Brew Dude: Jan. 26, 2019

January 27, 2019

It’s time again for another Brewery Crawl. Get your Untappd account ready for some more check-ins to up your “Find the Source” Badge.

I actually did this trip during the summer and have been sitting on this because so much other stuff has come up in the meantime. The inspiration for this crawl was a previous piece where I went to Mikerphone, Short Fuse and More Brewing.

On that trip I left off Une Annee/Hubbard’s Cave, which is a must-visit for everyone. I’m leaving off Hubbard’s Cave again here because they are in the process of launching a brand new facility, and I will wait to dedicate a whole piece to this new venture.

So, this crawl is going to focus on the two biggest surprises of 2018 in Chicago, Beer Alarmist and Eris Cidery. I’m sneaking into Old Irving Brewing to round out the piece, and it is a fantastic stop in its own right.

Alarmist Brewing and Eris Cidery both medaled (gold and bronze, respectively) in this year’s first awards for Hazy IPAs at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver in September, crowning Chicago the king of the haze craze. Chicago also was crowned the Beer capital of the U.S., with more than 160 breweries in the greater Chicago area.

Now you understand how hard it is to write about any one place instead of another when there are about 170 to choose from. I chose Alarmist, Old Irving and Eris to be a primer in solid Chicago beer on the Northwest side. I made this trip with Derek Yarno, of Kankakee, so if you have any questions and see him around town, stop him and ask about these places.

The first stop, Alarmist Brewing & Taproom, 4055 W. Peterson Ave., Suite Rear, Chicago, starts the trip 71.1 miles to the North Side of Chicago. I always map these trips as if I am starting at the Daily Journal in Kankakee.

If you are heading east, traveling down Peterson trying to find Alarmist, it’s just after a train trestle, so you might miss the quick turn-in for parking. They have dedicated spots right outside their taproom, which is a rare-but-welcome thing for a Chicago brewery. Alarmist Brewing is a jack-of-all-trades brewery.

Derek and I ordered a flight each, which came in six sample glasses, and we almost ordered everything on the menu. The taproom is a large bar with a smattering of tables throughout with large windows that look into the brewery.

The bartender is a friendly, bearded brewer who we got into an enjoyable conversation with about music. Thanks to Derek, we ended up trading picks while we were there, and the rest of the patrons seemed to enjoy this eclectic mix of music and conversation. With 12 samples in front of us, we had a fairly diverse range of beers from a few NEIPAs because why not? — an oatmeal stout, a blonde and a patersbier.

That is what initially got me interested in Alarmist because one of the beers they went to market it with is the Phobophobia Patersbier, which comes in a four-pack of 16-ounce cans. I challenge you to name another brewery in the country, let alone Chicago, that has a Patersbier as one of its flagship beers.

It’s a 4.8 percent, 18 IBU, Belgian Pale Ale, which Untappd classifies as a Patersbier, meaning “Father’s Beer” because Belgian monks brew this beer as the Abbey beer monks or “fathers” would drink while they brewed the heavier stuff for the public the Dubbels, Tripels and Quads.

Just down the road south from Alarmist Brewing is Old Irving Brewing, 4419 W. Montrose Ave. Old Irving Brewing is the first place on this trip that serves food, so bring your appetite here. They are on the upscale side of the pub-style food menu that is popular in brewpubs.

Old Irving Brewing presents a warm, inviting space with low, soft light and a classy neighborhood bar vibe. There are TVs dotting the space.

We didn’t want to mess around at this point in the journey and get another flight (also, sometimes, I just want a full pour of something to actually sit with and enjoy). Derek and I got a full pour a piece, both of them on the hazy side of the IPA spectrum because we cannot escape the haze craze.

I got a draft of Juice Y Juice hazy IPA, and Derek got Beezer IPA, which I had seen on Untappd checked in by a few Chicago beer-writer friends. We didn’t get any food at this point in the night, as we both had eaten earlier, but the food around us looked and smelled amazing.

Parking is street parking, and there are rush-hour restrictions on this street, so keep your peepers popped to what’s happening here.

Eris Brewery and Cider House is the last stop on this incredible brewery crawl, less than a mile from Old Irving Brewing. There is some parking available, but we didn’t have any trouble finding parking on the street.

Walking into their front doors was a different experience than most brewery taprooms or brewpubs I’ve visited. The lighting is dimmed, and the ambiance is definitely something closer to a date spot or an upscale restaurant than a taproom.

The all-women owner and brewing team here definitely had an eye toward design of its location, and it was a mile away from some of the more austere industrial park spots Chicagoland is known for in their brewery taprooms.

I loved this space and have been searching furiously for an occasion to bring my wife, Sam, here because I know she would love it with the combination of comfortable and enchanting environs and its on-point cider game. Eris won bronze for its hazy offering, Foiken Haze, which Derek and I enjoyed during the summer before it shocked the beer-drinking world by pulling down a medal.

Phobophobia Patersbier from Alarmist Brewing & Taproom

ABV: 4.8 percent

IBUs: 18

Style: Patersbier

Notes: German Pilsner malt, German acidulated malts and saaz hops

Where to Buy: You can find this one at the taproom in Chicago in a four-pack of 16-ounce cans for $10 or on tap. It is listed as a spring seasonal on Binny’s website, so it could be out of stock now.

Beezer from Old Irving Brewing

ABV: 6.9 percent

IBUs: 45

Style: American IPA

Notes: DDH IPA hopped with Citra and Mosiac

Where to Buy: Beezer only is available at the brewpub in Old Irving Park neighborhood in 12-ounce drafts in their beautiful tulip glasses for $7.

Pedestrian from Eris Brewery and Cider House

ABV: 5.7 percent


Style: Cider

Notes: Crisp, fresh and tart like a glass of Granny Smith

Where to Buy: Pedestrian only is available at the taproom in 13½-ounce pints for $6.

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