Welcome to Imbibe Magazine's between-issues look at liquid culture with drink recipes, news and more. From coffee to cocktails, Imbibe celebrates your world in a glass.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Hop Leaf

While visiting family in Chicago last weekend, I was introduced by my beer-fanatic uncle to Hop Leaf, a Belgian-influenced bar and restaurant with a mind-boggling array of suds and a respectable kitchen. In addition to the wide assortment of Belgians, Hop Leaf features Belgian-style domestics from a bevy of microbrews, like regionals Two Brothers and Goose Island. But if intense, high-alcohol beers aren’t your thing, there are pages of other choices in the encyclopedic menu. The beer list has extensive tasting notes, too, which makes trying something adventurous less of a gamble. Zaydeh (that’s Yiddish for grandpa) tried the Clausthaler, a non-alcoholic German, and I had a peach lambic. The dinner menu is also vaguely Belgian-inspired and includes mussels and frites, one of my absolute favorite things to eat with beer. The back dining room, where we ate, is good for family dinners (no kids allowed, though), while the front area has more of a pub-like atmosphere, fun for nights out with friends. (5148 N. Clark St., 773-334-9851) —Shoshanna Cohen


Anonymous said...

Hopleaf is great! As you can see on their web site, they have about 40 different beers on tap, including Belgians, American craft brews, and miscellaneous imports. They also have well over 100 more in bottles. The uninitiated should ask the knowledgeable bartenders for advice. Those unfortunates who are used to drinking mass produced American lagers might want to build up gradually, starting with a pale ale and progressing from there. Or, just dive right in and order a super flavorful dark Belgian ale, like Maredsous Dubbel 8, St. Bernardus Abt 12, or, for those who seek truly x-treme experiences, Duchesse du Bourgogne.

And, when drinking high quality malted beverages in Chicago, be sure to also visit Map Room, in the Bucktown neighborhood at 1949 N. Hoyne (www.maproom.com). They don't have a kitchen, but they do have a similar beer selection and helpful staff, in a relaxed, neighborhood bar atmosphere.

Sign me "BFU" (Beer Fanatic Uncle).

Geoff said...

I second the Map Room. Great beer selection. I just had an incredibe cask conditioned ale there that blew everyone I was with away.

jem said...

If you like mussels and frites (mmmm...mushy fries soaked in garlic sauce), check out North 45 in NW Portland. Great selection.

Karen said...

Jem, try the frites at Apotheke in Portland too. They're double-fried, the second time in duck fat--criminally good.