Driving from Houston to Chicago...what should I look for?

Discussion in 'Southwest' started by rainerschuhsler, Jan 10, 2013.

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  1. rainerschuhsler

    rainerschuhsler Disciple (379) May 17, 2012 Texas
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    I'm relatively unfamiliar with craft beer that isn't available in Texas, so which beers do you think I should look for on my way to and in Chicago? My driving route hasn't been finalized yet but I'll probably pass through Little Rock, Memphis, St. Louis, Springfield and then of course Chicago. Suggestions?
  2. jmdarcy

    jmdarcy Initiate (0) Jul 15, 2010 Connecticut
    Beer Trader

    As far as the Chicago area I would look for Bell's Hopslam which has just recently hit the shelves there. You may still be able to find some Goose Island bourbon county around. Half Acre is releasing some double daisy cutter soon but regular daisy cutter is also a winner. The stuff I have had from Pipeworks brewing is also great stuff. As for stuff on the shelf Bell's two hearted is my go to when I am in chicago. Chicago has some great distribution so there is tons of stuff to choose from.
    rainerschuhsler likes this.
  3. champ103

    champ103 Poo-Bah (3,721) Sep 3, 2007 Texas
    Beer Trader

    You will be close to my old stomping grounds. If you want to make a little stop off in Southern Illinois you can get a few good things. In Carbondale, IL you can still pick up some Founders Backwoods Bastard and Traquair 2020. Along with various other locals that can be found anywhere in the state. Though specifically Backwoods has sold out in almost every other part of the state. Carbondale is just a 15 mile jaunt off of I57. So it is not that far out of the way. Your best bets there:


    You can make stops anywhere from Little Rock to Champaign if you want cause there are good stops. There is a brand new Binny's Champaign. Also Friar Tucks. Both surpasses Specs just because of distro. Though not much that won't be in Chicago, if anything. Stuff to look for Founders Imperial Stout was just released on Jan 1st, don't know about availability though.

    Founders Bolt Cutter is sitting on the selves in downstate Illinois, not sure about Chicago area though
    AleSmith is pretty new to the area. Illinois will have most of their years rounds.
    Jolly Pumpkin is easy to find.
    Two Brothers is a good brewery that not many people talk about. Cane & Abel is an awesome Rye Pale Ale. They are also doing their retro release series this year. Releasing old beers from their past. Look for Red Rye Coffee Porter and Pillar of Salt White Rye Ale (they do rye well)
    Of coarse Bells is easy to come by.
    Cantillon and other Lambics/sours might be available in Chicago. Not much else carries them anymore
    In Chicago go to the Binny's across the street from the Goose Island Clybourn location
    or West Lakeview Liquors

    If you want to talk about beer bars that is another post:wink:


    Also Port and Lost Abbey are easily available (If you want to take a shot at Flat Abbey). I know The Bruery is available in Chicago, just not sure how easy it is to come by.
    rainerschuhsler likes this.
  4. Lansman

    Lansman Aspirant (236) Mar 19, 2011 Missouri
    Beer Trader


    Additionally, make sure you stop in at Three Floyds (Munster, IN, about 40 minutes outside Chicago to the east-southeast), and pick up some Pipeworks and Revolution stuff (particularly the Deep Wood Series, but their bombers are inexpensive and of much higher quality than your typical shelf product) as well as Dark Horse while you are in Chicago.
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  5. mymasterpiece75

    mymasterpiece75 Initiate (0) Jan 7, 2010 Texas

    You should swing through 3 Floyds if you're up that way. It's a short detour into Indiana south of Chicago. You can probably pick up some of their regulars and a specialty bomber or two in Binny's etc. in the city, but if you stop by the brewery you can maybe get some Zombie Dust.

    Also hit up Revolution in Chicago. The brewery is awesome with some great food. You can get cans of their regular line up in the liquor stores. Piece is also great--great beer, great pizza. They don't bottle--only in-house and growlers.

    Near St. Louis I would pick up some Schlafly Tasmanian IPA if it's still available and fresh. I picked some up over the holidays and was very pleased.

    Concur on distro in Chicago. Michigan, Cali beers. Anything Founders is awesome. Firestone Walker is another I'd grab while there. Dark Horse is also great--one of the best Scotch Ales going in Scotty Karate.

    EDIT: Also hit up the many, many world-class beer bars in Chicago. The Cicerone program originated there, and many of them work in those bars, so you'll encounter lots of knowledgeable guides.
    rainerschuhsler and JimSmetana like this.
  6. JimSmetana

    JimSmetana Initiate (0) May 11, 2012 Illinois

    I concur on the 3 floyds diversion. You will be coming up 55 so when you hit 80 just head east. First exit after crossing into Indiana (Calumet Ave.) head south and its about 2-3 miles to FFF. From there back onto 80 west and north into the city. Here is the address.

    9750 Indiana Parkway
    Munster, IN 46321
    rainerschuhsler likes this.
  7. BlindSalimander

    BlindSalimander Initiate (93) Aug 16, 2010 Texas

    You can get O'Dells from Colorado in Missouri. Their IPA is superb.
    rainerschuhsler likes this.
  8. DanzBorin

    DanzBorin Initiate (0) Apr 11, 2012 Texas

    In St. Louis, look for Perenial stuff and some Schlafly. Most Schlafly is meh, but they do have some decent stuff. I hear the TIPA is good and I know the Reserve Imperial Stout is good. Not sure when the stout is available though.

    Three Floyds is a must if you are that close. Buy Zombie Dust and Dreadnaught from the brewery.

    Stop by Goose Island in Lincoln Park and when you finish go to Binny's and blow your entire check. That place is crazy.

    I'm a big fan of Pipeworks. Try the Blood of the Unicorn if available. One of the best Imperial Reds I've ever tried.

    Read the replies above. Lot's of good info.
    rainerschuhsler likes this.
  9. Lutter

    Lutter Initiate (0) Jun 30, 2010 Texas

    Big recommendation for Two Brothers. Fantastic stuff... amongst my favorites of the stuff I got the last time I was up there.

    For other stuff... look up.
    rainerschuhsler likes this.
  10. kevinscott

    kevinscott Aspirant (224) Oct 21, 2008 Texas

    When you're in Chicago try and make it to the Half Acre taproom. I'm a big fan of everything of theirs I have had especially the Daisy Cutter. Not sure what their distribution footprint is like, but I was impressed with Sun King Brewing Co at GABF. They are based out of Indianapolis.

    Sounds like a great trip. I'm jealous.
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  11. mymasterpiece75

    mymasterpiece75 Initiate (0) Jan 7, 2010 Texas

    Yes, Half Acre is a must. I served Daisy Cutter at my wedding reception and I'm about to crack one I brought back from my Chicago holidays trip.

    Across the street from Half Acre is the Bad Apple. Amazing burgers and great beers at incredibly affordable prices for the city.

    And if you feel like it, head up Lincoln a few blocks to Huttenbar for good German beers.

    Not sure if Sun King has made it to Chicago yet. I had their pale ale at a party last summer in the 'burbs, but someone from IN had brought it. Tasty stuff.
    rainerschuhsler and JimSmetana like this.
  12. mattisloco

    mattisloco Devotee (413) Feb 13, 2007 Texas
    Beer Trader

    I couldn't agree more, Two Brothers is top notch stuff!
    rainerschuhsler likes this.
  13. mindswoop

    mindswoop Initiate (186) Dec 22, 2011 Texas

    DESTIHL in Normal, IL. Their reserve sours series is fantastic!
  14. rainerschuhsler

    rainerschuhsler Disciple (379) May 17, 2012 Texas
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Thank you for mentioning this. I will especially be on the lookout for good sours.
  15. MarcatGSB

    MarcatGSB Initiate (0) Jan 8, 2011 Michigan

    St. Louis - Perennial Ales. Stop and be satisfied.
    rainerschuhsler likes this.
  16. DanzBorin

    DanzBorin Initiate (0) Apr 11, 2012 Texas

    I forgot about Destihl.

    That said, growler fills only, it's a brewpub.
    rainerschuhsler likes this.
  17. nucmedmario

    nucmedmario Initiate (173) Sep 1, 2010 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    do you know what area in chicago you'll be staying at? it'll be easier to tell you where to go to buy some local stuff.
  18. DanzBorin

    DanzBorin Initiate (0) Apr 11, 2012 Texas

    It's not a sailboat, it's a schooner!

    Sorry, couldn't resist...
  19. jwff

    jwff Initiate (0) Oct 20, 2004 New York

    On the way, but last time I passed through Tennessee I picked up some Yazoo Sue which is excellent if you're into smoky beers.
    rainerschuhsler likes this.
  20. rainerschuhsler

    rainerschuhsler Disciple (379) May 17, 2012 Texas
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    I'm staying in Arlington Heights for part of my stay, but I'll be traveling all around Chicago for a few days to check out a bunch of different things.
  21. nucmedmario

    nucmedmario Initiate (173) Sep 1, 2010 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    ok cool. there's a foremost liquors in AH that looks like it has a good selection (link below). as people already mentioned, binny's and west lakeview are great if you just want to stock up on locals. if you're desperate, and i mean really desperate, there's a store in chicago called capone's that charges more than other stores, but usually has a lot of harder to find stuff like three floyds. if you're going to try a brewpub, i'm going to recommend going to revolution brewing, by far my favorite brewpub. there's also a store scross the street from it called vas foremost which also has a great selection.


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  22. wagenvolks

    wagenvolks Initiate (0) Sep 23, 2005 Texas

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  23. mindswoop

    mindswoop Initiate (186) Dec 22, 2011 Texas

    Had some beers there recently with a friend. Their Mexican chocolate stout is very good. It's my favorite brewery in STL.
    rainerschuhsler likes this.
  24. DanzBorin

    DanzBorin Initiate (0) Apr 11, 2012 Texas

    The Abraxas is simply amazing. Unfortunately it's long gone for the year.
  25. wagenvolks

    wagenvolks Initiate (0) Sep 23, 2005 Texas

    Actually, it's probably just long gone in St. Louis. Brown Derby in Springfield (the place I stopped at earlier this week on my drive back to Austin) still had half a case.

    Got 3 bottles if you ever make it up to Austin. Would gladly trade for a BB Hellfighter or the like.
  26. DanzBorin

    DanzBorin Initiate (0) Apr 11, 2012 Texas

    That is very tempting.
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