1. Two Brothers – Domaine Du Page

14 hours of open road!Well, we made it.  We’re finally settled into our new apartment in Chicago (minus a few boxes and some stray items that we’re having difficulty finding places for).  We’ve got a great place in a great location.  Seriously, we’re about a quarter mile from the lake and about a 10 minute walk from Wrigley Field.  There are a bunch of restaurants, bars, and shops just half a block away.  So far, so good.

Our move took place at the very end of September, and being a Red Sox fan, I was pretty happy I was too busy to watch the games.  My beloved baseball team took a dive that I haven’t seen in quite some time.  It was like watching a disastrous train wreck occurring beneath a glorious sunset behind rainbow.  Such a beautiful moment scarred by such a huge disaster.  Shortly following the implosion rumors started spreading that Theo Epstein (the GM for the Red Sox) may make a move to the Cubs.  I’m starting to feel like the city of Chicago is trying to convince me that I should stick around.  If the Cubs win a World Series, will the Chicagoans burn the city to the ground?  I’m leaning towards yes.  But, man, will it be one hell of a party.

Once we were all set with our apartment, we had an opportunity to head out and investigate our surroundings.  I found myself going to an old craft beer standby:  Whole Foods.  Whole Foods has always been good to me in the craft beer department.  If you live in DC (and chances are, if you’re reading this, you do), you need to visit the Whole Foods on P Street NW.  It’s honestly a gold mine for craft beer.  Always a great selection with plenty of big bottles and rare stuff to pick from.  Anyway, the Whole Foods on N Halsted maintains a quality selection also.  Seeing lots of beer I’ve never seen before is always a welcome surprise.  Also, Three Floyds is readily available (bonus!).

For my first selection I wanted to go with something local, so I settled on Two Brothers (they’re not brewed in Chicago, but they’re close).  I had five options from them, which was fairly surprising for what I would consider a small brewery.  I had had the Cane & Ebel in the past (delicious), so I skipped over that one, because I wanted to try something new, and picked the Domaine Du Page.

The Domaine Du Page is listed as a French Style Country Ale, which honestly, could mean anything.  What comes to mind when you hear “French Style” for a beer?  Champagne?  Maybe Belgian style?  Light and airy with a dab of condescension?  And what about Country Ale?  A farmhouse maybe?  Amber waves of grain?  Perhaps a dairy farm?  Who knows?!?  Luckily, this beer isn’t condescending and it doesn’t smell like the back end of a cow.  In reality, it’s quite delicious.  On to my tasting notes!

Sight:  The Domaine Du Page pours a reddish brown color with a slightly off-white head.  It did have quite a long head retention in my warm apartment.

Smell: The aroma was sweet and malty, a bit of caramel in there.  It had a fresh scent to it, which I’m going to attribute to the hops.  It was reminiscent of being in an open field.

Taste:  A nice malty sweetness that wasn’t overpowering.  The caramel flavors sneak in at the beginning bringing in a soft and creamy mouthfeel which slowly gives way to a light hoppy flavor.  The hoppy flavor isn’t too bitter, it’s very refreshing and actually leaves you with a crisp taste in your mouth.

My overall grade: A- (I’m going with a school grading system, I think we all know that one well)

All in all, I’m quite happy with my first beer in Chicago.  Now, with Theo, if only the Cubs could win a World Series… there’s always next year.

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