Early bird gets the craft beer

I’m blessed with a very robust body clock.  When I travel, it can take me days to shake off even a small timezone adjustment.   On this recent trip to Chicago, I found myself waking around 4:30am each day and patiently awaiting the time when I could venture out of the hotel to find breakfast.   Even on my third morning, I was still operating on Atlantic Time.  Why am I telling you this?… To justify a story of me wandering up to the Bucktown neighbourhood northwest of downtown Chicago on a Saturday morning in search of a craft beer bar called the Map Room.

There’s something about being on vacation that makes it relatively acceptable to partake in a drink before the crisp hour of noon.   It’s even more justifiable if that drink at 11:30am “feels” like it’s been had at 1:30pm.   By the third day of this solo trip, I was in an indulgent mood.  The idea of a great beer (or two) in an outstanding neighbourhood bar while reading a book was what I wanted.  After pouring over an outstanding draught list, I choose the most local beer available, a 3 Floyds Brewing “Live a Rich Life” double IPA (from Munster, Indiana).  It was a hoppy, Belgian style double.  At 9.5% ABV, I was glad to have a few of these delicious bread sticks to help mop up the alcohol:

Three Floyds IPA

I usually try to find a good neighbourhood craft beer bar when I travel, and the Map Room was definitely that with the bonus that it was a relatively easy train ride from downtown Chicago.  The place had a friendly feel – a knowledgeable bartender, a small selection of regulars dropping by and a BPL soccer match on the TV.  A truly lovely place; I felt at home immediately.

The Map Room

Feeling pretty warm inside from the first drink and enjoying my book, I decided to order a second beer (it was now past noon after all…) The Stillwell Existent, a black farmhouse ale, had caught my eye.   Another high ABV sipper, it was dry and roasty and the perfect backdrop to some more reading as the afternoon melted away:

Stillwater Existent black saison

It was a splendid way to spend a Saturday afternoon in Chicago and is firmly on my “must return to” list for the next time I’m back in the city.



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