This past weekend I took a very brief trip to the Chicago area for a good friend’s graduation. My wife and I received a call Friday night informing us that our hotel reservation for the next day in Bolingbrook, Illinois could not be honored because the hotel had an issue with flooding. After re-booking at a hotel in Naperville, and a subsequent search for bottle shops in the area, I discovered (much to my delight) that the Two Brothers Tap House was less than two miles from my room in near-by Warrenville, Illinois.
The Tap House is located in a nondescript, white building tucked away in the corner of an industrial complex off Route 56 in Warrenville. It is easy enough to locate with GPS, but it’s not in a location where you might stumble upon it without looking for it specifically. There are no other bars or restaurants in the immediate area (at least not that I saw), but this is a brewery, so as such I’d say it is appropriately located.
I popped into the Tap House on Saturday night for a beer or two after a very busy day. Two Brothers beer is available locally in Columbus, OH, so I asked the bartender if they had anything exclusive to the Tap House, or any beers that are not widely distributed outside the Chicago area. He suggested the Two Brothers 16th Anniversary Belgium Strong Ale.
In honor of their 16th Anniversary, the goal for this Strong Ale was to reach an ABV of 16%. The bartender (who’s name, saddly, escapes me) explained that, although it’s listed as 16%, it may not actually be that potent. However, the man sitting next to me at the bar (a chef who has worked with the brewery to supply beer to his restaurant) said that the ABV is actually higher than 16%. Either way, suffice it to say that this is a very strong beer.
I won’t go point-by-point on this beer as I normally do because, honestly, I was just more interested in relaxing and enjoying my beer than concentrating on every detail. However, I will say that it was was very big, had lots a great, complex flavors from the malt and a nice hop balance. Also, I was expecting it to be very astringent given the high alcohol content, but there was very little burn at all on the finish. This is a very delicious beer, and if you enjoy Tripels and have a chance you should give it a try.
I also had an Outlaw IPA at the Tap House, but I really don’t have much to say about it. After a 16% beer, I don’t fully trust my taste buds enough to give you a full review. I can say that it was not exactly memorable, and I would likely call it an average IPA. Having said that, I’d like to grab a six pack of it and give it another shot.
I was at the bar late in the evening so I didn’t order any food, but that aside, I really enjoyed the Two Brothers Tap House. It was clean, well decorated, and had nice-sized, lively crowd. The windows into the brewery and the adjacent gift shop are nice touches that let you know this is not an average bar or restaurant. Given the chance, I’d like to go back for a tour the next time I’m in Chicago. If you’ve been to the Two Brothers Tap House, what were your impressions?