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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"Mommy, Can I Go Out and Drink Tonight?" at the Local Option

Posted By on 10.31.12 at 04:00 PM

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A sanctuary from the general obnoxiousness that is Lincoln Park, the Local Option always has a more than respectable tap lineup, often with a few unusual beers thrown into the mix. Last Friday, as they periodically do, they turned over all of their 31 taps to interesting—sorry, "rare and evil"—brews, this time titled "Mommy, Can I Go Out and Drink Tonight?" in honor of the Misfits (whose music played all evening). I'm not sure exactly how the beers were related to the band, but plenty of them were rare, with offerings from Struise, De Molen, Mikkeller, Haandbryggeriet, and many others, including two beers brewed by the Local Option itself. With the help of several friends, I managed to try close to a dozen of them on Friday—though I only had a sip or two of most so my notes are a little sketchy. The good news, though, is that some of them are still pouring so you can try them yourself. Below, a few notes on what I tasted and a list of what's still available.

I've been wanting to try the beer from Perennial Artisan Ales for a while, not least because it's made in St. Louis, my hometown. Their Peace Offering, a brown ale brewed with maple-roasted squash, was pleasant but I couldn't detect much squash or maple flavor—maybe a good thing if you want drink more than a little of it, but disappointing in my opinion. There were several sour beers, a style that I'm trying to learn to like, so far without much luck. The De Dolle Arabier was sour and floral, the Vicaris Tripel Gueuze was sour and fruity, and the Birrificio del Ducato My Blueberry Nightmare, a blueberry stout, was sour, dark, and completely bizarre. It was fun, at least, to see the faces everyone made as they tried it, leading a friend to comment that it's "what Malort is trying to be."

A couple beers were less bitter than I expected, including the floral Dark Horse Scary Jesus Rockstar (a pale ale brewed with apricot and chamomile) and the Bell's This One Goes to 11 (an imperial red ale). In the case of the latter, it wasn't so much that the hops were restrained as that there was also quite a bit of sweetness balancing it out. It wasn't overly sweet, though, unlike the Hoppin' Frog Double Pumpkin, which the Local Option boasts is the only pumpkin beer it will serve but was too syrupy for my taste.

Among my favorites: the Firestone Walker Wookey Jack (a black IPA), toasty and lightly hoppy; the Struise Pannepot, a complex Belgian quad with a slightly metallic, sour taste balanced out by cocoa flavors; the Against the Grain/De Molen Bo & Luke, an intense, heavy Russian imperial stout that tasted like bacon and bourbon; and the Mikkeller Beer Hop Breakfast, an equally intense stout with strong chocolate and coffee notes, bitter and sweet at the same time.

Here's what's still on tap:

Against The Grain/De Molen Bo & Luke
BFM Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien 2011
Bayerischer Bahnhof Berliner Style Weisse with Brett
Birrificio Del Ducato My Blueberry Nightmare
Djaevlebryg Pride of Nekron
Local Option Kentucky Common
Local Option American Muscle
Perennial Peace Offering
Struise Svea IPA

Julia Thiel writes about booze every Wednesday.

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