Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cheers to these craft beers

Sam Adam's Utopias is the most expensive beer in the world.

After a year of waiting, I finally got my hands on Samuel Adams’ Utopias this week. Wrigleyville’s beer-focused spot Risqué Café (3419 N. Clark, 773-525-7711)—which appears to be the only bar in the city serving it (let me know if I’m wrong!)—sells the rich, port-like beer for $30 for two ounces.

This is truly the king of beers, with 25 percent alcohol content and every beer connoisseur’s dream. Sam Adams only makes 12,000 bottles a year of what’s considered the world’s most expensive beer (it starts at $125 a bottle). Curious?! Check it out for yourself.

Specialty beer is also the focus at Rockit Bar & Grill (22 W. Hubbard St., 312-645-6000), which recently changed its weekly TasteIt Mondays to focus on America’s finest craft beers. Through June, The Beer Dudes (read Chicago magazine columnist Sarah Preston’s interview with them here) and Rockit Sous Chef Amanda Downing pair suds and supper. In January, they’re featuring various beers from Colorado that complement a three-course dinner of a cheese-and-sausage plate, baby green salad with dried figs, and a surprisingly amazing buffalo meatloaf with white cheddar mashed potatoes. Guests can order the featured beers only or the three-course dinner paired with beer for $40.

More beer-focused options:

Bluebird (1749 N. Damen Ave., 773-486-2473). The Bucktown newcomer (owned by the husband-wife team behind Webster’s Wine Bar) offers a lengthy list of beers from around the world to drink while you chow down on flatbread pizzas and charcuterie. Word to the wise: Plan to wait awhile on weekends for seating; weeknights are easier.

Custom House (500 S. Dearborn St., 312-523-0200). The bad news: The Unibroue all-inclusive, ale-pairing seminar and tasting menu happening Sunday, Jan. 20 is sold out. The good news: They’ve added another date, Monday, Jan. 21 at 6:30pm (yay!). So make those reservations today if you don’t want to miss out! Chef de Cuisine Richard Camarota prepares a special menu to complement that includes a rabbit stew, smoked pork loin and braised lamb shoulder. $35.

Paramount Room (415 N. Milwaukee Ave., 312-829-6300). Every day the new River West tavern offers a daily beer flight of three for $7, which is selected by the bartender. Try it with small plates like the Scotch Egg (hard-boiled egg rolled in Italian sausage) or delicious hand-cut fries, or do a main entrée like the hand-dipped fish and chips.

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