Saturday, May 8, 2010

Chicago Continued

After my hour or so at Whole Foods (and who goes to the third largest and one of the most exciting cities in the country and wastes time at Whole Foods???), I made my way to my hotel, located in the Lincoln Park area of the city. Chicago has some great neighborhoods, and I was happy I chose this area to stay in. I had no idea what kind of area I was putting myself into, just that the hotel was close enough to the bar I wanted to visit.

Wow, am I in Japan? Two steps into my hotel room and I have one foot out the window. Thanks, Days Inn. The price was reasonable, though, and the lobby was pretty fancy. The clerks all wore three-piece suits. I did have to pay 22 bucks for hotel valet parking, but that beats the $38 I had to pay last year at a different hotel in Chicago. And I don't need a suite or anything fancy; I wasn't planning on hanging out in my room all night. I stayed in long enough to throw some beers on ice and I went out in search of beer.

Like I said earlier, I picked the hotel based on its proximity to a bar, located about 1.5 miles from the hotel. It was a nice walk, taking me through boutique shopping areas and the De Paul University campus. And into the bar! Local Option is the bar I wanted to visit ever since I spaced visiting here last time around. I had visited a few good bars, but when I got back to Albuquerque I checked Local Option's website and tap list and was pissed that I missed out on this place. So this was a definite destination for me this year.

It was like they knew I was coming, and they put all the beers I wanted on tap for me! Bell's Hopslam, Three Floyds Dreadnaught, Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree, Southern Tier Gemini and Oak-Aged Unearthly...golly! Not only those, but since the Craft Brewers Conference had been held in town a couple of weeks ago, there were some rare imports that Shelton Brothers distributors sent over for that event that were still on tap. Two Mikkeller Single Hop beers, Cantillion, Dark Force; and to top it off, there was a guy wearing a Hall and Oates shirt!

I had my fill of those beers and left for a final stop at Delilah's, a bar known for their huge selection of whiskies but the owner is also a collector of vintage beers. I normally wouldn't get an old IPA but I had wanted to try Goose Island's Imperial IPA forever, and this 2006 was still good. Good, but not great anymore. I poured a few sips and told the bartender he could share it with the other patrons. I needed food.

Perfect. I wanted Lou Malnati's, but didn't want the hassle of retrieving my car from the valet, or even worse, driving after all those beers. Luckily, there is a Lou Malnati's that delivers to the hotel. I love this neighborhood. What I like about Lou Malnati's is that their pizza isn't a dough bowl filled with a soup of cheese and sauce; theirs is almost Sicilian style except for the cheese being under the sauce.

Well finally, a sunny day. Too bad this is Monday, the day I flew home. The hotel clerk told me it would take about 45 minutes to get to Midway Airport, but I found myself getting close after only 20 minutes. Whatever would I do to pass the time? One more liquor store, Archer Liquors, only a mile from Midway. Great store, and one that allows you to take single beers from six-packs. My suitcases may have already been full, but somehow I fit a Founders Double trouble and New Holland Imperial Mad Hatter in there.

I knew one of my suitcases would be over the weight limit and sure enough, 58 pounds cost me $50 extra. That's ok. It was worth it. The whole trip was, once again. Even though I was sandwiched against the window from Chicago to Denver. Even if the TSA inspectors went through my suitcase and stole two bottles of Dark Lord. I still came home with 41 bottles of beer and memories of another fantastic beer journey!

No comments: