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Best Brews: Chicago-Made Beer To Get Your Buzz On

If you’re wondering what the designer-beer buzz is about, we can assure you it’s not some sort of Martha Stewart-Budweiser collaboration, but rather a flourishing culinary scene brewing here in Chicago. The craft-brew culture has been alive and well for quite some time, and has expanded beyond a scattering of small (dare we say micro) breweries and home-brewing freakshows cooking up five-gallon batches in their parents’ basements. We took some time off from Icehouse to indulge ourselves in the flavors, aromas, and high alcohol contents of our city's engulfing passion for beer. Because you couldn't possibly come up with as many excuses as us to leave work early, we did the dirty work to present The BYOBandits' top four picks for drinking locally this summer. While these may cover the who's, what's and how's of Chicago brewing, we're leaving it up to you to decide what to wear.
the best beer in chicago
Haymarket Brewery
The prodigal motherless son of Pete Crowley and John Powers opened its doors earlier this year at the corner of Randolph and Halsted streets. The sprawling space (and newly christened outdoor patio) gives craft brew fans a new place to slam 10% A.B.V. pints in the West Loop. Though new to the scene, the guys behind Haymarket are no virgins to the brewpub game. Crowley made his name revitalizing Chicago's über-chain Rock Bottom Brewery location in the late '90s. At Haymarket, you can find between seven and 11 one-of-a-kind beers on their state-of-the-art taps at all times. They run the gamut from perennial favorites, such as the citrusy Mathias IPA, to more, um, experimental beers. When sipping on the dangerously dark Defender Double American Stout, Crowley giddily chimed in, "This is the kind of shit they showed on The X-Files!" We didn't quite understand that reference (nerd alert). You can't find any of Haymarket's extraterrestrial beers in stores, but you can pick up a reasonably priced growler seven days a week. Haymarket Brewery, 737 West Randolph Street (at Halsted Street); 312-638-0700.
Our Rooftop Drink of Choice: Living Wage Belgian Pale Ale, because at 4.5% alcohol, we could drink it all day long without putting any potential evening hookups in jeopardy.
Our Rooftop Drink of Choice: Marisol by day, Demolition by night.
Our Rooftop Drink of Choice: Daisy Cutter for sure. Feel free to bring a keg of it to an al fresco BYOB.
Our Rooftop Drink of Choice: Full-Frontal Pale Ale, but keep your tank-top on if your rooftop is less than four stories up. Conveniently, our rooftop is exactly four floors high.