Monday, December 29, 2014

Sloopin's Top Trends in 2014: Beer Making and Drinking

Vice District Beer Flight Sampler
2014 is almost donzo and with that we thought it would be fitting to reflect on the year that was.

We've taken a look at Google Analytics site traffic, reviewed some of our most buzz worthy posts as well as taken stock based on conversations we've had with various people and over the next three days we will reflect.

First up is near and dear to our hearts and it's BEER!

Vice District Brewery
2014 was the first year that saw a local brewery officially open up their doors.  While Vice District Brewery (1454 S. Michigan) might have not been the first brewery to announce their intentions to open up in the neighborhood, they were the first to officially open back in August.

We recently stopped in and felt obligated to try out all of their brews.  We opted for the flight sampler which consisted of all the beers they brew (see pic above) - Habitual (Dark Cascadian Ale), Everleigh (English Style Special Bitter), South Town Small (Porter), Pleasure Trip (Blonde Ale), Initiation (IPA).  Our favorite was the South Town Small.

Overall Vice is a good addition to the neighborhood on many levels.  First it's a pretty laid back place.  You won't be intimidated and better yet you don't need to be a beer snob to fit in here.  While it's not a sports bar, they do have TVs so you can catch that nights main game if desired.  They don't serve food, but do allow you to carry-in (which we did with Kurah and it worked out well).

Motor Row Brewery
In other Brewery news, it sounds like Motor Row Brewery (formerly Broad Shoulders) is finally getting ready to open up shop supposedly in January of 2015.  It's been a slow go for them (we've been talking about them since 2011), but we can attest that their beer is solid.  Hopefully it's worth the wait.  While the Motor Row entertainment district has been mostly talk to date, this brewery could go a long way to helping it gain some traction.  Only time will tell on that front.

It was also recently reported that Baderbrau, a defunct but now reimagined craft beer from the 1980s, would be opening up a brewing facility and tasting room at 2515 S. Wabash.  While we consider this south of the South Loop (afterall it's south of the Stevenson highway), it's still very close to the neighborhood and should be a good addition for beer lovers.  It seems like they have some serious cash behind their operation, so hopefully it's legit.

South Loop Brewing Company
Not to be outdone, South Loop Brewing Company, a group of local home-brewers with dreams to open up their own facility exceeded their crowdfunding goal of $15K.  We haven't heard much from them recently, but according to their twitter handle they are shooting to open in early 2015.  Last we heard they wouldn't be opening up in the South Loop though.

The South Loop Craft Beer Revolution?
Obviously there was a lot of brewing news going on in the neighborhood.  Popular blog, Chicagoist even discussed the neighborhoods "craft beer revolution" back in July and asked the question:
Is the South Loop Chicago’s latest beer destination? 

And let's not forget that beer making isn't the only thing that is important.  Simply having new places to drink it is important as well.  Villain's, the popular Printer's Row bar with a noteworthy beer menu that closed in 2012, is rebooting on South Clark street.  While it appeared that they were ready to open this fall, they have apparently run into some delays.  However, when they open many beer aficionados will rejoice.

Burger Bar and Aurellio's are also opening up in 2015 at Roosevelt and Michigan and both should have a good beer menu (or at least are claiming that they will).

So if you like drinking local beer, it seems like you were probably pretty happy about some of these developments in 2014.  Cheers to that and to the future!

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