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Active Beers: 0
Beer Ratings: 0
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Taps: 12 / Bottles: 20
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: Y
$$ - reasonable
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]
205 N Broadway
phone: (630) 264-2739
// CLOSED //
Located at Walter Payton's Roundhouse Complex
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vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
So, after blowing $50 at the nearby casino boat, I decided to spend my money on something more valuable: great beer! It's been a while since I visited the 'Roundhouse' as us locals call it, and despite the 40 minute drive from my house near Chicago to the outer fringes of suburbia, it's always nice to visit "the house that Walter Payton built".
It was just a quiet Tuesday evening, and I popped in for a couple of drinks. The 'House is a circular structure with a beautiful courtyard lit with multiple fireplaces. One can walk around the perimeter of the building, finding several rooms which serve various purposes: private parties, a cigar bar, a dance bar, a Walter Payton/Chicago Bears shrine, etc. It seems every time I visit the Roundhouse, it always just looks better and better, and the quality of the beers likewise increase. I was most pleased this time around, too. On this trip, however, I just decided to belly up to the main bar just inside the front doors, chatted up bartender John and an attractive lady, Sarah, sitting next to me at the bar.
For my first beer, I had the special of the day: $2.50 pint of their amber ale. Yeah, I kinda loathe a generic term like 'amber ale', but I could forgive them for being dull on the name; in reality, this is a solid, well-crafted bronze ale with a nice hope nose, a complex malty/caramel-ly middle, and a fairly dry finish. Just a good beer to begin a tasting session with.
I moved from there to their schwartzbier. What a nice dark lager this brew was! Actually quite light-bodied, and very drinkable, this beer nevertheless was fairly complex on the palette with a rotating chocolate/roastiness combination. Yum.
Although I asked John about the brewmaster's current special beer, the Scotch ale, he suggested something else because the SA was not pouring very well (lots of foam). Although initially disappointed with his suggestion, my consolation prize was of high caliber: the Imperial Stout. Clocking it at 9.7%abv, this pint took me a while to work through. Unlike the lighter-bodied schwartzbier, this Big Bertha beer was quite complex, full-bodied, creamy and had lots of tastes going on. Although heavy on the malt (to be expected), it still had a hop presence primarily in the aroma. Despite pleasant springtime weather, which would generally make me look for a less-impacting brew, this was still a tasty choice to end the night with.
So, for visitors to Chicago, I recommend that you try and find your way to the Roundhouse. If you're staying in downtown Chicago, simply find the suburban commuter rain station, Metra, and take the line to Aurora. When you reach the end of the line station at Aurora, exit the train and...voila!...you'll be smack dab at the Roundhouse. How convenient!
05-10-2006 16:27:43 |
More by RedBaron
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $$
Took the family on Sunday for a late lunch, a "big salad," sandwich, two kids meals, two appetizers, a kids' appetizer, three soft drinks, three desserts, a beer sampler, a pint of amber, and a snifter of barrel aged imperial stout was $110. Used a coupon from restaurants.com that brought it down to $85. Overall pretty good value.
Atmosphere was great. This is the only standing limestone railroad roundhouse in the nation. History goes back to 1850s, and was bought by Walter Payton (from Da Bears!) and some investors in the 90s. Had lain dormant for about twenty years before that. They did a great job of refurbishing the building to make it a great place to visit.
Has a restaurant, coffee bar, 14 bars (but I only counted 6, not sure where the other ones were), a comedy club, several banquet rooms, a museum of Walter Payton memorabilia, and an open air brewery. The brewery looks like a homebrewer lives there. Stuff stored everywhere and every piece of available space used.
Food was tasty and selection was good considering we ordered off the lunch menu. Service was very good. Our waitress was knowledeable and friendly, and they quickly replaced my meal after they served me the wrong sandwich (but nothing was comped).
Beer selection was decent, a pilsner, a honey wheat, an amber, a chocolate blonde, and a sweet stout. Although the brewery has won GABF awards for their beers, and I thought they were good, I wouldn't go back just for the beer. This is a great restaurant that has good beer, rather than a great bar/brewpub that has good food, if you get my difference.
This is a place that I'll visit again. But, the draw is the food.
06-09-2009 15:17:06 |
More by JamnesCameron
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
We dropped into the Roundhouse to spend our 50 dollar gift certificates that we purchased for 25 bucks through some radio show. It was a long day of drinking and eating starting around 3 and ending sometime after dark.
I think that the atmosphere here is pretty neat. The ceilings are really high and the building seems restored, but still raw. There is a cool beergarden with outdoor fireplaces outside in the middle part of the roundhouse. The brewery is open to the rest of the restaurant, and all the tanks are visible from the bar where we sat.
The bar is a circular one that sits directly under the second floor balconies. It started getting a little smoky after dark (which is to be expected).
The service at the bar was very good. Bartenders were quick and efficient.
There were about 8 beers available. Everything from lighter pilsners to an Imperial Stout. All of the beers were very good (there were a few of us who weren't really happy with the chocolate beer though - but that is more of a personal taste thing). I could sit and drink the Porter all day long. The Amber was surprisingly hoppy and fresh. But the Imperial Stout was easily my favorite of the day. They had a +10% Scotch Ale that was almost as strong as a mixed drink. I only had a taste, and it was a good beer.
All pints were $3.75 (even the Imperial Stout) and the big Scotch Ale was $4 because of the alcohol content.
I will be back to Walter Payton's, it was well worth the money spent and the ride out from the city! Walter Payton's is also very convenient to the Metra.
04-23-2006 19:30:46 |
More by beerinator
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3 | $$$
Well, the first thing one would notice about this joint is that it actually is freakin round. The building is a circle, with an outdoor area in the center of the circle. Another thing that I want to point out is that it took 3 tries to pick the right driveway to pull into, there is a bus and train station virtually connected to the place, and it did lead to a little bit of confusion. I thought to myself that I was glad I wasn't drinking before I got there, or I never would have picked the right one.
The atmosphere is actually pretty stunning. Aside from being round, which is pretty neat, the walls are all made of old stone and giant, rough peices of wood. On the wall on one side of the dining area there is a giant tapestry of bears dancing. The brew kettles are actually off to one side of the same space the dining room is in, which is nice, because everything is in plain view. All of the tables and seats are all very nice as well, and fit really well with the rest of the atmosphere. There is also the comedy club, banquet facilities, and the Walter Payton Museum all in the same building, none of which I really got to check out since I only went for lunch.
The beer selection was fair, I think they had around 8-10, though half of them were on a seperate menu that I actually found on the floor after I had already ordered my first. The quality of the beer was about average. The place is in Aurora afterall, and it was actually much better than I expected. The food was little sub-par though. It just didn't grab me, and had the food been better, I would really have to say this place is amazing.
I'll certainly be back to this place.
05-21-2006 06:25:31 |
More by zjungleist
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
Stopped here with friends we were visiting in the area.
The restauarant area is inviting with a large three level dining area. The complex also includes a comedy club, martini lounge, and outdoor concert area. There is also a small Walter Payton museum that is worth a visit.
We ordered a beer sampler, and the waitress had no idea which beer was which when she served it. We had a good time matching the beers with their style. This was the first time I ever had to do that. The menu was typical brewpub fare, and though we did not eat, the selection seemed adequate.
I would suggest a bit of education be given to the bar staff as to the different types of beer.
05-03-2008 01:11:34 |
More by tgbljb
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$$
First off, this place is huge. Located in the former CB&O roundhouse, America's is one of several establishments that are housed in this historic building. Because of the building's shape and its former purpose, the brewpub's interior is somewhat unique. There's a large landscaped gazebo that sits where the former turntable was. What used to be doors to the engine bays are now large windows. Although the brewing equipment is on the main floor, the fermentation tanks are on a second floor catwalk. As with many pubs housed in turn of the century buildings, there is a lot of exposed wood and brickwork.
I was there on a Friday night and there was a big crowd. Service suffered because of this, but my waitress was certainly nice. Food is of the standard pub fare. Burgers, sandwiches, pasta and pizza make up the majority of the menu. The food was good, but nothing special. The big crowd made the place quite noisy. There are several TV's showing sports, which makes sense given the Walter Payton connection.
There were seven of the brewery's beers on-tap, plus several bottled macros. It was disheartening to see so many people downing Bud Light and Michelob Ultra when the brewery's beers were so much better. The ones I tried ran from above average to very good. No mind blowers, however.
If I'm back in the area again, I'll probably stop by for a second visit.
07-20-2009 17:36:13 |
More by Rayek
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
First time visiting this place, i've tried a couple of their bottled beers before, but had never been to the brewpub. We stopped in on a snowy Saturday afternoon (in March!?) with orbitalr0x.
The building itself is impressive, and houses multiple venues. A weekend absinthe bar for example, coffee bar, and an outdoor courtyard popular for weddings.
The brewpub bar was up a few stairs to the right of the hostess station. Lots of wood planks and dark colors gave it a northwoods lodge vibe. The rectangular bar was front and center, with table seating along the walls, and upstairs on a second level visible above the bar. Lighting was pretty dark, though it was an overcast day and there was zero natural light coming in. It felt cozy, and if we had more time to kill, probably would have been at the bar for hours.
Selection was ok, the crazy highlight being a "jury-rigged" randalizer on the bar. They were running a dry-hopped amber through 1/2 pound of Centennial hops... it was great! We had a sample of the regular amber next to it and the dry-hopped blew it away. Another specialty was a cherry version of the bourbon imperial stout, that was aged 547 days in oak. Other than that the selection was pretty typical, a stout, pilsner, etc.
Service was friendly and timely, one of the brewers stopped by and explained his randalizer, which was cool. We tried a queso fundido app that came with spicy chorizo, which was good. The crowd seemed to be fairly mixed, many just there for lunch, others drinking green st. pattys bottles of bud light :S
It's a BREWPUB for pete's sake!
There were still bottles to go in the coolers, though they seem to be dwindling in the market. We saw a couple palllets in the brewing area too, so they still appear to be bottling here.
03-21-2010 17:05:29 |
More by emerge077
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $$
As an Auroran for over a decade, I've been to the Roundhouse plenty of times. I had taken the leap from BMC to bottled craft- and euro-brews years before, but this joint helped me make the next step to understanding why a place where you're drinking straight out the conical was such a fine idea.
As mentioned by others, this is the old Burlington Northern RR main roundhouse, where steam locos were built and maintained. This place naturally oozes more atmosphere than the ten nearest Rock Bottoms can ever hope to fabricate. All the brews are very good here, and can meet the palate of the novice (Payton pilsner) and the malt junkie (Scotch Ale) with equal dexterity. They offer the usual beer sampler platter if you're indecisive. The food is of very good quality without being too adventurous, and many of the entrees are made using one of the local brews as a base for the sauce. The ribs are worth the trip even if you don't drink.
Service is usually good and attentive, and it is evident that the waitstaff is educated about the brews they serve before they're set loose.
When it first opened, they ran a Sunday breakfast buffet to die from (yes, from.). Lord what good food in such variety and no one to tell me to stop. Somebody get me a bucket! No this is too good for that! I've gotta stop now 'cause I can't breathe! I'd go home and beach like whale for the rest of the afternoon. After the first two years they stopped making it a weekly event, which has probably helped me avoid stomach-stapling. They've offered this buffet since then at least for Mother's Day and sometimes once a monthly basis. If you see it, don't hesitate, just go.
This joint also has a banquet facility within another section of the roundhouse. We had our wedding reception in 2003 at the Roundhouse, and we never regretted that decision. Never. They offered an a per-plate package that included a four-course meal, several good entrees to select from, including a quality vegetarian plate and a kids plates, the wedding cake, four hours of open bar (and taps), and use of several auxiliary rooms for the bridal party. All was done very professionally and honestly. When it's time to marry off our kids, this place will be at the top of the list of reception venues. We had the entire banquet bar to ourselves, and their beer flowed. We had the perfect reason for not having any BMC harnwasser to contaminate the event, too. For a BA that has to host an event in the west 'burbs, I can't imagine a better venue.
09-11-2006 22:48:56 |
More by MillRat
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
I grew up in the aurora area and I have been to Payton's a couple of times when returning to visit family. The mainstays of their beer selection is nothing really special, but also nothing terrible. The nice thing is that they typically have a couple of interesting brews rotating into the mix with the standard selections. When i was there last week i had an oatmeal cream stout off a nitrogen tap and a cherry imperial stout. Both were good, but the cherry imperial stout was really excellent. The downside is that it was a bit pricey at 8 bucks for a 10 ounce pour.
Aside from the 8 dollar cherry imperial stout, the prices are decent. Just remember that this place is a huge complex that houses an outdoor concert venue, a nice (and expensive) restaurant, a comedy club, and a few halls for special events as well as a bar. Just go in the main door and enter the bar on your right. You can seat yourself at a table or the bar. As long as you stick to the bar menu you can get a really good burger or pizza for under 10 bucks. Keep in mind that the place is packed on the weekends.
02-23-2007 17:41:36 |
More by anormal
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5
A very cool place overall, the restaurant was built out of what used to be an old "roundhouse" which was used to house and repair locomotives. So essentially it a big round brick building with an open courtyard in the middle that in the summer is just very cool. A good selection of above average to good beers that unlike most breweries can actually be bought in bottles by the six pack as opposed to the usual "growler" available at most brewpubs. The food was above average but really what sets this place apart is the atmosphere.
02-20-2003 18:16:38 |
More by mikes2923
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America's Brewpub in Aurora, IL