I'm intending to set up a series of pages on each brewer in this area, with a background and my impressions of their flagship brews. Here's the first one.
Haymarket Pub & Brewery opened on laihristmas Eve, 2010. It was founded by Pete Crowley, previously the brewmaster at Rock Bottom Chicago, and in my recollection, was among the first of the "second wave" of brewpubs and breweries in Chicago's craft beer boom. Haymarket opened at 737 W Randolph St., just west of the Kennedy Expressway, at a building that once housed Barney's Market Club and a Bar Louie.
Crowley focused first on Belgian and hoppy American styles at a time when that was considered a niche market. Many of its mainstay beers have been named for people and places in Chicago’s labor movement, inspired by its proximity to Haymarket Square. Among their notable and sought-after brews has been Clare’s Thirsty Ale, a barrel-aged imperial stout with raspberries, and multi-award-winning Defender, a hop-forward American stout.
In 2016, Haymarket secured a space in Bridgman, MI to build a production brewery, which opened its taproom in January of 2017. I have three of their four flagship canned beers, and when I can get a hold of the Matthias Imperial IPA, Ican add it to this article later.
Speakerswagon German-Style Pilsner
Start with this crisp, straw colored lager brewed with imported Pilsen malt, Saaz hops and authentic cold fermenting lager yeast. IBUs: 27 ABV: 5%
Has a familiar lawnmower beer smell; a bit sweet with just a bit of hop scent. The color is bright gold, with just a bit of haze to it, and a head of big foam bubbles. The taste has a bit of sweetness to it, but it's nearly overwhelmed by those Saaz hops. I don't remember finding many single-hop German lager styles, and this is a nice showcase for what one Noble hop strain can do.
Oscar's Pardon Belgian-Style Pale Ale.
This straw colored pale ale was brewed with Pilsen malt, Belgian yeast and Amarillo hops then dry-hopped with a touch more for a complex easy drinking experience. Named after Oscar Neebe. Anarchist? Maybe. Yeast salesman? Definitely. IBUs: 45 ABV: 4.5%
The beer looks exactly like the Speakerwagon in the glass, just a bit more gold in the body. The Amarillo hops lend a slightly stronger hop nose, with an extra note of pine. Taste is bright, again similar to the Sepakerwagon at first. But clearly drier, with more hops. When I poured the last of the can into my glass, it got a little cloudy. There's no indication how finely filtered it is, but it looks like there's a bit of yeast left behind. Not bad at all, though.
Aleister America-Style India Pale Ale
Dry in the beginning, with a nice malt middle and a huge hop finish, this big I.P.A. brings notes of from the large amounts of Amarillo hops and bright fruit and citrus. IBUs: 65 ABV: 6.5%
Each successive beer I've sampled has been slightly deeper in color than the one before. Aleister pours a brassy color, with a slightly yellowish foamy head. This looks like it has the same proportion of Amarillo as the Oscar's Pardon. Bitterness is rather mild here, plays up pine resin. Strong malty background plays well with the hops. Unlike many American pale ales, this one strives for balance.
I will be revisiting this post after it "falls off" my Google page rankings, to turn it into a WordPress Page, one of those guide pages to Chicago brewers I keep trying to work on. I'll also add some of my previous notes on their brewpub taps.