A Revolution is Brewing

April 08 2010 - 11:56 AM

RevolutionI would contend that Chicago has some of the most intelligent, passionate lovers of craft brews around. Lately it seems there has been an influx of headlining brewers making their mark in the windy city – Revolution, Half Acre, Metropolitan, Two Brothers, and most recently and with great fanfare, Stone Brewery. According to Stone’s twitter feed, Chicago became its fifth largest market… after only a week. Bonkers. Yeah. Chicagoans love a good beer.

I’ll be honest, I have not had the opportunity to try out some of the goods from all of the above, but I did make a Sunday mid-afternoon journey to Logan Square to visit Revolution Brewery (2323 North Milwaukee Ave).

The place exudes class, warmth, and passion for both their food and beer. A lot of brew pubs display their tanks right up front – sometimes an indicator of misplaced priorities. If there is serious brewing going on – and I mean, the messy, hot, smelly pour-your-heart-and-soul into it brewing – those suckers are going to be in a place where they’ll actually be used.

Revolution has theirs in the back with windows for curious diners to look through, but where crafting is actually going on by head brewer, Jim Cibak.

Cody, a fellow crafty, and I had an hour wait, which at first seemed strange on a cold Sunday at 2pm, but after eating, I totally understand why. Expecting that they might be the cat’s pajamas, they made the waiting area very welcoming to hungry guests with reclaimed barrels to plop down a pint and quick service at the bar. Bacon Popcorn

I started with a Bottom Up Belgian Wit, a crisper and less-sweet version of the more familiar Blue Moon, which I appreciated. By the end of the meal, we’d collectively tried four of the five beers on tap (they were out of Cross of Gold, their golden ale). The Iron Fist Pale Ale was another favorite, but all of the beers had their charm.

Their menu is surprisingly large, but peppered with some favorites with new twists. My favorite? Bacon fat popcorn.

It tastes like how I would imagine biting into a bald eagle would taste. Like freedom. Freedom from the shackles of sensible eating.
For the main attraction, an old standby done right – a pulled-pork barbeque sammy, North Carolina style with mustard-based sauce and topped with honey-jalapeno slaw.

Pizza Tremendous. Again, I think a picture does it more justice than I can muster.
We also tried a hearth-baked duck confit pizza with pistachios and dollops of ricotta cheese. The pizza itself was as beautifully presented as the other dishes, but I found the combination of strong flavors to be a little off-putting. You end up tasting only one ingredient at a time depending on what you bite into.

Overall, kudos to Revolution. Their beer repertoire is growing all the time and I think Jim’s 15 years of expertise will cement Revolution Brewery in Chicago’s growing microbrew market.

Here are some recently released and upcoming Revolution beers to look out for:

4/5 – Debuting our Semadhi Double IPA
4/6 – Re-releasing Eugene Porter
4/7 – Re-releasing Coup d'Etat Saison
4/8 Unveiling Bad Man Old Rye Ale

– written with Cody Wells