On September 26th, Prestige Liquor in Westmont, IL held a tasting event in which three breweries - Pipeworks Brewing (Chicago), Arcade Brewery (Chicago), and Urban Legend Brewing (Westmont) -- and bacon sausage makers, Big Fork (Chicago), attended. This mini-series of blog posts will detail those breweries, the sausage, Prestige Liquor, and the connection between local beer (local craft breweries) and the family owned, neighborhood liquor store.
Part III: Urban Legend Brewing | Part IV: Prestige Liquors
Part III: Urban Legend Brewing
Just as howling northeast winds can push Lake Michigan waters onto Lake Shore Drive, a sea of breweries have overtaken the Chicago area in the last few years. Out of that sea has arisen a creature known as Urban Legend Brewery in Westmont, IL. And it is one of their signature beers -- The Creature -- that pleases the palate of Chicagoans like very few other black IPAs can do and whose label art decorates Urban’s retro van.
One taste of that brew, or any other of their offerings, is sure to draw you into their small, industrial taproom that screams “craft brewery.” Not unlike many craft tap-room pubs, Urban Legend Brewing is adorned with the industrial garage door, colorful chalkboards, and the view of patrons with large stainless steel vats in the background. More importantly, it is the beer pouring from those vats into the belly’s of its thirsty guests that reminds one that they are indeed, in a craft brewery -- and a fine one, at that.
They also host events, live music, and soon...comedy. It’s a little bit “small tap room” and a little bit “entertainment club.”
Craft breweries, of course, often rely on the typical craft brewing mantra -- “drink local,” and “community.” Urban Legend’s location, like nearby Imperial Oak, Hailstorm, and Buckle Down, would never pass a Business 101 test for how to discover a good location for drawing in business. Urban Legend is in an industrial warehouse location behind an expansive school bus parking lot. One can’t find it without first knowing to look for it, or stumbling by it when lost. But, that is the deal here -- the beer is good so it doesn’t matter how flooded the market might be. Good breweries stay afloat and succeed. Who needs a good location when you brew great beer and have your beer mentioned often on Untappd, Instagram, and a plethora of other social media apps?
Part of that, of course, is relying on local community events, such as tap takeovers, festivals, and tastings. It also relies on having local businesses sell beer on tap or in bottles. As this series will focused upon, Urban Legend, along with other breweries and Big Fork Brands’ sausage participated in a tasting event at Westmont’s Prestige Wine & Spirits on September 26th. Prestige is a longtime family owned liquor store that has recently renovated its location to cater to craft brewing, notably Chicago’s very own (I will write about that in full, at the end of this series). Urban Legend bottles are a resident on the shelves of Prestige, and showed up for the event on September 26th. While there, tastings were hit and miss as one might expect -- not everyone is a craft beer geek (I know -- why?). But, in a matter of a few hours, more than a few cases of Urban Legend left the brewery for a good home.
And that is the essence of Craft, isn’t it? Urban needs place like Prestige to sell its product. Prestige needs places like Urban to produce great beer in order to survive. That’s local helping local --- Chicago helping Chicago. When you go to Prestige, you can get to know the workers and introduce yourself. If you go to Urban Legend, you can do the same. You are not just a number in the large conglomerate of “Hard Way, USA.” You are a local, paying customer using the same roads, paying the same taxes, and dealing with the same blizzards as the people providing you your libations.
The best part, the libations offered are fantastic. Some of my favorites include:
Otis - Double IPA
ABV- 9.3% IBU-95
Many DIPAs provide a big hops punch, but only the best can provide that powerful hoppy bitterness while also balancing it with other flavors. In this case, the hoppiness is balanced by malt and a subtle, but consistent, citrus flavoring. It’s great for hop heads, but it’s more than a hoppy beer.
Scylla’s Grasp - Mosaic Pale Ale
Abv- 5.2% IBU- 45
There is something about mosaic hops that provides a truly unique taste, and Urban Legend’s is one of the best around. It earned 2nd place at the 2014 Midwest Brewers Festival.
The Creature - Black IPA
ABV- 8.5% IBU- 85
One of my favorite Black IPAs, if not my absolute favorite. It’s also my favorite Urban Legend brew. It’s robust, has a nice bitter hops taste, and has plenty of pine and earthy notes. For a Black IPA, it is incredibly easy drinking.
And oh by the way, this winter you should look out for Urban Legend Brewing's Cold War Russian Imperial Stout. It’s phenomenal!
Get the latest updates about Chicago's craft beer scene! Type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.