As Chicago’s craft beer scene continues to explode at a rapid clip, along comes a slew of brew news from a few unlikely places, including a famed deep-dish haunt, a tiki bar, and a museum.
Most renowned for its deep-dish pizza and hordes of tourists, Gino’s East recently branched out into the world of beer. It makes sense when you think about it, considering beer is to pizza as peanut butter is to jelly, so it’s only natural that Gino’s would dip its toe in that pond at least a little bit. Or rather, dive right in headfirst, unveiling a lineup of craft beers for distribution in Illinois.
Last year, Gino’s began brewing small-batch beers under brewmaster Kevin McMahon, and this year they’ve amped it up considerably with 10 tap handles at the River North brewpub. Beers include the signature Gino’s Pale Ale, The Pineapple Imposter American pale ale, LaSalle St. Lager, and a Belgian witbier called Witte Chicks Dig Me. In March, the brewpub will round out their portfolio with a new Belgian dubbel and an IPA series starting with a beer called Northdown and Bound.
Customers come from far and wide to sip tiki cocktails out of exotic parrot-shaped mugs at Lost Lake. The Logan Square tiki bar is a Polynesian oasis of rum, swizzle sticks, and tropical vibes, but don’t overlook the beer either. Rather than augment their cocktail menu with a haphazard mix of beers, Lost Lake actually collaborates with Marz Community Brewing to concoct distinct, highly unique beers that are just as tempting as those illustrious cocktails. The latest example of this is Lost Lake’s newly released third collaboration beer, Piranhanas. The yeast blend used to brew the beer elicits a variety of tropical fruit flavors while drying out the beer, and the result is a beer that tastes like being voluntarily beached on a Caribbean island. It actually pairs really well with rum, and the bar recommends trying it with a shot.
Who knew the Field Museum was such a beer junkie? With a serious penchant for history, the museum went back 1,000 years ago to unearth the drinking lore of the Wari people, a civilization that populated modern day Peru. Now beer-drinkers can literally get a taste of history, thanks to the Field Museum’s collaboration with Off Color Brewing to make a contemporary replication of a Wari brew.
Using ingredients like molle berries and blue corn, two items discovered on the grounds of an ancient brewery, Off Color was able to create an ale unlike any other. It gets a magenta hue from the corn, rich with aromas of grain and zesty spice. The aptly dubbed Wari Ale is to be released March 3 at the Field Museum’s Hop To It event, subsequently available on tap and in bottles at the Field Bistro for a limited time.