Here’s a beer that I bought myself, just so I could try it, and maybe write about it.
Back in 2015, Headquarters Beercade had a series of #BrewAndA interviews through Twitter, with various brewers and beer media people. In my interview, I discussed what parts of the Chicago metro still needed a new brewer, and I noted that Joliet may be the biggest city in the US with no local beermakers. Happy to say I had also mentioned Hyde Park as a brewery. I’m happy to say that since then, both Elder Brewing and MyGrain Brewing Co. have opened right downtown. I had also mentioned that Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood was something of a brewery desert, too. Jolly Pumpkin kind of filled that niche, but they’ve been “temporarily closed,” doing carryout food and beer, since COVID came down.
To the matter at hand: MyGrain Brewing makes its home at 50 E. Jefferson St., in a building that was once part of Joliet’s Union Station. It’s also just down the street from DuPage Medical Group Field, where the minor league Joliet Jailbirds play baseball. My observation, accurate or nit, is that Joliet does not try to hide its history with some of the toughest prisons in the state, if mot the country. Both the Old Joliet Prison and Stateville Prison have closed down, but found new life as haunted house attractions. And so it should be noted that when the Northern League Joliet Jackhammers were bought out, the new management renamed the team the Slammers, with a jailbird as their mascot. Now some residents may not care for this association, the same way many Chicagoans are tired of hearing about Al Capone. But this one of the great baseball team names, along with the Florence, KY Y’Alls, the Rocket City Trash Pandas, the former Las Vegas 51s, and the Albuquerque Isotopes.
Well, I’m doing a lot of buildup for a beer that’s really the only one by MyGrain that exemplifies this attitude: Stateville Stout. It’s a slightly stronger stout, at 7.4%, described on the web page as “A sweeter addition to our lineup, Stateville Stout is brewed with Dutch chocolate malts and just a touch of hops, then finished off with Lactose to give it that extra kick of sweetness. Who says a trip up to Stateville has to be bitter?”
And yes, the introduction to this review runs longer than the review itself possibly could. Sometimes I have an idea in my head that I just need to get out.
Well, poured into an English style glass, I got pretty close to a Guinness-style cascade. Nice brown bubbles then feed a puffy head. The chocolate is kind of light on the nose.
The glass just invited me to slurp through the foam and start tasting. Malts are there, but not overdone. No excess roastiness. That lets it offer that Dutch chocolate impression. Just a nice, dark beer with a well-done note of cocoa and sweetness from lactose.
This beer is in limited distribution if you can’t make it to MyGrain. I found a 4-pack at the Meijer store just over the county line in Bolingbrook. But once I get a hold of more of MyGrains brews, I just might add them here.