The Inaugural Old Style Chicago Pizza Summit Recap: We Partied Hard

Sunday evening, Old Style hosted Chicago’s first ever Pizza Summit. It’s amazing that a town with so much pride in their favorite food had yet to organize such an event, but we’re so glad someone did.

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The summit was held at the Chop Shop & 1st Ward in Wicker Park and broken into 2 different sessions, 2-5 PM & 6-9. Hungry and eager to get inside was line down North Ave of likeminded, pizza loving individuals. They were lucky to get in on a Pizza Party that sold out in 3 minutes thanks to the efforts Old Style and Do312. The patient crowd was greeted at the door by a man who definitely looked to be in charge, named T.J., and the awesome Chop Shop staff.

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Partiers were led toward their destiny for the evening, which would have been appropriate to the sounds of Willy Wonka singing “Pure Imagination“.

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Once checked in, you were handed 5 tickets that gave you plenty of Old Style to wash down the feast that was about to ensue…and a pretty cool personal pizza slice plate.

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Then it began. Around the room, like a wagon circle of deliciousness, were the fine folks from…

 Home Run Inn

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And yes, we have a secret #HomeRunInnHandshake that only the cool kids know.

Twitter / Facebook / Website


Taco in a Bag

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They brought the super innovative “Pizza in a Bag” with them.

Twitter / Facebook / Website


Flo & Santos

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With a polish sausage pizza that is to die for.

Twitter / Facebook / Website


Gino’s East

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If you go anytime soon, try the veggie pizza with mashed potatoes in it. Trust me.

Twitter / Facebook / Website



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They kept it simple, and simple was perfect.

Twitter / Facebook


Lou Malnati’s

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The famous family recipe, that we all recall made Jon Stewart chill for a minute.

Twitter / Facebook / Website



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I tried Mac & Cheese pizza for the first time, and it made me into a believer.

Twitter / Facebook / Website


Pie-Eyed Pizzeria

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In case you can’t read that description, it says BBQ pizza with five-spiced braised pork belly and Wisconsin cheese curds. Yeah.

Twitter / Facebook / Website


Connie’s Pizza

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I greatly appreciated these cool people for letting me reminisce about growing up on Connie’s going to ballgames in Chicago. I imagine many of you can relate…

Twitter / Facebook / Website


Boiler Room

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You may recall that Boiler Room ranked #1 on my Pizza Challenge list a year ago…

Twitter / Facebook / Website


The guys from Boiler Room actually served as the opener for the evening’s keynote speaker, flipping dough way more impressively than i ever could…

Immediately after that last dough throw into the crowd, the Alan Parson’s Project (better known locally as the Chicago Bulls intro music) was cranked to the max in the room!

Yes, capping off the week where he formed the PARTY Party for this year’s election season, Andrew W.K. spoke to pizza loving, party-till-you-puke crowd about what it means to live positively and the kind of joy pizza brings to people everywhere. To sum it up as eloquently as possible, IT WAS COOL AS HELL…I’d rank it ahead of Rocky’s speech after defeating Ivan Drago.

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To perfectly wrap up his State of the Pizza Union address, Andrew W.K. led supporters in chant worthy for such an event.


He then met with fans and pizza-lovers alike. Even Snapchat Face-Swapped with my partner in crime for the night, Kristin.

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Whose hair looks better? Serious question.

The fun didn’t stop there. Upstairs, the U.S. Pizza Museum debuted its epic collection.

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The museum will be at The Chop Shop on April 4th for you to check out, and then you’ll have to find out where they POP UP NEXT by following their Facebook Page. They had some really cool swag that’s very much worth snagging for yourself or that special pizza fan you know and love.

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Also upstairs was a sweet little getaway section where bartender extraordinaire Kristen mixed us some Old Fashions to go perfectly with our Old Styles. Serving as a connector between the bar and the rest of the summit was an awesome rooftop patio that was made better by great weather.

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Providing excellent tunes, sound and projector GIFs on the wall all evening were the tandem of Kristin and Eric.

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Overall, it was a really fun time filled with super nice people, pizza and partying. Looking forward to the next one already. Well done, Old Style Chicago.

Here are some more scenes from the 2016 Pizza Summit.

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Follow along for more adventures on Facebook or Twitter. Be sure to subscribe to The Piffcast on iTunes as well. 

Brewers Association Sends Peyton Manning A Craft Beer Package

No, not fans of the Milwaukee Brewers who may be partial to Miller-Coors.

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Following his Super Bowl 50 win, and likely his ride into the sunset of an incredible career, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning told CBS’s Tracy Wolfson, “I’m going to drink a lot of Budweiser tonight…I promise you that.”

It felt like one more ad for Budweiser, although not nearly as good as the one featuring Helen Mirren. Some people were angered by the gesture, calling Manning a sellout. I had no problem with it, considering someone does the same thing every year or yells that they are “going to Disney World!” It turns out that Manning wasn’t paid by Budweiser to say anything, according to the head of their marketing-communications department.

Maybe Manning just really likes Budweiser. I don’t mind it myself, but I would prefer drinking craft beer…and so do the Brewers Association.

Posted by (the official medium of the Brewers Association), the “not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers” has sent Manning a care package of some of their favorite beers.

“Wouldn’t he rather have a beer more fitting of his superstardom; maybe a beer that more closely represents the Bronco’s status as an underdog? That’s what we believe small and independent craft brewers represent.” 

Here are the beers included in Peyton’s package (get your mind out of the gutter):

  • Black Bavarian (German-style Schwarzbier) | Sprecher Brewing Co. | Glendale, WI
  • Apricot Blonde (Blonde Ale) | Dry Dock Brewing Co. | Aurora, CO
  • Craft Lager (American Lager) | Upslope Brewing Co. | Boulder, CO
  • Colorado Kolsch (German-style Kolsch) | Steamworks Brewing Co. | Durango, CO
  • Racer 5 IPA (India Pale Ale) | Bear Republic Brewing Co. | Healdsburg, CA
  • Samuel Adams Boston Lager (Vienna-style Lager) | Boston Beer Co. | Boston, MA
  • Mojo IPA (India Pale Ale) | Boulder Beer Co. | Boulder, CO
  • Sawtooth Ale Nitro (Extra Special Bitter) | Left Hand Brewing Co. | Longmont, CO
  • Session Cream Summer Ale (Cream Ale) | Full Sail Brewing Co. | Hood River, OR
  • Graham Cracker Porter (American Porter) | Denver Beer Co. | Denver, CO

What other craft brews would you recommend to Peyton Manning? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter.

Super Bowl 50: Denver vs. Carolina – Everything But Football

By now, nearly storyline and angle for the Broncos and Panthers have been hashed out going into the Super Bowl. The Prop Bets are available to keep the non-football fan interested, which include wagers on things like how long Lady Gaga will sing the anthem, which song Coldplay will play first, and what color the Gatorade is that will be dumped on the winning coach. Even the commercials are getting leaked early (although I think that takes some of the fun out of it).

The Denver Post and The Charlotte Observer are also in on the game with their own friendly bets. If the Broncos win, the Post will receive “No. 1 IPA beer in the country” Hop, Drop and Roll (brewed in Charlotte) as well as some World Famous barbecue. If the Panthers win, the Observer will receive a broad selection of Colorado craft beer and bison steaks.

A tradition that we began here a year ago was to go beyond the teams playing the game, and compare the regions they’re from in EVERYTHING BUT FOOTBALL. Last year, New England had the edge over Seattle in our game here and eventually won the Big Game itself.

So for the fans (and newspapers) of each team, lets see how they stack up.


From Denver

John Denver, Ginger Baker (drummer), Earth Wind & Fire, Flobots, The Fray, India.Arie, The Lumineers, Glenn Miller (Jazz), Neutral Milk Hotel, OneRepublic, Pretty Lights, Big Gigantic, Judy Collins, The String Cheese Incident, and Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats.

From Carolina

James Taylor, Tori Amos, George Clinton, K-Ci & JoJo, Anthony Hamilton, John Coltrane, Ben Folds, Petey Pablo, Fred Durst, The Avett Brothers and Ryan Adams.

The Edge – Carolina

This may be the toughest call, considering how subjective music is for everyone. However I’m taking quality over quantity here. Fred Durst and the EDM of Denver cancel each other out for things I’m good without. There are more pop acts in Denver, if The Fray and OneRepublic are your thing. Both regions bring the Funk with George Clinton and Earth Wind and Fire. But I’ll take the Carolina singer songwriters (Taylor, Adams and Folds) over John Denver *skypoint*.

Bonus Points too for my favorite school slow dance song ever, “All My Life” by K-Ci & JoJo.



Set in Colorado

South Park, Community, Diagnosis: Murder, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, Nikita, Stargate SG-1, The Real World: Denver, The Man in the High Castle, Dynasty and Mork & Mindy. 

Set in Carolina

East Bound and Down, Dawson’s Creek, The Famous Jett Jackson, One Tree Hill, The Andy Griffith Show.  

The Edge: Denver

There isn’t too much programming set in either region. Community and East Bound and Down duke it out pretty well for comedies. I do love Andy Griffith and that whistling will be stuck in my head for the rest of the month, but 19 seasons of South Park is too many to pass on. Sorry, One Tree Hill fans. 



Set in Colorado

The A-Team, About Schmidt, Aliens vs. Predators: Requieum, Beerfest, The Big Short, Blades of Glory, City Slickers, Cliffhanger, Interstellar, Misery, Phantoms, The Prestige, The Shining, Stargate, WarGames, and Dumb and Dumber


Set in Carolina

Cape Fear, Carrie, Cold Mountain, The Descent, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Kiss The Girls, Maximum Overdrive, Pitch Perfect, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Tin Cup, A Walk To Remember, and Bull Durham.

The Edge: Denver

Carolina makes a case with solid Kevin Costner sports movies. But Denver has two amazing Christopher Nolan films (Interstellar and The Prestige) the better Stephen King horror flick between The Shining and Carrie…and Dumb and Dumber. 


From Denver

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From Carolina

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The Edge: Carolina

It was a tough call, but I drooled the most researching all that southern comfort awesomeness. 


In Denver

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In Carolina

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The Edge: Carolina

Both seem perfect if you love the outdoors. I think if you love skiing/snowboarding and weed, you’ll probably lean toward Denver. The idea of mountains, beaches, and some college sports staples have me wanting to visit Carolina first. Red Rocks is a hard venue to pass up though.

Craft Beer

In Denver (327 Craft Brewers)

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In Carolina (151 Craft Brewers)

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The Edge: Denver

This one is depends on your tastebuds, but I’ve always been partial to Colorado beer. Carolina seems to be on its way though.

Sports (other than football)

In Denver

  • Colorado Avalanche
  • Colorado Rockies
  • Denver Nuggets
  • Colorado Buffaloes 
  • Colorado State Rams

In Carolina

  • Carolina Hurricanes
  • Charlotte Hornets
  • Duke Blue Devils
  • North Carolina Tar Heels
  • North Carolina State Wolfpack

The Edge: Carolina

The two Stanley Cups won by the Colorado Avalanche are admirable, but 12 Men’s Basketball National Championships won by Duke (5), North Carolina (5), and North Carolina State (2) are a bit more impressive…

…plus the fact that state produced the greatest player in NBA history. 

Michael Carolina


Final Score


Denver –   3

Carolina – 4


Who has the edge, in your opinion?

Let me know what you think on Facebook or Twitter

Big thank you to Dago Cordova, Mike Kvackay, Jennifer Witkowski and Donald Moenning for help with firsthand research. 

December in Chicago: Things To Do To Make Winter Suck Less

Consider this a cognitive therapy session to help you feel better about the season that several of your friends and family have moved away from. If you still live here after the past two winters, congratulations…you’re a midwesterner. You grew up with 4 seasons, strapped on your snow pants, found creative ways to de-ice your windshield because you forgot your scraper, and you haven’t been stomped by AT-ATs on State Street…yet.

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I personally like snow and I know I’m not alone. I also don’t mind a trip somewhere warm in order to endure it with a tan, but I take pride in where I’m from and love that I can appreciate the other 3 seasons because of Winters here. You also get an awesome and natural excuse to stay in and binge watch Netflix shows with a glass of some-something.

So before posting your super cliche “ugh, Chicago Winter. Get me out of here” Facebook status, turn up 93.9 on your radio for 24/7 holiday tunes and consider some proactive options that you can’t get most places.

Lincoln Park Zoo Lights

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Lions, Tigers, and beers…oh my!

You read that right. Along with a whole calendar of events, you can peruse the zoo with beers (and maybe Bears) or other adult beverages as the whole place gets lit up like you’ve never seen before. It’s free to enter, as always, and there’s a number of activities to partake in including rides, crafts, and seeing Santa. There are a few dates to mark on the calendar as well.

12/2 BrewLights

12/10 Adults Night Out

12/14, 12/21, 12/28 Family Nights

1/3 Last Day


Comedy Shows

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Want to know a great way to stay warm in Chicago? Laughing. Where better to do that than in a tiny cramped venue, brushing shoulders with the table next to you, sipping on a rum and something, and then forgetting it all with belly laugh after belly laugh.

Dave Chappelle is in the middle of a 6 day residency at Thalia Hall, Dec. 1 – 6, but good luck getting tickets for that. All 12 shows were sold out, but MAYBE a ticket or 2 will show up on StubHub. Meanwhile, you and your rowdy friends can check out any of the following clubs for standup shows:

Chicago Improv (in Schaumburg)

Laugh Factory (on Broadway)

Zanies (Chicago, St. Charles and Rosemont)

Beat Kitchen (on Belmont)

Or you can get literally spontaneous comedy at any of the improv institutions that helped put Chicago on the map in show business like Second City, iO or Comedy Sportz.

Last, but not least, John Oliver is performing at the Chicago Theater December 30th and 31st. Maybe don’t miss that.


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I’m sure you’ve heard of it but in case you’ve never been, head over to Daley Plaza at Clark and Washington to see for yourself. The tradition began in Nuremberg, Germany in 1545 and was brought to Chicago in 1996. It’s considered the largest open-air Christmas festival in the city, but my favorite part is the mug of hot wine that I can mosey about with.

It’s open till Dec. 24th, so get over as soon as you can.


Marshall Fields

(Nobody wants to call it Macy’s this time of year)

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This is Christmas nostalgia at it’s finest for most of us who grew up around Chicago. Winter break from school, Mom and Dad have some last minute shopping and your family from New York is in town…where do you head to? State Street, that great street, to see the windows at Marshall Fields.

Every year there’s a different story being told around the building, and people of all ages can’t wait to see what’s next. Inside, on the 7th floor is another sight to behold. The Walnut Room has been a Chicago tradition since 1907.

Walnut Room


Star Wars (Chicago Style)

If the pre-sale numbers and the marketing haven’t already told you, people are excited for Star Wars. So how can you best celebrate the release of Episode 7?

The Whistler in Logan Square will be transforming their bar into the Mos Eisley Cantina on December 16th. There will be local musicians on hand as the house band from A New Hope and the cocktail menu will be overhauled with galactic themed beverages.

Mos Eisley

Then there’s Adler After Dark the next evening, December 17th, as the Adler Planetarium will be hosting a Force Awakens party unlike any.

  • Star Wars Trivia
  • A screening of Space Balls 
  • Star Wars-inspired beer from Empirical Brewing
  • Lightsaber Combat Workshop!
  • human-robot interactives from the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

The Force is strong, yes?


Sauced Night Market

Sauced Night Emporium

It’s a roving night market, self-described as being “dedicated to emerging culinarians, artists and that guy from high school who’s a DJ now – an evening of food, art and debauchery set to the tune of “Hypnotize”. Intrigued? Sure you are.

December 15th, SAUCED will be at Emporium Arcade Bar in Logan Square for your not-yet-last-minute holiday shopping, great food from Chicago vendors, and craft beer. It sounds way too interesting to pass up.


One Of A Kind Show

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Love art or just any alternative to retail? This is for you. From December 3rd – 6th, 600 artists from across North America will be at the Merchandise Mart on Orleans with every kind of handmade creation you can think of.

Accessories, ceramics, sculptures, furniture, photography, paintings, glass, jewelry, fashion, etc. And here’s the show schedule:

Thursday, December 3    11am-8pm
Friday, December 4         11am-8pm
Saturday, December 5     10am-7pm
Sunday, December 6       10am-5pm

All the One Of A Kind Show info is here.



Nighttime Tee Line Golfer

(Naperville & Wood Dale)


I find it funny that there are still people around Chicago who haven’t caught on to Topgolf. It’s the grownup version of Chuck E. Cheese, Enchanted Castle, Leaps & Bounds, or whatever kids amusement place you used to frequent when you were younger.

It’s golf meets bowling, where each individual ball you hit has a chip inside and you aim for targets to score points against your friends. Full bar, great food, multiple monitors to watch sports, parties every night…and you it’s open year round with plenty of heat.

I actually went with my dad on the coldest of year and it was an absolute blast. Here’s proof.


If you have anymore recommendations to make December better, please pass them along on Facebook or Twitter

Chicago Brewery Challenge: The Beer List

In an effort to promote the amazing brews of the Chicagoland area, I’ve begun devising a plan to visit and try more than 77 breweries in 18 hours.

Homer Beer

A gentleman accomplished the feat in Portland, and the ultra-competitive midwesterner in me wants to top it.

(Reminder: The plan is try each brew with a one-ounce steins and just a few pints at milestone stops in order to drink responsibly.)

Thankfully, some fellow enthusiasts are game and so are some of my favorite breweries.



Now we’re identifying all potential breweries we can possibly visit before planning a route. Going off the Hop Review database, there are 67 breweries in Chicago and 87 in the areas around the season. While there are Illinois breweries listed as far north as Zion, I think Tighthead Brewing in Mundelein is where I’m willing to begin. There are a number of south suburb breweries as well but for time’s sake, going as far as the Northwest Indiana (notably 3 Floyds), sounds worth the finish. 

The next steps will include plotting a route with 80 or so brewers chosen, and then reaching out to each one to see what’s good. For now, here is a preliminary list of where the #ChiBrewChallenge adventure could go! 

In The City…

Alarmist Brewing 4055 W. Peterson Ave. – North Park 60646

Ale Syndicate 2601 W. Diversey Ave. – Logan Square 60647

Aleman (In Progress) 3304 N. Knox Ave. – Belmont Cragin 60641

All Rise Brewing Co 235 N. Ashland Ave. – West Loop 60607

Andersonville Brewing 5402 N. Clark St. – Andersonville 60640

Aquanaut Brewing 5435 N. Wolcott Ave. – Bowmanville 60640

Arcade Brewery 2601 W. Diversey Ave. – Logan Square 60647

Argus Brewery 11314 S. Front Ave. – Roseland 60628

Around the Bend Beer Co. 2601 W. Diversey Ave. – Logan Square 60647

Atlas Beer Company 2747 N. Lincoln Ave. – Lincoln Park 60614

Baderbräu (In Progress, Beer Available) 2515 S. Wabash – Bronzeville 60611

Band of Bohemia (In Progress) 4710 N. Ravenswood – Ravenswood 60640

Berghoff Brewery 17 W. Adams St. – Loop 60603

Begyle Brewing Company 1800 W. Cuyler St. – Northcenter 60613

Birreria Chicago 43 East Ohio St. – River North 60611

Bixi Brewery (In Progress) 2515 N. Milwaukee Ave. – Logan Square 60647

Bold Dog Brewing (In Planning) 1935 E Irving Park Rd. – Northcenter 60613

Breakroom Brewery 2925 W. Montrose Ave. – Irving Park 60618

Bucket List Brewing (In Planning) Chicago, IL 60641

Chicago Beer Company (Beer Available) 1140 W. Randolph St. – West Loop 60607

Corridor Brewery & Provisions 3446 N. Southport Ave – Lakeview 60657

Crooked Fork Brewing (In Planning) 4419 W. Montrose Ave – Mayfair 60641

Cruz Blanca (In Progress) 900 W. Randolph St. – West Loop 60607

Diversey Brewing Company (In Planning) – Logan Square 60647

DryHop Brewers 3155 N. Broadway Ave. – Lakeview 60657

Empirical Brewing 1801 W. Foster Ave. – Ravenswood 60640

Eris Brewery & Ciderhouse (In Planning) 4240 W. Irving Park Rd. – Old Irving 60641

Finch’s Beer Company 4565 N Elston Ave. – Avondale 60630

Forbidden Root 1746 W. Chicago Ave. – West Town 60622 

Gino’s East Brewing Company 500 N. LaSalle St. – River North 60654

Goose Island Beer Company 1800 W. Fulton St. – Near West Side 60612

Goose Island – Clybourn 1800 N. Clybourn St. – Lincoln Park 60614

Great Central Brewing (In Planning) 1745 W. Walnut St. – Near West Side 60612

Greenstar Brewing Co 3800 N. Clark St. – Lakeview 60613

Half Acre Beer Company Tap Room 4257 N. Lincoln Ave. – Northcenter 60618

Half Acre Beer Company (In Progress) 2050 W. Balmoral Ave. – Bowmanville 60640

Haymarket Pub & Brewery 737 W. Randolph St. – West Loop 60661

Hopewell Brewing (In Progress) 2760 N. Milwaukee Ave. – Logan Square 60647

Hopothesis Beer Company 730 W. Randolph St. – West Loop 60661

Horse Thief Hollow 10426 S. Western Ave. – Beverly 60643

Illuminated Brew Works 415 N. Sangamon Ave. – West Loop 60642

Lagunitas Brewing Company 1843 S. Washtenaw Ave. – Douglas Park 60608

Lake Effect Brewing Company 4727 W. Montrose Ave. – Irving Park 60641

Like Minds Brewing 1800 W. Walnut St. – Near West Side 60612

Lo Rez Brewing (In Planning) Chicago, IL

Mad Mouse Brewery 724 Maxwell St. – University Village/Little Italy 60607

Maplewood Brewery & Distillery 2717 N. Maplewood Ave. – Logan Square 60647

Marz Community Brewing 3315 S. Halsted St. – Bridgeport 60608

Metropolitan Brewing 5121 N Ravenswood Ave. – Ravenswood 60640

Mikerphone Brewing (Beer Available) 3223 S. Kolin Ave. – South Lawndale 60623

Moody Tongue 2136 S. Peoria St. – Pilsen 60608

Motor Row Brewing 2337 S. Michigan Ave. – South Loop 60616

Off Color Brewing 3925 W. Dickens Ave. – Hermosa 60639

Piece Brewery & Pizzeria 1927 W. North Ave. – Wicker Park 60622

Pipeworks Brewing Company 1675 N. Western Ave. – Bucktown 60647

Revolution Brewing 3340 N. Kedzie Ave. – Avondale 60618

Revolution Brewing Brewpub 2323 N. Milwaukee Ave. – Logan Square 60647

Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery 1 W. Grand Ave. – River North 60610

SlapShot Brewing 3223 S. Kolin Ave. – South Lawndale 60623

South Loop Brewing Company (Beer Available) Chicago, IL

Spiteful Brewing 1815 W. Berteau Ave. – Northcenter 60613

Transient Artisan Ales (In Planning, Gypsy Brewer) Chicago, IL

Une Année Brewery 1638 W. Hubbard St. – West Town 60622

Veteran Beer Company (In Planning) Chicago, IL

Vice District Brewing 1454 S. Michigan Ave. – South Loop 60605

Whiner Brewery (In Progress) 1400 W. 46th St. – Back of the Yards 60609


Around Chicago/Suburbs

3 Floyds Brewing Company 9750 Indiana Pkwy., Munster, IN 46321

5 Rabbit Cervecería 6399 W. 74th St., Bedford Park, IL 60638

18th Street Brewery 5725 Miller Ave., Gary, IN 46403

51st Ward Brewing (Contracting – Beer Available) Westmont, IL

350 Brewing Company 7144 W. 183rd St., Tinley Park, IL 60477

Arrowhead Ales Brewing Company (In Planning, Beer Available) New Lenox, IL

Ancient Owl Brewing (In Planning) Lombard, IL

Banging Gavel Brews (Beer Available) Palos Heights, IL

Big Hurt Brewing 6801 W. Cermak Rd., Berwyn, IL 60402

Black Belt Brewery (In Planning) Lake Zurich, IL

Blue Island Brewing Company 13357 Old Western Ave., Blue Island, IL 60406

Blue Nose Brewery 6119 East Ave., Hodgkins, IL 60525

Brickstone Brewery 557 William R. Latham Senior Dr., Bourbonnais, IL 60914

BuckleDown Brewing 8699 W 47th St., Lyons, IL 60534

Bulldog Brewing Company 1409 119th St., Whiting, IN 46394

Byway Brewing Company (In Planning) 2825 Carlson Dr., Hammond, IN 46323

Cademon Brewing Company 217 W. Main St., Genoa, IL 60135

Cahoots Brewing (In Planning) Downtown/Lake St. – Oak Park, IL

Chain O’Lakes Brewing Company 3425 Pearl St., McHenry, IL 60050

Church Street Brewing 1480 Industrial Dr. Unit C, Itasca, IL 60143

Crown Brewing 211 S. East St., Crown Point, IN 46307

Crystal Lake Brewing 150 N. Main St., Crystal Lake, IL 60014

The Devil’s Trumpet Brewing Co. 8250 Utah St., Merrillville, IN 46410

Dry City Brew Works 120B N. Main St., Wheaton, IL 60187

Emmett’s Brewing Company 110 N. Brockway St., Palatine, IL 60067

Evil Horse Brewing Company (In Progress) 1336 Main St., Crete, IL 60417

Exit Strategy Brewing Co. 7700 W Madison, Forest Park, IL 60130

Figure Eight Brewing 150 S. Washington St., Valparaiso, IN 46383

Flapjack Brewery (In Planning) Berwyn, IL

Flesk Brewing 844 N. Ridge Ave., Lombard, IL 60148

Flossmoor Station Brewing Company 1035 Sterling Ave., Flossmoor, IL 60422

Four Fathers Brewing 1555 W. Lincolnway Suite 105, Valparaiso, IN 46385

Gordon Biersch 639 E. Boughton Rd. #100, Bolingbrook, IL 60440

Granite City Brewery – Naperville 1828 Abriter Ct., Naperville, IL 60563

Granite City Brewery – Orland Park 14035 S. La Grange Rd., Orland Park, IL 60462

Granite City Brewery – Schaumburg 801 Plaza Dr., Schaumburg, IL 60173

Hailstorm Brewing Company 8060 186th St., Tinley Park, IL 60487

Hofbräuhuas Chicago 5500 Park Pl., Rosemont, IL 60018

Hopvine Brewing Company 4030 Fox Valley Center Dr., Aurora, IL 60504

Hunter’s Brewing 1535 S. Calumet Rd., Chesterton, IN 46304

Imperial Oak Brewing 501 Willow Blvd., Willow Springs, IL 60480

Ironwood Brewing Co. 6 Roosevelt Rd, Valparaiso, IN 46383

Lake Bluff Brewing Company  16 E. Scranton Ave., Lake Bluff, IL 60044

Light the Lamp Brewery 10 N. Lake St., Grayslake, IL 60030

The Lucky Monk 105 Hollywood Blvd., South Barrington, IL 60010

Lunar Brewing Company 54 E. St. Charles Rd. #11, Villa Park, IL 60181

Metal Monkey Brewing (In Progress) 515 Anderson Dr. #900, Romeoville, IL 60446

Mickey Finn’s Brewery 412 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville, IL 60048

Middle Brow Beer Company 2701 Deborah Ave., Zion, IL 60099

Miskatonic Brewing Company 1000 N. Frontage Rd., Darien, IL 60561

Nevin’s Brewing Company 12337 S. Rte. 59 #155, Plainfield, IL 60585

New Oberpfalz Brewing 121 E. Main St., Griffith, IN 46319

Noon Whistle Brewing 800 E. Roosevelt Rd., Lombard, IL 60148

Oak Park Brewing Company (In Progress) 155 S. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park, IL 60302

One Trick Pony Brewery 17933 Chappel Ave., Lansing, IL 60438

Only Child Brewing 1350 Tri State Pkwy, Ste 124, Gurnee, IL 60031

Peckish Pig 623 Howard St., Evanston, IL 60202

Penrose Brewing Company 509 Stevens St., Geneva, IL 60134

Pokro Brewing Company 311 North Broad Street, Griffith, IN  46319

Pollyanna Brewing Company 431 Talcott Ave., Lemont, IL 60439

Rock Bottom – Lombard 94 Yorktown Shopping Center, Lombard, IL 60148

Rock Bottom – Orland Park 16156 S. La Grange Rd., Orland Park, IL 60467

Rock Bottom – Warrenville 28256 Diehl Rd., Warrenville, IL 60555

Route 2 Brews 141 Harding Dr., Lowell, IN 46356

Rude Hippo Brewing Company 5725 Miller Ave., Gary, IN 46403

Saint John Malt Brothers Brewing 9607 Wicker Ave., St. John, IN 46373

Scorched Earth Brewing Company 203 Berg St., Algonquin, IL 60102

Sketchbook Brewing  825 Chicago Ave., Evanston, IL 60202

Small Town Brewery 1000 Brown St. #212, Wauconda, IL 60084

Smylie Bros. Brewing  1615 Oak Ave., Evanston, IL 60201

Solemn Oath Brewery 1661 Quincy Ave. #179, Naperville, IL 60540

Stockholm’s Brewpub  306 W. State St., Geneva, IL 60134

Temperance Beer Company 2000 Dempster St., Evanston, IL 60202

Ten Ninety Brewing 2701 Deborah Ave., Zion, IL 60099

Three Angels Brewing 10482 Ashley Rd., Yorkville, IL 60560

Tighthead Brewing Company 161 N. Archer Ave., Mundelein, IL 60060

Transient Artisan Ales (Brewing at One Trick Pony) 17933 Chappel Ave., Lansing, IL 60438

Tribes Alehouse Brewery 11220 W. Lincoln Hwy., Mokena, IL 60448

Two Brothers Brewing 30W315 Calumet Ave. W., Warrenville, IL 60555

Two Brothers Roundhouse 205 N. Broadway, Aurora IL 60505

Urban Legend Brewing Company 1115 Zygmunt Cir., Westmont, IL 60559

Village Vitner Winery & Brewery 2380 Esplanade Dr., Algonquin, IL 60102

Werk Force 14903 S. Center St., Plainfield, IL 60544

Wild Onion Pub & Brewery 22221 N. Pepper Rd., Lake Barrington, IL 60010

Wildrose Brewing 1104 E. Main St., Griffith, IN 46319

Windmill Brewing 2121 Gettler St, Dyer, IN 46311

ZümBier 3232 E. Monroe St., Waukegan, IL 60085


There are 154 breweries total listed but if you know or recommend others, please let me know on either Facebook or Twitter


I can also be reached by email at Check back as the plan keeps coming together!

Chicago Brewery Challenge: The Beginning

Perusing one of my favorite sites this morning, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks page, a certain story grabbed my attention…

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In the words of Barney Stinson,


John Lovegrove had his first beer at 7:00 AM and his 77th at 12:55 the next morning. Here’s the timeline of every brewery he stopped at and all the fun his crew of 7 had. Lovegrove had a pint at his first brewpub and another at the 50th, then drank from his one-ounce stein at the 75 others…which is very responsible.

The #SpiritOf77Breweries Challenge was an awesome project to promote the amazing breweries of Portland. I’d love to do the same for the Chicago area. By The Hop Review’s count, there are at least 66 in the city, 85 around it. Let’s see if we can hit more breweries in 18 hours than Lovegrove did.

The Chicago Pizza and Food Truck Challenges were fun (and still ongoing). Those projects took months to execute, but this will take just a day…and a lot of time to plan leading up. You have to start somewhere though and that’s what this is…the beginning.

The date and route are still TBD. Any Chicago beer enthusiasts and breweries interested in helping out are welcome! Let me know on Facebook and Twitter, or email me at with serious inquiries.

Updates on the of the Chicago Brewery Challenge plan will be posted here and on social media with the hashtag


Cheers gif

Feel free to share this with anyone who wishes to partake. 


Planning Ahead: National Food Days in September

September is my favorite month.

It’s the start of football season, sweater weather, and the midwest is absolutely gorgeous as the leaves start to change. What we can also look forward to is another full month of National Food Days.

We did the same in July and August and today happens to be #NationalBurgerDay. So plan accordingly.

Au Cheval

(Maybe stop by Au Cheval in Chicago, now that you’ve seen this photo.)

Usually people are caught off guard or feel like they may have   missed out because they didn’t know about the social media driven holidays. Here’s your chance to get ahead of the curve and get the calendar ready for some awesome food and drink experiences.

Without further ado… 

September 1st

National Gyros Day

Gyros Day

Whether you pronounce it “yee-roh” or go full on Bridgeport and say “Jye-roh”, I take my gyros very seriously. It’s one of my favorite combos of rotisserie meat and sauce and goes perfectly on pita.

Recommendation: You could take a fun trip to Greektown, but here’s a nice list of other Chicago favorites. If you can get it homemade though…*Homer Simpson drooling noises*

September 7th

National Beer Lovers Day

Beer Flights

Why yes, yes that is Labor Day. So you really don’t have an excuse to find a nice patio or crack a few on your back porch, and enjoy your favorite brews.

Recommendation: Find a nearby brewpub/brewery (like Revolution) or bar that specializes in beer options (like The Beer Market), and order an excellent beer flight to your liking. 

September 10th

National Hot Dog Day

Chicago Dog

Before you ask, there was already a #NationalHotDogDay back in July…but who’s complaining about having to eat hot dogs again? Personally, I’m a polish sausage guy but that IS my birthday. So I’m down.

Recommendation: Go to Gene and Jude’s, trust me. And bring your own ketchup to apply in the car…because you’ll be shunned if you ask about it. 

September 12th

National Chocolate Milkshake Day

Hard to find a good milkshake for less than $5 today, amirite…?

Recommendation: Oberweis. Go inside too and get one of those big fish bowl sized glasses too with a cookie straw. 

September 23rd

National Pancake Day

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The thinner the pancake, the better…in my world. I’m Swedish, so you can’t blame me.

Recommendation: Walker Bros Original Pancake House. If you also like thin pancakes, get the 49er flapjacks. The Apple Pancake is like the “deep dish pizza” of pancakes. has the full September schedule. Have some more recommendations for those wishing to partake in these holidays? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter

Pairing Beer With TV Shows

A Friday night spent with Netflix, instead of at a bar, is becoming more and more socially acceptable…and I love it.

I love television

I also love a good beer and have been more conscientious about what I drink while watching TV. No, not by moderating my drinking or counting the calories, but by drinking a brew that fits well with what I’m viewing.

Here are some recommendations I have for beers to pair with your favorite shows, whether they are running live, in reruns, or waiting for you to binge watch on Netflix…These suggestions are based on themes, characters, settings, and the overall mood you get from watching the show.

If you have your own recommendations (You will. Everybody does.) feel free to Tweet them to @Mike_PiFF03.

The Office


“Gonna go home, get my beer on, get my Lost on. What are you doing later? You wanna hang out?” – Andy to Michael Scott

Ever since May 16th, 2013, The Office has served as a perfect pick-me-up for fans who need a Jim Halpert wink at the camera or a Michael Scott one-liner. If you think about it, The Office is almost like a great beer after work, in that sense. It helps you forget about work while ironically taking place in an office.

  • Based on location, my first thought was Yuengling. Scranton, PA is only an hour and a half from Pottsville, PA, where the Yuengling brewery is.
  • Lionshead Deluxe Pilsner from Lion Brewery is actually a very fitting choice. It’s a standard American Lager Crisp, which would make it refreshing after a long day at the office or even have at your desk (if you have one of those “cool boss” environments). And it’s only a 4.5% ABV, suitable for the binge watching occasions.


Parks and Recreation

“Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m about to endorse 10 beers into my mouth…because this has been an incredibly stressful day.” – Leslie Knope

Similar to The Office, Parks and Recreation is an excellent pick-me-up show. UnlikeThe Office, Parks is a bit more worldly than what happens at the workplace. Each character brings their own dynamic, especially when it comes to booze. From sage drinking advice from Ron Swanson to how NOT to consume alcohol, despite Tom Haverford’s best efforts….

  • The beer that consistently made “cameo” appearances throughout the series appropriately comes from IndianaUpland Brewery has a number of brews on their list that seem to pair nicely like the Barrel Chested Barleywine and the Campside Session IPA. The Easy Chair Amber Ale seems like the best pair for sitting back and enjoying multiple episodes, given its 5.3% ABV and the fact it matches Andy Dwyer’s hair color.

Burt Macklin

Big Bang Theory

“The only thing I’ve learned in the last two hours is that American men love drinking beer, pee too often, and have trouble getting erections…I’m just saying, maybe if you people cut back on the beer, you could get out of the bathroom and satisfy your women without pharmaceutical help.” – Rajesh Koothrappali

Love it or hate it, Big Bang Theory is the highest rated comedy currently running. It is also an excellent outlet for geeks who enjoy snappy comebacks that involve Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and comic book references…and Kaley Cuoco. I have come up with a pair of beers that would have certainly helped early-series Raj find the confidence to talk to women.

Raj six pack

  • Brewed specifically for Chicago’s Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2), Galaxy-Hero IPA from Revolution Brewing is described as a “raygun blast of Galaxy and Zythos hops into your mouth for a crisp, dry finish.” I can attest to this…Bazinga.
  • And speaking of Galaxy hops, the Galactic Double Pale Ale from Daisy Cutter pairs nicely and will help you get through the next time Leonard blows it with Penny.

Silicon Valley

“Did you just sip from an empty cup?…Why did you do that?” – Peter Gregory to Richard

I love Silicon Valley. It’s new, it’s original, and most importantly…it’s hilarious. And if you’ve worked for a startup and possibly in tech, you’re nodding your head A LOT…Silicon Valley is one episode away from wrapping up its 2nd season, so what drink works best for the finale?

One beer and one beer only comes to mind that would take care of you for a half hour of Mike Judge’s smart and tastefully crude humor.

  • Like “Pied Piper”, Not Your Father’s Root Beer beer from Small Town Brewery is innovative, it’s sweet, and it works fast with ABVs ranging from 10% to 19.5%. Perfect for a half hour episode and it’s up and coming, just like Pied Piper.

How doe it tast Silicon Valley

Game of Thrones

“Drinking and lust…No man can match me in these things.” – Tyrion Lannister

Game of Thrones is as complex and layered a show as you’ll find on television today. So many characters and storylines with moving pieces, you can’t help but theorize and contemplate what will happen next…

  • While it’s easy to go with any of Ommegang Brewery’s Game of Thrones themed brews (Iron Throne Blonde Ale, Fire and Blood Amber Ale, Three Eyed Raven Saison), which are all very good and fitting…I recommend another Ommegang brew.
  • The Three Philosophers Quadruple Ale has all the layers and flavors that fit Game of Thrones perfectly

The Walking Dead

“Your first drink ain’t gonna be no damn schnapps.” – Daryl to Beth

There really isn’t much time for having a drink during the zombie apocalypse. If we recall, booze can get people killed (Looking at you, Bob!). One thing I DON’T recommend doing is eating dinner while watching The Walking Dead. But while Rick Grimes and his people can’t enjoy a cold one, you certainly can.

  • A personal favorite of mine and extremely appropriate to the Walking Dead theme would be Zombie Dust from Three Floyds. Described on the brewery’s website as a “gushing undead Pale Ale that will be one’s only respite after the zombie apocalypse. Created with our marvelous friends in the comic industry.” An ABV of 6.2% also makes having a six pack during a good binge watch leading up to season 6 more than alright.

True Detective

“…sorry, I drift… sometimes when I’ve had a few, that’s why I like to drink alone, one of the reasons anyway.” – Rust Cohle

You’re not drinking alone, Rust. At least not while we’re watching…The incredible anthology series is so close to premiering its highly anticipated second season, unfortunately without either Matthew McConaughey or Woody Harrelson.

Marty Middle Finger

The new cast includes Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams, and Taylor Kitsch. From the promos we’ve seen the last couple months, Farrell seems like the “best” drinking buddy of the bunch, but we’ll find out more later.

  • Raise your hand if you recently ordered a Lone Star because that’s what Rust Cohle would do? I wouldn’t blame you if you killed a six-pack while binge watching the first season preparing for the second.
  • With the show’s setting moving to southern California, I recommend going with a personal favorite of mine from the region. Sculpin from Ballast Point has one of the best finishes I’ve had drinking an IPA. “…hints of apricot, peach, mango and lemon flavors, but still packs a bit of a sting, just like a Sculpin fish.” Sounds like any True Detective character.

Orange is the New Black

Orange is the New Black Beer pairing

I’m going to be honest, this one is a real challenge. The ladies are in prison and not really drinking much throughout the series…because they’re in prison.

However, you’re likely going to have a glass filled while binge watching Season 3, which premiers Friday, June 12th on Netflix. Yep, I already know what you’re doing with your Friday night.

  • Wine might be the more popular drinking companion for many of you while watching OITNB, so perhaps a great Barleywine will do. Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot Barleywine is a bittersweet malt but packed with flavor to carry you through a good 3 episodes of the show.
  • If Barleywine isn’t your jam, I recommend a theme worthy sour called “Troublesome” from Off Color Brewing in Chicago. It has a nice lemon finish that’s perfect for those of you who want to bring your laptop outside to watch OITNB on the patio in summer time.

These are just a few favorite shows of mine and probably yours. If you have some more TV shows in mind, Tweet me @Mike_PiFF03 and I’ll try to pair it with another beer for you.