Welcome to stop #55 on the Brews and Choos project.
Brewery: Greenstar Brewing, 3800 N. Clark St., Chicago
Train line: CTA Red Line, Addison
Time from Chicago: 18 minutes
Distance from station: 800 m
The local organic restaurant pair Uncommon Ground brews organic beer at its Wrigleyville location just a block from Wrigley Field. Since 2011 they've brewed good beer and served it alongside decent food, offering a grown-up alternative to the Kindergarten bars around the ball park.
A couple of friends joined Cassie and me on Friday. They don't usually drink beer, but the server brought us tastes of the Oktoberfest (5.5%) they just tapped. I also had a flight while they had cocktails. We all had food.
I started with the ZCF ("Zero Carbon Footprint") Pilsner (second from right, 5.1%), a flavorful, complex, and malty expression of the style. Next I tried the Certifiable American Pale Ale (right, 4.6%), a light and not-too-hoppy, not-too-fruity malt I'd give to someone just learning to like good beers. Third from right was the Gabba Gabba Haze pale ale (5.5%), bursting with Citra hop fruitiness and a lot of malt, with the wheat and oats providing even more sweetness. I finished on the left with the Spaceship IPA (6.9%), a very fruity Citra bomb that still had a lot of malt in it.
Altogether, I found Head Brewer Brandon Stern's palate a bit too sweet for my taste. All the beers tasted good, and solidly demonstrated their styles, but all of them had more malt than hop in the balance. I would like to have seen a dryer pale or India pale in the mix.
They have an airy and comfortable sidewalk area that extends out into Grace Street just far enough from the children returning from the afternoon's Cubs game.
And while we had dinner, Cassie made a new friend (11-month-old Bluebottle), playing with her for about 90 minutes until we had to leave.
Beer garden? Sidewalk
Dogs OK? Outside
Serves food? Yes, full menu
Would hang out with a book? Yes
Would hang out with friends? Yes
Would go back? Yes