With pubs nationwide celebrating Belgian Independence Day this week, we decided to take our talents to the Bucktown neighborhood for ‘Food & Beer Tuesdays ‘at Map Room. Our last visit here was over the winter for the Surly Darkness tapping, its one of the few beer centric places you can visit where the building can be at its capacity but you don’t need to yell to hear the person next to you. Named after a room featured in the 80’s adventure flick Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark, its a destination for craft beer lovers that even sells coffee & pastries weekday mornings starting at 630a. The kind of place you may see 3 Floyds founder Nick Floyd sipping vodka or the team behind Pipeworks Brewing discussing strategy about their new venture. The Map Room could be described as your favourite beer drinker’s favourite place to drink. Walls lined with 100s of books, magazines,travel guides and a rotating menu of food and beer pairings from around the world make the Map Room a special place. On this night America’s favourite Belgian Brewery- Ommegang and Tacos from the popular Wicker Park restaurant Big Star were the highlight of the menu, here’s a few pairing samples.
Hennepin: a sweet and spicy saison ale, paired with Taco De Pescado (beer battered tilapia, chipotle mayo, & cilantro)
Three Philosophers: Belgian Quadrupel blended with cherry lambic paired w/ Tacos Al Pastor(marinated pork shoulder, grilled pineapple, grilled, onion)
Belgian Pale Ale: brewed with 5 diff malts & 3 different hops paired w/ Ensalda De Big Star (hearts of Romaine, radish, black bean, cucumber, red onion, avocado, toasted pumpkin seeds, mint, queso fresco, chile-ranch dressing)
The Three Philosophers and a beer on cask from Williams Brothers -Midnight Sun Porter were best in show for me. Midnight Sun was surprisingly refreshing for a porter, a nice mild hop flavor with a dark fruit finish. With over 200 unique beers and 26 different taps Map Room is one of the reasons why this is a great beer town. Owner Laura Blasingame has created a vibe here over 19 years that is both inviting to visitors and well respected among the city’s beer aficionados, a place that celebrates different cultures..a place that is quintessentially Chicago.