Chicago Brewery, Finch's Hits Tap Rooms

May 03 2011 - 9:34 AM

Every Dark Lord Day weekend, I end up discovering a new beer or brewery to enjoy.  In 2009, I was introduced to Founders thanks to a DLD attendee who kindly acquainted me with Kentucky Breakfast Stout and spread the rumor that their Double Trouble was stellar.  The rest is history.  This year I discovered a new brewery worth noting and, to my surprise, right underneath my nose in Chicago.  Ladies and gentlemen, it's Finch's Beer Company.

I knew Finch's was out there because a friend sent me a link to the brewer's website a few months ago.  Admittedly, I was not impressed by their two beer lineup consisting of a blonde and a pale ale.  It was certainly nothing out of the ordinary although young breweries usually need an accessible product to enter the marketplace. And Chicago is becoming super competitive for craft brewers. 

In pre and post DLD outings, I got to try both of Finch's offerings.  Bangers and Lace featured Finch's Cut Throat Pale Ale on one of its 20 taps emerging from the exposed brick (which is very cool, I add).  Sheffield's has the Golden Wing Blonde Ale.  Both were impressive.  The Pale is rugged and robust with a piney hop profile that approaches IPA territory, with a pale ale's characteristic leanness.  The hops-malt balance is remarkable. 

It took some coaxing to get me to try the Blonde Ale, a beer style I usually find populated with bland offerings.  Not this one.  It is immediately apparent from sip one that you are drinking a different kind of blonde ale.  This beer features a strong hop profile, a pleasant floral aroma, and a satisfying creaminess. I would compare it to a creamier Gumballhead or a less biting version of Lagunitas Sumthin' Sumthin' Ale (which seems to be everywhere now and perhaps is becoming Lagunitas's new signature beer, displacing the IPA). 

Both of these beers are excellent modest alcohol affairs that are perfect for food parings but are interesting enough to try on their own.  They come in cans, an appropriate container for their directness and apparently simple goodness.  The styles may be ordinary, the names may be simple, and they come in a can, but don't be fooled: these beers are far more complex than their names would indicate. 

These are more than worthy of taking up tap slots around Chicago and rival anything from Metropolitan and Half Acre.  Give them a try. 

–Mark Sheppard