Friday, October 1, 2010

Brewery Review: Rock Bottom Brewery - Chicago IL

My visit here was one of the best brewery experiences I've had. It was the last week of summer and I think I went back 4 times that week. Each time was an equally great experience. I can even say it was there where the original idea for this blog was conceived. It was a great atmosphere to talk and meet people genuinely interested in beer!
Let's get started:

Line Drive - Extremely clear with spicy hit at the nose, clean and crisp. A typical flagship ale I suppose for the masses
Walleye Wheat - Cloudy orange with a splash of citrus aroma. Tastes zesty with undertones of yeast and orange peel with a follow-up of warm sweetness
Chicago Gold - Clear amber that has a grassy bitterness @ the finish but apparent caramel/pale malt sweetness.
Erik the Red - Strong grapefruit/toffee aroma that is equally paralleled and reinforced by the taste. Finishes IPA like. But more crisp and clean. Similar to the Bavarian at Schult'z in AU. Fruity esters make an appearance.
Terminal Stout - Immediate coffee roastiness to the aroma. Amazingly warm and creamy (I could drink it going to bed!). Dark tan head and a bite of burnt flavor
Wooly Bear IPA - Fruity aroma of dark roasted fruit and a bit of forestiness as well. Dark orange haze, same color as the wheat but has an incredible/strongest grapefruit flavor to it that I have ever experienced.
Smoked Helles - Nothing else describes it better than SMOKE. From wood chips, this clear yellow beer has a foamed head. Basically line drive with smoke flavor throughout.
FEAR! El Chupacabra - Dark Red hue with white foam head. Extremely sweet, the yeast must be of Belgian origin. Hints of raisins/dates and figs.
7-month Aged Woodford Reserve Barrel Stout - Jet black in color with a heard dark tan head. Bourbon oak aroma that stings the nostrils. Similar to a port, and thick like syrup. Actually a stellar barrel aged beer from what I've tried. Tacky, but just enough. Very boozy. Chocolate at the tip of the tongue that follows a caramel/syrup mid taste. Finishes with the hot taste of alcohol
Cask Conditioned Red - Served warm with a nutty floral Ester flavor with hints of raisins. Slightly buttery. Little to no carbonation. sweet and caramel mid taste. Seems less flavorful than the plain Erik the Red.
Saison - Light and citrusy but little complexity. Short lived head, and hazy straw color.

A spectacular experience. I was able to meet the assistant brewer, who paid for my tasting and gave me a membership to the Mug Club. I attended the tapping of the Saison on 8/19/10 of which I met Jim who persuaded me to begin the blog. I never got to try the food, but the beer was exceptional! even for a chain brewery. Rock Bottom helps me get over my stereotype that chain brewery's aren't worth the visit. This one totally was! I learned a great deal about my tastes and preferences from this experience and perhaps will be back in November for a Re-Review.
Check them out:

Brewery Experience: 47/50
------------------------------------------VISIT 2--------------------------------------------
I made it back here on Tuesday November 9th during my personal 15 mile walk/brewery tour around Chicago. I was served by Ben the bartender who did a great job assisting my beer needs that day.
To continue the list, this is what else I had the opportunity to try:

15th Anniversary Ale - Rubied color with robust foamy off-white head. Clear, but dark. Smells boozy. Sweet, but a sour touch alongside a caramel malt flavor. Lightly carbonated. Cardamon apparent.
Czech Mate Pilsner - Clear and golden. Thin filmed white head. Sweet and semi-fruity, yet pungent and crisp. Carbonation bites the tip of the tongue, but finishes dry and clean with a fantastic combination of sweetness and hops. Ends gloriously spicy. A stellar Pilsner I could drink daily.
Fallen Angel Abbey Ale - Cloudy with a partially honey'd colored red tint. Minimal head. Aromatic phenols hit the nose, complemented with a very spicy alcoholic finish. Malt flavor is somewhat subtle and with a candied taste. Body is thick.
Barrel Aged Dry Red Ale - Turbid amber. No head. Caramel taste but with a stale finish that I'm not quite a fan of. Uncarbonated and hot.
Imperial Red Cask Conditioned - Red amber brown. No head and completely turbid. Very rich flavoring with a sweet caramel malt to balance the hot finish (9-11%?) that approaches a semi-port status, yet still entirely drinkable. A vast complex array of flavor, from woody nut to fruity phenols, this is one worth keeping on the menu.

Following this visit, I made my way to the Trader Joe's to pick up some bread to snack on, sober up, and cleanse my palate during my long walk to the next stop at Goose Island.

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