Sunday, March 13, 2011

Brewery Review: Emmett's Brewery - Palatine, IL

I don't remember how I came across this brewery online, especially because Palatine is so close to my house, but nevertheless I'm certainly glad I did. During the first week of spring break, Jen and I were all over the West suburbs of Chicago exploring the various Brewpubs and beer bars. She conveniently got a call from her friend who wanted to have lunch with her, so taking the opportunity I suggested we check out Emmett's Brewpub. So, we drove the 45 minutes from Plainfield and met at the enormous establishment for some beer. Spent an hour an a half tasting (well I did anyway) and headed to my house. Only that evening Jen realized she left her purse on the chair, and Jeff drove us back to get it, where we got to experience the Alehouse on a different setting and order "honest pints" of their beer. This is the beer I tried:

Munich Light - Pale golden color with a foam film white head. The look was clear with uniformed rising bubbles. Sweet and malted aroma. Crisp and refreshing. Light Saaz bittered finishing hops. Almost a session lager at 4.0% (if that's possible). Light carbonation.
I Am Ale (English Ale) - Light amber. Crystal clear with a foamed white ring. Aromatic caramel and toasted malt. Taste is candied with a very interesting malt backbone. Sweet and fruit at times, with a finishing spice. Peaches and nectarines predominantly. Surprising. Medium body.
Victory Pale Ale - Pale cloudiness with still visibly rising carbonation fueling a white foam head. Aroma is pineapple and orange. Some grapefruit to taste along with a juicy pined character. Very tropical and fruit (C) hopped. Foamy carbonation and dry finish. Fantastic!
McCarthy Red - Red amber with a cream off white head. Clear and brilliant. Visible carbonation. Spiced and toasted with a finishing hoppy bitterness. Strong lacing. Somewhat estery aroma with mellow caramel foundation and dark fruit. High fizzy carbonation.
Double Barrel Stout - Jet black with an amazingly strong tan foam head. Starting with a roasted malt sweetness then finishes with over roasted grains, and burnt graininess. Warmer and lightly carbonated. Foretaste is mildly sweet. Taster is 10x different than a pint. Pint tastes extremely like a Guinness, while taster is far more complex. Some woodiness.
Pre-prohibition Lager (1871) - Light and crystaled with a sparkling element. Poor head. Looks highly carbonated. Fruitiness runs parallel to the crisp lagered profile. Interesting texture as the creamy bubbliness fizzes as you swallow it. Drying and clean.
Imperial Stout - Pitch black with a well sustained dark tan head. Aroma is chocolaty and sweetly roasted. ABV is very well incorporated into the body and flavor. Strong, but drinkable. Some fruity elements about it.
German Kolsch - White foam ring head. Color is golden and crystal clear exhibiting a brilliant appeal. A lot of pungence to the aroma than the other beers. Sweet and bready with a bit of spice to the finish. Backbone is lemony and exhibits a citrus sweet backbone.
Robust Porter - Very creamy tan head with a layered lacing. Black color. Roasty and sweet to the aroma. Taste is dry and lacking much of a malt base, but still boasting a big flavor. Some sweetness but more bittersweetness from the grains. Touches of coffee in the aroma.

The Brewpub/Ale house is a stand alone building in the center of down town Palatine. It has a generous out door patio with an above ground fire pit for evening sitting. Inside there is a glass "Atrium" like display looking down onto the brewhouse kettle/mash/HLT. To the right is the pub and the left stands a double room dining area. The whole design is modern and industrial in theme. Reminds me of Fountain Head meets suburbs. Overall the place was very accommodating, even in the evening with the night rush. The pub had giant T.V's in the corners to keep the sports fans. Food was quite expensive ( I didn't eat anything), and the Pints were a little as well ($5.00). I especially liked the round copper stand alone sink bowls in the bathroom, adding an authentic touch. The bar was small, yet there was also another in one of the smaller dining rooms. Eric was our knowledgeable server and bartender and did a great job explaining the beer (for instance that unique flavor in the 1 AM ale was Vienna malt, and perhaps some diacytl). I almost got to meet the brewmaster, which would have been nice, but he was in a hurry (thanks for trying Eric). Generally, this Brewpub had some of the best brews I've had consecutively together in one tasting from a brewery. AND I even enjoyed the fact that many of them were lower ABV allowing for a more thorough tasting. Nice work. They bottle most of their regular house beers (I'd totally get their pale beer if you see it) and they do have a good rotation of seasonal, from what I think. I look forward to getting some of their bottle beers up for review the next time I see them. Stay tuned.
Also, their McCarthy Red was in the top 10 for 2010 at Binny's Beverage Depot while I was working there.
They have two other Brewpubs located in West Dundee and Downers Grove.
Check them out:

Brewery Experience: 46/50

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