Chicago Avenue Finally Has A Brewpub

Forbidden Root Brewpub, 1746 W Chicago Ave

Forbidden Root Brewpub, 1746 W Chicago Ave

I’m pretty sure this is the first ribbon cutting ceremony of any kind that we’ve attended. Alderman Joe Moreno was convicted in his belief that this project needed to happen.  He shared how some opposing residents felt about the city’s newest brewery. “I’ve met some of my constituents that made it clear that they won’t vote for me again because of this, but it’s not about them it’s about the next 20 years in this neighborhood.”

West Town’s East Village neighborhood lifted a longstanding liquor moratorium that banned additional permits for alcohol sales on this strip of ‘The Ave’ near Chicago & Damen. Rootmaster- Robert Finkel, Alchemist – Randy Mosher and Head Brewer – BJ Pichman debuted their glorious brewpub in a space once home to the Hub Theatre that first opened around 1913.

Alderman Joe Moreno at the ribbon cutting ceremony

Alderman Joe Moreno at the ribbon cutting ceremony

Forbidden Root is a botanical brewing company. In addition to cocktails and a kitchen focusing on rustic American fare, there will be 18 beers on tap in the 7000 square foot space. The custom built DME System is a 15bbl brewhouse complete with 2 ‘infusion tanks’. The concept is similar to what the torpedo process does for Sierra Nevada. One will be for a post fermentation whirlpool to infuse anything from walnuts to chocolate into batches. The second tank is on wheels and slated for cold storage where fruits, spices, roots and other ingredients can be added as needed.

Previous to building out their own space, Forbidden Root brewed out at 5 Rabbit Cerveceria in Bedford Park. The Cherry Amaro Ale along with 4 other beers were on tap for the launch. The crew decided that the cherry stem, although more expensive to source was a better fit than the actual fruit for the recipe.

Rootmaster,Robert Finkel & Alchemist, Randy Mosher

Rootmaster, Robert Finkel & Alchemist, Randy Mosher

The Grand Opening was an event for the more that 275 people that packed this space two winters ago during the West Town Chamber of Commerce public meeting to gain support for the brewery.

Forbidden Root makes it’s public debut Thursday February 18, 2016…trust me, you want to visit them.


18 taps in the 7000 sq ft space including 3 flagship beers.

lamps made from decommissioned tractors, seating for 175ppl

lamps made from decommissioned tractors. seating for 175 people.

comfortable industrial inspired space. preview party at full tilt

comfortable industrial inspired space. preview party at full tilt.

Here’s the Opening Day taplist.

Forbidden Root Beer 5.5%
An earthy approach toward the classic root beer. 20 natural extracts including cinnamon, sandalwood, cardamon , black pepper and more.

Sublime Ginger
3.8% Wheat Ale brewed with ginger, key lime, honeybush, and lemon myrtle.

Wildflower Pale Ale 5.6%
Pale ale brewed with Elderflower, Marigold, and Sweet Osmanthus Flowers then dryhopped with Citra, Cascade and Mandarina Bavaria

Heavy Petal 9.2%
1st entry in their Divine Mud chocolate beers series. Imperial Stout brewed with pecans, Magnolia Flowers and West African Chocolate.

’64 Impala 5.6%
A beer inspired by the Forbidden Root staff’s love affair with gin and juice.

Cherry Amaro Ale 8.2%
A batch of this beer was original brewed with cherry extract. The team all decided they preferred this version brewed with just cherry stems a little bit more than first beer.

Wildflower Pale Ale

Wildflower Pale Ale

Other Notes:

Alderman Moreno was quoted as saying “One man’s gentrification is another mans economic development.”

 The Forbidden Root team dumped the first 2 batches brewed on their new system. Issues included the grain mill adding malt into batches too fast and general recipe tweaking while dialing things.



Beverage Consultant, Co-Host of the Chicago Beer Pass Podcast, The Neat Pour Podcast, Co-Founder and heartbeat of the Chicago Beer Geeks..@nkosio on twitter

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