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Bar Tue Jun 25 2013
This past Friday was the first official day of summer, as you could probably tell from the stickiness of the air since then. And I'm happy to announce that along with the humidity and heat, the summer drinking series has returned to Gapers Block! We kicked things off on Friday with a few beers at the Hopleaf, that venerable Chicago drinking establishment, which is benefiting from its 2012 expansion to include a second dining room. A less packed bar makes grabbing a beer and frites much more bearable in the heat, especially since the air-conditioned rear dining rooms escape the wet gasp of air every the door opens--which at Hopleaf, is often.
For my inaugural summer quaff, I ordered a Sofie Paradisi, one of over 60 possible drafts, and a spin on my very favorite Goose Island offering. For this special summer beer, the usual saison-style Sofie is aged in its requisite wine barrels with grapefruit peel and juice, rather than the more traditional orange peel. Grapefruity beer is a trend I first noticed last summer, with Steigel's Grapefruit Radler, and which I heartily endorse. The bitterness of the grapefruit esters seem perfectly suited for a lightly sour saison, and with Sofie Paradisi, the resulting brew is a lovely addition to the beer drinker's ever-expanding fruity summer palate. It paired nicely with Hopleaf's sweet crab and smoky endive salad (with grapefruit segments! it was meant to be) as well as the giant pile of fries I lovingly dunked into aioli all night. Aaaaahhhh, summer. Welcome back.