Atlas Brewing Company
Two. Two was a good number for us this month. On two different weekends, J and I were able to leave L with NaNa and Grampa so we could go in to Chicago for dinner. Two was also the number of breweries I stopped at on Saturday.
J wanted to go home on Saturday to attend a benefit that one of her high school friends was having for a rare disease her child has. I had some vacation days to burn, so I took the day off, but, as I explained in my blog for The Livery, J and her mom went home on Friday and I took my time driving to Chicago Saturday morning/afternoon.
The benefit consisted of two parts. There was a day of activity for the kids then it turned in to more of an adult function at night. J, L, and NaNa and Grampa went to the daytime portion while J and I went to the night session by ourselves. We really only made an appearance at the night part of the benefit because J wanted to take advantage of the grandparents wanting to watch L.
My birthday was last week and we didn’t really do anything. J told me to find a brewery in Chicago somewhere that we haven’t been to and that would be my birthday dinner.
The brewery I settled on was Atlas Brewing Company in Lincoln Park. I chose this one because the food menu looked as amazing as the beer menu. That way, both J and I are happy.
Atlas Brewing is on North Lincoln Avenue between West Diversey Parkway and West Schubert Avenue on the north side of Chicago…a little to close to Wrigley Field for this Sox fan’s liking.
The brewery is part of a row of buildings in a neighborhood business district that butts right up to the street. Somehow, we lucked out and found a parking space on the street right in front of the restaurant.
Traffic was pretty horrible on the Kennedy and it took us much longer to get to Atlas than expected. I made a reservation for 7:30 and we were paying for our parking spot at 7:28.
We walked in to the building to find a hostess right at the door. We had the option of taking a large table sort of near the waiter station next to the bar or wait a couple minutes for a booth to open up. We chose the booth. Still, they seated us at the table for the time being so we could start looking over the menus and get started with water.
Less than five minutes after sitting down, we were moved to the booth in the bar area. All of the booths are huge and actually made for six people, but that’s pretty much how all of the tables were in the restaurant. There’s a dining room in another room and even there, all the tables are larger, so there was no reason to feel bad about taking a large table.
Once seated, our waiter came over for drinks. I started with the Hyperion Double IPA. The light golden pour had a citrus-y taste that sort of reminded me of Dogfish Head’s 120 Minute IPA…but much less potent. Still, it clocks in with a 10% ABV, so it’s not a light beer by any means.
J tried to order the Original Sin Cider, but as seems to be her luck, they were out of it. The only other choice for a cider was a 22 oz bottle and for some reason, their 22 oz bottles all cost over $22…compared to $5 for the 12 oz bottle she was trying to order. She wasn’t confident she could finish a 22 oz bottle, so she went looking for something else….once again disappointed that the drink she tried to order was sold out.
She eventually settled on the Pomegranate Mai Tai. This drink is Old New Orleans light rum, Old New Orleans dark rum, Pama liqueur, orange juice, pineapple juice, fresh lime juice, hazelnut amaro, and Bittermans tiki bitters. She didn’t really say much about the drink. My feeling is she probably would have still rather have had the cider.
Once we were both situated with drinks, we were ready to order.
We started with the Pretzel off the appetizer menu. The two, braided soft pretzel sticks came with Elusive Spring Wheat Ale cheese sauce. We were both pretty surprised with the size of the pretzels considering this was an appetizer. The warm, yet firm pretzels soaked up the thin, delicious cheese sauce. Both of us were pretty impressed with this offering as a good way to start off dinner.
Before dinner came, I finished off my first beer. Can’t eat dinner without a beer, so I was excited to try something else. My second choice of the night was Reaper’s Breath. This Belgian Strong Dark Ale had a great fall flavor to it with hints of clove and maple syrup. It was much lighter than the Double IPA I drank first which made it a good dinner beer for me.
For our meals, I chose a burger while J went with a pizza.
My choice was the Angus Burger. The sandwich, served on a pretzel roll, was topped with cheddar cheese, bacon, vine-ripened tomatoes, micro-salad, and red onion. The beef had a perfect juicy pink line going through the middle which, along with a little bacon grease, made for a juicy sandwich that soaked in to the bun. The sandwich came with hand cut fries which were dark golden brown with the perfect amount of salt and grease.
J went back and forth between a pizza and the pulled pork sandwich, but ultimately ordered the Pear Pizza. This thin crust 12″ pizza was topped with a balsamic glaze, gorgonzola, and candied walnuts. Once it was pulled out of the oven, the pizza was topped with sliced pears and arugula. J loved the freshness of the arugula and the pears and the fact they were added after the pizza was cooked instead of before. She ate about half of the pizza then had the rest boxed up. The next day, she was still eating it and still talking about how much she loved the pizza.
After we both finished off our meals, I grabbed the dessert menu off the table and opened it up to find Deep Fried Oreos as one of the selections. Have I ever mentioned how much I love Deep Fried Oreos? It was just seven short years ago that I first introduced J to the chocolately, creamy delicacy at the Illinois State Fair a few weeks after we started dating and it has been a while since either of us have had them.
There were six Oreos on the plate with a drizzle of raspberry sauce and a dusting of powdered sugar. I could have done without the raspberry sauce, but it really didn’t matter. The warm cookies in a fried batter were delicious. A perfect ending to a great meal.
Our bill, surprisingly, was only a little over $60. I really thought that with three drinks, an appetizer, two entrees, and dessert it would be much more. I was really worried on the way in to the city that the night was going to be a bust. It took us a long time to get to Lincoln Park and J was starting to fall asleep in the car. Turns out, we had a great night with fantastic food and some pretty solid beer selections.