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Chicago Craft Brew Cruises | Brewers of the Western Suburbs

Mystic Blue top deck
Alex Chavez

“The true history of the World is the history of great conversations in elegant rooms.” —Tyrion Lannister.

Similarly, the true history of craft beer is conversation, but in any room. Chicago Craft Beer week was a prime example, keeping me jabbing for 10 days straight. One stand-out event was the Brewers of the Western Suburbs Cruise hosted by BrewFest Partners, aboard the Mystic Blue.

It was a perfect spring day when we set sail from Navy Pier for a 3-hour long journey along beautiful Lake Michigan. With the renown Chicago skyline as our backdrop, we were catered delicious finger food, and served refreshing beer by Banging Gavel, Blue Nose, BuckleDown, Church Street, Exit Strategy, Flesk, Hopvine, Miskatonic, Nevins, Noon Whistle, Solemn Oath, and Spent Grain Society (homebrew club).

Upon talking to other attendees, it became clear that they shared my sentiment. Everyone was amazed by the venue. The Mystic Blue is the definition of elegance. Secondly, the lines were non-existent, giving you the utmost time to enjoy your beer and converse with your friends. Oh, and take a look at the breathtaking views from the top deck.

Mystic Blue top deck 2
Photo credit: Yajaira Gonzalez

The lack of lines also gave me ample opportunity to chat up the brewers as I tasted their crafts. At every table, I was greeted with a grateful face and delicious beer. A favorite of the cruise was Church Street Brewing Company. They were serving up 2 brews — Fire IPA and Bell Tower, a berliner-weisse. Fire, made with Mouteka and Zythos hops, displayed tropical flavors, with a stern, but not overpowering bitter finish. This is one I had to double down on. Also delicious, the Bell Tower lead with a sour punch and finished with refreshing citrus. Both of these were great options on such a warm day.

Church Street Brewing: Rick and Andy
Photo Credit: Alex Chavez

One of my other favorites from the afternoon was Wise Fool IPA from Miskatonic Brewing Company. It poured a golden-honey color, and the aroma was intoxicating. Wise Fool showcases an elaborate hop profile, while maintaining a smooth harmony of both hops and malts. It had a wonderfully herbal hoppiness to it, which I am digging right now in my IPAs.

Miskatonic's Josh Mowry
Photo Credit: Yajaira Gonzalez

Other notable brews were Buckle Down’s Belt and Suspender IPA, and Banging Gravel’s II Legit Double IPA. Belt and Suspender poured a light straw color and drank so smooth for 7%. It is refreshing and accessible to even the newest of beer drinkers. On the other hand, II Legit strikes you with a left-hop hook. I love my DIPA’s, and this was no exception. II Legit has a definite West Coast hop profile, rocking a strong bitterness from front to back. The malt backbone stands it’s ground, but after a couple swigs the hops were having their way… and I was having my second pour.

Every single person in my group left the cruise with huge smiles and bubbly attitudes. The crew aboard the Mystic Blue were all extremely attentive, the beer festival partners organized an amazing panel of not-so-common breweries, and the breweries poured some delicious beers.

The next cruise, Chicago’s Small Craft Brews, is Sunday, June 5th. I highly recommend that you purchase tickets. This cruise will showcase several of Chicago’s finest and tiniest craft breweries: Ale SyndicateArcade BreweryAround the Bend Beer Co.Burnt City Brewing (formerly Atlas)Exit Strategy Brewing Co.Half Acre Beer Co.Like Minds BrewingMetropolitan Brewing, Pipeworks Brewing Co.Smylie Brothers Brewing Co.Temperance Beer Co., and Vice District Brewing.

Top notch beer, incredible views, and “elegant conversations.” Salud.

Tickets are $35.90 for adults, or $21.90 if you’re not drinking. Click here to book today!


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