a beer glass and served it to a pub customer after he got heckled for selling the brewery to Budweiser. Ahh Chicago.
It was a pretty awesome beer store. But i’m not going to tell you where it is, you will have to take the tour to find out.
Stop 4 – Delilah’s
The final stop on this tour was Delilahs. I’m going to be honest, it seemed like some fun facts might of been shared during this portion of the tour as well, but I was long past paying attention.
Here was the one downside of the tour: During the first stop, we got a new glass for each tasting so it was possible to simply TASTE the beer. However, that practice soon stopped and in order to get the next beer, you needed to empty your glass. I don’t know about you, but I really shouldn’t be consuming anywhere near this amount of beer on a bacon only stomach.
All and all it was a great tour – by far one of the best I’ve taken. I was entertained and well watered. There was a great mix of fun facts, beer tastings and time to sit and relax with your friends as you enjoyed your samples.
Disclaimer: The Chicago Beer Experience provided Caroline and I with a complimentary tour. All thoughts and opinions are my own.