The Reader's Choice: Cane and Ebel
This red rye ale from Warrenville microbrewery Two Brothers (owned by brothers Jim and Jason Ebel) is spicy and complex, with a citrusy aroma and a bitter finish. The Thai palm sugar in the mahogany-colored brew doesn't add any noticeable sweetness but probably helps balance out the strong Simcoe and Summit hops—and the hops in turn hold the rye and malt flavors in check without completely overwhelming them. Cane and Ebel started out as one of Two Brothers' many one-off artisan experiments in 22-ounce bottles, but it was so popular they did another run, then added it to their roster of seasonal beers as a late winter/early spring brew in 12-ounce bottles. Last fall, with its popularity still growing, the Ebel brothers made it available year round. It's on tap at Alive One, Four Moon Tavern, Casey's Tavern, Murphy's Bleachers, and the Hopleaf, and available in four-packs at Binny's, Sam's, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and many independent liquor stores. twobrosbrew.com. —Julia Thiel
&Our readers' choice: Goose Island
No brew specified. Multiple locations, gooseisland.com.