Welcome to stop #84 on the Brews and Choos project.
Brewery: Tighthead Brewing, 161 N. Archer Ave., Mundelein
Train line: North Central Service, Mundelein
Time from Chicago: 59 minutes
Distance from station: 200 m
Planning to visit the handful of breweries along the North Central Service line presents certain challenges. Metra runs a total of 7 trains in each direction during the work week, but only one in the reverse-commute direction. And until they restored train 105 last December, there was literally no way to get back to Chicago by train.
I spent a few minutes working this out on Friday, however, and managed to visit two of them, starting with Liquid Love in Mundelein. It helped that the brewery is only 200 meters across the parking lot from the train station.
For just $20 I tried six of their brews, though one of them was a free sip of IRIE IPA (7.8%, >100 IBU, pronounced "aye-ree" like they say in the Islands). I mean, my word, 100+ IBUs. OK, I've now had that experience.
For the real tasting, I started with the Comfortably Blonde (4.8%, 20 IBU), a lovely malty beer (bottom right, above) with slight banana and honey notes. Next (top left) was the Chilly Water Pale (4.8%, 40 IBU), a clean, crisp, long-finishing, not-too-hoppy pale. The Bear's Choice APA (6.5%, 75 IBU, top right) brought me back to the higher-hops IPAs of yore, but wasn't over the top. It had a complex, malty body and an clean finish that lingered just the right amount. I finished the official flight with a Boxcar Porter (6%, 40 IBU, bottom left) that had nice, complex chocolate and coffee flavors, and a crisper finish than I expected. I had a few minutes for the train so I finished up with a taster-size Casked Oktoberfest (5.5%, 27 IBU, not pictured), which had a lovely balance and a smooth, malty flavor.
I also met a few happy dogs outside. The brewery has a sprawling outdoor area with tons of trees that would make you forget about being in Middle Suburbistan and easily stranded if you miss your train were it not for the sprawling parking lot surrounding it.
Beer garden? Yes
Dogs OK? Outside only
Televisions? Yes, avoidable
Serves food? No, but food trucks come by
Would hang out with a book? Yes
Would hang out with friends? Yes
Would go back? Yes