Chicago's Piece Brewery and Pizzeria has long been known for three things: good pizza, good beer, and impossible waits. I never go there because you can't get in the door unless you want to start your pizza and beer day at 11 a.m. I think folks camp out there overnight to be first in line. They may even sell their spots on Craigslist. So, I rarely get to try the beers of Piece, one of Chicago's earliest and longest-running craft brewers. Fortunately, Northdown got a rarity, a Piece keg tapped off the pizzeria's premises, as it recently offered The Weight Pale Ale on tap. It was a must-try.
If you're a hophead, a great pale ale - not even an IPA - is often as good as a beer gets. Pale ales deliver hops more judiciously than their India cousins, but are often more direct, sharper, tangier, and less weighty. It's not a stretch to assume that The Weight takes its name from the fact that it's a denser pale ale, with a rounder, thicker mouthfeel than the genre-introducing Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. It's lean compared to most IPA's, with that sharp, up-front hop bite offering tangy citrus fruits, pineapple and tangerine, and a restrained malt finish. It's not nearly as sharp and crisp as the palate-drying Founders Dry Hopped Pale Ale, but is juicier and more subtle. Coronado's Four Brothers is the best comparison, and the Weight's cloudy, hazy yellow, unfiltered look underscores this similarity.
I don't know if Piece regularly offers this beer - it's not currently listed at their website - but it's certainly a beer I would want every day, especially on every 100 degree day, like today.
4.1 of 5 stars.