- ★★★★ i’m coming back
- $$ (~$20 for beginners class)
- neighborhood: west loop
- street parking // bus
OK, I know you’re all thinking one of two things:
1) This blog is awesome, but I kind of wonder what a dude’s perspective on this stuff would be…
2) Who is the awesome guy who gets to eat all this stuff?
Well isn’t it your lucky day. I’m Matt, and I’m gonna review a couple cool dude-friendly places.
So your blogmaster got me a Groupon several months ago, and we just got around to scheduling it. The deal was, beer-brewing and tasting class for 2. Let the games begin!
We go to the building in West Loop, one of several of their locations, and their newest expansion. We get there, and are immediately are greeted by two enthusiastic employees, who greet us with a couple tasting cups of one of their several tap beers, all brewed on site. Nice touch, and a pretty good Pepper Pale Ale.
The beer-brewing portion was great. I was worried that it would be too much of a “beer is made of hops, malt, and yeast” lecture, but the class started out assuming that people knew the basics already. The only annoying times were when the novices in the group asked dumb questions (I’m so elitist). They had sampling of barley and hops, and conducted an overview of all the equipment.
Then, they step-by-step walked us through the brewing process as we created a batch of beer from a scratch using a pre-made kit. By the end of the process, we had a batch of beer ready for several weeks of fermenting. The main instructor, Larry, was very knowledgeable and shared some insider tips for easier and more effective brewing. You feel really confident that you could do it all again by the end of the class!
During the 60 minutes of waiting time during our beer’s boiling process, they hold a tasting session with several other beers that are brewed on site. To their credit, they do a great job of covering a good range of styles (brown ale, IPA, imperial stout, etc), and they help you identify the different characteristics of what you’re drinking. It’s a good segment, but can be ruined by annoying people in the group (woman who described mouthfeel as “yuck,” for example).
The class concludes with the invitation to return in a month and enjoy the same beer you just brewed on tap, fresh from the keg. They give you two books on home brewing, also a nice touch, in addition to a 20% off coupon for any future home brewing purchases. Really makes you want to get into it!
Overall, I love this place. It’s the kind of joint you can tell is obviously passionate about their craft, and if you’re not careful, you may just quit your job and become a home brewer on the spot. At the very least, check out the store, and talk to the staff – including the on-site brewer, guaranteed to be there during all working hours. Cheers!
3625 N Kedzie Ave
(between Addison St & Waveland Ave)
Chicago, IL 60618