Thursday, December 23, 2010

Brew England Visits: Chicago, Part II

You can't really tell, but that's Adam under the Navy Pier sign

Sarah and I had made a feeble attempt to go to Navy Pier on the day we arrived in Chicago. As it turns out, it was far too cold to venture any closer to the lake. When we arrived, it was around 22 degrees and windy, unlike in Boston where it in the 30's or near 40 degrees. Anyway, when you have the protection of the buildings in downtown Chicago, it tends to block some of the wind coming off Lake Michigan. It makes a HUGE difference!

Because we never made it to Navy Pier on Wednesday, we decided we would head there there next morning. It certainly didn't seem any warmer that morning when we walked over, but fortunately it got a bit warmer as the day progressed. Possibly registering a balmy 28 degrees or so.

We walked through the shops at Navy Pier, and then headed back out into the elements. We have to imagine that it is spectacular in the warm weather months as they have a giant Ferris Wheel, beer gardens- you can actually walk around the entire Navy Pier area with your drinks, and other fun things. We'll definitely have to make it back to hit Harry Caray's!

See, here is where we attempted to take our pictures in front of some weird glass that distorts your body. Pretty awesome, eh?

Anyway, we got some great pics of the skyline while we were there.

Did you know they have a giant macaroni noodle there?

For our safety, they put up this sign. They don't mess around!

We also got some of us goofing around.

Sarah frolicking with children at play

Adam receiving some counseling from Bob Newhart

We decided we would head down to the Art Institute after our time on the pier. We hopped in a cab and were there in no time!

Sarah outside the Art Institute

The Grand Staircase @ the Art Institute

The Art Institute is right at Millennium Park, and could not have been nicer. Truthfully we weren't there for more than a few hours, but we had a great time. We've been to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston several times, which is absolutely amazing. We also visited the Philadelphia Museum of Art a few years ago, which was spectacular. The Art Institute of Chicago was equally as impressive and this visit made us want to go back. There are some truly great pieces of art there...

Notably, "Water Lilies" by Claude Monet,

"A Sunday on La Grande Jatte" by Georges Seurat (which was much bigger than we expected),

"Nighthawks" by Edward Hopper,

and "American Gothic" by Grant Wood.

We always thought the woman in "American Gothic" was the dude's wife, but as it turns out, it's supposed to be his daughter. The story behind the painting is awesome, and if you're in Chicago you should stop by to see it!

Equally as nice were "American Windows" by Marc Chagall,

and "Picture of Dorian Gray" by Ivan Albright.

This was one of the most bizarre and psychedelic paintings I've ever seen! Sarah hated the painting, although she loved the book. I thought the painting was pretty cool, though I'd hate to be looking on this if I were tripping on LSD. I'm sure that shit would freak me right out!

When we had our fill, we headed to the gift shop for a few things, before heading off to find some lunch. We were initially going to hit the Goose Island Brew Pub in Clybourn, but it was going to take us a while to get there. We really had no idea where we were going to eat, but we just decided to walk.

We could have been walking for a while...

Fortunately, we stumbled on the Berghoff Restaurant, located on West Adams street in the Loop! It's considered a historical landmark in Chicago, and is a great German restaurant. Their menu is substantial, yet not too big; however, it made it really hard to decide what we wanted to eat.

Although they aren't a brewpub per say, they do make their own beer. We were instructed by our very friendly server that their beer is brewed in Monroe, Wisconsin, and according to Wikipedia it's a contract beer brewed by the Joseph Huber Brewing Company. Nevertheless, we decided to get the beer flight, so we could give all of their offerings a try.

All of the beers were really good! In all, they had five beers on tap: Berghoff Seasonal - a dark malty winter, Prairie Lager - a standard at the restaurant, Sundown Dark - malty, smokey, and nice, River Red Ale - slightly bitter, nice dark color, and Hefeweizen - light, somewhat sweet, and crisp. It was nice to get a taste of local brewed beers, other than Goose Island. The beers complemented our food nicely too!

We hope you enjoyed Chicago Parts I-II...Chicago Part III will be up soon!

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