Drinking with beer nerds 

John Laffler, Jim Magas, and Jess Straka share their current boozy obsessions

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Jess Straka, general manager, Metropolitan Brewing Company

click to enlarge JOHN DUGGAN

Working for a lager brewery, it's easy to have those clean, mild brews within arm's reach. Lately, when I'm not drinking Metro, I find myself going for regional or local beers that offer the same refreshment—but with the twist that ales are so good at achieving.

Here are my three summer picks that aren't lagers:

Boulevard Brewing Tank 7 Boulevard is fairly new to the Chicago market and having already tried (and enjoyed) some of their other brews, I was happy to see this farmhouse ale available on tap at the Map Room (bottles are available at Binny's). Low bitterness, not too funky, with a pleasant sweetness as it warms.

New Holland Brewing Farmhouse Hatter Mad Hatter was a beer I drank early (and often) as I explored craft beer in college. These days I find this seasonal variation bold enough while remaining approachable. A hop bomb it is not at only 53 IBUs.

Revolution Brewing's Coup D'Etat I can't go to Revolution Brewing without having at least one of these. I find this beer entirely refreshing—it always hits the spot.

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