• Hopleaf Bar

    Promoting Better Beers, Wines & Spirits in Chicago since 1992.
    Belgian-inspired Kitchen featuring our famous Mussels & Frites.

  • Flagship February

    Feb. 1 - Feb. 28

    Canadian James Beard Award-winning beer writer Stephen Beaumont recently wrote about the decline of classic “flagship” beers. At one time, every brewery had one and that beer often defined the brewery. It also was the top-selling beer that subsidized a brewery’s seasonals, specialty brews, experimental beers and one offs. Because the flagship beer was made over and over, batch after batch, often for decades, it was very dependable and also with the years, it might even be slowly tweaked to be better and better.

    Alas, today’s beer drinker, more often than not, is always seeking something new and many breweries don’t even have a flagship beer anymore. While that has given us a never ending wide spectrum of flavors, it has been a tough time for many of the dependably delicious beers that defined the early craft beer movement.

    Stephen Beaumont’s writing has inspired many bars across the nation to feature some of the great flagship beers in the month of February and Hopleaf is happily joining in. In our early days many of these beers helped define Hopleaf and were instrumental in building our business. We have decided to pick some of the best flagship beers from breweries that we’ve had long relationships with.

    All of these breweries are over 20 years old. Some of the flagship beers were their first brews. Some were intentional and some not. Sometimes the public made the decision as to what the flagship would be. See the list below of beers we’ll be featuring on the first “Flagship February”

    Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA ( replaced Shelter Pale Ale which now is available on draft and in Delaware only )
    Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold ( although in their home market Eliot Ness is their top seller and in some other Midwestern states Edmund Fitzgerald is )
    Firestone Walker Union Jack
    Three Floyds Alpha King ( although Gumball Head is their best seller now )
    New Belgium Fat Tire
    Bell’s Two Hearted is tied with Oberon. ( Amber Ale was their—and Hopleaf’s—first flagship beer )
    Brooklyn Lager
    Anchor Steam ( The flagship of all flagship beers! )
    Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
    New Holland Dragon’s Milk ( An unusually strong flagship )
    Founders Dirty Bastard was first for many years but All Day IPA has recently displaced it.
    Lagunitas IPA
    Victory Prima Pils ( although they have said that their volume leader was once Golden Monkey )
    Allagash White
    Left Hand Milk Stout
    Stone IPA
    North Coast Old Rasputin and Pranqster tied make up 20% of the sales now. The original flagship was Red Seal.
    Unibroue Fin Du Monde
    Deschutes Black Butte Porter
    Ommegang Pale Sour ( recently came out of nowhere to be their flagship )

    We hope that you’ll discover or rediscover these beers during the month of February and maybe keep a six pack of one or more of these on hand at home because these are beers that always please a guest or are nice friends to have around after a long day.