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Revolution Brewing Company – Chicago

March 22, 2010

Brewery: Revolution Brewing Company
Sampler flight / various
Revolution Brewing Company, Logan Square, Chicago
$2-3 per sampler, $5-6 per pint

This is a long-overdue blog, that’s for sure. A couple weeks ago (and a couple weeks after their initial opening), I paid a visit to Chicago’s newest brewery and Logan Square hotspot, Revolution Brewing Company. Hearing stories about extended wait times for a table or a spot at the bar, I opted to take advantage of my odd student schedule and pop in on a Wednesday afternoon for a late lunch. Luckily, I found a mostly quiet restaurant where I could saddle up to the bar and spread my notes and books out among a few sampler glasses of beer. They had already run out of the Iron Fist Pale Ale and the Anti-Hero IPA, so these were the house offerings on this particular afternoon.

Cross of Gold Golden Ale
Not a bad start. A decent crisp bite up front with a respectable portion of hops. It’s got kind of a lager-y finish to it, almost sour. Not bad for the style.

Bottom Up Wit
I’m not big into witbiers, but this one is my favorite that Revolution had to offer on my first trip. The ultra-citrusy nose precedes even more citrus in the taste, to the point that it feels like there’s fruit sliced right in there. Grapefruit and orange are the strongest flavors that come out. Good bit of wheat flavor as well. Nicely done.

Workingman’s Mild
Out of a standard tap, it’s got a good feel, really malty, but hardly any taste in the finish. Seeing me taking notes, the kind bartender offered up a sampler of the Workingman’s Mild out of the cask, which was much better. The cask smoothes the feel even more and somehow rectifies the lack of finish. I’d order it again on cask.

Willie Wee Heavy
For a wee heavy, there’s not a whole lot of sweetness going on. The taste is intriguing; it’s malt-heavy and carries an oaky flavor reminiscent of some bourbon-barrel aged beers. The oak taste lingers on the tongue long after. Not bad at all, although very different from most wee heavies I’ve tasted.

Eugene Porter
Deep brown with a really thin tan head, the smell is the best part: rich and smoky. By this point I had let it warm a good bit, hoping to bring the flavors out. The deep smokiness, however, is overshadowed by the fact that this beer feels way too thin.

The second time I visited Revolution was a weekday evening, complete with a long-ish wait for a table, but allowing me to experience the atmosphere – and a full pint – firsthand.

Iron Fist Pale Ale
This time around, I was able to secure a pint of their flagship Iron Fist Pale Ale. Iron Fist definitely speaks to the style, crisp and hoppy with some decent malt characteristics too. Nothing completely outrageous or differentiating from other pale ales, but a very solid offering I’d order again.

On to the food. Look. If they’re served with ketchup and there are no Belgians on tap, they’re not called ‘frites’. They’re fries.

I’ve tried two main entrees here: the tempeh reuben and margherita pizza. Neither was impressive, but I’ll save the details for a Yelp review. I’ll likely keep trying, but they’ve got work to do on the cuisine.

As for an overall impression on the beer: it’s a good start. They’re not there yet, I can say that confidently. But with a humongous following and lots of buzz, at least they should be doing okay financially. I’m interested to experience more of their beers, and they’ve been doing a great job at cranking out new styles. The beer menu today is different than it was last week, which was different from the first week I went in. Their guest taps rotate frequently as well and are equally impressive and varied in style.

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