Welcome to stop #18 on the Brews and Choos project.
Distillery: FEW Spirits, 918 Chicago Ave., Evanston, Ill.
Train line: Metra Union Pacific North, Evanston–Main St. (Also CTA Purple Line, Main)
Time from Chicago (Ogilvie): 20 minutes, zone C
Distance from station: 200 m (200 m from CTA)
Disclosure: FEW Spirits has been a contributor to the Apollo Chorus of Chicago for several years. I serve on the Apollo Chorus Board of Directors, and separately as the Chorus's Benefit Committee Chair. I personally solicited FEW's donations on behalf of the Chorus, and because of FEW's generosity, I directed that we will feature their products and branding at our Benefit next month. I also attended law school with founder Paul Hletko. Despite all of this, I have not received anything of value from anyone in exchange for posting this (or any other) review on The Daily Parker.
When FEW's founder Paul Hletko told me years ago he planned to get out of law practice and into distilling, I wished him a lot of success. Wow, did that wish come true.
Paul named his distillery after the 19th-century abolitionist and Evanston resident Frances Elizabeth Willard, whose house just up the road still serves as the headquarters of the Women's Christian Temperance Union. (This history also explains the name of an Evanston brewery that will not be on the Brews and Choos project because of its distance from Metra: Temperance Beer Co.)
The distillery gives tours on weekends and has a tasting room open during the week. They open up on the second Friday of each month from May through September, adding a food truck and a band to the mix.
On a recent Friday evening, I stopped by to the tasting room to get some tastings. The bartender had mixed up a delightful sazerac. She also shared a sample of their limited-edition Alice in Chains Whisky, a 101-proof spirit aged in tequila barrels, which, drunk straight, hits you with pepper and alcohol. The Bloodshot Two-Barrel (just a few bottles left at this writing) came out a bit smoother but still with the peppery notes Paul is fond of. I also recommend the Breakfast Gin, a complex, smooth, juniper-forward gin with a hint of bergamot that makes an excellent martini.
They also have excellent taste in swag. I've got a foursome of their super-sturdy and classic-looking rocks glasses at home, and I routinely give people FEW-branded Cairns glasses.
Beer garden? Alley is open in the summer
Dogs OK? Yes
Serves food? Food truck in summer; BYO year-round
Would hang out with a book? Yes
Would hang out with friends? Yes
Would go back? Yes