Thursday, May 24, 2012

Craft Beer Week Updates!

Hi guys, sorry I didn’t get around to posting yesterday. It’s been a crazy busy week and I have a 3-day wknd ahead of me.  To recap what I've been up to, as you may recall, I posted that last Thursday Chicago Craft Beer Week officially started.

Last weekend, we were in full-swing brew mode to collect stickers from bars to get VIP access to the finale party this Friday (which I’m sure isn’t going to be spectacular, but it’s fun to try to collect this guys). We pretty much hung out with our other newlywed couple, B&B, the majority of the weekend.  It was nice to hang out just the four of us, as couples, instead of with a big group of people  for a change.

Friday, 5/18:

We met in Bucktown neighborhood, where B&B live, and started off a Bar Bar Black Sheep on Milwaukee Ave..  It’s modern and trendy, while we didn’t eat there, the food menu and specials sounded amazing.  Even though it wasn’t a craft beer, I opted for a pomegranate margarita, on special for $5, to start off my night and it was just the thirst quencher I needed.  The server was a really cool guy who loved to talk but was familiar with bars all over the city.  B&B had been there earlier in the week and he remembered chatting with them then, which is nice.

From there we walked to Division St and ended up with a beer-tower at Division Ale House.  They were listed on beer week’s website as a participating venue, but our waitress had no idea what was going on and they didn’t have the stickers, so we had her sign our neighborhood card in leiu of the sticker.  While enjoying our Lagunitas Lil Sumthin Sumthin IPA, we made up our own version of how to play Trivial Pursuit and had some fun. We also found out they supposedly have an awesome trivia night during the week to try out.

As planned, Division Ale House is right at Division St and Damen Ave; so we walked south on Damen Ave until we hit Chicago Ave.  We stopped in Roots Pizza to put our name on the list for a table and then popped into High Dive for a drink (and a sticker), which was surprisingly big and crowded, before going back to Roots.  While eating at Roots, B&B had two uncles and an aunt meet us there, who were visiting from Philly.  After a couple of drinks there we crossed the street and went to Cleo’s, which had a surprisingly nice and quaint beer garden in back.

Post-Cleo’s, we walked back up Damen Ave, and lucky for me, the wife of B&B is just as obsessed with desserts as I am, so we convinced the guys (which wasn’t hard) to stop into Black Dog Gelato on the way back to Bucktown.  I got the red raspberry sorbet, which was good, but Ben’s espresso gelato was fantastic! We walked with our treats and attempted to go to Hot Chocolate, only to realize it was after midnight and they were no longer seating.  We decided to call it a night and hopped in a cab back to our place!

Saturday, 5/19:
We slept in extremely late for us (9:30am, ha! I guess we’re turning into adults?), had breakfast at home and headed out to the Chicago English Bulldog Meetup where we volunteered for the bulldog rescue.  We had signed up to give baths, but due to NATO Summit, attendance at this meet-up was really low and we more or less just kind of hung around.  We did have the chance to meet a lot of the rescue member’s we’d talked with on the phone and communication with online, so that was nice!

After the meet-up, we headed home to hang out with the boys (Oscar and Knucklehead, who are getting along fabulously).  We had tickets for the Crosstown Classic, which is Chicago Cubs vs Chicago White Sox, at Wrigley, which are hard enough to get in themselves, plus it was a Saturday night game, which is even more rare for Wrigley.  We stopped at a new bar, Wheelhouse, along the way for an early dinner.  They had sliders on special and they were delicious! Since it’s close, this place is going on our quick-bar-dinner list.

The game itself was terrible, as the Cubs got killed.  I hate doing this, but I agreed to leave early to escape the embarrassment.  We went to Nisei Lounge, which is a part of beer week, to get another sticker before hopping in a cab to go to Old Town neighborhood to meet B&B at Old Town Pour House.  It’s a new, huge, trendy bar.  It’s really not my style, as its super loud, the girls are done up to the 9’s in an obnoxious way, etc.  We stayed for a drink there before deciding to leave and go up to Lincoln Park area to go to Galway Arms, another bar on the list that we knew we liked.

Well, silly and slightly buzzed me, started talking about Molly’s Cupcakes up the street (which by now you may realized I’m infauted with since I feel like I’ve posted about it a few times in a short amount of time).  We realized B&B had never had it, so I took it upon myself to leave the bar, go grab my three favorite flavors of cupcakes and bring them back for us to share.  They tasted nothing short of a miracle.

After a few drinks there, we decided to call it a night. Ben and I hopped in a cab back to our place, except that we decided to stop along the way at Paddy Longs.  You see, I’d lost my Pour House sticker and was upset that I only had one sticker for this particular neighborhood grouping for beer week, so we stopped to get another before heading home.

Sunday, 5/20:

I woke up thinking I should probably never drink again. Okay, I didn’t feel that bad, but I didn’t feel super either.  We hung around our place in the morning before I hopped in the car to go to my bookclub in Oak Park and Ben hopped on his bike to go meet B-guy to bike to more beer-week bars on the south side of the city, and to check out NATO protestors downtown.  Here are some of the pics he took.

Meanwhile, my bookclub had a great get-together.  It was the “root” girls and because of our trip, I hadn’t seen them since February, so it was nice to catch up! Plus we read Shadow of the Wind (set in Barcelona), so we talked a little about our trip and the hostess had a delicious spread of homemade tapas and sangria!  After club, I drove to Bucktown to go to B&B’s apartment.  The guys weren’t there yet, so we shopped around a little bit before going to Piece Brewery to order their Sunday carryout special (a beer growler and large pizza for $25), and to get a drink and our stickers there. 

Once the guys arrived, we took the good back to B&B’s apartment.  For dessert we walked to Forever Yogurt, which is one of those dangerous places where you serve yourself as much yogurt and toppings as you want and pay by the ounce.  It was absolutely delicious!

Monday night we had dinner at home and stayed in.  Work/downtown was a ghost-town, thanks to the second official day of NATO.  My train was empty.  There was a police officer on every train platform downtown, but thank goodness, nothing happened.  Chicago Police did a great job over the weekend of keeping violence and riots to a minimum. Kudos!

Tuesday night Ben and I decided to hit up Logan Square neighborhood for beer week; so we biked to Revolution Brewing for dinner. After getting there, we decided we should go someplace new to us in the area for dinner, but I couldn’t leave there without getting some of their bacon popcorn. Yum:

Bacon Popcorn and Anti-Hero IPA

We rode up Milwaukee Ave and checked out The Owl and The Rocking Horse, both of which were on the list for beer week, but both of which looked too dark for a gorgeous sunny evening, so we rode on to Ciao Napoli Pizzeria, which is an Italian eatery that is part of beer week.  We opted for an Italian Beer wine flight, and their special was if you bought a bottle of Italian beer, you could get a pizza for $6 (regularly $9-$14).  Great deal right?  Well, it was only once we got out bill that we realized the beer we bought were $12 EACH.  We would have been better off to pay full price for our pizzas and get the $4 special Half Acre Daisy Cutter.  Oh well, we still enjoyed out dinner!

Last night we rode our bikes to Andersonville and met B&B at HamburgerMary’s.  It’s somewhat of a chain brewery; like Rock Bottom or Granite City, but much smaller restaurant.  Ben and I split the ‘Big Kahuna’ burger which was plenty of food along with an app of cheese curds, beer (Mary Hoppins, yummy!), and the tastiest dessert:

Can you tell what it is?  Fried SNICKERS! That’s what and it was absolutely delicious, at least us girls thought so!

After Mary’s we walked down Clark St to Acre bar.  They were having an event for beer week, a mini FauxBob (which is a fall festival with barrel aged beers).  Since we couldn’t get a seat and it was loud, we just grabbed a drink (I had a Goose Island Lolita; it’s a sour and almost wineline beer) and our stickers and left.

With that, I completed the mission of 6 neighborhoods and at least two bars in each.  In case you’re curious, Ben is an overachiever and has nine neighbhorhoods!

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