Welcome to stop #81 on the Brews and Choos project.
Brewery: Obscurity Brewing, 113 W. North St., Elburn
Train line: Union Pacific West, Elburn
Time from Chicago: 85 minutes (Zone I)
Distance from station: 1.2 km
Elburn, Ill., is the end of the line for the Union Pacific West line. The station opened in 2006, extending the line past Geneva for the first time since the Chicago & North Western ceased intercity train service in 1971. In fact, when the last C&NW train pulled into Elburn 51 years ago, it stopped right at what is now the Obscurity Brewing Co.
Obscurity opened in the summer of 2020, after I'd already visited Penrose Brewing, at that point the farthest western Brews & Choos stop. They have two notable features: really good BBQ, and lots of honey, which makes sense as they have a sister location just across Main St. that makes mead and honeyed ciders. (Unfortunately, the mead hall only opens after 5pm on Fridays, so I'll have to stop back in Elburn some Saturday or Sunday when the train schedules work out better.)
I ordered a flight of four very different styles and a brisket sandwich. Starting at the top left, I tried the Train with Square Wheels milk stout (5%), a smooth, subtle, chocolatey pour with a clean finish. The American Pilsner (bottom left, 5.2%) would refresh me on a hot day, with its nice balance of malt and hops. The Good Kiss Braggot IPA (top right, 6.5%) had a sweetness I didn't expect and pretty subtle hop notes for an IPA, but I learned that "braggot" means they brewed it with honey. The Launch Juice hazy IPA (bottom right, 6.7%) was my favorite of the four, with nice Citra notes of grapefruit and pear, with a lingering finish and delicious mouthfeel.
I also sampled the Nemesis Cider (not pictured, 5%), which had lots of flavor: honeycrisp apple, pear, and a few other notes, sweet without cloying.
I would go back for the brisket, too.
And I love that they lean into the Metra theme:
Beer garden? Yes
Dogs OK? Outside only
Televisions? Yes, unavoidable
Serves food? Really good BBQ
Would hang out with a book? Yes
Would hang out with friends? Yes
Would go back? Yes
Photo: The Elburn Metra station with its one train waiting to head back to Chicago.