Friday, December 31, 2010

Brew England Visits: Chicago, Part V

So after a very quick train ride back to the downtown area, we decided to do a little more walking to take in the sights. We continued to walk the Magnificent Mile, where there is all kinds of shopping and theaters:

A festive Macy's

the Oriental Theater

the Chicago Theater

We did a little shopping, and a little more walking, before deciding that it was time for a break. While walking in the Loop area the previous day, Sarah had spotted a pizza place near Michigan Ave, so we headed that way. As it turns out, we found Pizano's, which I guess is pretty famous for their deep dish...which was great, because that was exactly what we were looking for!

All of Pizano's deep dish pizzas take at least 30 minutes to make. But, we were still somewhat full from our lunch hat Goose Island Wrigleyville, so that bought us some time to digest. Of course, New Belgium Fat Tire and martini helped too!

Again, like most of the places we went, we had some of the most friendly bartenders around. It didn't hurt that they were young, pretty women; however, more importantly they were friendly to a couple of Bostonians. We also ran into a local/regular, who we chatted with as well. I can't recall his name, but I do remember he said he made high-end suits for many of the local politicians, business men, and others and their suits were upwards of $4k each. What was funny is that he was also sporting a lot of Pittsburgh Steelers clothing items, which I found interesting considering he was from Chicago.

Sarah and I were pretty beat after a long day of roaming around, so after a few beers and delicious deep dish pizza (the best pizza I've ever had, quite frankly), we made our way towards home. Of course, we managed to walk through Millennium Park again, as they had a few extra photo ops at night.

We quickly stopped into the Disney Store on the Magnificent Mile to get some shopping done for my niece Kaylyn, before walking back to the hotel for the night.

We still had one more day in Chicago, but unfortunately the weather was pretty miserable. It was cold and raining, but that wasn't going to stop us from enjoying our last hours in such a great city. After some breakfast, we checked out of the hotel and decided to talk downtown again. Despite the rain, we were able to get some more cool pics.

We stumbled on the Chicago Cultural Center, so we used it as a break to get out of the rain. As it turned out, it was free admission, but it was a great time. I've been reading the book "Devil in the White City" by Eric Larson for what seems like forever. It's about the murder and magic that took place at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, which saw many iconic items show up, like the world's largest Ferris Wheel, and Pabst Blue Ribbon beer (it's when it won the blue ribbon!). Nevertheless, the city needed to build many, many buildings. The head architect Daniel H. Burnham designed many of the buildings, and the Chicago Cultural Center had a HUGE section dedicated to him. Although we didn't see most of the buildings he designed, we plan on doing so during our next visit.

We walked around a little more, and found a place to grab some lunch. The place was called the Tilted Kilt, which we assumed was a small Irish pub - just our style; however, it was not quite what we were expecting. It turns out it was the Scottish Hooters, with the waitresses and servers in knee high white socks, skimpy kilts, and even smaller shirts. Their food was actually pretty good and their beer was decent as well (I didn't realize until I linked their site that they're seemingly all over the place, especially in the Midwest and south). The train runs right along the building, and the CTA Santa Holiday Train made a (very) quick stop just outside the Tilted Kilt's window. Unfortunately Sarah missed it, but it was pretty cool to see.

After lunch we made one last stop at O'Toole's as I wasn't leaving Chicago without trying a Ska Brewing Co. beer. When we landed at the bar for the first time, I saw that although they didn't have anything by Ska Brewing on tap, they had a bottle of it. I figured I would seek it out on tap first, and if not I'd go back to O'Toole's to try it out. Surprisingly, I couldn't find it on tap anywhere we went, so I ordered a bottle of True Blonde Dubbel.

The beer was a nice, smooth, and potent concoction. It comes in at 8% ABV, but is clean and crisp. It had that subtle flavor you see in great Belgian beers, and was very drinkable. It's a shame I couldn't find it anywhere, but Sarah and I are interested in visiting Colorado soon, so this will be a must see brewery while we're out there.

Sarah enjoying one last martini at Timmothy O'Toole's

We also met a guy named Randy from Cincinnati, who happened to be sitting at the bar. We talked beer, and especially homebrewing as we both partake in the craft. He was an extremely nice guy, and before leaving I gave him one of our business cards. I hope he finds the site and keeps in touch!

Alas, it was off to the airport. Chicago was about to get hit with a major snow storm, so we were lucky, but sad, to be leaving. As we pulled up and checked our bags, we learned that Southwest Airlines had cancelled ALL of their flights for the next day, so we were getting out at the right time. We found Miller's Pub at Midway Airport, had a few drinks, got our picture taken with Santa, and boarded our plane for the trip back home.

To date, Chicago is the greatest city I've ever visited. Granted, I haven't visited too many places, but Sarah and I have fallen in love with the city. We were lucky enough to have her cousin take us to a place we wouldn't have seen, but there were many that we didn't get the chance to visit. We're already planning our next trip back, and we hope to visit in March or April for more antics!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Chicago is such is a cool city. I would move there, if I could.