History by the Pint
Local breweries tap into the area’s past
In addition to getting your thirst quenched with some truly tasty brews, a visit to some of the area’s more distinctive craft breweries can also yield a new appreciation for local history.
At Two Brothers Brewing Company, you can almost hear the clang of giant hammers pound on iron or smell the coal that once filled this cavernous site. Built in 1856 as the Aurora Roundhouse, it was the nation’s oldest limestone railroad hub, providing the first railway link between Chicago and the Grand Ole Mississippi. Today, you can catch the Metra to Two Brothers Roundhouse, serving up artisan beer and food, with a good belt of live entertainment, too.
Nearby is Naperville’s historic downtown, home to Two Brothers’ Craftsman. The building opened as a bake shop in 1910, but yeast is used in a far different way these days. Expect a bar specializing in craft beers and handmade cocktails, a farm-to-table restaurant, a coffeehouse and a bakery.
Begun in 1836 and completed in 1848, the building of the 96-mile Illinois & Michigan Canal connecting Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River fell largely on the backs of immigrant workers. Many took up residence in Lemont, home to Pollyanna Brewing. A sizable patio overlooks the canal, and patrons can easily see downtown from the bar, where refillable “growlers” (64 oz) and “howlers” (32 oz) of flagship beers hold sway. The view hasn’t changed much since the 1870s.
Back in the day, the noon whistle was the signal to Lombard factory workers to open their lunch pails — or grab a quick beer. Noon Whistle Brewing pays homage with its extensive selection of sessionable (low-alcohol) brews. If you prefer something with more kick, rest assured, Noon Whistle has you covered after work, too.
Oak Park Brewing offers Frank Lloyd Rye, a nod to the famed Prairie School architect and one of the town’s favorite sons. At Westmont’s Myths and Legends Brewing, each bottle tells a story, while Bedford Park’s 5 Rabbit Cervecería draws inspiration for its beers from Latin heritage and Aztec mythology.
For beer aficionados, these local breweries offer a fun opportunity to tap into the historic past, pint by tasty pint.
WHAT’S BREWING IN THE BURBS?
The Red Arrow Tap Room, a new-concept bar and grill that recently opened in downtown Elmhurst, offers 48 self-serve micro brews as well as wines and ciders on tap. See related article on page 55.
Brew and View Feb 8 at 7:30 p.m. At Two Brothers’ Roundhouse, enjoy a beer and the coming-of-age movie Boyhood starring Ellar Coltrane, Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette. Free.
History & Beer Feb 23, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Emmett’s in Downers Grove offers a history lesson along with a few beer samples. $45 ($30 for Downers Grove residents.)
Naperville Ale Fest Feb 25, noon to 4 p.m. at Frontier Park, serving up 130 beers, 15 food trucks and live music. $50 ($20 for designated drivers).
Party on Wayne! Feb 25 at 7:30 p.m. The second installment of Two Brother’s Brew and view features a 25th anniversary showing of Wayne’s World. Arrive early for good seating!
Drink Beer at the Field Museum March 4, 8 p.m. - 11 p.m., 7 p.m. VIP entry) A number of west suburban brewers will be among the 70 pouring beer at this event. There will also be food, music and selected exhibits. $45 ($55 for VIP)Edit Module