Beer Vacation #1: Chicago, IL

My wife’s family celebrated Easter vacation by getting a few rooms in Schaumburg, IL, about a 20 minute drive from downtown Chicago and I wasn’t thinking I would get a chance to enjoy some really fine beers but thankfully I have a great wife who lets me do things like that. We started our day, Saturday, at the Children’s Museum at Navy Pier, which was great for the kids. My wife’s brothers then thought it would be a good idea to hit up a Cub game, since they are all Cub fans, and they were playing my favorite team the Dodgers. So the beer journey got kicked off at the perfect venue, a ball game at a historic stadium. We enjoyed a few old styles and my brother-in-law thought it would be great if we could stay downtown to explore some bars. So we stayed behind while everyone headed back to Schaumburg. We left the game early and the first place we went to was….
**Goose Island Wrigleyville** It was the closest bar there and I had to get over the fact that they just sold out InBev, but I put that behind me and actually thought the place was really good. We bellied up to the bar and I had their Green Line Pale Ale which is only served on tap there, and the proceeds from the brew go to some good cause or another. The beer itself was very good and smooth, and I think there would be a market for that brew if they ever decide to expand on it. My brother-in-law, let’s call him Balls, brother-in-law takes too long to type, so Balls had a Blueberry Ale which was pretty refreshing. Not overly sweet and pretty drinkable. We then headed off to…..
**Merkles** Being born and raised in Iowa it was great to find an Iowa Hawkeye bar in downtown Chicago with the TigerHawk proudly being displayed. This bar was more my style, somewhat rugged looking. The beer selection was fantastic, upon entering the bar was a display of the daily specials which showed Dogfish Head Aprihop as the draw which got me giddy and made me realize this could be the place I spend the rest of the evening. Balls and I both had an Aprihop to start which is a great, refreshing Spring beer. I noticed they had a beer that many people talk about, 3 Floyds Gumballhead. I was very excited to try this and was even happier I did. I don’t get to excited about wheat beers much anymore, but this beer made me a believer that wheat beers can still be amazingly tasty. We finished with a few more beers and the rest of the night is pretty much a blur except for the $80 cab ride back to Schaumburg.
I know I’m just skimming the surface of the places to drink in Chicago; let me know if there are some must visits around that area!

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