When people ask me what my favorite Chicago brewery is, I’m often perplexed, because my favorite isn’t actually in Chicago. Two Brothers Brewing Company’s main brewery is about 30 miles west of the city in Warrenville, Il., very close to the town where I grew up.
The brewing company was started and is still run by brothers Jim and Jason Ebel. They are very proud of the whole family-run thing. They brew a whole family (ha, get it?) of beers and have become a local favorite.
Kid Carboy has mentioned Two Brothers a few times, but I thought I’d put in my two cents… one cent really. Maybe half of one cent. A hay-penny. Here’s my hay-penny.
The Warrenville brewpub has a wonderful restaurant. Seriously, the best fish tacos in the area are made there. The chef is amazing, but gets mad when you try to modify your order. They have a variety of menu items and the servers are quick to suggest a beer pairing with each dish. The place is usually packed and they only take reservations more than 24 hours in advance. I’ve waited more than two hours for a table before, and even though it is worth it in the end, it is much better to have a table ready. Packed is actually an understatement.
Luckily, Two Brothers recently acquired a very large piece of property in Aurora (yes, the same town as Wayne’s World). The place used to be Walter Payton’s Roundhouse — I went there once and it was very large but obviously not busy enough to stay afloat — which made it perfect for Two Brothers, who were bursting at the seams in Warrenville.
Okay, here’s the good part — the beers.
Please excuse my lame reviews. I am in no way a seasoned beer reviewer and I hate using terms like “finish” and “aroma” so I’m just going to tell you straightforwardly what I think:
“Domaine DuPage” is their French Country Ale. It might be my favorite. It’s my go-to beer to pair with dinner because it’s not too heavy. In case you didn’t know, Warrenville is in DuPage County.
“Cane and Ebel” is their Red Rye Ale. I’m a huge fan of Red Ryes and this one is exceptional. It has this sort of creaminess that’s very distinct… This is why I don’t rate/review beers I can’t find the words!
“Prairie Path Ale,” their Golden Ale, I’ve only had once. And I really need to remedy this. From what I remember it was very light and refreshing. It’s also certified gluten-free. The name is a reference to the Illinois Prairie Path that goes through DuPage and a few other bordering counties.
“Ebel’s Weiss” is an unfiltered Hefeweizen. It is very flavorful and has one of my favorite notes: banana. I can’t tell you how much I love banana-y beers. I’ll ad more to this once I have a bottle in front of me.
“The Bitter End” is their year-round American Pale Ale. The name is a very accurate description. And the hop flavor, oh the hop flavor!
“Resistance IPA” is aged in oak foudres, according to the bottles — which I had to look up because I wasn’t quite sure what a “foudre” was. Apparently it’s a “French term for a large cask of indefinite size.” That still didn’t help, but I’m imagining large barrel-ish things made of oak. It’s a very good, kind of citrus-y IPA that I’ve also only had once. Stop with the sighing, I’m a poor graduate student.
“Heavy Handed” is one of their other IPAs. It’s only released in the fall — I think I read something about celebrating the hop harvest. Anyway, it’s different because they use fresh hops. It has this great hoppy, fresh plant-y taste.
“Heavier Handed” is like “Heavy Handed” on crack.
“Hop Juice” is a Doulbe IPA. I don’t think I’ve had the chance to have a full one on my own. But the hops pretty much smack you in the face, and from what I recall, the ABV is higher than the others.
“The Long Haul” is also aged in oak foudres. I’m pretty sure I’ve had this one at least once. But my memory escapes me. I apologize. I’ll come back and update this once I get my hands on a few bottles again.
I plan on drinking “Dog Days,” their summer seasonal lager a.s.a.p. to review it here for you all.
The family of Two Brothers beers are currently only available in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, New York, and Minnesota. I feel bad for you if you live outside of these states because you are missing out on truly wonderful beer-drinking experiences.
Check back for updates. And leave comments if you’ve had any of these and want to chime-in on my terrible attempt at reviewing — Kid Carboy, I’m looking at you.