Exquisitely rewarding gastropub, THE BAVARIAN LODGE, may have the best beer selection in Chicago’s affluent northwest suburbs. Matching the elegant splendor of an Alpine hunting lodge with the cozily rustic warmth of an English pub, this genteel Ogden Avenue hotspot clearly puts the tiny village of Lisle on the map. Beautiful wood decor, vintage art deco, gold-foiled ceiling tiles, stain-glass tulip lamps and multiple beer plaques line the low ceiling pub area and a stone hearth reinforces the antique lodge-like setting. A separate intimate dining area suits families and large parties.
Serving an amazing selection of 38 rotating tapped beers and 150-plus bottles alongside generously portioned authentic German cuisine, The Bavarian Lodge blew away Du Page county’s craft beer competition on my initial visit, July 2014. Sitting at the U-shaped bar for dinner with my college pal, Scott, I ordered the delicious potato pancake appetizer and liver dumpling soup with the ample Roast Duck platter. Local denizens recommended the Weiner Schnitzel, Kassler Rippchen (wood-smoked pork chops), Schweins Hax’N (pork shank), Hungarian ghoulash and bratwurst.
On this busy Wednesday evening, one admirable cask-conditioned bourbon from Michigan’s famed New Holland Brewery (made in Dragon’s Milk beer barrels) is available to quaff along with special one-off ‘new arrivals’ such as Germany’s Alpirsbacher Klosterbrau Pilsner and Plank Heller Weizenbock, Belgium’s Dieu Du Ciel Rosee D’Hibiscus, Stone ‘Crime’ Bourbon Barrel Aged Ale (with dry-hopped chili peppers) and Three Floyds Backmasking Oatmeal Stout.
For starters, I order three previously untried brews from Indiana mainstay, Three Floyds. Renowned mild pale ale, Three Floyds Zombie Dust, brought beautiful floral-fruited IPA-like zest to mild resinous pine bittering, contrasting wheat-honeyed caramel malting with spruce-tipped ruby red grapefruit, orange rind and pineapple tartness. Three Floyds Space Station Middle Finger Pale Ale offered a dry-hopped floral citrus bouquet to honey-spiced pale malts. Three Floyds War Mullet, an enticing Imperial IPA, received an ultra-dry piney hop bittering and brisk juniper bite for its juicy citric tropicalia.
Dinnertime fare included Czech Republic’s Praga Dark Lager, a mocha-based medium body gathering burnt caramel, creme brulee, toffee, molasses cookie and honeyed pumpernickel illusions, as well as adjunct pale ale, Dogfish Head Rosabi, a mild wasabi-spiced elixir with red rice graining softening its hesitant horseradish heat. (Full reviews are in Beer Index).