March 4 was the 13th Annual Logan Square March Forth Hiking Day Pub Stroll, sponsored by the Logan Square Draught Beer Preservation Society. Every year a different member coordinates a tour local brew pubs across different streets of the Logan Square area.
This year’s route was planned by Preservation Society member Bradley Reeg:
4 p.m., Metropolitan Brewery (3057 N. Rockwell St.)
5 p.m., Maplewood Brewery (2717 N. Maplewood Ave.)
6 p.m., Owen & Engine (2700 N. Western Ave.)
7 p.m., Quenchers Saloon (2401 N. Western Ave.)
8 p.m., Logan Arcade (2410 W. Fullerton Ave.)
People were free to travel the entire stroll, show up at whichever destination they like or come and go as they please. I arrived early to Owen & Engine, where I had a Scotch egg with a 12 oz. glass of Baldr from Central State Brewing and enjoyed the sunset as group members arrived and introduced themselves.
It turns out everyone is a bit peckish from their stroll from Maplewood Brewery, a group favorite, so we ordered food as well as drinks. We talked about sports, the awesomeness of Anthony Bourdain and of course, other bars.
This was the very pub experience I’d been wanting: a friendly group of men and women comfortably chatting in a comfy, dimly-lit room sharing a pint.
It turns out that I unwittingly created “the writer’s couch”, surrounded by journalists who write about soccer, aviation and the editor for Streetsblog Chicago, an online mag about traffic issues in Chicago.
The group filled out their scorecards, rating each tavern on objective standards like Honest Pour, Variety of Tap Brands, Ambiance and, the highest honor bestowed by the group, the Best-In-Stroll designation. Michael Burton, last year’s tour director, said, “We’ve had the score card since day one.” So far, Owen & Engine is hitting all of the marks.
We made to Quenchers Saloon, where we watch the Blackhawks pummel each other with the Ramones playing in the background.
Al Diablo, one of the group members with a degree in mathematics, explained the “honest pour”: A lot of bars are offering 16 oz. or 20 oz. drafts, when they’re really cheating you by serving you beer in a 14 oz. glass, to make the drink look bigger.
“If you’re going to offer a pint, it better be a real pint,” Diablo said.
As Reeg led a handful of people to Logan Arcade, I unfortunately had to tap out (no pun intended) and go home. But I feel that I have made new friends and no matter the forecast next year, I will definitely attend and March Forth.
To learn more about the Logan Square Draught Beer Preservation Society, contact and follow them on Facebook.