I’m from Chicago, and I love my city. It’s a hard working, comedy-loving place with some of the best food and beer in the country. On any given day I get to enjoy awesome beer and food from some great craft establishments: Half Acre, Metropolitan, Revolution, Haymarket, Two Brothers, Goose Island (RIP 2011) … and for today’s purposes, the Chicago Beer Company.

CBC’s website doesn’t give us any information about their business besides the typical “family owned, we-love-our-city” narrative, which is a shame. I like when breweries tell their stories in more detail. But CBC is here, and their beers are circulating, and I happen to have just had one, the Chi-Town Pier Pale Ale.

It’s toted as a hand-crafted, fragrant, balanced American Pale Ale. It pours an even copper hue into the glass and leaves only a slight head (one fat finger’s worth). The nose communicates that balanced profile, with some fragrant hops and biscuity maltiness, neither overpowering. With a 5.5% ABV and 30 IBUs, I’m expecting this to be a super easy drinker.

And I’m not mistaken. The Chi-Town Pier Pale Ale delivers its malts forward, and its hops in the finish. American hops easily cut through the sweet malt, balancing the taste in the finish with some nice crisp citrus and pine. It’s nowhere near hop-heavy, and I would imagine that American hop purists would balk at its being labeled a thoroughly American Pale Ale … but really I think it comes down to where you live and what you love.

I think Chicago, for all its feist, is still a pretty balanced city. I enjoyed Chi-Town Pier Pale Ale much more than anticipated. It’s a solid recipe, a really great beer to drink when you don’t want to get handled by hops or malts or ABVs, but just want to have a good time. Hat’s off.