Taylor Brewing Company
By Bobby Bush
This was another one of those quick one-nighter trips to the Chicago area. I really
did not anticipate having time to even think about stopping at a brewpub. Egged on by
sympathetic (and interested) business compatriots, we headed toward Taylor Brewing
Company, an establishment that I’d visited a couple of years ago. Or so I thought.
Though I have problems with remembering family birthdays and other trivial
matters, my beartrap of a brain is almost always on the mark when it comes to beer and
breweries. So I was completely startled when we pulled into this Taylor Brewing parking
lot in Naperville, Illinois. This was not the place I’d been before. Had they opened a new,
identically-named brewpub or had the one of my mind’s crevices been moved?
The latter, we would learn, was correct. Originally housed in a refurbished
mill-turned-mall in Naperville, Taylor Brewing move to Lombard back in 1999, a year
after my previous encounter. Big whew and a sigh of relief that what little brainpower
that I do possess had not been washed away from excessive work (ha!).
A smaller friendlier place, the new Taylor had 15 beers to try. Some were brewed
in unidentified breweries in Warrenville, Illinois and Middleton, Wisconsin. At least they
are honest and forthcoming about their contract beer. In total, there were 44 beers on tap.
Guest brews included Two Brothers Imperial Stout, produced at Weinkeller’s brewpub in
Westmont, Dos Equis, Bass, Bodddington, Caffrey’s, Guinness, Harp, Pilsner Urquell and
more. We asked for all 15 Taylor beers in a sampler tray. Apparently an unusual request,
we settled for three six-beer trays, which provided a trio of duplicates.
Of the Taylor beers brewed on-site, Blushing Blonde Ale was sweet-meets-bitter in
an enticing but confusing flovor profile. Poseidon Pale Ale worked the sweet-to-sour
bent. A floral hoppy front turned malty sweet almost instantly, followed with a sour
finish. Medium bodied and American in style, Honey Wheat was almost un-wheat-like,
closer to a pale ale in most respects. “Low in calories,” The Mysterious Light Ale was
golden and actually quite inviting, chased by a sweet smarmy finish. IPA boasted fruity
body and flavor. Hoppy bitterness took hold mid-mouth to aftertaste.
From Middleton, brewed at Capitol Brewery and purchased by the Taylors, Pure
Pilsner was cloudy gold, lageresque malty goes hoppy. Nice. Caramel nose introduced
Nut Brown, a bronze-colored semi-sweet sugary brew, while reddish-brown Dark Satin
was a toffee-tinged German dunkel with pronounced winey-like closing. So sweet it was
sour, Golden Diamond had no discernible hops and a wet, sweet finale. Rusty Dog Amber
was pleasingly smooth and ultra heavy with barley taste.
Brewed in Warrenville, at Two Brothers Brewing Company (?), Weisen was
cloudy gold, sweet and clovey, heavy in banana ester hefe yeast sensation. Fizzy with
little flavor, Northern Light Ale had tricycle drink written all over it. Dry finishing Cream
Ale was nicer though still thin in malt flavor.
Brewers Glenn and Gary Taylor, who gave their name twice to this relocated
Illinois brewpub, work with a seven barrel brewhouse. Situated along the front wall, its
joined by four conditioning tanks and two large fermenters. The brothers Taylor have a
fine establishment. Good food: burgers, BBQ ribs, great homemade onion rings, tuna
steaks and much more. A horseshoe-shaped sunken bar makes a cozy beer hall, while
dining patrons sit at a slightly higher level on three sides of the wide bar. Good beer,
including their own. Taylor Brewing is a nice family restaurant and local hangout.
See www.taylorbrewing.com for more information.
This article first appeared in Focus, a weekly paper published in Hickory, North Carolina.
© Bobby Bush