More Michigan Beer Coming to IL: Here Comes Odd Side Ales

In Beer News by Karl

Grand Haven’s Odd Side Ales is sending two of their core offerings to Chicago starting in just a few weeks.

GDBOddSideLogo GuysDrinkingBeer has learned that another Michigan brewery is getting ready to start distributing their beer to Chicago — and it’s one that was just named one of the world’s Top 100 Breweries by Ratebeer.

Odd Side Ales, brewing out of an old piano factory in Grand Haven, has confirmed to us that they’ll soon start delivering two of their main brands for sale in the Chicago market.

They expect distribution will begin in mid-March, and this will be the first time they sell beer outside their home state of Michigan. The first two beers to hit Chicago will be their Citra Pale Ale and their Bean Flicker coffee blonde ale.

Speaking as a Chicagoan who makes regular trips to Michigan, the one thing that regularly lands in my trunk on the way home is a six-pack or two of their Citra Pale Ale: it’s a bright, easy drinking, juicy and sharp beer that basically nails everything you want from a citra-tastic beer but doesn’t get too citrusy on you.

Bean Flicker checks that box for those who want a beer with some subtle hints of coffee but aren’t ready to go all-in on a porter or stout. The coffee blonde ale gives off a sweet vanilla nose peppered with hints of fresh roasted coffee. Smooth and light on the palate, Bean Flicker lands somewhere between a vanilla latte and a cup of coffee with a heavy-handed dose of french vanilla creamer.

I’d probably prefer it over the recent Goose Island coffee blonde ale, but only by a little bit (and I’m still not a huge fan of the name).

In addition to following Short’s Brewing Company to Chicago, Odd Side may be coming close to rivaling them in terms of pure creativity — they’ve put out dozens of different beers including a beet beer, a chocolate IPA, a java mint stout and their own version of a Black Friday whale release: Hipster Brunch, a bourbon-barrel aged stout with coffee, maple syrup and bacon.

We’ve stumbled into a bourbon-barrel aged version of their Mayan Mocha Imperial Stout and it was exceptional.

Now that Short’s is soon to make its way into Chicago as well, we’ve reached out to a number of other Michigan-only breweries to see if they have any plans to make inroads into the city.

You’d think that based on their rapid growth and their recent acquisition by Oskar Blues, the beers from Comstock Park’s Perrin Brewing Company would be a prime candidate to send beer here, but the brewery confirmed that Illinois is not part of their expanded distribution plans.

In fact, the only place they’ll be sending their beer other than Michigan will be to the homeland of their new owners — Colorado. Per a Perrin representative, Perrin beer will not be made at OB’s brewery — it’ll remain Michigan made and shipped to CO to take advantage of the existing Oskar Blues in-state distribution network. Beers slated to head west include the series of Problems beers, including the No Problems session IPA, 98 Problems IPA, Lotsa Problems IIPA and a seasonal brew starting with the Grapefruit IPA that originally distinguished themselves throughout Michigan.

One other Michigan brewer who responded that they’d not be sending beer to Chicago any time soon is Traverse City’s Right Brain — they will remain Michigan-only for the time being, though owner Russ Springfield told us by email that they will re-evaluate their footprint each year.

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About the Author



Karl has written about food, travel and beer for Chicago Magazine, Thrillist, Time Out Chicago, AskMen and more. His book, Beer Lovers Chicago, is now available via Amazon and other booksellers.If you're buying, he's likely having a porter or a pale ale.

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