Blessed Be The Pour—Old Town Pour House

November 2016 View more

nmag1116_tablefortwo_pourhouse-interior_800pxTo quote that illustrious beer lover Homer Simpson, “You can come up with statistics to prove anything. Forty percent of all people know that.” In other words, never mind the research from Nielsen showing that the year-over-year growth rate for craft beer sales has slowed considerably in the past several years, down to 4.5 percent this past August from a peak of nearly 20 percent in 2013. In Naperville, at least, one’s eyes and taste buds are probably more reliable barometers of the health of the craft beer market than any number or figure, and simple observation is enough to conclude that the pint glass in this area is still very much half full.

nmag1116_tablefortwo_pourhouse_01_800pxThe latest proof comes in the form of yet another addition to the increasingly crowded Freedom Drive culinary corridor, where the beer-focused Old Town Pour House has settled into the former Zapatista space at the corner of Freedom and Diehl, just a few hops down from the World of Beer—still going strong.

A Few Choices

The Naperville location is the fourth such outlet in the growing Old Town empire, which includes Pour Houses in Chicago, Oak Brook and Gaithersburg, Maryland—all of which are dedicated to a refined take on classic American cooking, but unquestionably lead with their massive craft beer programs. This is perhaps why you’ll find most patrons either staring at the huge wall display of available craft brews, deeply engrossed in one of the encyclopedic beer menus or mesmerized into a slack-jawed gape at the seemingly endless row of tap handles behind the bar, trying to decide from among the 90+ options available at any given time.

From lagers to stouts to IPA’s and everything in between, the selection is almost as awe-inspiring as the wide range of names and locations of the brewers, from local favorites like Chicago’s Metropolitan Brewing and Two Brothers in Warrenville to craftsmen from California, Oregon, Minnesota and beyond. For this reason, many indecisive beer lovers will likely opt for a themed or build-your-own flight of four 6-ounce tasting selections resulting in a 25 percent easier decision, statistically speaking.

nmag1116_tablefortwo_pourhouse_02_800pxBeyond the Beer

The decision-making at Old Town doesn’t stop with the beer menu, however, because there’s plenty to consider for the meal as well—this is one brewpub that hasn’t let the food menu wither in the shadow of the headlining brews. Among a tempting array of starters and shareables that includes crab fondue, white bean hummus and duck confit nachos, we went with the straightforward but delectable cheese curds, a basket of lightly breaded and fried nuggets that would make the Badger State proud.

As she often does, my companion found a worthwhile entrée choice among the compact slate of salad choices, in this case, a well-stocked chopped option featuring black beans, roasted corn, onion strings and big, meaty chunks of barbecued chicken. Meanwhile, as I so often do, I gravitated to the other white meat, in this case a large but not overwhelming 10-ounce pork chop in a chipotle maple glaze, accompanied by ideal fall standards like sweet potato puree and cinnamon-spiced apples pop over to these guys. To cap things off, we passed the two desserts on the menu back and forth across the table, alternating bites of the decadent peanut butter snickers pie and the warm, dense butterscotch bread pudding.

Call it the tail wagging the dog if you must, but from top to bottom this Pour House served up a meal that proved that as long as craft beer continues to keep company with food like this, its future is 100 percent secure.

nmag1116_tablefortwo_pourhouse_03_800pxOld Town Pour House
1703 Freedom Drive