Have you noticed that it is getting easier and easier to drink local in Chicago? No? Well, go to your friendly neighborhood craft beer establishment and count how many brews were made right here in Chicago or the surrounding suburbs. I bet that there are quite a few. I experienced this the other day when the hubby and I were having lunch at Bad Apple. Out of their 24 taps, there were seven brews (well, six beers and one cider) that were all Chicagoland based (I chose Solemn Oath’s None More Black and Revolution’s Double Fist). This would not have been the case just a year ago where only two or three taps would be devoted to local beers; the remaining beers would be from around the world. There is a localization movement within the craft beer industry where the desire to drink local trumps global beer brands. This celebration of local beers was especially evident at the second annual Local Tap Takeover held at Roscoe Village’s Village Tap on Thursday, September 6th.
At this event, all 26 taps were occupied by Chicagoland-brewed beers (and cider) and thirsty patrons had an opportunity to taste many brews that are not typically readily available. But what makes this event even more amazing is the fact that brewers and brewery representatives mingle and chat with their biggest fans while sharing their delicious wares. It truly was a celebration of Chicago beer and I predict that in a few years time, such events will be the norm rather than a unique occurrence. And the Chicago beer landscape is about to grow even further; I think the Village Tap is going to need more taps.
This year there were five (yes, FIVE) breweries represented that did not exist a year ago. Newcomers Solemn Oath, Hopothesis, Pipeworks, Baderbrau and Virtue Cider all participated in this event and brought some truly unique offerings. Hopothesis’s IPA is a well-balanced IPA that I could drink all day were it not for the 7% alcohol content. Solemn Oath’s coffee-infused Khloros embodied a unique flavor profile not normally found in a wheat beer and yet worked brilliantly. Pipeworks’s Brewmaster Beejay Oslon passed out samples of their funky Blue Lady, a blueberry Berliner Weisse, and spoke with some homebrewers about the methods used to achieve the sour aroma and flavor. How many newcomers will be welcomed on the tap lines next year?
It’s now becoming a little game for me. Whenever I go out, I challenge myself to drink Chicago beers and support our local breweries. But it is not much of a game anymore; it’s just too easy. And I love every minute of it. Remember: drink local.