In January my wife and I were determined to visit our friends in Cleveland for a birthday party. That’s a significant drive, so we decided to make a pit stop in Chicago to visit my old friend and roommate Adrian. I slipped out of work around lunch, swung home to pick up Samantha, and texted my friend our estimated time of arrival. He was well prepared for our visit and had planned our night accordingly. The first stop was for food and beer at the Two Brothers Brewing Roundhouse.
I generally do my research when I’m visiting breweries outside of Minnesota, but this time I left it completely up to my friend. He’d been living in Colorado for many years and I was banking on his experience to drive a recommendation. Something about Two Brothers rung a bell when he mentioned it but I didn’t put two and two together until I saw their logo. I’ve seen their beer in stores and, while I’ve never tried it myself, I’ve always been curious to give them a taste. There’s just too much local beer to support that it’s hard to branch out sometimes. My friend explained that the brewpub was inside an old roundhouse. It turns (no pun intended) out that trains began with only the ability to move forwards! This creates a bit of a challenge when you want to turn a locomotive around. Even after reverse was added it still made more sense to spin around in a less conventional way. That’s why the roundhouse was invented, and now it provides a stunning location for a brewpub with a truly unique beer garden.
In addition to the restaurant, Two Brothers also has a music venue, banquet space, cafe, and beer bar on premise. They’ve got four other locations each providing their own features and flare. We took a spot at a high top near the bar and I dove into the tap list. No flights, but each beer was available in multiple sizes which included a 2oz taster. As usual I stuck to the tasters to cast a wide net for my taste buds. After our first beers arrived we put in an order for food and began to catch up on old times. I took some brief breaks to walk around the area and took a good look at the surroundings. The location is situated inside a giant wheel. Upon entry there is brewing equipment on your left along with the cafe. On the right is the main restaurant area and if you walk past the bar you’ll spot a giant painting. Art lovers may recognize The Bear Dance by William Holbrook Beard. It gives off a creepy vibe but the bears are just dancing and having a good time, which is what you’d want from your patrons when they’re drinking your beer. The interior stays pretty true to it’s original 1856 building materials; a lot of wood beams and beautiful locally quarried limestone.
The beer was good, but it’s so hard to get a real taste after only 2oz. Most of them came with a little sample card which provided a handy description while drinking. By the time we’d left I’d tried approximately five, and A Bretter Day was the easy standout. It’s their take on the Bière de Garde style, with a bit of a sour tang. It was sweet and creamy with a bit of acid and a lot of depth. Highly sessionable and I wish we would’ve had time for a full pint. The cold temperatures outside really did have me pining for a better day. I don’t have a lot of tasting notes for the others but there were no other standouts or any major negatives.
Our trip to Two Brothers was short but sweet. I’d love to visit in warmer months to sit in their beer garden which is situated in the courtyard of the roundhouse. It would be a stunning location to have a drink. I wouldn’t visit for the food alone, but I’m pretty confident you’ll find some good beer with a great seasonal selection.