By Joshua Riley
The Brew Dude On Tour’s wheels keep turning this month with a visit to the Roselle-Itasca area with four great stops and a heck of a road trip. I decided to get out and do this trip because a friend of mine from seminary, Josiah Black, moved to Roselle some time ago, and I have been meaning to get there and catch up with him.
There is a lot going on in this area, so we might have missed a few by anyone else’s calculation, but we hit some places I have been meaning to visit and had a good time while we were at it.
The first stop of our day was 25 West Brewing, 327 Stratford Drive, Bloomingdale, inside the Stratford Square Mall.
The brewery put a lot of thought into its patron’s experiences. The bar faces a glass-enclosed brewing area, and its copper kettles are well lit for a perfectly Instagramable experience.
The beers were solid representations of the styles, particularly their stout. My travel companion this time, Josiah, enjoys craft beer but is by no means an expert, and he really enjoyed the stout. The food was excellent, the vibes were chill, and the beer was enjoyable. I like this little spot, and I’m glad for this project that has forced me to get out of the house and see some of these places.
Total distance from Kankakee County was 79 miles.
The next place on the list was Wolfden Brewing, 112 W. Lake St., Bloomingdale, just 2.9 miles from 25 West Brewing. It has an aesthetic all its own — ankle deep in a log-cabin, far-north-woods sort of feel.
Wolfden is inside what appears to be an old house, and the layout reflects that. The brewing equipment is exposed to the taproom through a balcony seating area. There’s an excellent outdoor space I could spend a lifetime on, but it was not open because we visited in February.
The beer was straightforward and great. The staff was plenty helpful and rad, and we had a delightful time on our second stop. It was well worth the trip up. there is plenty of parking out front, but it was a little hard to find on our GPS route, so keep your eyes open.
The next stop was Itasca Brewing, 400 E. Orchard St., Itasca, and is just 5.5 miles from Wolfden Brewing. The third place was one of the most confusing taprooms I ever have been to in my life. Itasca Brewing is inside the Itasca Country Club.
This tiny brewery is next to a restaurant that also serves beer and pub food, and it’s downstairs from a reception desk in the club. Itasca Brewing has its own entrance to the side of the country club, but you have to keep your eyes open as you approach.
The beers were worth the trouble finding the place, but we definitely felt under-dressed to be there. I’m recommending this place on the strength of the beer and also on the fact this is the only full-functional brewery I know of inside a fancy country club. Check it out.
The last stop is the craft beer stalwart of the area, Church Street Brewing, 1480 Industrial Drive, Itasca. I’ve recommended its beer before, and I was most interested in checking out this place.
It makes straight forward classic styles of beer, such as German lagers, reds and stouts. Church Street Brewing is tucked inside an industrial park.
With a simple sign hung off the side of the building, the place was absolutely packed for the time of day we were there. Josiah got the doppelbock, and I got a Vienna lager to ride out the trip.
Church Street is a classic craft brewery that makes high-quality versions of classic beer styles, and it is a comfort to drink something you know will be good and is exactly what you thought it was going to be.
Church Street Brewing is 1.9 miles from Itasca Brewing and 74 miles from Kankakee County. There is no food, and the parking is on an industrial lot, but the lines are painted to economize their limited parking. You might miss it at first, but you have to pop in here for a pint.