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CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago and beer have been a winning combo since 1833, when the first brewery opened. Dozens of brands have come and gone, but the city is seeing a brewing comeback.
Gary Cuneen’s favorite beer is an India Pale Ale made at the Haymarket Pub & Brewery in the West Loop.
“I’m getting older in life here, and it’s sort of like calories in calories out,” he tells CBS 2’s Kate Sullivan. “If I’m going to drink a beer, it’s going to be a quality beer.”
Haymarket has only been around for seven months, but its brew master, Pete Crowley, has been working the Chicago microbrew scene for close to 20 years.
“We had a perfect storm on the craft brewing industry in Chicago. Unlike almost every other industry, the down economy really helped the craft brewing scene,” he says.
The science and yes the art of craft-brewing is intense. Every batch is carefully tested, the results scrutinized, so that new flavors can be developed.
“I think for sure that peoples’ palettes are expanding,” Crowley says.
And that means people are thirsty for something more complex and hand-crafted. That’s exactly why Crowley got into the increasingly crowded microbrew business. He says the competition is friendly.
“It’s a common misnomer that we’re actually competing against each other,” he says. “If Goose Island or Rock Bottom needs hops or needs grain or needs yeast, we trade it.”
There are now 13 microbreweries and brewpubs in Chicago. All of them started in the last 20 years.
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Check out picks from previous weeks:
- Jazzin’ At The Shedd
- Feed My Starving Children
- Hero’s Submarine Sandwich Shop
- Davenport’s Piano Bar
- Mystic Blue