This year marks 25 years for one of Illinois’ craft beer meccas – Bavarian Lodge in Lisle. What better a way to closeout this milestone than to have a 20 tap takeover by none other than Three Floyds Brewing Co, arguably the best and most consistent brewery in the Midwest. The Lodge usually opens at 4pm on Saturdays, opened their doors four hours early in order to cater to the horde of thirsty beer lovers. There is no doubt that many in attendance scheduled their day around this event. Knowing this I decided to get there early enough to ensure a good seat at the bar. I arrived around 10:30am to find myself first in line and by the time the doors opened there were around sixty of us. Glad to be out of the cold and eager to get a cold glass of something special.
As we filed into the pub room we were greeted by 20 tap handles proudly displaying the Three Floyds logo. Unfortunately, the Zombie Dust and Ham on Rye didn’t make it for the event, which was only a minor issue considering what was available. I decided to start my day with the 2010 Behemoth Barleywine, a magnificent ale that has opened up and very nicely over the last year. Based on the buzz in the pub room I next went for Shark Pants (Belgian IPA) collaboration with De Struise. This is a visually stunning beer. A brilliant bright orange marmalade fills the snifter causing it to glow in the light. A two finger clean white head caps off the glass. This beer was the first keg to run dry, luckily the Bavarian Lodge had another on standby.
It was around this time that things had finally begun to settle in from the initial rush. The air was filled with a chorus of discussion regarding the variety of Three Floyds mainstays and one-offs being savored. There was almost an electric excitement as patrons studied the draft list like kids in a candy store. I next went for Eben Emael, a Belgian Pale Ale which I would describe as Shark Pants’ little brother. Next I ordered what turned out to be the second tap to sell out for the day – Thick White Freeks. This was a refreshing citrus slanted Witbier that I really enjoyed despite not being a fan of the style. In my quest to cover as much ground as possible I finished the day out with Topless Wytch. This very attractive, earthy porter had a bittersweet roasted malt flavor and a dense black color. Finally, I couldn’t call it a day without what ended up being the first to sell out. (very shortly after I had ordered) The Bourbon Barrel Aged Owde Engwish Barleywine. This beer clocks in at over 12% ABV it has a very strong bourbon and oaked vanilla flavor. A very rich beer that is best when savored slowly.
By the time my glass was empty it was around 4:30pm and the event was still in full swing. Having checked off all the beers on my list I decided to give up my seat at the bar to one of the many people waiting patiently for a place to sit and call it a day. As I made my way out I couldn’t help but feel somewhat spoiled to have such a world class brewery so close to home and a restaurant/pub that knows how to cater to their audience with a rare attention to detail and quality.