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 pineapple 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.