Hailstorm Brewing Company
I know…I just get back in to some Michigan blog posts and here I am running off to Chicago again. This will be quick. I promise. Only one stop, but it’s a good one if you like beer.
J and I had to make a trip back to the Chicago area this past weekend. On Saturday, she had to officiate a wedding in Orland Park, then we had a wedding to attend in Oak Brook Terrace, and on Sunday, we had to make it further south to attend my niece’s fifth birthday party. It was a busy, whirlwind weekend with lots of stops.
Saturday’s first stop provided me with an opportunity to check out a local brewery. J was officiating a wedding at Silver Lake Country Club in Orland Park. I wasn’t needed there and didn’t want to invite myself to someone else’s wedding, so I dropped her off then took off to find something to pass some time. Luckily for me, there are a couple of breweries just down the road in Tinley Park.
The brewery I chose was Hailstorm Brewing Company on 186th Street. The building is part of a large warehouse complex between 81st and 80th Avenues just north of Interstate 80. There’s is very little signage on the building other than a window decal. They put a sandwich board out near the road so I knew I was in the right spot. If you’re familiar with the old Michigan Brewing Company in Webberville, it reminded me a lot of that.
The taproom at Hailstorm is pretty small. There’s a small bar with a handful of tables in the main taproom area. That area was full when I walked in. I had just planned on sitting at the bar and doing a flight, but there was no place for me to sit.
The taproom is nestled in to the main production facility and they’ve left it all pretty open so you can see the fermenters and stocks of barrels being used to make the beer. They also, and I didn’t realize this at the time, have set up tables on the floor of the production facility for the overflow crowds. I didn’t ask, and I should have. I just assumed it was set up for some kind of special event, but I noticed people just grabbing their beer and heading through a door behind the bar into the production floor.
I ended up using a waist high bar that was the divider between the taproom and the production floor. I was able to squeeze in to the bar to order the flight then the waitress set it up for me over at the small bar. The flight was crazy cheap. Five beers was just $5 and a lot of the beers I ordered were fairly high in alcohol content.
I started my first beer off really heavy. I picked the Vlad Russian Imperial Stout. This was a good stout. It’s a big robust stout with a pretty hoppy finish. A friend of mine said they had this with vanilla a while ago and it was amazing. My mouth is watering just thinking about that. I really enjoyed this RIS even though we’re way off season for heavy stouts.
Beer number two was No Way Gose. This is a collaboration with Imperial Oak Brewing out of Willow Springs, IL. I’m still getting up to speed on sour’s. I enjoyed it, but probably couldn’t drink too much in one sitting. I’m trying to open myself up to more beers like this since I tend to really keep to the hoppy ales.
Beer three was Crash Test Dummy. This one is a Tripel that was a little sweeter than I expected it to be. I didn’t write much down in my notes about it other than “good.”
Now we’re getting in to the hoppy stuff. I intentionally let the IPA’s for last. The first of two IPA’s was Prairie Madness Nelson Sauvin. This is a spin off of their Prairie Madness Pale Ale using a single hop and making it an IPA. As the name imples, they used Nelson Sauvin hops from New Zealand in this batch. The hop gives it a kind of acidic-y sweet bitterness. I’m not familiar with this hop choice, but I did enjoy the beer.
Final beer was by far the best…which is not a surprise if you know what I drink. Dominatrix is a huge Double IPA (although I thought their chalkboard said Triple IPA) with a big citrus flavor that comes from centenial, cascade, and falconers flight hops. Oh, this was good. At 11% I know I shouldn’t drink much, but I could drink this all day….or as long as I could without passing out. I like this one a lot and will be looking for it in stores next time I’m in Chicago.
I really enjoyed Hailstorm Brewing. The downside to the place is they don’t have a kitchen, but like Boatyard Brewing in Kalamazoo, they invite food trucks from time to time to set up shop in the parking lot.
I love the space. I love that they just set up their taproom in the front of the warehouse and left it all open. Hailstorm poured some really quality beers and I look forward to finding them again….or just showing up at the taproom again someday when I have time to kill in Tinley Park.