PORTAGE PARK — If the 45th Ward were a beer, it would be a pale ale with a smooth, hoppy aroma and flavor.
At least, it would if it was up to Lake Effect Brewing Co.
"This is the most local beer I can imagine," said Clint Bautz, the brewery's founder.
Heather Cherone says the beer is something everyone can get behind:
For the second year in a row, the Portage Park brewery used donated hops grown in the ward to brew a special batch of 45th Ward Fresh-Hopped Beer, Bautz said.
"It has become a tradition," Bautz said. "It is a great collaboration with the neighborhood."
The beer uses a mixture of Cascade, Columbus, Centennial, Chinook and Nugget hops grown in the 45th Ward, which includes parts of Old Irving Park, Independence Park, Portage Park, Jefferson Park, Gladstone Park and Forest Glen.
"We never quite know what we're going to get," Bautz said, adding that about 15 beer-loving gardeners contributed both wet and dry hops to the effort, which Lake Effect brewed a few weeks ago. "But it is really tasting great. The beer is as good as anything else we brew. The quality is fantastic."
While Bautz hasn't worked out all of the details, he said he wanted to raffle off the limited edition bottles to raise money for Arts Alive Chicago as part of his effort to give back to the Northwest Side Community that has nurtured his brewery, which will celebrate its second birthday next month.
The 45th Ward pale ale will be available on tap at the Gale Street Inn in Jefferson Park, Hops and Barleys in Portage Park, the Garage Bar in Gladstone Park, Rabbit's Bar and Grill in Forest Glen and the Phoenix bar, just down the street from the brewery in Portage Park.
"This is a really special beer," Bautz said. "This is a really local beer."
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