One of the heaviest hitters in Chicago’s beer scene, Revolution Brewing, is celebrating the legalization of recreational marijuana sales. Revolution, which runs a Logan Square brewpub and a tasting room in nearby Avondale, is releasing a new beer on New Year’s Day to coincide with the change in Chicago’s laws which will allow marijuana purchases at licensed dispensaries.
Rev’s “Legal-Hero,” according to a news release, doesn’t contain THC or CBD — the latter is a popular cocktail and food trend that emerged earlier in 2019. Both Chicago bars and breweries experiment with CBD: Marz Community Brewing in Bridgeport starting selling a line of canned sparkling waters laced with CBD. The market varies, with prices ranging from $5 to $10 per can, depending on the store or cafe.
“The concept wasn’t super premeditated and sometimes we take the chance to celebrate the moments that can just pass you by,” Revolution Brewing owner Josh Deth wrote via email.
“Legal-Hero” is a hazy IPA made to “showcase the deep, grassy, and resinous qualities of certain hop varieties.” Expect a “sticky, dank, and juicy flavor profile.” Revolution will release it on January 1 at the Avondale taproom. Leaning into stoner stereotypes, Revolution recommends pairing the beer with tacos, grass-fed cheddar, Hawaiian pizza, and Nacho Cheese Doritos.
“The beer will totally taste great even if you don’t partake in cannabis,” Deth wrote. “It is on the extreme side of things and intended for hop lovers more than anything.”
Revolution isn’t the only brewery that’s celebrating recreational marijuana. Burnt City Brewing, which operates inside District Brew Yards in West Town, is releasing the Dankening on January 10. it’s a New England IPA.
It’s unclear to how legal marijuana sales will impact bars and alcohol in Chicago. The release of “Legal-Hero” shows that Revolution, one of the biggest craft brewers in America by sales, is happy with the new law and sees it as complementary.
“There is definitely some uncertainty about how legal marijuana will affect the hospitality world and the beer business overall,” Deth wrote. “I’ve read a bit about the experience in Denver and for the most part I think the gist is that people still go out and have fun in public and the sky has not fallen. I’m in the mutualism camp myself and don’t spend too much time worrying about detriment to our business and mostly just look forward to seeing how things change.”
Chicago lawmakers in October established rules for marijuana sales for adults 21 and up. They won’t permit marijuana stores along the lakefront, in parts of River North, in the Loop, and along Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile. The City Council created seven zones for sales, limiting each zone to no more than seven dispensaries. One of the biggest concerns, so far, is that zero African Americans have been issued licenses. The City Council’s Black Caucus is so alarmed that the group is threatening to delay legalization until July to address the lack of diversity among dispensary owners.
“And we are full steam ahead to release no matter what,” Deth wrote. “The beer is in the tank and tasting dank AF.”