Hot days spent on the beach, water, wandering downtown, or bbq’n is what many Chicagoans look forward to the most each year. It is hard to deny that when thirst comes into play, a good brew satisfies like nothing else. With many breweries in the area, Chicago beer options are quite extensive. Personal taste plays a huge factor when it comes to beer, but this is a great starting point to kick off your summer beer tour!
Many of these brews are available year around, but when paired with a hot summer day they taste even better.
ABV = Alcohol By Volume IBU = International Bittering Unit
5 Rabbit Cerveceria – 5 Lizard : Latin Style Witbier
This award winning Latin Style Witbier from 5 Rabbit Brewing is a, “creamy and refreshing wheat beer, lightly spicy, with the tangy fruitiness of passionfruit for a fun and lively personality.” Whitbier is relatively popular for its ease of drinking and lightness when it comes to hop taste and fullness. 5 Rabbit’s recipe follows the Latin-style over the more traditional Belgian-style to give it a truly unique flavor. The ABV is at 4.3% with a low IBU of 20 – making this brew easy to drink on hot days for a truly refreshing experience.
Solemn Oath – Whisper Kisses : Saison
Solemn Oath has created a, “Light bodied Farmhouse Ale with a bready malt sweetness and floral, fruity hop character. French Saison yeast lends a tart, earthy balance with a dry finish,” in the form of Whisper Kisses. Saisons’ are traditionally associated with Pale Ales so their ABV is a little higher at 8.3%, while the IBU is at 65 to give you a quality hop bite. For a refreshing beer with full flavor, Whisper Kisses will hit the spot.
Metropolitan – Krankshaft : Kolsch
Metropolitan’s Krankshaft is one of the most delightful brews to indulge in on hot days. With it being a Kolsch style beer, lightness and flavor unite together. Krankshaft is, “Brewed in homage the beer brewed in Cologne, Krankshaft, a K lsch style beer is a pale straw hued smile in a glass. We throw in a little wheat malt to round out an easy Santiam hop bitterness.” Kolsch style beers are not all that common in breweries; finding one as good as this will keep you popping top after top. With an ABV of 5% and IBU of just 28, it will go down easy with just enough of an after-taste.
Goose Island – 312 Urban Wheat Ale : Wheat Ale
Goose Island has quite an extensive selection of brews that will fit any situation. In the case of summertime, the 312 Urban Wheat Ale will take care of your taste buds: “Inspired by the city of Chicago and densely populated with flavor, 312 s spicy aroma of Cascade hops is followed by a crisp, fruity ale flavor delivered in a smooth, creamy body that’s immensely refreshing.” Wheat Ales traditionally go down very easily, making them a popular choice for long days on the beach. The ABV of 4.2% and IBU of 18 portray the laid-backness of this brew.
Revolution – Bottom Up : Belgian-Style White Ale
Revolution’s Bottom up tackles wheat beer brewing in the form of a Belgian-style wit. This style of brewing is unfiltered and contains high-levels of wheat for a hearty, smooth flavor. Revolution states, “Our interpretation of this classic and refreshing Belgian style ale is brewed with organic pilsner and wheat malts from Canada. Freshly ground coriander and Curacao orange peel, along with a special Wit yeast strain, contribute wonderful orange and citrus aromas and a crisp, yet silky, mouthfeel.” An ABV of 5.0% and IBU of 14 make it a great light substitute to traditional wheat ales.
Ale Syndicate – Van De Velde Belgo : American Ale
The American style is going all out, being bold, and experiencing things to the fullest; Ale Syndicate’s Van De Velde Belgo is an American Ale that follows those traditions. “Van de Velde Belgo-American Pale Ale blends the subtly spicy and fruity flavors of Belgian yeast with a smooth, slightly sweet malt character. Add in the bold, bitter profile of American hops and you’ve got a complex, ambitious but still approachable brew – not unlike the early Belgian-Chicagoans of Logan Square who inspired its name.” This ale leans to the hoppy side of things with an IBU of 26, but it is not overwhelming. ABV sits at a 6.4%.
Flossmoor Station Brewing – Zephyr : Golden Ale
Flossmoor Station Brewing tackles summertime head on with their Zephyr Golden Ale. The beauty of golden ale is that it is not overly complex. A simple formula that delivers a refreshingly great taste makes for an all around brew. “The Zyphyr is straw to golden blond in color and has a crisp, light body and light malt sweetness. Light hop floral aroma may be present but this beer’s bitterness is low.” The ABV is a modest 4.7%, while IBU hovers at 16 to make this a beer that almost anyone can enjoy.
Atlas – Golden Ale : Golden Ale
Atlas’s rendition of a golden ale is nothing to look past. “Barley and hops come together in refreshing harmony in our golden ale. Inspired in part by German lagers, noble hops and pale malts make it subtle, yet flavorful.” Made with high standards and smooth flavor in mind, this golden ale is among the most refreshing with an ABV of 5.5% and a low IBU rating.
Two Brothers – Dog Days : Dortmunder Style Lager
Two Brothers pumps out its season Dog Day brew in the form of a Dortmunder Style Lager. It is closely related to a pale lager, but distinctive enough to gain its own class of branding. “Brewed in the style of Dortmund, Germany, this golden lager has a delicate caramel malt character balanced by a light body and mild German noble hops, creating a crisp, refreshing finish.” The ABV of 5.1% paired with an IBU of 17 makes for a perfect summer day companion.
Haymarket – Rainbow Sock Monkey : American Wheat Ale
Haymarket offers a brew that tastes as unique as its name. Rainbow Sock Money is a light American Wheat Ale that is infused with fruit juice for a truly unique, yet refreshing experience. “This is an American Wheat Ale brewed with Pear and Raspberry juice! Loads of fruit. It’s fruity. Like pink and fruity. It’s pink.” The juice flavors are definitely noticeable, setting it apart from the majority of Chicago beer options that you have probably ever tried. The ABV is at a respectable 5.0% giving this juice a little punch.