There is no direct flight between Toronto and New Orleans, so flying to the Big Easy for the annual drinks extravaganza, Tales of the Cocktail, necessitates a stop in either Chicago or Charlotte or, I think, Philadelphia, at least if you want to fly a Star Alliance carrier, as I do. (Gotta have my miles!) Given that, a few days hanging in the Windy City seemed the thing to do.
We arrived at our hotel around 2:00 pm, feeling more than just a little bit hungry, more like ravenous, actually. Bags dropped, a brief chat with the concierge revealed a likely lunch destination – Rockit, an excellent burgers and beer place, as it turned out – a couple of blocks away, and so off we went.
En route, we walked by a grungy little watering hole that could appear in the dictionary as the definition of “dive bar:” two small rooms, almost non-existent lighting, a veneer of filth covering most evident surfaces. (Note: I’m not talking about some tarted up dive bar to which hipsters might gravitate to drink tall boys of PBR straight from the can, but the real, honest-to-god, pass-out-on-the-bar deal.) It was the kind of place which, under normal circumstances, I might pass by with nary a second glance, but this time there was something about it that caught my eye.
That “something” was a banner out front advertising “Craft Beer Mondays” and the five very decent beers involved in the promotion, not one of which I would balk at ordering. And I thought, “Craft beer is now officially so big that little holes like this see the benefit of stocking and even promoting the stuff!”
That, my friends, is how important craft beer has become today. And the clean and tidy, cookie-cutter corporate chain bars would do well to pay heed.