Flossmoor Brewery

September 16 2009 - 9:33 PM

In the mood for some quality craft beers? Itching to get out of the city for the day? In search of hoppy times, I recently took a trip to Flossmoor Brewery for a summer diversion.

Flossmoor Brewery is set in idyllic downtown Flossmoor, an easy 45-minute Metra ride from the loop. If you go over the weekend, the weekend Metra pass will set you back a mere $5. Once you arrive in Flossmoor, the brewpub is immediately adjacent to the station, marked by its distinctive train station decor. Behind the main restaurant is the Old Caboose Ice Cream Shoppe, a charming ice cream parlor built in an authentic caboose car, perfect for your (inner) child.

We started off with the meal with an appetizer of fried green beans, battered in Zephyr Golden Ale tempura. The coating was crisp and well-seasoned, and the bright burst of green bean flavor inside made me feel like this was semi-healthy. If only all vegetables could taste this good.

The rest of the menu consists of well-executed variations on typical brewpub fare, like burgers, po boys, and fish and chips. Some of the more whimsical options include the Burrito that Ate Flossmoor, Brewyaki chicken, and a cup and a half of soup. I opted for the Philly Flyer cheesesteak tub, the love child of a Philly cheesesteak and a bread bowl. This came with a heaping amount of thinly-sliced beef, peppers, onions and cheese, soaking the bread bowl with juicy goodness. What an ingenious idea, I no longer needed to worry about peppers sliding out the back of my cheesesteak sandwich! The entree came with an option of fries, coleslaw or potato wedges on the side.

Of course, the food wasn't the only reason we had come here. Flossmoor Brewery has won numerous national awards for their craft beers, and we eagerly sampled many of their offerings. I started off with the Gandy Dancer Honey Ale, a light yet flavorful ale with citrus notes that was a refreshing thirstquencher. The Milky Way Stout was also available, with a rich, chocolatey finish as the name suggests. The prices were surprisingly reasonable ($3-4 a pint), especially compared to typical Chicago price points. For good measure, we ordered the full flight of beers on tap, which netted us samples of a dozen beers for $10.99. Among these, crowd pleasers included the saison and the intensely fruity apricot beer.

Flossmoor Brewery gives tours of their on-site brewing operations twice a month, but we had just missed the official tour dates. Instead, we called ahead to ask if we could take an informal tour, and the staff readily agreed. So, after a satisfying meal, we trooped behind a friendly tour guide to the fermentation vats upstairs, where Flossmoor's brewing operations were detailed to us. The room was warm, strikingly small, and filled with the heady smell of hops and yeast. Next, we ventured downstairs to see the beer coolers, where direct lines linked the tanks to taps upstairs. Around the corner, you could see Flossmoor's small-scale bottling operations. This back room was a bit chaotic (our guide jokingly called it the "meth lab"), as it was cramped with boxes, oak barrels and other sundries. But hey, it gets the job done, and seeing the bottling process will certainly add color to my next Flossmoor beer purchase.

Before heading out, we picked up a growler ($18) to take home with us. However, much of the growler may or may not have been consumed on the train ride back (many thanks to Metra's BYOB policies).

Flossmoor Station Restaurant & Brewery
1035 Sterling Ave
Flossmoor, IL
(708) 957-8646