When you are surrounded by tens – if not hundreds – of breweries, sometimes it takes a little longer than you’d like to visit them all. Luckily for me, I just got a new job (yay me!) and can take a bit of time over the next couple of weeks to visit some of the places that I’d missed. My first stops were Flossmoor and Tinley Park, both located in the South Suburbs of Chicago. I had the opportunity to interview the new head brewer of Flossmoor Station, Eymard Freire, in a separate entry.
After Flossmoor, I stopped at Hailstorm Brewing Company and The Open Bottle in Tinley Park.
FLOSSMOOR STATION BREWING COMPANY & RESTAURANT (FLOSSMOOR, IL)
FOOD, AMBIANCE & SERVICE - 4/5
A refurbished train station turned restaurant and brewery. It is still connected to the Metra station. There is a full menu of standard pub food.
BEER - 3.5/5
Barrel-Aged Shadow of the Moon Russian Imperial Stout – A complex barrel-aged stout with a strong bourbon nose, vanilla/coconut in the middle, and dark cherries at the end. Everything I look for in a BA stout.
Caramelized Lemon and Rosemary Saison – One of the new head brewer’s newest creations. It has not been released yet. It was still in the tanks but all of the flavors were spot on. Very heavy in rosemary aroma with a subdued lemon aftertaste.
Maquinista DIPA – Very fruity from beginning to end, ranging from mango to citrus to pineapple. A bit heavy on the alcohol taste but that is expected with a beer clocking in at almost 9%.
HAILSTORM BREWING (TINLEY PARK, IL)
FOOD, AMBIANCE & SERVICE - 3/5
Large warehouse with a divider separating the brewing facilities from the taproom. 10-12 beers, all their own and collaborations on tap. You could sit at the bar, one of the small tables, or look at the happenings of the brewery by placing your beer on the divider. No food.
BEER - 3.5/5
Some hits and misses but I would gladly stock at least 3 of the beers in my fridge and be happy to have them.
No Way Gose – (Collaboration with Imperial Oak Brewing). Think of a soured Corona with lime and salt. Now imagine it tasted awesome. If this was canned, it would be a fixture in my fridge during the summer. Refreshing, but the salt made you want to keep on drinking more and more.
Big Beautiful Wheat Hefeweizen - Light flavor all around. Almost tasted like a watered down version of a German Hefe. I probably wouldn’t order this again.
Maibock - Nothing blew me away about its flavor but it also wasn’t particularly unpleasant. Strong biscuit notes were prevalent all throughout the beer.
Prairie Madness Pale Ale - Love the Nelson hop with the base beer. More bitterness than sweetness, but subtle throughout the entire beer except for the pungent hop profile. They use the same ale with a new hop with every edition.
Vlad the Impaler Russian Imperial Stout - Lighter body than many RIS, especially since it is pushing 11% in ABV. Tons of coffee from start to finish. I could imagine cozying up during the winter with this beer and a good book.
Captain Serious #19 American Pale Ale – Named after the captain of the Stanley Cup champs, this pale ale is thick with a piney bitterness and finishes light on the tongue. The perfect beer to cap a championship.
THE OPEN BOTTLE (TINLEY PARK, IL)
BEER - 4.5/5
Combination bottle shop and tap room. A large selection of beers on tap for on-site consumption. I ordered a Marz Community Brewing Co Blueberry Jungle Boogie and browsed the store while drinking my beer. A great selection of Chicago area beers on tap and on the shelves. Many Belgian beers to choose from and one to taste. The sparse shelves remind you of a higher-end department store and not a liquor store but you can tell that the owners have put a lot of time into cultivating a craft beer culture.