Arguably Naperville’s best craft beer pub, JIMMY’S GRILL is situated down the hill from my alma mater, North Central College, and across the street from established downtown staple (and college hangout) The Lantern. An L-shaped black marble-topped bar welcomes brew hounds to this veritable sportsbar (with TV’s at all corners). Classical wood columns and pristine oak furnishings adorn the red brick interior while windowed doors lead to the umbrella-laden front deck. A rear dining area suits families and private parties.

On a hot Saturday afternoon in mid-July 2014, a few of my long-time college pals join me at a table near the side entrance to drain a few local suds emulating from the 16 available tap handles.  Happily, Jimmy’s revolving taps included a few previously untried libations (and the coolers were filled with well-selected bottled fare).

Hailing from Chicago, Half Acre Daisy Cutter, the brewers’ flagship offering, brought forth a sharper citric acidity than most pale ales, draping champagne yeast and bark-dried oak atop lemon-peeled grapefruit rind, pineapple, mandarin orange, tangerine and mango illusions.

Even sharper and woodier, Ale Asylum Hop-a-licious loaded resinous pine hop bittering inside floral-bound orange rind, grapefruit, tangerine and peach tones.

A bizarrely concocted collaboration between Colorado-based New Belgium and Indiana-based Three Floyds, Lips Of Faith Gratzer, revived an ancient Polish smoked dark ale style with its oak-smoked wheat, burnt wood char and dry mocha malting overriding wispy cola, walnut, Baker’s chocolate, cocoa powder, black coffee and crisp tobacco notions at the milk-soured lactic finish.


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