Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Bar Sprawl- Chicago Part 2

So after we checked into our Priceline special hotel, we had to park the car in the garage next door- at the rate of $37 a NIGHT! If there was anything that gave me the ability to crave a drink after the previous night's Dark Lord event, it was that. so we chose Clark Street Ale House as our first stop in Chicago, just a mile walk from the hotel.

Clark Street Ale House has an old tavern feel, dark with large ceilings and tons of bottles on the liqour shelves. They also have a nice backyard area and since they don't serve food, people are welcome to bring dogs into the bar. Though we appreciated all that, it was the beer selection we came for, and though there was promise, the selection fell short. They had breweries on their draft engine that were interesting, but the choice of beers from these breweries was on the blah side. They did have Bell's Two Hearted IPA on tap, so we both quickly downed a pint of that and moved on to the next stop.

Our next choice was Jerry's Sandwiches. Jerry's is located in the trendy Wicker Park section of town on West Division St. The area was a little too far for us to walk to, so we caught a cab. I didn't realize how spread out Chicago is; I figured everything popular is situated right downtown. But the neighborhoods go on forever. And cabs here are expensive! As soon as you close the door, you are charged $2.25. Then it ticks every time you breathe. Finally, when you arrive at your location, the cabbie pushes a button and a dollar is suddenly tacked onto the price! But enough about the cab; let's get back to Jerry's. Just look at those bottles! Nothing like sitting down at the bar and having some of the best beers in the U.S. staring back at you.

And then we had this just-paroled looking guy staring at us from behind the bar. Kidding- actually this is Giovanni, our friendly bartender, who gave us samples of different drafts and gave us a history of the neighborhood we were drinking in. The main reason I wanted to go to Jerry's that night is because they had Surly's Double IPA on tap, 16 Grit. This beer is not bottled, so actually getting to try it was a treat. We also had Dark Horse Fore Smoked Stout and Half Acre Baume, a rye stout. The big surprise at Jerry's was the beer and food menus, which were both so large that you could spend a nice weekend reading them. And you know my oil and water feelings about food with beer, but their sandwiches sounded so good that we actually ordered one. And just one was hard to choose, as there are over 100 sandwiches to choose from! Check out the menus at Jerryssandwiches.com if you run out of porn or get sick of waiting for me to update the site. Mark and Mindy, the gracious owners, have put a lot of effort into the restaurant/bar and Mark's beer menu has extremely detailed descriptions of each of the hundreds of bottles their place carries.

After we left Jerry's, thoroughly satisfied, we took a stroll around the area. I just had to throw in this photo of the VHS tapes this former West Coast Video (remember them?) was getting rid of. I love movies on VHS, and would have bought some up if I thought there would be any room in our suitcases for anything besides beer. You can find plenty of VHS movies at thrift stores, but a lot of these were old cheesy movies that never made it to a second pressing and hard to find in this format.

We stopped in Small Bar, across the street from Jerry's Sandwiches, to check out their taps. They also had a nice list, and we sampled some Two Brothers Red Eye Coffee Porter, Dark Horse Crooked Tree IPA, and Bell's Double Bream Stout. After that, we decided to head back to the hotel. Did I mention that some of these Chicago bars stay open until 4 or 5 in the morning? If I only had the stamina!

We got left off a block away from the hotel, and took a look at the bars on Division street, since we obviously hadn't gotten our fill yet. Jenn decided we had to go into Mother's, the bar where much of the movie About Last Night was filmed. Great movie (look for it on VHS), not so great bar. And the movie scenes weren't even filmed in the bar we went to. At least we got a free shot coupon just for walking into the door.

To top off the night, we ordered some Chicago-style deep dish pizza delivery from Giordano's, one of the many famous pizza places in the area. I have had this style at the Pizzeria Uno chain in Las Cruces, but this was the first time trying the style made in its home city. Unfortunately, I don't think I am the biggest fan of deep dish pizza. The crust is great, the tomatoes are great, but ALL that cheese! It kind of gets stuck in your throat while you are trying to chew it, and was just too much for me.

So that's one day down in Chicago. Isn't this nice? You get to read about my vacation in Chicago! It's like going to someone's house to see vacation pictures, but without the guilt of having to come up with a lie so you can leave early. All you have to do is click to go to another site. If you can stand it (and even if you can't), I will have a little more on the trip soon.


McScrubs said...

Found a great beer; Mikkeller cascade single hop IPA (an American style IPA brewed and bottled in Belgium). Very delicious and hoppy. I also have the Mikkeller warrior single hop IPA but am saving it for tommorrow (maybe). At $5.99 per 11.2oz bottle it's a bit pricey but worth the try. There is also a stateside IPA but I will have to wait to try that one.

MrsMcGilicutty said...

Yumm-o!!! I love deep dish pizza. Chicago has the best pizza ever. I am definitely jealous again. Hey, did you check out the crazy toilets in the Chicago airport? It took me forever to figure out how to us them. Lol. Oh, my fiance and I are going to be brewing up some delicious home brew soon, I will have to bring you some so you can let me know what you think.

Unknown said...

Bells Two Hearted on tap. Very nice and I bet it was awesome.

ABQbeergeek said...

McScrubs- I saw some of their single hop IPA in Chicago, but it was the Simcoe hop version, which is my favorite hop. We didn't get it because it was full of chunks of floaties and it was 8 bucks for 12 oz! I saw that Jubilation has the ones you mentioned but haven't tried them yet.

Vanessa- I too thought the toilets were weird, and then I got yelled at for peeing in the sink.

Marcus- I thought the same thing until I tried it. Maybe it was hop overload from the day before but I didn't get much out of the Two Hearted. Hopslam, on the other hand...

Unknown said...


Check this out. This August if there is any left I will be arriving back with this.