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Pub Visit - USA/Canada

Chicago (West Loop), Illinois:
Haymarket Pub & Brewery

Haymarket1Visited on: Wednesday 20th June 2018

Bob Thompson

This well-known brew-pub is situated very close to the site of one of the infamous clashes of the late 19th Century. The Haymarket Affair or as it is sometimes known as the Haymarket Riot, was a confrontation between workers seeking better conditions and their employers. On May Day 1886 it was estimated that 80,000 people gathered and marched peaceably along Michigan Avenue in Chicago, calling for an eight-hour working day for all.

Haymarket2The Unions called for this 1st May to be the beginning of a nationwide movement calling for the eight-hour day to be implemented along with the end of exploitation and abuses of workers.

At the time there was a strike at the McCormick factory in Chicago and on 3rd May the picket line was attacked by the Police and four workers were killed and many more were injured.

This led to a protest the following day in Haymarket Square against the killings. Just prior to the end of this meeting the Police attacked again and chased the protesters. In the ensuing violence a bomb was set off and seven policemen and four workers died.

Martial law was declared the next day over the whole country. Union members and activists in Chicago were arrested, tried and convicted, some executed.

Before the end of the Nineteenth Century had finished May Day was chosen as International Workers’ Day in memory of the Haymarket Affair, recognised throughout the world but not in the USA, where Labor Day is the first Monday in September.

Haymarket3The two owners of the pub specialise in different fields, Pete Crowley covers the brewing side of the business and John Neurauter looks after the restaurant and the cuisine. After graduating from the University of South Carolina in 1994 he went on a two-week New Year’s holiday to Aspen, Colorado and stayed for three years! He had discovered proper beer at the Flying Dog brew pub.

Later he got a job at Glenwood Canyon Brewing. Armed with the knowledge gained there he applied for a job at Broadway Brewing in Denver and was successful.

However when he arrived there the person in charge said that he given it to a pal of his. Now desperate with a car full of possessions he went to Rock Bottom brewery in Denver where he knew someone. He got lucky as the assistant brewer had been fired the previous evening.

Haymarket4This was the original of what were to become a nationwide chain. Please see an article on this brewery in BeerVisits. Because they brewed so many different beers he learned very quickly. A year later he moved to Cleveland, Ohio as Head Brewer. He didn’t like it there. About a year later he got lucky again when he moved to the senior position at Rock Bottom in Chicago.

Here he stayed for ten years and during this time luck struck for the third time when John Neurauter visited claiming a “Brewer for a Day” prize purchased by his father.

They hit it off immediately and were looking for finance for their own project within a year. John was very interested in food, making his own sausages and smoking meats. A definite match of minds. In just three years the Haymarket was open.

Haymarket5When it opened on 24th December 2010 the Inner West Side (alternative name is West Loop) was in transition from being an industrial area with its traditional meat packing being in steep decline. Then the Haymarket was a beacon in the midst of a number of dive bars.

They’ve all gone to be replaced by a number of expensive restaurants. The district has completely changed in less than ten years. The customer base has changed also, especially after Google opened offices here.

It was an overcast and sultry day when Linda and I visited. Appreciating the aircon as soon as we entered, we had a look around.

Haymarket6There was a long bar along the Halstead Street axis along with customers on high chairs. Facing the counter were a number of tall circular tables with chairs. All the furniture and some of the wall panelling in this large pub was made of dark varnished wood giving it a classy feel.

However the effect is somewhat affected by the large number of television screens. Every seat has a clear view of one (or two, or three…). On the left side of the entrance the pub opens out to a large room. Including side rooms it can accommodate 300 patrons. On the far side, behind glass, is the brewery itself. It is of fifteen barrels (bbls) capacity.

As this brewery can only just keep up with the demands of the pub, the partners established another brewery to supply kegs, cans and bottles to pubs, restaurants and shops. The property was purchased in 2016, the first brew was commenced in November 2016 and it fully opened in January 2017.

Haymarket7It is located a long way from Chicago in Bridgman, Michigan. It is housed in what was formerly a Michigan State Police post just over the state line with Indiana.

This new brewery has a capacity of 30 barrels (bbls) and supplies mostly packaged beers for bottle shops and supermarkets. A small amount of draught beer is produced for the Tap Room on site and also for the Chicago pub, usually different brews to those produced there.

On our visit there we tried a few of their beers and this is what we thought: Indian Pale Lager (5.5%), a collaboration with the swish Cindy’s Rooftop Restaurant at the Athletic Association Hotel. It had a peppery bitterness with no other tastes.

Haymarket8Then we had Yes Dear IPA (6.3%) which was an American IPA brewed with sweet orange peel and Mandarina Bavaria, Amarillo and Cascade hops, dry hopped with Mandarino and Cascade with fresh orange peel. So it came as a surprise when we couldn’t taste orange, just bitterness.

Then we moved on to Ombibulous 8.0 American IPA (6.4%), brewed with Ahtanum and Mosaic then dry hopped with Ahtanum and Cascade. It was cloudy with medium bitterness in the taste and finish.

Next was First Change American IPA (6.7%) was made with Amarillo hops and dry-hopped with the same. We thought it had a smooth bitter taste and after taste, but not over hopped, very good.

Finally a beer from Bridgman: Aleister American IPA (6.5%) had a soft body taste, medium hoppiness with no citric taste, very good.

Yes, Haymarket is a great pub with very good beer and should be on your list of visits if you are in the Windy City.

Important Information:

Haymarket Pub & Brewery, 737 West Randolph Street, Chicago 60661. Tel: 312 638 0700

Hours: Sunday-Friday: 11.00-02.00; Saturday: 11.00-03.00

The best way to get to the pub is to walk from Morgan CTA station. It is served by the Green and Pink lines.
From the Loop go in a westerly direction. Descend from the elevated platforms to street level.
You are now in North Morgan Street. Turn left and walk one block to West Randolph Street, there turn left.
Now walk four blocks. At the intersection with Halsey you will see the pub on the diagonally opposite corner.