Overall Brewery Experience
If you have read some of my other posts, I tend to shy away from rating beers. The main reason is that there are many different options and everyone enjoys something different. However, I will let you know what I thought it tasted like and whether I would try it again. Of course, you can always comment your opinion for others to enjoy.
The trip started with my wife and I deciding we did not want to experience the Chicago crowds. We had a sitter and a few hours free and just hopped in the car. While checking around for other options, we realized that 3 Floyds was within a quick car ride and off we went.
When you turn off the main road you see a hospital and industrial park. We thought we had gotten lost (happens a lot when I navigate), but at the next corner we saw the brewery… Success!!!
You pull into the parking lot and see the huge distillery (coming soon), the brewery section, and the brewpub. A nicer day and it probably would have looked like a biker bar, but that made it all the more exciting!
Enter the front door of the brewpub and what do I hear? Some hard rock music…so this is getting better by the minute. We are seated and told about the upcoming tours (of which we signed up).
We enjoyed some food and beers before the tour…as an aside, I tend to steer clear of the beers with high hop content so I wasn’t too sure about what I was going to drink. 3 Floyds’ flagship beer, Alpha King, is one that I tried and wasn’t a fan because of the hoppyness. So my mission was clear…find one I liked.
After a few drinks and some food, it was off for a tour… and what a tour it was!!! It was probably the best one I have been on (I have toured many, but this is the first one I have documented for everyone to enjoy). Keep reading for more on the tour… which, if I haven’t already said, was great!
The tour ended and I had to go back to the bar to try out a beer I learned about on the tour (more details below)… let’s just say it sounded better in my head.
Finally, we stopped by the gift shop for the obligatory souvenirs and then it was back to the real world. So thirsty for some more details? Well, keep reading…
Fancy Sounding Food… But It Was Great!
So you read through the menu and are greeted with some descriptions that I don’t see where I normally eat:
- Celery root remoulade – Part of the Smoked Trout Fritter. Not even sure what that is, but I passed for this time
- Bone marrow butter – In the Burger. I was tempted… now I have to go back
- Yellow indian woman beans – Lamb Dopiaza Curry… I don’t even have much to say… never heard of those beans
So the wife went with the Pierogi and I opted for the Fish and Chips. With all the fancy sounding food we went with the more traditional, but we had to start somewhere.
I must say, the food was excellent! I will go back and try some of the rest… but let’s be honest, if you mess up fish and chips then I probably won’t be trying your Burger with bone marrow butter. Next time that is what I am getting.
So, what did we wash down the great food with?
I Knew It Would Be Hoppy – And Didn’t Care
We each had 2 beers with our dinner. Knowing that 3 Floyds has perfected the art of dry-hopping, I fully expected a nice dose of hops. I was not disappointed in that aspect.
So my wife chose to try a Lazersnake (55 IBU) and a Battlepuss (98 IBU). She loved them, but those are her kind of beers. I tasted them, and I swear I had an open mind, but not my kind of drink.
I went with the Gumballhead (35 IBU) and a Deesko (4 IBU). The first is a white-wheat and the second is a Weiss so I figured I would be pretty safe. To me, the Gumballhead was a little more hoppy than I would prefer and the Deesko (as described in the menu) was tart.
So, you would think with that glowing review of how the beers matched my taste I would be done… well, you would be wrong. On the tour we were told that they had made a beer using some experimental hops. Yup, I don’t like a lot of hops in my beer, but you bet I tried it.
After the tour, I had a 5 ounce taster of Barbarossa. The hops were much more earthy than the Citra used in most of their beers. I will say that I am glad I tried it, but I will go back to the Gumballhead when I return.
So the food was great and the beer was exactly as advertised (take that as you will), but the best part of the entire trip was the tour.
A Brewery Tour That Felt Personalized
We finished our meal and paid so we could make the tour on time. Standing outside on a nice spring day just taking in the scenery and atmosphere was relaxing. Then the door opened with our tour guide… Carl.
First we enter with one other couple and Carl hands us safety glasses. Working in manufacturing it was refreshing to see the glasses being handed out… now my flip-flops were another story, but we got to go in anyways.
Carl (and if I don’t mention it enough, try to tour with him) explained about his experiences brewing beer. He had worked in multiple breweries and was extremely knowledgeable. This much was impressive before we even left the entrance. He took us over to the brew kettles where we were able to learn a little more about the hops.
He had asked who home brewed and I was the only person who said yes. From then on, he explained in pretty good detail what each kettle was for. We started moving through the normal tour spots when someone pointed out the stickers on the side of the fermenters… like huge stickers of old-school wrestlers.
Carl, as I quickly learned, is really passionate about beer and the stickers so we walked through the fermenters and into places that didn’t seem like the normal tour route (stepping over hoses was the first clue). He explained what they were measuring, some of what they monitor, and generally pretty good detail of the brewing process.
We finished the tour in the bottling area… and I must say, it was impressive. The bottling line is state-of-the-art and seems like a really worthwhile investment when your brewery starts producing a lot of beer.
So Did It Check The Box?
The wife and I set out on a mission to go to a brewery and we did that… can’t take much credit because it is difficult to try to go to a brewery and miss. Her other requirement was to go where the “hipster” crowd isn’t. As almost 40 year old parents, we define hipster as young people who we cannot easily relate to 🙂
So yes, it 100% checked the box. The atmosphere in the brewpub was fantastic, the food was awesome, and the beer was plentiful. If you are in the Chicago area and want to skip the traffic, I highly recommend heading over to Munster Indiana. For the record, we did leave with a pint glass, sticker, koozie, and 6-pack of Rabbid Rabbit. We have finished the beer and I will soon refill the bottles with some home brewed beer.
If you have ever visited 3 Floyds or enjoy their beers, leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.