Chicago Availability Help

Discussion in 'US - Midwest' started by Jmorey, Apr 21, 2015.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Jmorey

    Jmorey Initiate (0) Feb 10, 2015 Michigan

    Hey everyone. I thought I would ask for a little help. I am going to be in Chicago in a couple of weeks for a conference (sadly before CCBW, but i wouldn't be abel to both anyways...) and I of course want to pick up some beer.

    I have been to Chicago many times before, but usually don't have the chance to go out and grab stuff. I don't know a lot about their distribution and what they get. I asm from Michigan, so a bit sheltered and can't get certain things.

    Generally I like darker beers, stouts, imperial stouts, strong ales, BBA'd varieties, etc. But I am up for anything really, i enjoy all styles for different occasions. Plus lots of those in the basement, so no problem picking up IPAs, pale ales, or anything else.

    I am going to be in the loop (hyatt regency) and not going to have a lot of transportation, so I thought my best bet based on location was going to be Binnys on Grand Ave. If there is something way better, and the cab would not be insane (or easy EL access) I would try to make it happen.

    Things I'd like to locate
    - Pipeworks - i've heard lots of good things, so i'd like to at least find one good from them
    - Ballast Point - i really want victory at sea but i have no clue if that is readily available at any point or a grab it when it comes in item, to which i would be out of luck.
    - Firestone walker - would love parabola but don't see that happening. other options?
    - Locals like revolution, half acre (dasiry cutter, anything else), etc.
    - Boulevard?
    - alesmith
    - central waters?
    - Anything else notable, I don't know what Chicago gets, and i am probably overlooking great options, what is not impossible/possible to locate etc. So any Help would be appreciated. Really wish there was an easy location to get singles, so i could spread it out, but i will do my best.

    I also am going to try to hit up an actually brewery and i know dryhop does crowlers, etc, but that is an entire different question/thread regarding what I can take home like that.

    Also, my budget is not going to be limitless (my wife is going to Indiana at the same time, and I want some favorites from where we used to live there too), and I have to carry it all back on a train with me along with conference items. I am a designer, so I basically end up with a suitcase of paper samples... None the less, regarding the budget, so I will have to pick and choose what actually comes back with me. Although I get a daily allowance from work, and although I like some nice meals out, I would sacrifice some nice meals to cover some beer :slight_smile:

  2. JeremyDanner

    JeremyDanner Initiate (125) Dec 20, 2005 Missouri

    Jaycase and SeanBond like this.
  3. SeanBond

    SeanBond Meyvn (1,133) Jul 30, 2013 Illinois

    With Pipeworks, it's hard to tell what will be out in a couple weeks, since they release new beers seemingly daily. I'd keep my eye on the Pipeworks release thread here, and maybe check them out on Twitter/Instagram. They release plenty of stouts, if that's your thing, and a lot of their DIPAs (the Ninja series, Unicorn series, the different fish-themed beers, etc.)are highly regarded.

    FW - You probably won't find much of their BA stuff on shelves (just checking Beer it looks like it's at a few bars around here, but not in stores really), but you can easily find their 6-packs. Jermis covered Boulevard, but you'll definitely find some of their stuff at Binny's (depending on what you're looking for).

    For Rev/Half Acre/etc. - Fist City is just hitting in canned 6 packs this week, so I'd recommend looking out for it. You'll have no issues finding Daisy Cutter, but you'll have a better shot at some of the Half Acre stuff if you make it to their store/tap room up on the Northside (not sure that's an option, but figured I'd mention it). If you're going to Binny's on Grand you'll probably be set for the local breweries, but obviously going to their actual locations gives you a better shot at the harder-to-find stuff.

    If you do have any travel options in the city, I'd recommend considering something like LP Binny's/Goose Island Clybourn; Lincoln Park is the flagship Binny's, and as such has the best selection, and also happens to have a great tap room (good stuff on tap, friendly people, big, nice space). GI Clybourn is obviously a classic, and you'll be able to try a LOT of beers you can't have elsewhere. It's one of the nicer pubs in the city, for my money, and it's historic.

    Boulevard will be covered at Binny's, as will Central Waters; what they have will again be subject to when you get there (I think CW's BA stuff is gone by now). I don't see a lot of Alesmith in Chicago; checking Seekabrew ( it looks like we only get limited disty here (I see them more in Wisconsin).

    In terms of what else we get--You probably already have access to Surly given where you're from, so that's not something to worry about. I'm sure you'll be looking for FFF (and there's plenty around)...Do you guys get Mikkeller? If not, I'd keep an eye out for some of his stuff; Beer Geek Vanilla Shake hit recently, and if you like stouts, I highly highly highly recommend looking around for a bottle. Also, Middle Brow (another Chicago-area special) released Milk Eyed Mender, which is a nice twist on a chile milk stout, so keep an eye out for that.

    There's a million things to look out for, so if you want other recommendations, let me know. If you're sticking to the Loop-area, you'll also find a lot of bars with nice beer lists, so I would highly recommend looking around on Beer Menus for beers you're looking for (for example, BCBS Prop '14 has shown up in the Loop recently, as has CBS).
  4. Jmorey

    Jmorey Initiate (0) Feb 10, 2015 Michigan

    Huge amount of info and help. thanks! The conference I am going to is pretty much 8 to 5 or 6 everyday for the week. Monday afternoon i'll get in around 12, but then monday has night time activities. and i leave Friday at 4 (conference ends at 12). Usually there is a sponsor event at night, and it is hard to turn down free drinks and parties. Ive done this conference before, and in Chicago, so I know I will be exhausted. Leaves little times to travel around to places etc. Althought I have been to Chicago a ton of times, I don't always want to wander unfamiliar areas, especially when the only free time I have is lunch. Which is why I was trying to stick to the loop a bit. Limiting I know, but at the same time might be necessary.

    I was there in september and had to extend my trip to cover saturday too, and i had no clue about half acre, and i had NOTHING to do that day til 3. If only ... I would have tried to hit the tour for sure.

    So far I was just going by what the Binnys site is showing available for breweries and beers to try to gauge what I might be able to grab.

    We don't get Surly, and as soon as i posted, i realized i had left them off.
  5. SeanBond

    SeanBond Meyvn (1,133) Jul 30, 2013 Illinois

    Sigh, I wrote that before the caffeine kicked in, and feel extremely stupid now; of course you don't get Surly, sorry. For some reason, Michigan = Minnesota early in the morning. Anyway, yeah, I'd keep any eye out for Surly, for sure, then. Abrasive might be hard to track down, but Furious and various Benders should be around all over. I would highly recommend using Beer Menus if you're sticking to around where your hotel/conference/etc. is, because it'll open your eyes to a lot of little places that might be really convenient to you.

    Also, you're not too far from Portillos (assuming proximity to Binny's on Grand), so I'd check them out if you want a good hotdog or cheeseburger. Also, Al's Italian beef is in the area, which, for my money is the best Italian beef in at least the city. It looks like you're also staying close to Michigan Ave, and if so, I highly recommend Do-Rite (a block or two East) for their chicken sandwiches (or donuts).

    Warehouse Liquors and Printer's Row Wine Shop are also within a couple miles of your hotel, if you don't feel like doing Binny's, and they've both got solid beer lineups. Binny's is definitely the #1 stop, though; follow Beth on Twitter if you want to know what's going on there.
  6. Jmorey

    Jmorey Initiate (0) Feb 10, 2015 Michigan

    thanks for the twitter help. i am not a fan of instagram or twitter, but i use it for beer... love when a shop keeps up on the social media, keeps my money in their pockets...
  7. Jmorey

    Jmorey Initiate (0) Feb 10, 2015 Michigan

    from what it looks like is i am going to miss out on Not your father's rootbeer as well... unless it lasts til may 4th
  8. SeanBond

    SeanBond Meyvn (1,133) Jul 30, 2013 Illinois

    I don't use either particularly often, and started using Twitter specifically because of its benefits in my beer hunts.

    In terms of NYF's Rootbeer, if you mean the 5.9% version, you should still be able to find it by then; places like Jewel (local grocery chain) have cases upon cases still.
    Jmorey likes this.
  9. wolfpac255

    wolfpac255 Aspirant (251) Apr 13, 2015 Illinois

    Make sure to check out 3Floyds, not sure if they distribute to Michigan. You will want to try and get your hands on some Zombie Dust for sure.
    Jmorey likes this.
  10. Jmorey

    Jmorey Initiate (0) Feb 10, 2015 Michigan

    We don't get FFF here, but I know them well from when I lived in Indiana for 5 years. I would try zombie dust if I came across it, but I won't hunt it. Now I do enjoy some Gumballhead :slight_smile:

    My wife will be going back to Indiana at the same time and I was goign to have her look for some FFF and Prairie stuff for me.
  11. Jmorey

    Jmorey Initiate (0) Feb 10, 2015 Michigan

    Didn't even realize there was another version. I had just heard good things and saw it show up on a few feeds so I wanted to try it.

    I've had the Sprecher Hard Rootbeer which was not that great.
  12. hardysf

    hardysf Devotee (401) Mar 17, 2015 Michigan

    I was just at that Binny's on Sunday. I loaded up on Revolution beers as I went to both their taproom and brewery on Saturday. Both were awesome and had different beers on tap.

    Plus Binny's had more revolution for sale than even the brewery (taproom doesnt sell bombers).

    I also purchased sculpin, victory at sea, grapefruit sculpin, union jack, daisy cutter, serita, and dorado at Binny's. Great store with a vast selection.

    If you want a nice meal head to Revolution though. The taproom was great and their beer was phenomenal.
    SeanBond likes this.
  13. SeanBond

    SeanBond Meyvn (1,133) Jul 30, 2013 Illinois

    FYI, Prairie is now available in Chicago as well, so you should be able to find some of their stuff at Binny's, too.
  14. beerchaser3450

    beerchaser3450 Initiate (0) Apr 2, 2015 Wisconsin

    Solemn Oath is a good local brewery as well. You should be able to find some bombers at Binnys.
    SeanBond likes this.
  15. Jmorey

    Jmorey Initiate (0) Feb 10, 2015 Michigan

    Which Binnys?

    Awesome that you got Victory at Sea. I am curious if it is normally on the shelf or not. I really want some! I had looked on the binnys website and it isn't even listed...

    Looks like whole foods is listing VaS and that is walkable, although more north and less west than Binnys. Going to be tired from all the walking.
    #15 Jmorey, Apr 22, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2015
  16. CB_Michigan

    CB_Michigan Zealot (519) Sep 4, 2014 Illinois
    Society Trader

    I was out in the burbs a couple weeks ago and saw VaS sixers and bombers at several different places. Not sure if it's the same situation in the city, though. The basic Surly stuff (Furious, Bender, Coffee bender) seemed readily available.
  17. Jaycase

    Jaycase Poo-Bah (1,854) Jan 13, 2007 Illinois
    Society Trader

    Yeah there was a huge drop of VaS several weeks ago across the area. I still see sixers about the burbs. Give Binnys Grand a call and see if they have it in stock.
  18. Jmorey

    Jmorey Initiate (0) Feb 10, 2015 Michigan

    Might do that, although I won't be there for almost 2 weeks... Doubt they would hold for me
  19. KeithE

    KeithE Initiate (0) Sep 10, 2013 Illinois

    If you have time to go to a brewery you can go to Haymarket Pub and Brewery which is just west of downtown, Revolution Brewery (great burgers) which is close to the Blue Line if you are taking public transportation, Half Acre has a nice tasting room, Piece Pizza makes their own beer...again off the Blue Line. There are literally dozens of brew pubs in Chicago now to choose from. My favorite places to buy bottles and cans are Beer Temple and Fishmans Liquors. There are a lot of other good local breweries around town like Spiteful, Lake Effect and others that don't get wide distribution, but are very good.
  20. croush

    croush Champion (805) Mar 20, 2015 Illinois

    I have seen VaS quite a bit at beer shops over the past few weeks. If you're worried at all about finding it, just message me and I would be more than willing to grab some for you. I work in the loop, and would gladly meet you somewhere to give it to you. If you get a chance to make it to a place like Map Room, Sheffield's or Local Option - they are all bars with great beer selections.

    I'd recommend overall checking out the various Binny's and Whole Foods you can get too, as well as swinging by one of the smaller shops like Printer's Row. I also agree you should check out a brewery in person like Revolution or Half Acre....skip as much of that work stuff as you can!
  21. Jmorey

    Jmorey Initiate (0) Feb 10, 2015 Michigan

    [QUOTE="croush, post: 3565230, member: 961231"skip as much of that work stuff as you can![/QUOTE]

    Ha, I requested to be sent for it. Huge expense and the university is footing the (huge) bill. Plus, it's all stuff I love, so I want to be there for sure. Just need to add in some beer too.
  22. 5EKF

    5EKF Meyvn (1,021) Dec 8, 2014 Illinois

    Ha, I requested to be sent for it. Huge expense and the university is footing the (huge) bill. Plus, it's all stuff I love, so I want to be there for sure. Just need to add in some beer too.[/QUOTE]

    If you need any extra help, let me know. I have been to the Binny's location on Grand and their selection is pretty good. If there's anything specific you are looking for, I can probably be of assistance. Otherwise, enjoy your stay and Portillo's is a great place for the obvious hot dogs but their beef sandwiches are amazing. Lots of good stuff here.
  23. AOD77

    AOD77 Initiate (0) Jul 13, 2014 Illinois

    I work in one of the office buildings connected to the hotel you are staying at. Everyone has you covered for stores and what to look for. If you are looking for a bar really close, howel and hoods (however you spell it) is a 2 minute walk right across the river in the tribune building. They always have a bunch of good stuff on tap. Atmosphere is a little weird though to be honest.
  24. Jmorey

    Jmorey Initiate (0) Feb 10, 2015 Michigan

    haven't tried that one yet, i'll put it on the list. when i was there for a conference in September finding places to eat was the hardest part. trying to find a nice combo of not too far to travel, not too expensive, that seemed like it would be good, food that both of us ate (i am a picky eater... my problem) etc. Especially hard when you are staying in the loop more since it is more touristy etc, which is not my thing.

    We used to go to Chicago a lot before out son was born, and in the time, places i liked disappear and new places i have no clue about pop up. Plus limited time just makes it difficult.
  25. hardysf

    hardysf Devotee (401) Mar 17, 2015 Michigan

    I was at Binny's on Grand. Multiple Bomber's of Victory at Sea. I just wish I would have had more time in that store. It puts the local stores around here in Oakland County to shame.
  26. BrewlsRules

    BrewlsRules Initiate (0) Mar 24, 2015 Wisconsin

    Within walking distance of your hotel, I was impressed by the tap list when I was at State & Lake - had a BCS coffee, Moody Tongue choc churro porter & tried some NYF 19.5%.
    Binny's is your best bet for bottles as far as pricing, but there was a lot of 3F & Revolution on the shelves at Eataly, but you're going to pay much more.
  27. CB_Michigan

    CB_Michigan Zealot (519) Sep 4, 2014 Illinois
    Society Trader

    Haymarket is in the West Loop area, which has become a happening spot for food/drink. It's roughly 1.5 miles from the Hyatt Regency. I haven't actually been to the Haymarket pub, but I've had several of their beers and they're all pretty solid. Other good options down the block are Little Goat (spruced-up diner food with a small, but well chosen beer list) and Jaipur (really good indian food). The Publican (good food, extensive beer list, on the pricier side) is also a couple blocks north.
  28. Jmorey

    Jmorey Initiate (0) Feb 10, 2015 Michigan

    Dang, I was kind of hoping it would be 6 packs rather than a bomber. Not my favorite format when 6ers exist.But I will take what I can get.

    I'll put it on the list. I am going to guess that is on the corner of .... ha ... Looks really decent. on their menu they are listing that Smalltown NYF you mentioned at 19.5% ABV, did they really make a 19.5 version, or is this a typo (since until yesterday I didn't even realize they had made anything but the 5.9). That would be a great time!

    That's been on my list to check out, so I am hoping to maybe make it. half hour walk, so yeah a few short cab rides are doable here and there. At my current job I can't charge them cab rides to food etc. my old place didn't care... Price doesn't bother me that much since i get a decent per diem, i don't eat breakfast, etc. But at the same time, i wouldn't mind allocating it to beer purchases too :slight_smile: so I am fine scaling back a bit. I Usually do modest lunches since it has to be fast, q'doba, etc. and one nice dinner, with the rest being modest enough for the city.
  29. BrewlsRules

    BrewlsRules Initiate (0) Mar 24, 2015 Wisconsin

    yes, easy to find :wink: as I understand it, that is one of the few places that carries the 19.5% version.

    You will also be very close to Howells & Hood, which boasts about 100 beers on tap. I was pretty underwhelmed by that place, tbh. Not much that you couldn't get elsewhere.

    Blue Frog's Local 22 boasts some great beers on tap & it's cheap. It was on bar rescue, so of the bartenders we talked with at other places we went to, some were pretty dismissive of it. All I know is I enjoyed some Stone & Greenbush & eventually hit the Malort.
  30. SeanBond

    SeanBond Meyvn (1,133) Jul 30, 2013 Illinois

    Yeah, I've really wanted to try the 10 and 19.5% versions of NYF, both are supposed to be awesome, and I've only seen the 5% in stores.
  31. flurker

    flurker Initiate (17) Nov 10, 2007 Illinois

    There's a new Whole Foods at Illinois and Fairbanks that is closer to your hotel. It seemed like it had as good or better selection than the Whole Foods on Huron. There's a bar in the new one as well.
  32. Jmorey

    Jmorey Initiate (0) Feb 10, 2015 Michigan

    Man, how new is that? After September? That is perfect. I went to D4 and Yolk last time i was there and never saw it. Although in the city, it is so easy to just walk by something.

    I see one on LaSalle too that I missed before that is a little closer to Binnys. Weird to me that the LaSalle and Huron locations or so close, but i'm not complaining. Maybe one day they will finish building ours. Started in the Fall, only one in the city (or will be). No Trader Joe's either :slight_frown:
  33. flurker

    flurker Initiate (17) Nov 10, 2007 Illinois

    It opened a month or so ago. It used to be a Dominick's.
  34. Jmorey

    Jmorey Initiate (0) Feb 10, 2015 Michigan

    I half wish I would have stayed til Saturday, but i will be dead by then anyways and ready to go home. Looked at the schedule and then conference goes to about 6:15 each night, plus occasional night events, and somewhere need to eat in there too.

    Love these and hate these.
  35. BecauseWhalezbro

    BecauseWhalezbro Initiate (0) Apr 22, 2015 Colorado

    Pipeworks Coffee Abduction got released to shops this week. That's a great stout and should be readily available
    Jmorey likes this.
  36. Jmorey

    Jmorey Initiate (0) Feb 10, 2015 Michigan

    For all of you guys that sent info, just wanted to say thanks. We'll see how it all pans out next week.

    I was going to post this up in the IP trade area too. But figured the guys that were helpful and work in the loop might see this here.

    If anyone is interested I have some Dark Horse BBA Tres Blueberry that I could bring for a IP trade. Wax sealed 12 oz bottles. Brewery only release that was sold out in about 4 hours. I really have no clue what I would be looking for (which I know is a no no). Something else that was a similar limited release? Some form of Bourbon county? Central waters? Parabola? No clue...
  37. prior2two

    prior2two Disciple (392) Oct 18, 2013 Illinois

    I work in that area, so if you want a ride in the evening for some beer related stops, let me know. I'd be happy to grab a drink or 2 and hit up a few spots that allow you to get away from the Mag Mile area (because downtown sucks)
  38. Jmorey

    Jmorey Initiate (0) Feb 10, 2015 Michigan

    How am I doing? Ha. My luggage is going to be heavy.


    I might have had all of this in my backpack at one time... Great trip to Binnys but just bad planning :slight_smile: 18 bottles + a bomber. Super lucky and grabbed 3 floyds I wanted, perfecting timing since I got the last of it and they said it was on the floor for 15 minutes. Then got my divvy and huffed it back to the hotel. Such bad planning.

    CB_Michigan, HamMud and BrewlsRules like this.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.