From the HBD Archive
From: capnal@aqua.whoi.edu (Alan Duester)
Subject: review of Sieben's in Chicago
Date: 1990-05-25 15:25:45 GMT

I was in Chicago last weekend, and got to the Sieben brewpub for dinner.
436 W. Ontario. Parking on the street very crowded due to dance club
across the street. $3.00 parking at lot a block west of the brewery.
Large water tower with Sieben label on top of building. Either a dance
club or a function room that was having a wedding attached (shares
bathrooms via a corridor). This led to the building resounding with the
thumpy, overcranked bass, but didn't really interfere with conversation.

Atmosphere: The non-smoking section involved the Maitre-de-ess seating
us at a table and removing the ashtray. Not legal under area laws as I
understand them, but then the ventilation was goo enough so that I
wasn't bothered by the party of 6 smoking at the table next to us.

The large copper-domed brew kettles are displayed behind glass as you
walk in.

Food: Very good rating by both of us. Generous portions at reasonable
pricing.

Beer Cheese soup very good, but also VERY salty. What they served as a
cup would pass for a bowl in any other place I've been.

Onion rings $5 for a loaf. I had just these for dinner, and couldn't
finish the portion. Suitable to serve 4 hungries as an appetizer! Also
very good. Barbecue sauce served with them was potent. I'd love to try
it on ribs, but don't remember if ribs were on the menu (but they gotta
be, right? I mean this *was* Chicago.....).

My partners Reuben sandwich good but a little shy on amount of
sauerkraut. German Potato Salad served with was also very nice. Flavors
blended nicely and richly, without the harsh overtones most have.

Brews: All served cold, but not excessively so, carbonation shy of
traditional american brews (just right for me). All less hopped (both
bittering and finishing) than other brewpubs I've visited. A sampler of
four 8 oz. glasses cost $3.50. Alcohol content did not seem very high. I
expected to notice more effects after 30-35 oz. of brew, but would not
have driven right afterwards.

Weiss - served with lemon. Blah. The lemon totally overpowered any wheat
flavor that might have been there. Not an unpleasant drink on its own
(lemon beer), but not what I would expect from a weiss.

Lager - equivalent to a good, premium, domestic with more than average
flavor. Nice, but not great on any count. Non-distinctive, in other
words. Suitable more for the average bar-hopper crowd as an intro to
what real brewers can make.

Amber - sorta wimpy, smooth, and non-distinct like the lager, but a bit
different and richer. Another good brew to use to start introducing
Budalobe drinkers to what brewing can produce. They liken this to Bass,
but I haven't had Bass served as this was (it's always in a bottle, too
cold and too carbonated). Better, creamier head than I've ever seen Bass
have.

Irish - A rich, warm brew with an undescribable flavor (at least by me -
might have been the diacetyl butterscotch folks have been talking of, of
late). VERY nice - I could easily drink this all evening.

Bock - Very nice, smooth, rich, & malty. Another brew I could drink all
night. This wasn't really available this evening, as they were having
problems with that line (overcarbonation and gushing, I believe), but I
mentioned that I was going to review their brews for the net, and the
waiter managed to dribble some brew out for me to sample. I wasn't
billed for this and don't know if it's normally included in the sampler.
Mentioning that I was doing the review may also be why the soup portion
was so large, but it was the only way I could get some Bock.

My recommendations would be to skip the Weiss, Amber, and Lager, or
split a sampler among four folks without diseases. I think regular
glasses are $2, and double glasses are $4, but I was paying more
attention to my friend and driver than the menu.

For those of you doing the World Fantasy Con brew-hop trip that R. Allen
Jervis is trying to organize over Halloween, I'd rate this as slightly
better quality food, beer different but about equal (dark brew available
here but not Goose, but Goose had hoppy pilsner), but a good deal
cheaper than Goose Island (which I reviewed a few months back) in both
food & beer. The Berghoff downtown is listed in brew guides, but only
seemed to be a better than average German restaurant with its own
bottled brew, which is not exceptional. Don't worry if you miss it, but
be sure to hit both Sieben and Goose Island.

BTW, Baderbrau (a Chicago microbrew) is available in bottles in stores
in the area, now. I didn't pick any up or try it, as we were planning on
Von Stuke's Hofbrau but failed to make it.

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Al Duester, Ocean Engineer, MS S201 # SPAN: 6308::capnal
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution # INTERNET: capnal@aqua.whoi.edu
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