Quick Takes: Four Beers at Rotary GroveFest

Quick Takes: Four Beers at Rotary GroveFest

I’ve been letting my regular articles about area beers slide. Mainly because I’ve been compiling some “pages” to focus on each individual brewer. They may show up sometime in the near future.

But a few weekends ago, I ambled to the Downers grove Rotary Summer Festival. They have a Beer Garden which serves the usual BudMiller, but for a few hours on Saturday, they have a mini-craft festival. Taps are put on for local brands distributed by the majors, and other local brewers bring in jockey boxes. At $2 for each 4-ounce sample, it’s a pretty good deal.

And it’s gotten me a chance to “pop the cap” on two more local brewers that I have not been able to sample before. Following are some quick takes, with an introduction to more of our beer-making neighbors.

Half Day Brewing Warrior Paint. This is the brewpub that went in the space formerly held by Flatlanders in Lincolnshire. It was kind of a surprise to find them offering an imperial coffee stout on a hot June weekend. But I figured this would be a decent start, and I could start with this 10.75% abv monster and taper off. In my tiny taster, it showed a deep black body, with a healthy ring of tan foam. Even if this was not the Bourbon barrel-aged version, I still picked up a light coffee, chocolate and bourbon smell. Smooth bourbon stout mouthfeel, but a bit of coffee and roast malt roughness balances it out.

Rotary Grove FestTwo Hound Red Pilsener. This is a new brewpub currently in “soft open” stage in Glen Ellyn. I saw a bearded guy in a THR T-shirt and correctly pegged him as the brewer. After a few pleasantries, he said “go tell ’em Terry sent you,” and sure enough, they set me up with an extra taster. They had a pale ale and Pilsener on tap, so on Terry’s recommendation, I went with the Pilsener. I was pleased to find he had the style fully dialed in already. A golden, familiar beer color in the glass. Just a touch of malt sweetness, mainly on the nose. But also an equal measure of noble hops, perhaps some citra on the side. Nice sparkly bubbles on the back of the tongue, even a note of sodium, but just a tad, to match a Pilsener water profile. Very happy to have found this on a warm day after mowing the lawn (ha!)

Tangled Roots Vermilion River Weiss. All right, I’ve already enjoyed some Tangled Roots, from Oswego. But the other brewers I wanted to catch were already running out. And I still prefer to kick off summer with a German style hefeweizen wheat beer. This one was bright, clove-y, and cloudy of course. Forgoes the banana esters sometimes found in this style, but ends with a note of lemon.

Scorched Earth Foraging Swine. You may notice I tend to swerve around the latest milkshake glitter IPA if there’s less-tended style to try out. This is a smoked beer. Maybe an off choice for the middle of a heat wave, but how often do we find one of these on tap locally? Lovely smoked, dark color. A nose that’s more malty than smoky. A bit of cherry wood to it, and raisin. Not a Bamberg smoked ham, but a retro smoked malt goodie.

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    Mark McDermott

    Writer, trivia maven, fan of many things. I thought to learn all there is to know about beer as a way to stay interested in learning. It is my pleasure to bring Chicago's craft beer scene to you.

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