What we’d order on tap: DuPont Avec Les Bons Voeux
The pour: Chicago’s Hopleaf boasts a wonderful restaurant in the back, but I’ve never found reason to travel past the bar in the front room, where the draft list is full of surpises and the bottles include “aged” beers. Just be careful with that vintage Dogfish Head Worldwide Stout.
What we’d order on tap: Cask-conditioned Bell’s Two Hearted Ale
The pour: Burning the candle at both ends, The Map Room begins each morning as a coffee shop and transitions into “a traveler’s tavern” at 11 a.m. With a monthly beer school, 26 taps and a rotation of cask-conditioned ales on hand-pump, we think that transition is pretty smooth.
What we’d order on tap: ‘07 Northcoast Old Stock Ale
The pour: Right on Inman Square, Bukowski’s Tavern is a paean to writers like Gertrude Stein, Anais Nin and ol’ Charles B. himself, with an atmosphere to match. And, of course, the pub hosts a “Pint and Pen” essay contest each March.
What we’d order on tap: Dogfish Head Raison D’Extra
The pour: Amherst may be off the beaten path, but that doesn’t mean the town doesn’t deserve a world-class beer bar. From the knowledgeable staff to the selection that includes a short list of “lawnmower beer” for the less adventurous, they’ve got it.
What we’d order on tap: Founders Curmudgeon handpull
The pour: The interior of this upscale Grand Rapids pub is gorgeous, decked out with comfy chairs in the “living room” corner. Tonight, they’ll be operating by candlelight in honor of Earth Day.
What we’d order on tap: Bear Republic The Grizz
The pour: The idea of a beer pub with retro video games struck me as an amusing novelty, but Barcade takes its beer seriously. Plus it runs fully on windpower and specializes in handcrafted small-batch liquors.
What we’d order on tap: Buster Brau cask ale
The pour: A “blind tiger” was a term for any fake attraction that customers would pay to see in order to get their complimentary beverage when blue laws ruled the land. But craft beer is the main attraction at the Blind Tiger on Bleeker Street. And while the brewers may all look familiar, the offerings tend to the obscure, making it easy to order something you’ve never had before.
What we’d order on tap: De Ranke Bitter
The pour: “Quiet please,” says the sign on the door of the East Village’s Burp Castle. “Beer Worship in progress.” If you love beer, but don’t like big, noisy places, this is your Temple of Beer. As a Burp Castle bartender says, “Yelling would make your throat sore, and then the beer wouldn’t taste its best.”
What we’d order on tap: A $10 flight of three beers
The pour: Midtown is my least favorite part of Manhattan, but the BXL Cafe has made my frequent trips there so much better. Soccer mad, without a hint of “sports bar” tackiness, it’s a little bit of Belgium in the heart of New York, right down to the mussels and frites. BXL East on 51st is also worth a visit.
What we’d order on tap: Cazeau Tournay de Noël
The pour: I can’t think about the Spuyten Duyvil (pronounced Schpite & Dye’-vul, according to my friends in Brooklyn) without remembering the amazing plate of meats I had with my beverages. But the beer list lives up to the “rare and obscure” boasting with more beers from the Netherlands than the U.S. of A. Plus, here’s its spring music playlist.
What we’d order on tap: North Coast Le Merle
The pour: I wasn’t aware of The Stag’s Head—or, frankly, the far east side of Midtown—until the pub contacted us about a party celebrating Paste’s 25 Best American Breweries. Impressively they had the vast majority on tap for the celebration, which was only mildly dampened by the blizzard that hit New York. The lodge-style bar has gotten much more adventurous in the past year, adding to the already amazing New York beer landscape.