Chicago has an abundance of great breweries. There’s old standby Goose Island, of course, but also Half Acre, Haymarket, Piece, 5 Rabbit… the list goes on. No longer are we forced to drink Schlitz (although we still do on occasion). Recently, I enjoyed a long, lazy, roving afternoon of Revolution Brewing beers. Revolution is on tap at many bars around town, but they have a full restaurant on Milwaukee and a tap room at their brewery on Kedzie. I visited both on a tour that started with a Revolution beer and a bite of food at perhaps the finest corner bar in Chicago, Four Moon Tavern in Roscoe Village.
I should make two things clear at the outset. One is that I was trained as a journalist at Medill, one of the top j-schools in the country, so obviously I am a very polished and professional writer and reporter. Those of you who are old friends of this site are already aware of this. The other is that I am a total lightweight when it comes to drinking. Of course, point two in no way impacted the objectivity and accuracy that point one implies.
From Four Moon, we got on the bus to go to the brewpub. We were all happy at this point, mostly because we knew that for the next few hours we were going to continue drinking many excellent beers and getting shepherded safely around town by people who were not drinking many excellent beers.
During the course of the bus ride, the crew of us (I believe there were about fifteen?) got to know each other. All of us were in couples or small groups of friends, except one strange dude who sat in the corner telling dead baby jokes. There’s one in every crowd.
At the pub, which is beautifully designed, with long wood bars and a warm yet open feel, we were guided upstairs, away from the good, decent, regular patrons. There a friendly bartender poured us sample sizes from Revolution’s awesome taps.
Two of the people in our group came on a beer tour although they don’t drink beer. This is ridiculous, but it meant I got to have two samples. For those of you keeping track, that makes the equivalent of about three beers for your humble reporter, all of which were between 7-10% ABV. I should state that two beers is your humble reporter’s typical limit in one outing, because of the aforementioned lightweightness. Just so we all know where we are.
Speaking of knowing where we are, at some point we realized that the top floor of the brewpub was filling up with normal patrons and that us riffraff were being gathered back onto the bus. As I slumped into my seat and was carried through the dark Chicago streets, I, whose sense of direction never fails, especially in my beloved hometown, had no idea where we were going. After some minutes, the bus stopped. Everybody else got out and went into a warehouse-like building, so I followed. I could not have described to you our location other than with the word “brewery.”
The brewery includes both the actual production and packaging facilities for Revolution as well as a comfy little tasting room with a long bar, couches, shuffleboard, and surprisingly fresh popcorn. It was here I drank my fourth (and favorite) beer and became, as my friend Ben termed me, adorable.
It was in this state that I went on the brewery tour. Marty, one of the Revolution brewers and our tour guide, was both extremely knowledgeable (answering highly detailed questions about ingredients and timings from the crowd, including the chemist/home brewer we brought along) and very skilled at dealing with the dumb, slow drunks that he was talking to. I’d like to retake the tour sometime when I belong more in the former camp than the latter.
When the tour wrapped up, we miraculously found everybody in our group and were secured back on the bus. I remember being squeezed very tight in between somebody I didn’t know and somebody I did. The bus was loud and raucous and there were little glowy LED lights on the inside, and the city was dark and cold outside, and my skull was bundled in a pleasant blanket of fur, and I was laughing too hard at something stupid I’ve forgotten now. In short, it was a wonderful day.