By Steve Thanos
One of the most anticipated brewery openings took place this past Saturday, March 18, 2017. The following for Mikerphone Brewing has certainly entered cult status, and rightfully so. Some noticeable offerings include: Imperial Smell Like Bean Spirt, a 10% Imperial Stout with maple syrup and coffee and Special Sauce, an 8.5% New England style Double IPA which is brewed at various times with a single hop that is showcased. Mike Pallen, co-owner and head brewer, certainly has taken the Illinois beer scene by storm.
I had a chance to visit Mikerphone in Elk Grove, IL a few days ago. The glowing circular sign and the window sign of BEER helps craft lovers know they have reached their “Craft Beer Nirvana” destination. Upon entering I was drawn to the three large tables set up for community seating. Of course, about a dozen seats are available if one wishes to belly up at the bar and be close to the taps. The east wall also offers a small bar if one wishes to stand and enjoy their beverages. What Pallen has successfully crafted is a sense of community. While meeting up with a friend, a random guy offered me his seat at the bar and while a guy standing in front of the cooler that houses the to-go beers offered up to grab me two bottles. This is what draws me to the beer community. There’s no attitude or pretentious douchbaggery. It’s this sense of comradery that craft beer lovers should grow to expect. Pallen has instilled this vibe, even in his tap room. Although the craft beer scene seems to be an ever growing enterprise, the sense of community has not lost a beat in this vast expansion.
Now back to what we all came here for….the beer. While visiting Mikerphone, I knew that being responsible was the key for this evening. My alarm of a 4:30AM wake up call loomed in the back of my mind as I looked at the evening’s offerings. I decided on my first beer to be something light and easy on the abv scale. Nature’s Candy was calling my name. This is a 4% Berliner Weisse with peaches. The aroma on Nature’s Candy was a nice surprise. I wasn’t expecting as much tartness that this beer offers. Upon taking my first sip, I continued to be pleasantly surprised by the tart wheat taste. The peaches are a nice accompaniment and serves as a nice juxtaposing of sweet and tart. Most Berliners disappoint me because of the lack of tart punch. However, Mikerphone’s Nature’s Candy nearly reaches my “sweet spot” for sours. This is the sourness that reaches my jaw line and makes me remember that I have salivary glands. The next beer I ordered was a small pour of Imperial Smell Like Bean Spirt. This masterpiece is a 10% Imperial Stout with Vermont maple syrup and Tugboat Coffee Roasters’ Super Sumatra Mandheling coffee. The aroma reminds me of Sunday mornings where coffee and maple syrup reign supreme. The roasty backbone of this stout is what keeps me wanting more.
Pallen’s transparency cannot be ignored either. With any first time businesses will attest to, there are always speed bumps along the way, especially in the beginning. This is where Pallen also shines. His ability to communicate with the masses on social media keeps everyone well informed from tappings and releases of beers, to the things that they are aware that they need to improve in their tap room. This all goes back to this sense of community and the conscience effort of keeping everyone informed and well aware of what is going on. Transparency seems to be a hot-button topic these days. Pallen is successful when it comes to offering up the truth no matter what the subject matter happens to be.
Overall, Mikerphone Brewing, located in Elk Grove Village in the northwest suburb of Chicago, is taking control of the Chicago area beer scene. His ability to masterfully and consistently craft such excellent beer is a true testament to art and science behind brewing. I encourage all to pay the crew at Mikerphone a visit and sample some of their delicious beers. I really don’t think you will be disappointed. Cheers!
The Music and Beer Vibe is well underway in Elk Grove Village, IL.
The label for Imperial Smells Like Bean Spirit proudly adorns the wall as you enter the tap room. Somewhere Kurt Cobain is smiling down at all of us.
Light it up and they will come!