Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Chicago 2013 Day 1

Feloniousmonk and his FFF beer haul

Because Three Floyds is a short trek from Chicago in Munster, IN, Al and I picked up our friend Heather and headed to FFF first with the car before parking for the weekend.  Plus, it was Al's top choice on the weekend.

FFF is becoming a regular stop, so I will just add the highlights. I started with In the Name of Suffering, a black IPA, that was super smooth and hoppy.  Tiberian Inquisitor, a golden Belgian, and Toxic Revolution, a stout porter, were also positives of the stop.

Before each trip to FFF, I check the every changing menu online because it's not always very veggie friendly.  However, they took the bacon out of the White Cheddar Mac n Cheese for me and it was delicious.  Heather and I shared the smoked octopus (I'm pescetarian now) with "ramp pesto, cherry tomatoes, pickled ramps, arugula, mint and grilled bread." Quite amazingly good for eating tentacles.
FFF White Cheddar Mac n Cheese 

While en route to Chicago, Al received word via the social network that a former Minnesota beer friend Adam Schulte, who now works for Artisanal Imports in Chicago, said we should head to Headquarter's Beercade for a special Meantime tapping.

Walking in, the Beercade is eerily similar to Barcade in Brooklyn. The bartender quickly confirmed that Beercade was inspired by Barcade.  The two main differences is that Beercade is less sketchy of a place and neighborhood, and the games can be played for FREE!  While pumping a few quarters is no big deal, it was a lot of fun to just hit restart on Asteroids a few times because of my rusty play (200 points from making the top ten!). While the games aren't as classic as at Barcade, many are from the 80s plus newer ones from the 90s that I don't know how to play.

Nice mix of local and regional brews in the tap list.   I started with the Solemn Oath Mythological Wonder, which was ok. In researching to put it on the list, I saw that it was a collaboration with Sun King, not a favored brewery by me.  To be nostalgic, I ordered a can of Olympia. As a kid, my dad drank Olympia for years until he changed over to Miller Lite.  I see why he changed now.  The Meantime beers came on and I had samples of the barleywine and the scotch ale.  The scotch ale on draft was every bit the beer I had tried in bottles from the Rare Beer Club in 2007. Maybe the best scotch ale anywhere.  My draft of the barleywine fell victim to high expectations. Still a very good beer, but not what I hoped for.

Like Barcade, there's no food service at Beercade.  Our bartender kindly recommended his favorite pizza place and we ordered Giordano's for delivery.  I gave the doorman my name and he nicely watched for our pizza and directed it to us. Very excellent, full meal after the lighter fare I had at Three Floyds.

At Beercade, I was chatting with Chris, who was the owner of a local business called Bee's Knees, which makes bar snacks. Later in the weekend, we were able to find them at the Map Room, and can report that the Chipotle Lime were assertively hot and tasty.

Again, based on a recommendation from someone at the bar, we ended the night at Sheffield's, which was in walking distance down the street.  Natural cut fries with aioli sauce appeared at the table (not sure who ordered them)very good.  I ended the night with a Green Flash Imperial Rye IPA and happy that Green Flash is almost always a good bet.  Al ordered a bottle of 2007 Bigfoot Barleywine, which was solid but past its prime with a bit too much oxidation. We sat in the small bar up front, but from walking around and the website, there's a lot more to Sheffield's than meets the eye.  The aged bottle list, a portion of which we saw in a cooler, was the main reason for the recom. While Beercade has cool beer and is full of hipsters, Sheffield's down the street has an older crowd and the bar seems to cater more to the beer geek. We clearly shortchanged Sheffield's as the last stop of the night, but can't drink every place first, especially when it was unplanned.

Great first day in Chicago.  In the future, I would like to go back for an extended time at Beercade for playing the games until I had my fill while sipping on local beersslowly, so as not to interfere with the game play. This also should be done alone, to relieve any guilt or pressure to play less or draw focus from the transporting back in time. Or, possibly, the day could be done with a geek of similar passion or old arcade games and beer. When sated on nostalgia with my name in the top ten of a few games, I'd head to Sheffield's for a bottle of something special to end the night.

Chicago 2013 Day 2


  1. Cal, I would return to Beercade with you, and while away the hours with Dig Dug and Defender, as long as both of us have no one else that we are beholden to.

  2. Sounds like a great start to the trip and makes me want to return to the Chicago area again, too. Beercade wasn't around the last time we were there and you reminded me of some of the places we enjoyed in the past.
    As a bonus, I have a friend who (I'm pretty sure it's the place) has Giordano's shipped out once/year - he loves it that much.

  3. Giordano's rocks!!! Can't wait to hear about Day 2. Thx.

  4. I thought of you as I wrote it Al. Plus, our friend Ian would also qualify in spite of being a bit young for the games, he's enough of a gamer to be fine. May be others.

    The beer/arcade variation is popular and spreading. Barcade is opening a 4th site. I love it. I can see loving Giordano's, but I think I'm still an Uno person. Need to Lou Malnati's next trip. (In reality, I'm a New York slice person but can hang in Chicago on the down low).

    Thanks Rick! Later today.