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Bring On The Revolution

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Rohit Naimpally

Pol Sci, Econ and Cricket geek who loves a good pint

Revolution Brewing Company

Following our favorable first impression of Revolution Brewing Company on opening night, I have been up there on a fair number of occasions (the lady friend in particular is a huge fan). Over the past month or so, Revolution has released the Bottom Up Belgian Wit, Black Power Oatmeal Stout, Willie Wee Heavy and the Coup D'Etat French-style saison....fine brews all. Honorable mention should also be made of the Fist of Gold: I caught a taste of the second batch right after it was tapped and found it to be nicer than the first (the freshness may have had something to do with it)- it had a distinct mango-flavor going on that gave the beer a new dimension.
Revolution's ability to make beers that stay true to style is perhaps the thing that draws me to them most. Given my experience with their brews to date, I have come to expect a saison when I ask for a saison, an oatmeal stout when I ask for an oatmeal stout. While innovation and quirky twists are fun (and have their own place in the beer world), there is a lot to be said for a classic brew that conforms to style. Of course, this is not to say that the beers are boring; far from it. Rather, at this early stage in its life, Revolution has already managed to churn out a steady stream of solid beers that should have beer lovers in Chicago very, very excited.

The Bottom Up Wit was their first post-opening night release, and it bore all the hallmarks of a good witbier: citrussy, refreshing, slightly spicy (w/ coriander and chamomile)...all in a pretty turbid, creamy-golden brew. I expect to getting this much more often as the mercury levels rise.

Rather than go through my impressions of all the beers, I'll just skip right through to my favorite: the Black Power Oatmeal Stout. However, I should mention that both the wee heavy and the saison are (as mentioned above) good examples of their respective styles. The saison in particular, is nicely spicy and peppery and avoids being overly hoppy, a problem that I find in some American saisons. Although the first batch of the wee heavy has tapped out already, the saison was still available as of yesterday.

Returning to the Black Power: the mouthfeel is usually the first thing I look at for an oatmeal stout, searching for that smoothness...and the Black Power does not disappoint. Smooth, with soft carbonation, it goes does nice and easy. As a matter of fact, its silkiness reminded me a bit of the Founders Porter. The beer is quite pretty (deep black, with a creamy tan head), has a nice aroma of roasted malts and yields some rich cocoa in the flavor. I was lucky to catch it on cask as well and found it to be even better- the smoothness gets accentuated. All-in-all, a mighty fine brew that I would love to try again.

Revolution's commitment to cask ales deserves attention, since both of their beers that I have had on cask (the Workingman Mild and the Black Power) have been much the better for the difference. The Mild is a style that is best served on cask as a matter of fact. Between the cask ales, the steady stream of exciting new beers and the great food (which probably deserves a post of its own) and atmosphere, Revolution certainly deserves its recent popularity. Coming close on the heels of Matt's ode to Half Acre, I urge everyone to head up to Revolution as and when you can: brewmaster Jim Cibak has some good stuff coming out of his stables.

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