Posted by Beer | Posted on 06-27-2012| Posted in
While this is normally a wine blog, it’s impossible to ignore the momentum of America’s craft beer movement.
Here in Chicago, we’ve seen a major boom, with new producers and brewpubs opening regularly. One of our brewpubs — Revolution Brewing in Logan Square — recently became a full-fledged commercial producer.
Revolution opened in February of 2010 and I’ve been visiting frequently ever since. Late last month, the company opened a full production facility complete with a tap room, where the owners hope to always serve 12 of their own brews on tap. The facility is massive, clocking in at around 35,000 square feet.
Major brewpubs aren’t new, of course.
Chicago’s “Original Brewpub” is Goose Island’s Clybourn Brewery, which traces its roots to 1988. Piece Brewery and Pizzeria on North Avenue and Haymarket Pub in the West Loop community are two other popular destinations.
While Piece and Goose Island make great beer, neither are completely focused the brewpub experience. Goose Island is often crammed, as it fills up fast. Piece is mainly focused on providing tasty beer to accompany its New Haven-style pizza. Haymarket is closest to Revolution, but it doesn’t give the feel that I want from a brewpub, although I do enjoy going there. While Haymarket gives off more of a sports bar vibe, Revolution wants its customers to focus on the beer. Revolution has TVs, but the sound is usually turned off.
Put simply, Revolution is very much about the beer. The food, while delicious, is secondary. In just two years, Revolution has arguably become Chicago’s top beer destination. It’s one of those places that you need to visit if you fashion yourself a craft beer fan.
This isn’t to say that all the beers are amazing — but almost everything is consistently very good. Indeed, Revolution recently won two gold medals at the 2012 World Beer Cup. The Cross of Gold won gold in the English-Style Summer Ale category, and Rise Up Stout won the American-Style Stout category.
Revolution has a solid stable of 5 beers available all year, another 3 or 4 seasonal brews at any given time, and many short run brews. The brewery doesn’t focus on one specific style — its offerings regularly include German, Belgian, English, and American style beers. Revolution’s “Barrel Aged” program is the highlight of its portfolio. For the most part, these are one-offs — and its been fascinating to see how wine, bourbon, and whiskey barrels influence a beer. While most of the barrel-aged beers have been stouts, Revolution has included Scotch Ales, Barleywines, and Rye beers in the program. All told, Revolution releases about 35 beers annually.
Recently, I had the good fortune of attending the opening party of Revolution’s Brewery. It is an impressive facility — and will surely have a bright future. Below the fold, please find my tasting notes on Revolution’s main stable of beers along with two of its seasonal brews. Read the rest of this entry »