This Saturday, the American Beer Classic returns to Solider Field, offering a selection of beers from more than 30 breweries over the course of two tasting sessions. With more than 100 beers on tap, you're sure to find a new favorite, whether you prefer light wheat beers or strong, hops-heavy concoctions. After a spirited afternoon tasting session, we came up with nine beers to search out at the American Beer Classic—or your neighborhood craft beer bar.
Brown Cow, Carson's Brewery (Evansville, IN)
If you've ever enjoyed a Newcastle, you'll love this rich brown ale from Indiana's Carson's Brewery. The roasted malts bring out light chocolate notes, which are reinforced by the beer's sweet scent.
Campside Session IPA, Upland Brewing Co. (Bloomington, IN)
This refreshing session IPA is brewed by adding the majority of its hops after the batch is boiled, resulting in a balanced ale that retains the citrus-heavy scent of the hops used in the recipe. You'll want to get a few good whiffs of this one before you finish drinking it.
Chainbreaker White IPA, Dechutes Brewery (Bend, OR)
Dechutes beer has been available in Chicago for a while now, and this white IPA is a popular draft at bars all across the city. For the uninitiated, the Chainbreaker starts with the hoppy flavor of an IPA and finishes like a wheat beer—a little sweet and not very bitter.
The Charlatan Pale Ale, Maplewood Brewery and Distillery (Chicago, IL)
A unanimous favorite among our tasters, this subtle, unfiltered pale ale is brewed with three types of hops that complement a malty, caramel-forward body. It's not just the smoothest beer we tasted, it might be one of the smoothest beers we've ever had a glass of.
Eville, Carson's Brewery (Evansville, IN)
Though it's labeled as a wheat beer, Carson's Eville has more in common with a West Coast IPA thanks to the use of hops that lend it a spicy kick. Our IPA-adverse tasters didn't appreciate the crisp flavor, but hop-heads will be in heaven.
No S'More Barrel Aged Imperial Stout, Cahoots Brewing (Forest Park, IL)
Fans of Goose Island's Bourbon County Stout will enjoy this barrel aged Imperial Stout, which was originally conceived a s'more-flavored beer aged in Buffalo Trace Bourbon barrels. The brewers (admittedly) didn't quite replicate the taste of gooey marshmallows, but the vanilla notes blend perfectly with the dominant bourbon flavor.
Rabanas Barrel Aged Belgian Style Ale, Cahoots Brewing (Forest Park, IL)
Our tasters were enticed by a beer brewed with pineapple and rhubarb, but the fruity notes of this Belgian ale are mostly lost amid the boozey flavor brought out by its Pinot Grigio barrel aging. At 11.1% ABV, it's more comparable to a tart sparkling wine than beer.
Rubaeus, Founder's Brewery (Grand Rapids, MI)
Somewhere between a soda and a beer, this heavily carbonated raspberry wheat ale is perfect for drinkers with a sweet tooth. Some of our tasters thought the sweetness was a bit overwhelming, but if you can stomach a summer shandy, you'll probably dig it.
The Turkey Hunter, 51st Ward Beer Company (Westmont, IL)
All of our tasters immediately mentioned the strong roasted banana scent and flavor of this dark German wheat beer, which was brewed with experimental hops and cold fermented. We're pretty sure that you won't be able to find anything else quite like this Turkey.