Winter Brews in the Windy City - Chicago's 5 Best Winter Beers
Chicago is a proud city filled with people who are passionate about their work. The Windy City has a long and rich history of developing wonderful city-specific food, but did you know that the same can be said for Chicago's beer? Local bars and breweries are the lifeblood of Chicago's drinking scene and today we are going to address a few special brews of theirs that you need to get your hands on. With winter fast approaching and the wind coming in sharp off of Lake Michigan you should consider warming up with the following five Chicago served brews.
With Christmas right around the corner and holiday cheer in the air you will need to belly up to the bar with a bottle of the Breckenridge Brewery Christmas Ale. Now, we know what you are thinking -- Christmas gimmick beers can be pretty rough. Still, we're happy to say that this beer holds up as a full bodied brew with a slightly spicy finish and a neat balance between the flavor of the malt and the addition of the hops. Breckenridge is a small brewery located in Littleton, CO and they've been pumping out these delicious limited runs for years. Still, if this drink sounds a little too gimmicky for you then we have plenty of options left.
For an authentic taste of Chicago's cold season you will need to grab a Fistmas Ale. This Holiday Ale is brewed in the city by Revolution Brewing. The Fistmas Ale is a slightly hoppy red ale that is spiced up with orange peel and ginger root. At 6.5% ABV it will only take a couple bottles before you have your own little winter buzz going on. Revolution Brewery is the largest craft brewery in Chicago despite only having opened in 2010. So far the city has taken to the company and their growth has been astronomical. If you like Revolution Brewing's style then you can stick with the company for one more winter beer that we personally have grown to love: their Winter Saison. Some of our favorite winter brews are actually light bodied pale ales. Revolution Brewing's Winter Saison features apricot and citrus rinds to give you that wonderful seasonal bite.
What we've found now more than ever is that winter beers in Chicago don't have to follow any specific guidelines. Conventional wisdom has most people reaching for those heavy, dark beers when the weather turns cold. New Belgium, another popular brewery from Colorado, put together their New Belgium Accumulation in order to showcase a light beer with big flavor when the snow starts to roll in. This is a White IPA with floral notes and a nice smooth aftertaste. There's something pleasing about taking in a well-made, crisp ale on a cold day. Still, there is a reason to reach for a dark beer when the calendar flips to January and that is why we are ending our list with the Lagunitas Brown Shugga. Lagunitas is a local Chicago brewery that is revered for their innovative craftsmanship and willingness to try something new. The Brown Shugga comes from a failed attempt at making Olde Gnarlywine Ale and we are ecstatic with the 'failure'. The Brown Shugga is hoppy, sweet, and full bodied. You'll taste a ton of that good, toasted malt with just a hint of the high IBU's poking through. The Lagunitas Brown Shugga is also a heavy hitter as it sits at 9.9% ABV.