Tag Archives: CHICAGO IL

REVOLUTION BREWING COMPANY

 

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

Situated in the increasingly popular Logan Square area (known as Hipster Highway) on Milwaukee Avenue just a few blocks away from Piece Brewery, ultimately rewarding gold-bricked beer haven, REVOLUTION BREWING COMPANY, practically created the whole 21st century Chi-town craft beer renaissance. An amazing modern Mecca for brews and food, Revolution opened in 2010 to rave reviews, expanding into production brewing at a nearby Kedzie Avenue location thereafter.

A nifty German beer hall-styled central island bar serves 40-plus patrons plus the left-side dining tables and right side balcony. Beautiful pine furnishings, hanging globe lights and silver ceiling tiles provide exquisite elegance. A rear open kitchen, full service second story bar, exposed ducts and windowed brew tanks fill out this ultimate north-side restaurant and brewpub.

Filled to the brim on a sunny Sunday afternoon in mid-July ’14, I grab the only seat left at the bustling bar to sample 13 well-rounded selections. Besides the excellent hand-crafted fare emanating from the colorful fist-clenched tap handles are 100-plus bottled choices – many of which were rare finds or one-offs.

The lightest fare was quaffed first. Soft-toned Bottom Up Wit unleashed orange-dried lemon zest upon floral-perfumed hops and white-peppered coriander spicing, leaving banana-breaded vanilla sweetness to contrast puckering limestone acridity and delicate mandarin orange tartness by the crystalline watered finish.

Traditional German pilsner, Mother Of Exiles, retained a light-bodied citric-soured spicing as grassy hops, musky grains and flaked corn reached its doughy bottom. Tame lagered moderation, Use The Schwarz, brought mild dark-roasted mocha malting to the fore, as dry cocoa bean, Baker’s chocolate and burnt toast reminders usurped its earthen hop bittering.

One of Revolution’s most interesting elixirs, Rosa, a tart summer ale, brought red grape, red cherry, lemon and lime souring to raw-honeyed coriander salting, rose-watered lavender florality and a latent white wine spritz that contrasted sweet vanilla-spiced banana licks.  

A worthy collaboration with Wicker Park cocktail joint, Big Star, Fist City Extra Pale Ale, fortified its light hop-roasted grain malting with frisky orange-peeled bittering.

Ultra-dry Iron Fist Pale Ale placed wood-dried Chinook hop bittering beside lemony orange-rotted souring and dewy earthiness (picking up a diacetyl hint if  warmed). A better alternative was approachable Double Fist Imperial Pale Ale, where tangy orange, grapefruit, pineapple, tangerine and papaya tropicalia overloaded crystal caramel malting.

Sessionable flagship beer, Anti-Hero IPA (also available in can), layered orange-candied grapefruit and pineapple tartness and lemon-peeled herbal notions atop oily pine hop resin. Its friendly stylistic competitor, citra-hopped medium body, Citra Hero IPA, gathered orange-peeled apple-peach-pear fruiting for its spicy crystal malt sugaring, leaving cantaloupe-melon-nectarine traces in its wake.

Peppery Belgian yeast inundated lemon-spiced Coup D’Etat, a dry mineral-grained saison with leafy-hopped sour grape esters and mild herbal nuances contrasting pleasant sugared spices.

French-styled Biere De Garde, Bastille, retained a stingy dry hop persistence alleviated by earthen green grape esters, sour-pressed Granny Smith apple tartness, sharp oak-chipped cherry acidity and latent apricot-fig snips.

Musty robust porter, Eugene, contrasted its cocoa-powdered coffee, molasses and chocolate stead with dried cherry, grape and date fruiting.

Best bet: Spectral Imperial Wheat Ale, Filibuster, a luxuriously smooth 11.5% ABV remedy aged in Old Forester and Woodford Reserve barrels, splashed bourbon hints upon rum-sugared vanilla creaming, almondine-candied butterscotch sweetness and bruised orange-cherry-nectarine chewiness.

www.revbrew.com

 

 

PIECE BREWERY & PIZZERIA

A skylight that runs the length of Piece Brewery & Pizzeria.  Piece-exterior-500.jpg

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

In Chicago’s upscale Wicker Park section in a red brick building on North Avenue, sensational hipster joint PIECE BREWERY & PIZZERIA recently celebrated its eighth anniversary. Modeled after Connecticut’s highly successful Bru Rm. at BAR, this humble post-industrial pub serves as a top-notch pizza place (specializing in thin crust New Haven-styled pizza) and casual sportsbar.

A rounded 20-seat right side bar sits across roomy stool-tabled seating. Multiple TV’s and several guitars (Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen’s part owner) are strewn about the gray and mauve walls while wood lattices and exposed ducts crowd the skylight rafters. Besides having a respectable selection of house beers, there are 20-plus bottles of fine craft beer available.

During July ’14 on a bright Sunday, my entourage grab a table at the raised level next to the front windows. Despite being crowded and busy, our thin crust pepperoni pizza came post-haste alongside the seven beer samplers.

For starters, dry-bodied Golden Arm Kolsch retained a lemon-soured hop fizz and orange-rotted cologne musk that may suit Blue Collar thirsts (though its sulfuric diacetyl murk may turn off a few stragglers).

A better choice was stylishly concise light body, Top Heavy Hefeweizen, a surefire bet with lemon-sugared banana, clove, bubblegum and vanilla sweetness sidling bubbly champagne effervescence and white-peppered orange blossom snips. Similar in approach, Belgian-styled moderation, Swingin’ Single, brought tart banana-clove sweetness to dry black-peppered lemon peel bittering.

Piney juniper hop bitterness mellowed to grapefruit-peeled lemon pit souring for crisply clean Dysfunctionale, a wily American IPA with ancillary honeyed pineapple, mango, navel orange and tangerine tang. For contrast, English-styled IPA, Victoria, maintained a musky lemon-grapefruit frontage, subtle juniper hop briskness, reedy bark-dried astringency and dewy earthen mustiness.

On the dark side, fudgy Roland The Headless Assistant Brewer possessed an approachable mocha theme as roasted chocolate, Columbian coffee, milked espresso, creme brulee, sweet hazelnut and bitter walnut illusions rode above the dry oatmeal base.

Best bet: classic Egyptian Pale Ale, Cameltoe, hid its hefty 9.5% ABV behind tropical IPA fruiting and soft resinous pine hops. Caramel malt sugaring and mild vanilla creaming sweetened its ancillary yellow grapefruit, mandarin orange, tangerine, clementine, pineapple, peach, nectarine and papaya tang as well as candied apple, pear and banana nuances.

While Chicago’s brewpub scene keeps growing exponentially, Piece continues to thrive and build a substantial reputation amongst locals and travelers alike.

www.piecechicago.com

ATLAS BREWING COMPANY

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

Along Chicago’s youthful northwest Lincoln  Park section, brown-wood-paneled gastropub, ATLAS BREWING COMPANY, opened in June 2012. Brotherly brewers’ John and Ben Saller took the Atlas moniker from a pre-prohibition brewery specializing in diverse ales.

Competing with established local competitors such as Revolution and Piece, this laid-back modern Industrial lounge features one large community table, several booths, overhead Edison bulb lighting and black tin tiling. Glass-encased stainless steel brew tanks at the rear hold the soft-toned liquid gold soon to be consumed. And at the 15-stool right side bar, glass mosaic-tiled tap handles serve the nine hand-crafted brews to be had on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, July ’14.

Since the eight-tabled front deck is completely full, my small coterie decides to sit inside at a booth to quaff a few five-ounce samplers. Alongside the lightest fare, I munched on the outstanding cheese-sauced mussels and duck confit. Though diacetyl buttering disrupted corn-malted perfume-hopped Prager Pilsner, moderate flagship offering, Diversey Pale Ale brought decisive IPA-like fruiting (yellow grapefruit, orange rind, pineapple and mango) plus floral-perfumed hop bittering to bark-dried wood tones.

Belgian saison yeast spiced up yellow-fruited Farmhouse Wheat Ale, a light-bodied nicety gathering lemony Bartlett pear, banana, plantain, grapefruit and pineapple briskness for its sweet lychee-spiked wheat base. In a similar vein, mild tropical-fruited Two-Headed Boy Belgian Pale Wheat covered its sugary bubblegum yeast with dry-hopped grapefruit-peeled orange rind bittering.

A limited edition collaboration with nearby Une Annee Brewery, Raspberry Brown Saison, brought sweet ‘n sour raspberry tartness to zesty lemon, oaken cherry and vinous grape notions, finishing dry (with a nutty quirk).

More adventurous fare included Americanized Belgian pale ale, Archaeopteryx Dreamcoat, a ‘juicy citra-hopped’ moderation with yellow and pink grapefruit tartness, lemon rot souring, green apple pucker and advertised orange-blossomed blueberry subtleties. Just as pleasurably hybridized, floral-bound Rookery Rye IPA used grapefruit and gooseberry flavors to advance its rye-dried multi-grain breaded appeal.

On the dark side, chocolate-sugared Invincible Armor Robust Porter possessed a smooth dark-roasted mocha malting and dried cherry tang while lightly creamed Freight Handler Milk Stout plied smoked black chocolate to lactic cocoa-dried Baker’s chocolate and cacao nibs snips.

www.atlasbeercompany.com