Brixie’s Bar and Grill

BrixiesSign

Beer Dogging

We thought everyone knew about this gem, but I guess we were wrong.  Yeah this bar is open until 4am on weekends, but this place is serious about their beer.  In the western suburbs it cracks the top five when it comes to bars that carry rare beer. Make sure to check out all five submissions for Ale to the Burbs this month.


July 13 Ale to the Burbs

Beer Dogging – Brixie’s Bar and Grill – Brookfield
Blah Blah Beer – Heaven on Seven
SubBeerBia – Tuscan Market
Suburban Brew – Warren’s Ale House
Pour Man – Bigby’s 

For the people in the know, Brixie’s Bar and Grill in Brookfield is one of the top suburban places to find great craft beers.  It’s hard to believe that everyone doesn’t know this.  We even questioned whether or not Brixie’s would make for a good write-up for Ale to the Burbs.  After all, what would we tell people?  There is this great place that has really awesome beer that you have already heard of and you don’t need us to tell you about.  To decide if  we should even write this up, I spoke with a few of my friends that are a bit more casual when it comes to beer.  I was amazed at the results.  Not one even knew Brixie’s had such an amazing craft beer selection.  I spoke with a half a dozen of these people, and they all said the same thing.  “Is that the place on Ogden that you go to at 2am when all the other bars close?”  When I told them about the beer, they thought I was joking and started laughing.  At this point I knew for sure that we would be adding this one to Ale to the Burbs.   Brixie’s is a can’t miss beer destination and if you have any interest in beer you need to be going there.

A Good Example of a Brixie's Draft List

A Good Example of a Brixie’s Draft List

The Beer

Thirty two taps pour many different styles of beer from IPA’s to Belgians to Barrel Aged Stouts.  All someone has to do is to take a look at the tap handles and all of your questions will be answered when it comes to quality.  The beer event schedule is always filled with interesting and creative events.  An example of these events would be the Friday High Gravity tapping.  Every Friday, a big beer is tapped.  Sometimes they even do interesting experiments  like infusing beers with flavors like vanilla, coffee, and mint.  It is evident that there is a lot of passion for craft beer going into planning their draft list and beer events.

So many choices.  It was hard to pick just one.

So many choices. It was hard to pick just one.

The Staff

Whenever we walk into a beer bar we usually like to test the staff and give them the opportunity to demonstration their knowledge base.  You would not believe the elite beer destinations in Chicagoland that have servers with zero beer knowledge.  Some can’t even recommend a beer when you give them hints like “I’m looking for a “hoppy” beer.   It’s always nice to walk into Brixie’s, because you don’t even have to look at the draft list.  You can ask the servers for recommendations and feel very confident you are going to get what you are asking for.

The Food

The food here is solid, but I would like to say one thing first.  They have FREE bacon on Mondays until 11pm.  That’s right….bacon.  The menu is mostly comfort foods from the grill and the dishes they serve pair nicely with beer.  There are daily food specials and everything I have ever ordered I have been pleased with.


Overall

Brixie’s is one of the top beer destinations in the Chicago suburbs and it is time to end this secret.  Tell your friends and family, but most importantly make sure you stop by.  For those interested in making a stop to Brixie’s in the near future, make sure to get your tickets to our upcoming Ale to the Burbs Bus Tour with Chicago Brew Bus on August 17th.  To purchase tickets click here.  Also, Beer Dogging Alpha Dog Members will get $1 off of their $10 food purchases at Brixie’s each day.  For member information please visit http://www.beerdogging.com.

Brixie’s Bar and Grill
9526 W. Ogden Ave.
Brookfield, IL

HOURS
Sunday – Thursday: 3pm – 3am
Friday: 1pm – 4am
Saturday: 12pm – 4am
Sunday: 12pm – 3am
Kitchen Hours from Opening time till – 11pm
(708) 387-0050

Urban Legend Brewing Company

Urban Legend Brewing at Standard Market

Urban Legend Brewing at Standard Market

Home brewer Time Hoerman decides to start brewing professionally.  The brewery will be nestle in the south side of Westmont and will feature a small tap room for those who want to grab a beer with some great people.  Make sure to check out all five submissions for Ale to the Burbs this month.

ALE TO THE BURBS JUNE 2013 Articles

Beer Dogging, Urban Legend Brewing, Westmont, IL
For Beer Dogging’s June contribution to Ale to the Burbs, we went with our friends at Urban Legend Brewing.  We have been working with them on a variety of projects and have had a chance to see their work first hand.  They will be opening next month and we are very excited for them.  The address is 1115 Zygmunt Circle, Westmont, IL.  Up until recently, those outside of the craft beer circle didn’t know much of Urban Legend Brewing.  The Beer Dogging team has worked hard to help promote Urban Legend Brewing because we believe in their mission.  When we first approached Ryan Terrell of Suburban Life Media, he had not heard of Urban Legend Brewing either.  Recently they published a nice article about the brewery, and we are happy to say that there is a little buzz in the air.
Nelson Smokes Ginger at Standard Market

Nelson Smokes Ginger at Standard Market

Our Projects with Urban Legend
With the popularity of events like the Chicago Beer Society’s “Day of the Living Ales”,  it was an easy decision to decide that our next project would focus on cask beers.  For those that are unfamiliar with cask beers, they are unpasteurized and are not carbonated in the traditional manner by adding carbon dioxide or nitrogen.  It’s a style that not too many people know much about.  This is very interesting since this is not a new technique for dispensing beer.  It actually has it’s roots embedded deep in history.  The Beer Dogging crew knew we wanted to make a video around the subject that would cover the fans thoughts and other beer industry experts opinions.  However, we also knew that we wanted to brew a beer in a cask.  This was something that we have not done much and we wanted to learn a little bit more about it.   We knew we wanted to involve a local brewer, but how would we decide?
One day we were sitting at Standard Market in Westmont having a few drinks and we happen to meet a guy who was in the middle of trying to open a brewery in Westmont.  Now since most of the Beer Dogging crew is from Westmont, we already knew quite a bit about the plans for the brewery, but we had yet to meet the guy behind it.  This was how we met Tim Hoerman of Urban Legend Brewing Company.  He invited us back to his house to try his beers and we discussed our favorite topic…beer.  It didn’t take long for us to decide that we wanted to involve him in our project.  The collaboration beer we made was called “Nelson Smokes Ginger”.  This beer used smoked and pilsner malts, Nelson hops, and finally made it’s home in a cask with some fresh ginger.  The beer was received well at the release party at Standard Market and we are well on our way to the completion of another successful project.  If you have not seen the trailer for our upcoming cask beer video, here it is.
Why Westmont?
For those that don’t know, Westmont has a very big tradition when it comes to alcohol.  Back during prohibition, many people came to Westmont to get their hands on their favorite illegal beverage.  If you happen to ride the train through Westmont, you still may hear a few shout outs like “Next Stop Whiskey Hill” or “Wetmont”.  Many “Westmontians” are still a bit sensitive about this, but it has never bothered us.  Westmont has actually come a long way since then.  The town is a very friendly middle class town where people still say hello.  It is ideal for a brewery like Urban Legend.  As a resident, Tim understands the town and even has a beer called “God Country” that is shout out to it’s most famous resident, Muddy Waters.  Muddy Waters actually referred to Westmont as God’s country.  It’s the little things like this that are going to help make Urban Legend successful.  Tim also says that the water in Westmont is ideal for brewing his beers which I am not going to disagree with.
Quality of Beer
Now Tim Hoerman has won many medals for his brewing efforts.  If you take a look at the Urban Legend website, you will see at least a half a dozen medals or so.  We have also tasted the beers and brewed with him multiple times.  The guy knows his stuff.  However, the most impressive thing I have heard is from his peers at other breweries.  I have heard at least a dozen times how good Tim is at extracting just the right malt flavor and how great he is at lagering.
Why is Urban Legend Unique?
They are going to make it.  Yes they make good beer, but that might not be enough. At a recent small business event, the Beer Dogging crew had a chance to meet with Jim Koch of Sam Adams and many members of his staff.  There were a few breweries there and it was nice to see a dominant force of the beer industry trying to help out new brewers.  One thing I kept hearing was why are you different?  One Vice President for Sam Adams actually pull out a bottle of Boston Lager and place it front of a new brewer and said how are you going to beat this.  All they could muster up is that they make good beer.  Well we all know how that conversation went and no I’m not going to tell which brewery it was.
Urban Legend is going to be different.  They have a vision.  They are going to have a little tasting room onsite and customers will be able to purchase 1/6 barrels out of the Westmont location.  How will you know what beer is being served?  Urban Legend will actually have flags flying that will indicate what beers will be available.  There will be a white flag for pilsner, a red for amber, and so on and so forth.  The flags will be visible from 63rd Street, so you won’t even have to turn into the industrial area to see whats on tap.  This brewery’s best asset is their people skills.  Sit down with Tim and the other guys from Urban Legend and you will see right away why they are going to make it.  People of craft beer just don’t want to drink.  They want to drink with others who are passionate about beer.  They want to be able to walk into a brewery and speak with the brewers and feel like they are a part of something.  Urban Legend will bring that to the community.  We wish them good luck and hopefully you will all get to sample more of our collaborations we do with them.

Standard Market

Stadard Market has really added something to the Westmont community.  This is the relaxed atmosphere you go to after a hard day of work.  Their people are very knowledgeable and there is a lot that can be learned from their staff from beer knowledge to pairing foods to wine even.  Make sure to check out all five submissions for Ale to the Burbs this month.
The Blogs of “Ale to the Burbs”

SMFront

In recent years, many of us on the craft beer hunt have come to realize that grocery stores can be our best friend.  The prices are usually good and they can have a pretty good selection of bottles.  So where does Standard Market fit into all of this?  Not only are they a grocery store, but they are part of of the food movement.  They make food interesting and tempt you at every turn.  As you enter into the store, you know you are someplace special.  The food is so special that if makes me forget the main reason I love this place…the beer.  Once in the store, you head back to the liquor department and to your delight you see a large selection of craft beer and wine.

SMLiquor

This alone is enough to satisfy the needs of most craft beer fans, but there is more.  They actually have about a dozen beers on tap at any given time.  There is a little bar area to sit at that is very popular.  It is so popular that they are currently expanding the seating area.   Eric Kobus, their beer manager, does a great job organizing events and educating his staff on the current craft beer market.  I always like to test people when I go into a place by asking questions.  You would be surprised how many top tier craft beer bars have servers that are not up to quality.  However, on every occasion, the Standard Market staff passed the test.  They also provide weekly events and classes to beer enthusiasts.  Their “Beer 101″ course is quite popular and really does a good job of examining different beer styles.

Cask2

Recently, we had the release of our Nelson Smokes Ginger collaboration cask beer with Urban Legend Brewing at Standard Market.  One of the best things about beer blogging is having the ability to work with the brewers close up.  We have been brewing for many years and were excited to do our first collaboration.  We thought long and hard about where to have this release and Standard Market was at the top of our list.  They did a great job hosting the event and created a great atmosphere for our followers.  The Standard Market employees really took an interest and wanted to learn about the collaboration.

The environment for tasting is really relaxed.  It’s much different than being at a bar.  It is very social and also educational.  Every time I sit down for a beer I meet someone new.  Another perk is that you can select any bomber of beer in the store and have it opened for you right there to drink.  Many of these beers would cost twice as much at a bar.  It’s a deal you just can’t beat.

Pipeworksstuff

Yesterday we had our Suburban Brewing Trolley tour that started at Standard Market’s Drink Local Chicago Event.  The event featured beers from Pipeworks Brewing Company, 5 Rabbit Cerveceria, Flesk Brewing Company, Church Street Brewing Company, Lake Effect Brewing Company, One Trick Pony Brewery, Two Brothers Brewing, Urban Legend Brewing, and Spiteful Brewing.

Tbone-HassSM

The event was held outside in front and the weather was beautiful.  You couldn’t ask for a better day.  The turn out was good and there were many great beers on hand.  There was also quite a bit of teaching and discussions from the breweries that attended.  I overheard discussions on lagering, secondary fermentation, and even bottle art.  An amazing day in beer.  Why would expect anything less when I go to Standard Market.  We try to get there once a week so make sure to stop by and say hello.

Standard Market
333 East Ogden Avenue
Westmont, Illinois 60559 630 366 7030
Open Daily: Coffee 7am–5pm
Market 8am–9pm
Grill 11am–9pm (8am–9pm on weekends)

Cigars and Stripes


You will never forget the first time you walk into Cigars and Stripes. It is truly the most unique craft beer experience and life experience you will ever have.  It is the itch you just have to scratch.  There is really no other way to say it.  Make sure to check out all five submissions for Ale to the Burbs this month.

ALE TO THE BURBS – BLOGS

Cigars and Stripes – Berwyn, Illinois – BeerDogging.com

Jackson Avenue Pub – Naperville, Illinois – BlahBlahBeer.com

Horse Thief Hollow Brewing – Beverly, Illinois – PourManBeer.com

The House Pub – St. Charles, Illinois – SubBeerBia.net

The Bavarian Lodge – Lisle, Illinois – SuburbanBrew.com

Beer Dogging Cigars and Stripes

Cigars and Stripes

Cigars and Stripes

You will never forget the first time you walk into Cigars and Stripes.  I remember my first time.  I walked into the bar with the Beer Dogging crew and we found ourselves in the middle of a cigar store.  Well, we like cigars, so we thought it was actually pretty cool.  Right about that time you are confronted with a couple of monsters.

Decor at Cigars and Stripes

Wow.  Okay, where am I now?  Where is the beer and this food we heard about?  You try to collect yourself to figure out this place, but it has your mind spinning.  We see the bar and head over to sit down.  Now I see pictures of wrestlers on the wall.  Before I have a chance to process, I see the guy in the wrestling pictures walking toward me.  He says “Hi I’m Ronnie”.  He welcomes me to his place and gives me the rundown.  We talk about beer and his passion for smoking meats.  At this point, I’m sold.  Now Beer+Meat=Winning.  But Beer+Meat+Cigars+Monsters+Wrestling=Winning in Style. Not to mention the fact that this guy has to be one of the most friendly bar owners I have seen.  The whole time I’m thinking to myself that this guy really takes care of his customers.   So we order some wings and beers and really try to soak this place in.  There are about a dozen taps and all are quality.  We even noticed a few rare beers that we had been looking for.  I thought to myself, why don’t I know about this place?  There was no line and no fuss.  We were able to drink our fill of these rare beauties.

Cigars and Stripes Wings

Our food (meat) arrived shortly and I’m just about to dig in when Ronnie comes by to discuss his hot sauces.  I failed to notice earlier all of the hot sauces for sale.  Is there anything this guy doesn’t do?  He tells us that these are his own sauces and to be very careful with them: particularly one of them because it is very hot.  It says on the bottle to put a drop or two on your food.  So what do I do?  I smother my wings in the hottest one.  It’s kind of like telling a little kid not to touch the hot stove.  They are going to do it anyway.  It was delicious, but man he wasn’t kidding about the sauce.  It was intense and I began to sweat.  I think I went through at least a dozen napkins and about 4 glasses of water.  The experience was intense, and the wings were outstanding.  After I was done, I went to the bathroom to wash my hands and clean up a bit.  Don’t worry, I made sure to wash my hands before and after :)  Just like many others on their first trip here, I couldn’t figure out how to turn the bathroom light on.  Sorry, I’m not giving this away.  You have to walk down that road yourself.  Having been there many times now, I have figured this out.  It always makes me feel a bit better about myself each time I see someone else who can’t figure this out either.  I returned from the bathroom, and crew couldn’t get over how great the wings were.  Now Ronnie comes up to us and asks us if we want some pork sandwiches?  In complete unison, the 8 voices of the Beer Dogging crew answered “Yes!”.  Before we knew it, we had 8 sandwiches in front of us.  They were amazing.  The meat was tender and the smoke really came through.  Well after that, a few of us needed some fresh air to compose ourselves.  We headed out back and on our way saw yet another creepy statue.  By now we are not even phased.  We are feeling like we are at home and we belong.

Cig2When we got outside, we notice something.  We all had puzzled looks on our faces because it’s just not clicking.  We hear from one of the staff that Ronnie buried an anniversary barrel of Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot.  Smiles came over our faces.  None of us could get over this.  Nobody does things like this.  Who has this much fun at their job?  Not many that’s for sure.

BigFootThere is a lot going on at this place.  There are movies, comedy, Freaktoberfest (look in to this one for sure), great beer, and phenomenal food (as long as your not a vegetarian).  The decor is definitely in the forefront, but the star of the show is Ronnie Lottz.  In most bars, the most used phrase is “can I have a beer”?  At Cigars and Stripes, the thing you hear the most is “where is Ronnie?”  That speaks volumes about a place.  Even in our last visit, T-Bone and I couldn’t get over it.  We must have heard ten people ask for him in an hour or two.  Over the years, we have gotten to know Ronnie pretty good and he is always taking care of us and happy to see us (even the time we showed up a few minutes early and he was sleeping).  When the Beer Dogging crew was asked to be a part of the Ale to the Burbs project, we knew right where we were going to start.  There was never a question.  If you are looking for great beer, great BBQ, and great people, your journey in the suburbs begins at Cigars and Stripes.

Don