For the past 17 years, the Louis Glunz Beer Inc. has held an annual Global Beer Expo, a show for people in the beer industry to check out the more than 200 beers from 90 breweries that they distribute throughout the Chicago area. The staggering selection ranges from well-established beers from around the world to breweries making their very first appearance in the area. It’s impossible to taste them all so we focused on the newest offerings to give you a tasting guide to some of the city’s freshest beers.
The brewery focuses on beers with high alcohol content, with their bottles packing more than twice the punch you’ll find in a standard brew. That’s dangerous considering how smooth their Imperial Witbier is. Fans of spice must check out their Imperial Porter, which is brewed with cayenne peppers and packs a serious burn and is meant to be paired with spicy foods.
Where you can get it: It’s coming soon but not available yet.
O’So Brewing Co.
Fans of hoppy brews will want to try the Wisconsin brewery’s Hop Whoopin, a seriously intense brew that lives up to its name. You can also feel better about your indulgence by going for a Memory Lane, a light German pilsner. The brewery’s owner lost his grandfather to Alzheimer’s and has pledged to donate 5% of the proceeds from every Memory Lane sold to the Alzheimer’s Association of Wisconsin.
Where you can get it: Binny’s and Foremost Liquors.
The Cleveland brewery replaced its Holy Moses with a new summer brew, Rye of the Tiger. The hoppy, biting IPA is fine but I think the white ale was a much better fit for the season. Plus Great Lakes already has a year-round IPA in its Commodore Perry so I think this is a step down for the line.
Where you can get it: West Lakeview Liquors and Sunset Foods.
The Wisconsin brewery hit Chicago early this year, offering a line of beers that are a little weird but very delicious. Their flagship is Knot Stock, a pale ale brewed with cracked pepper that mixes sweet and spice into a drink that could pair with just about anything. Their Fatty Boombalatty is a sweet, smooth Belgian that tastes like bubblegum with hops. But my favorite was the Oscura, which proves that coffee beers don’t have to be stouts or porters by blending beans with Mexican lager that tastes like alcoholic iced coffee.
Where you can get it: Warehouse Liquors and Schaefers
The Michigan brewery set up in Chicago in September, bringing its flagship Pathfinder ale, a mild and slightly hoppy brew, and its ESB amber ale that won best of show at the 2012 World Beer Expo with its rich and dark taste. But I was most impressed with the Serrano Pepper Ale, a spring seasonal brew that offers a mild and quick-to-fade burn.
Where you can get it: Binny’s and Mariano’s Fresh Market.
Tieton Cider Works
Washington-based Tieton Cider Works came to Chicago in April and has been making its way into bars looking for an alternative to beers. They offer multiple apple ciders include a dry version that tastes like biting right into a crisp green apple and a sweeter hopped cider along with booze made from other fruits such as apricot, cherry and pear.
Where you can get it: Delilah’s and Hopleaf.
The Glunz Expo was the Oregon brewery’s Chicago debut and there was so much excitement that their tasting table had long lines throughout the event. Their offerings include a very solid IPA, the chocolatey Dark Meddle lager, a light Belgian called The Royale, and Hole in the Head, an imperial IPA that will satisfy the most serious hops lovers.
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