Serious beer fans are quickly adopting The Beer Market in Schaumburg as a favorite watering hole. Since the place opened at 888 N. Meacham in late fall, word has spread of its impressive collection of 500 craft beers, 50 of which are on tap. The welcome new arrival joins two Illinois siblings in Vernon Hills and Bolingbrook.
Motif: All manner of beer-themed posters, photos and signs command wall space alongside 13 large-screen TVs tuned to various sporting events. The rectangular-shaped venue is dominated by an expansive bar that seats 20 or so. Other places to perch include two large common tables just opposite the bar; each accommodates a dozen patrons. Elsewhere along the perimeter of the room are high-tops and a few standard tables for four.
The Beer Market888 N. Meacham Road, Schaumburg, (847) 517-8300, the-beer-market.com
Hours: 3 p.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday, 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday, noon to 2 a.m. Saturday, noon to midnight Sunday
Food: Fresh-baked Bavarian pretzels (one can satisfy two or three people) and pizza with various toppings from Fontina cheese and spinach to chorizo and eggs are the only foods prepared on the premises. But guests have the option of ordering grilled fare, sandwiches, Mexican and Middle Eastern dishes from a handful of neighboring restaurants. Orders are delivered directly to one's table. Our food, falafel and steak and chicken salads from Roti Mediterranean Grill next door, arrived minutes after we called, the accompanying pita bread still warm.
Upon request, Beer Market staff will arrange order-in catering for large groups.
Liquid consumption: The beer list occupies a hefty 24 pages and includes far-flung domestic and international artisanal offerings -- ale, lager, wheat, porter, stout and IPA. Among local suppliers represented are Wild Onion Brewery, Lake Barrington; Two Brothers Brewery, Warrenville; Small Town Brewery, Wauconda; and Solemn Oath Brewery, Naperville.
The 500-beer inventory is updated frequently with seasonal or specialty releases. Check out the flavored, organic, gluten-free and low-alcohol options as well as the specialty mixed-beer concoctions the bar creates.
Beer flights -- four 4-ounce samples from $10 -- are the best way to get acquainted with the stock. Some personal favorites: Bell's Hopslam Ale, complex and hoppy; La Trappe Quadrupel, a heady Netherlands import; and Greenbush Jadis, a spicy winter ale.
To accommodate non-beer drinkers, an eclectic selection of eight red or white wines is available.
Crowd: The mix ranges from veteran beer afficionados to adventuresome young hipsters. Business becomes brisk on weekends and any time there's a big game being broadcast.
Music: Expect to hear recorded rock, played loud but not ear piercingly so. And starting at 8:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, cover bands are on the scene to entertain the crowd.
Service: The staff knows its beer and can be relied on to answer questions or make suggestions about what to order.
Parking: A lot fronting the bar offers free spots. But finding a spot during peak hours can prove challenging.
Overall: The Beer Market's winning collection of beers from around the world stands as an open invitation to anyone with a desire to learn more about the brewmaster's art.