I had decided early on that I would attempt to write a brief review of each brewery but also was cognizant that, by taking extensive notes on each beer I drank in the traditional format of the brew reviews featured on this blog, I wouldn’t be truly experiencing all of what the brewery had to offer.
So rather than provide reviews of each brew I tried while in the Windy City’s breweries, I’ve utilized a less conventional method of providing a more general summary of the overall experience at each brewery. Whenever possible, I have provided my three favorite beers but, in this case, you won’t be able to find them at your local liquor stores. If you haven’t read Part I of this series (and you totally should), check it out and read what I had to say about our magical trip to Lagunitas Brewing Company.
Before taking our trip, I happened to spend an evening researching which breweries we should check out. A few friends suggested breweries such as Goose Island, Off Color, and Atlas Brewing. But consistently through my own reading, my friends recommendations, and local suggestion, I kept hearing that we should absolutely make the trek to Revolution Brewing. So with a full Saturday in Chicago in front of us and no real plans other than to explore the city, Aly and I decided to grab some brunch at Chicago Diner (who serve an all vegetarian menu and is totally amazing) and to simply explore what Milwaukee Avenue had to offer us.
After some confusion about a parking spot I purchased earlier in the day and a long Uber ride several miles away, we got to Chicago Diner and realized that Revolution Brewing was next door. So after some delicious food, we popped in next door and had a few drinks.
I could not believe how busy they were at 1 PM on a Saturday and thought that it might be a good sign that they offered a high quality product. When we walked in, we were told that it was standing room only and that there would be a wait if we wanted a table in their dining room.
At first, we thought this meant that we would have to wait but the hostess, after asking if we were only here to drink, directed us to a set of stairs that lead into a large upper level bar decorated with old whiskey barrels. The decor was kitschy and had this old-school-saloon feel to it so, needless to say, we were immediately impressed. We sat down at a table near the window that overlooked the busy, bustling street below and poured through the beer menu as we watched a few more people make there way upstairs. There is no way I had anticipated the brewery’s insane amount of offerings.
I had meant to take a menu with me or at least snap a picture of everything they had available. Based on my poor memory, I’m fairly certain they had at least 15 different beers to choose from and absolutely no tap space dedicated to guest taps. So Aly and I studied the menu, determined it was probably best to get a flight to share like we did at Lagunitas, and settled on five beers that ran the gamut of what the brewery had to offer.
From left to right is Bottoms-Up Wit, 69 RPM Lager, Eugene (Porter), Rise (American Stout), and Mad Cow (Milk Stout). Every beer was pretty impressive. Aly seemed to gravitate towards sips of the Bottoms-Up and Mad Cow. Where I couldn’t seem to put down the glass of both Rise and Mad Cow. Both Mad Cow and 69 RPM were brewery exclusive small batches so don’t expect to find those around town. I’m hoping that they realize they have a good thing going with these brews as both were incredibly solid. The Mad Cow had sweet notes of vanilla and chocolate that was finely balanced with roasted coffee. 69 RPM was a crisp, refreshing session beer that was satisfying in its “simply beer” flavor.
If you have access to their beers at your local liquor store, I definitely can’t help but recommend the Bottoms-Up Wit and Eugene. The former is a citrus and floral example of the wheat beer style that was delightfully refreshing even on a cold winter day. The latter is a chocolately porter with hints of vanilla that takes a “no frills” approach to the style. I caution against the Rise American Stout for those expecting a rich, thick beer. Revolution makes this one hoppy and is more reminiscent of a West Coast Stout style rather than your traditional stout flavor profile.
Revolution’s kitschy decor, long list of great beer offerings, and unique classic architecture makes it easily a place you absolutely need to stop in and have a beer if you find yourself in the Chicago area. I’d like to come back to the brewery during a different season to see what sort other beers their brewers cook up during warmer months. Revolution, if you are reading this, please work on getting your stuff distributed in Fort Wayne. I would have loved to have a Mad Cow while I wrote this review.
A Quick Side Note
While in Chicago, Aly and I also made our way to Goose Island. I would have loved to have a Brew Review for their excellent brewery that served some of the best food we had in Chicago but, by the time we finally made it there, I wasn’t feeling much like drinking, had a long drive home ahead of us, and was so cold from our walk down Milwaukee Avenue, I just didn’t feel up to it.
For now, please enjoy the above photo and plan on seeing a review of their brewery in the not-so-distant future.