Rock Bottom Brewing Company
94 Yorktown Shopping Center
Visited on February 25, 2011
I’ve been hanging on to this review for a while for good reason. While typically a Rock Bottom is pretty much the same as any other Rock Bottom, this Rock Bottom blew all of the others I’ve ever been to out of the water. Everything seemed roughly the same except one important factor – the beer was outstanding. They actually had some high gravity options and some interesting brews. I was most pleasantly surprised.
Hold on to your hats folks, this isn’t your typical Rock Bottom. The venue is typical enough – a giant space with tons of televisions, a certain amount of class, and a whole lot of predictability. Except something is different about this place; there are award banners hanging up everywhere you look. Now, most of them aren’t international or even national contests, but winning Chicago-area beer awards is still pretty impressive given the number of outstanding breweries the windy city enjoys.
Speaking of enjoyment, man was their beer awesome! Most Rock Bottoms – no, all of them that I’ve been to – keep their beers mild and approachable by all customers. But not here, my friend. The two “regular” beers on tap were outstanding for their styles (a light lager with a true pilsner taste and a pale with a great use of hops), but the true mettle came from the three beers they had that were over 10% ABV. This is unheard of – at least to me – in a Rock Bottom.
The Imperial IPA was rock solid, as was the imperial stout, but the beer that really got me was a sort of Belgian with rosemary or some herb that made it stand out. I drank two of them. Afterwards, I was just hungry enough to enjoy a $5 appetizer (it was after 11:00) of fried mac and cheese. Now, I’m sure that anyone can make some mac and cheese, fry it, and it would be outstanding. So I don’t give a lot of credence to the food here – it might be exactly the same as all the other Rock Bottoms. But based on the beer, I’m going to give it the benefit of the doubt and say it also is a step above the typical.
The service was awesome too. Always attentive, and warned me that if I waited a half-hour to order an appetizer I could get a lot more for my money. Also, my camera and a DVD fell out of my computer bag somehow, but they were there waiting for me the next day.