Just when you think you have a handle on all the breweries in Chicago, this terrific brewery unfolds right before your eyes. I stumbled upon it after hitting the Underground Art Market and thrilled that I did. On Tour Brewing, in the West Town neighborhood, recently celebrated its third-year anniversary.
Sunday Funday With Live Music
I chose a swell day to explore and the place was hopping in more ways than one. An incredible Grateful Dead tribute band, Paradise Waits, had the people on their feet and then some. This five-person rock band is energetic and knows how to captivate an audience. I highly recommend checking them out.
I desperately needed to rest my feet for a bit and was able to snag a seat at the bar. I tried hard to contain my excitement while looking at the tap list because there were three barrel-aged beers listed. Fortunately, the brewery offers 5 oz pours because I knew I had to order all three.
Barrel-Aged Winterland (8.5% spiced brown ale) -- "This brown ale was lightly spiced with a touch of cherries, cranberries, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg against a strong malt body. The red wine barrel used to age this beer for 10 months is French oak and provides some spice."
Barrel-Aged Hubbard Street (8% brown ale) -- "Barrel aged for 13 months in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels, our Northern English Brown Ale has moderate malt sweetness with a light caramel character now with a hint of oak, vanilla and whiskey!"
Barrel-Aged Grind (7% coffee stout) -- "Barrel aged for 11 months in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels, then cold steeped with fresh Intelligensia El Diablo coffee beans, our American Coffee Stout highlights the roasted character of the malt, a hint of sweetness from the bourbon and big dark chocolate notes of coffee."
I suspect it's easy to see why I needed all three of these. I did get one more Grind even though I enjoyed them all (the Winterland spice, the Hubbard Street bourbon/barrel flavor, and the coffee kick in Grind).
No worries if you aren't a dark beer lover like myself. There's plenty of other suds available including pale ales, lagers, and IPAs.
What Else Does On Tour Have Up Its Sleeve?
- The spacious, warehouse-style taproom has many seating options from comfy sofas to communal tables. It's the ideal space for all the live music events they host including open areas for dancing if you wish.
- On Tour also likes tacos -- think Spicy Poke Tuna, Hot Buffalo Chicken, and California Kani Salad from Arigato Market. The tacos are available most Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
- Lastly, the staff would be thrilled to give you an intimate tour of the brewery. The tours take place the first and third Saturday of the month, and your tour ticket includes three unique pours and a souvenir glass.
I can't close without mentioning the top-notch staff on board during my visit. A packed and loud taproom can make for a challenging work environment; however, the bartenders were friendly and attentive.