At 6:30pm, seeing people walking around with plastic bags on their feet was a cute novelty. By 9pm, it was de rigeur. This year's Beer Under Glass, the kickoff event to Chicago Craft Beer Week, quickly turned into Beer Over Grass, Beer in a Swamp, Beer in the Mud, and every hashtagged permutation in between. Photos of dirty feet might have outweighed Instagrammed images of beers in tasting glasses, but honestly, no one seemed to care that much about it. The dozens of breweries pouring hundreds of beers took precedent over any weather issue faced last evening. (But thank the Maker it didn't rain.)
The low temps made it a good night for those who brought porters, stouts and brown ales. The coffee porters from Slapshot and Temperance were two that stood out, as did the licorice-laden Shady Character from Forbidden Root. It was also a good night for sours, too—DESTIHL's wild ale, MiddleBrow's brown sour collaboration with Transient Ales and Goose Island's Madame Rose were all puckering palates across the Garfield Park landscape.
The one that stuck out the most for me was the Pineapple Brettanomite from the Goose Island Clybourn team, a barrel aged 6.4% wild ale infused with the namesake fruit. Creamy in body, lightly tart and flavored just how you'd expect it to it to be based on the name, it took me to a place miles away and about 40 degrees warmer in just four ounces of beer. This was also the only one that had brewers and attendees alike asking, Have you tried it yet, dude, you've got to try it.
A close second was the mango paletas with chile pequin from 5Rabbit—when this brewery asks "do you want the one with chiles?" you say yes. I've said before that 5Rabbit does summer beers well, and the latest paletas backs that up. The regular one tastes like a bright, bursting mango, while the chile version (available at the tap room and at festivals this summer) packs in a lot of heat. Later this summer, they're making the tamarind paletas they promised us last year, plus they'll be canning their excellent guava paletas from last year and selling it in about a month and a half.
The longest line of the night, however, belonged to Dinky Donuts. It could have been the smell of fried dough and cinnamon wafting over the water-saturated landscape; it could have been a need for sustenance after significant beer intake; it could just be that they had the high (dry) ground to stand on. Whatever way, it was just what the doctor ordered on an unseasonably cold night in May. As we tear the bags from our feet and toss our socks to the trash, we should count ourselves lucky that the snow (fucking snow in May) held off until this morning.