There was plenty of night remaining as we departed from Two Brothers Roundhouse. I’d asked Adrian to bring us to his favorite brewery in the area, one that reminded him the most of his time in Colorado. He explained that they weren’t spoiled for choice here in the outskirts of Chicago, but he had a place in mind. After squirreling around a nightmare of suburban boulevards we tucked into an industrial area and arrived at Solemn Oath Brewery.
I knew Solemn Oath was different the moment I saw it. A tiny patio with string lights flanked a white garage door baring their logo and music spilled into the parking lot muted only by the concrete walls of their taproom. It was a Friday night and the place was packed. Aside from the bar it was standing room only, with a couple of barrels and rails to stand next to. I was the last to enter but quickly spotted my friends trying to squirm their way to order a beer. Next thing I knew, a beer was thrust into my hands.
With an Old Faithorn in tow I gazed over a half wall and was greeted by glistening conical fermenters and a handful of barrels. This is the kind of place I really enjoy. You feel like you’re in the thick of the production, but the taproom has enough small details to take on its own character. It feels like a place that’s grown incrementally over time, not one that was designed and implemented. If that’s not the case, then the designers did an excellent job!
The decor is pretty simple. Concrete floor, concrete walls, and a small wooden bar with a couple of chairs. One neat detail is their “Beer for Friends” list. There are two black boards on the rear wall with a collection of colorful chalk names. It allows you to buy a beer for someone that will be visiting at a later date. Each line is numbered and has the buyer and the recipient. It’s a concept I’ve seen before but not at this scale, and it fits right in. We stood at the rail right beneath one of these boards and spent time spotting some of the more childish nicknames.
The Old Faithorn was a solid pale ale, well balanced, and clean. I tasted a couple of the others’ beers but the one I finished with was off the charts good. It’s fairly common that after a night of drinking the last beer is my favorite, but this one I’ll stand by. The brew of choice was named Beverage of Champions: Rock & Rye. It was a barrel aged milk stout with sweet orange peel, coffee, cherry, and vanilla. It had a crazy aroma with a phenomenal flavor. Wonderfully complex. Again, last beer of the night.
Most of the taproom was great, but there were a couple of things I’d change. The music was extremely loud. We had a hard time talking to our friends and I was glad we were able to catch up in a quieter setting previously. I realize it was a Friday night, so I would recommend coming during the day if that is something that concerns you. They also didn’t provide any non-alcoholic drinks. This is normally not on my radar, but we’d just learned my wife was pregnant and this was particularly top of mind. Not a huge deal, but this is usually something we see offered.
I really enjoyed the short time we spent in the taproom and if I was in the area I would definitely return. It was intimate while having an industrial feel, and the beer was quite good. If you’re looking for a stop in suburban Chicago, then look no further than Solemn Oath.