Old Chicago will always have a special place in this Beer Friends' heart. My home bar – it’s a chain restaurant – is located on the North End of Colorado Springs off the Woodmen Exit. Old Chicago is a typical bar/restaurant, serving deep dish pizza, calzones, salad bars and pasta. What sets Old Chicago apart is the beer list. Old Chicago is my Holy Grail of drinking. This is where I learned about beer, about good beer, and the difference between bottles and draft -- basically my beer-education.
Old Chicago has the infamous World Beer Tour, a brilliant way to drink your way around the world. Old Chicago has a standard list of 110 beers, which can increase to over 150 on any given night. When you sign up for the World Beer Tour (WBT), you receive a card that keeps track of the beers that you drink and can be used at any Old Chicago location. As you reach certain beer marks (5 beers, 15 beers, 25 beers, and so on…) you receive a number of different prizes including Foamer Bucks (Old Chicago coupons), bottle openers and t-shirts.
Every beer has a number attached and you run down the list and try to collect as many beers as you can… swipe your card and try again the next night. As you travel through you pick from a variety of beers, everything from the Macro breweries like Coors and Bud, to the local Micro-brews – supporting the local economy.
In addition to the larger WBT, Old Chicago periodically holds “mini-tours,” which are month-long theme events. For example, during March, the mini-tour will bring you great Irish beers, both in draft and canned. October brings, obviously, an Oktoberfest mini-tour, featuring German beers as well as other fall theme beers from local breweries.
Although a chain restaurant, I believe Old Chicago does a pretty good job reflecting the beer taste of the area. I’ve visited Old Chicago all over Colorado and each has a great sampling of the local breweries – Denver Old Chicago often features Breckenridge Brewery, the Fort Collins and Greeley area features New Belgium Brewery and Colorado Springs often features Bristol Brewery.
Overall a great attempt to be a local brew house operating under a chain restaurant name.
*Special thanks to Kevin Bell for his contributions and discussion on this post… he was my original Beer Friend.
UPDATE: The Old Chicago Mini Tour starts April 14th at your local Old Chicago. The Cinco De Mayo Mini Tour includes:
- Dos Equis Special Lager
- Corona Extra Lager
- Tecate Lager
- Pacifico Clara Lager
- Dos Equis Amber Lager
- Modelo Especial Pilsener
- Negra Modelo Dark Lager
- and the Managers Choice of each individual Old Chicago.
Like the World Beer tour and all other Mini Tours there will be a t-shirt when finished... want to know what it looks like? Finish the tour to find out!
UPDATE: Deja Brew Summer Mini Tour at Participating Old Chicago's. The Colorado Old Chicago's include 8 pours from Boulder Beer Company, starting July 7th and ending August 1st. The Deja Brew Summer Mini Tour includes:
- Old Chicago American Red Ale - 5.6 ABV
- Flashback IBA - 6.8 ABV
- Hazed and Infused Dry Hopped Ale - 4.9 ABV
- Buffalo Gold - 4.5 ABV
- Kinda Blue Blueberry Wheat - 5.2 ABV
- Mojo Risin' IPA - 10 ABV
- and your choice of two more!
Click here for the t-shirt design! Enjoy!