Historic Launch

October 2019 View more

White Pizza

A brewer, a businessman, a craftsman, and a restaurateur walk into a bar … and decide they want to open their own.

Though that might be a slightly romanticized version of the origin story of Two Hound Red (486 Pennsylvania Ave., 630.547.2912, 2houndred.com), it does reveal the varied backgrounds of the ownership team behind Glen Ellyn’s newest microbrewery and restaurant. Respectively, there’s Kenny Gammon, who’s worked at Colorado’s Grand Lake Brewing and hometown favorite Two Brothers; engineer-turned-sales director John Lindstrom; cabinet and furniture maker Bruce Kesler; and Jon With, owner of Batavia bar and eatery Gammon Coach House.

They took on the ambitious project of renovating the village’s historic Schmid Pharmacy by removing the original tin ceilings (which are reused in part to decorate the brewery’s barrel room) to expose the Glen Ellyn building’s stunning arched wooden roof. The original walls of cinder block layered with red brick provide a contrast against walnut-hued wainscoting and an airy facade thanks to windows that open up to the street.

“It took way longer than we wanted to, and we spent a lot more than we thought we would, but we are twice as happy as we ever thought we could be,” Kesler says. “Everything in its time, just like our beers that are going to be aging in the barrels here.”

True Brews

Two Hound Red is brewing beers that are classic in style. Sky Rocket, a single-hopped pale ale, was the brewery’s first creation, made with hops from Van Timmeren Hop Farm in Belding, Michigan. Ambers Back in Town is an American amber ale with a roasty caramel flavor. Fans of deep, dark brews won’t want to miss the Stoaty-Oaty-Licious oatmeal stout. It’s delicious on its own, as well as in the cleverly named Beeramisu, a seriously tasty twist on the classic Italian tiramisu made with stout-soaked ladyfingers.

It seemed like sacrilege to stray from beer on the first visit, but I’ll be back to try glasses from the tempting wine list, as well as funky cocktails such as the tequila-based Vote for Pedro, which is made with blood orange foam and a black sea salt rim (and made me chuckle with its reference to the movie Napoleon Dynamite).


Fired Up

It’s true that all sorts of food matches well with beer, but I found myself drawn to the traditional bar trinity: pizza, beer and deep-fried things. In the latter category, I preferred the cheese curds—with their crispy, airy batter and spicy ranch-and-ale mustard for dipping—over the fried green tomatoes, which had a mealy crust that crumbled away upon contact.

The wood-fired pizza is smaller and thicker than your traditional Neapolitan. I hope they’ll finesse the margherita, which was missing its fresh basil and featured too-thick slabs of buffalo mozzarella. The burger, however, was absolutely killer, with its perfectly cooked patty, melted smoked cheddar, stack of red onion, tangy ale aioli, and spicy house pickles. After getting a taste of the house-smoked pulled pork atop the rich and saucy mac ’n’ cheese, I’ve put the pulled pork sandwich on my to-eat list.

Though the server and bartender weren’t especially well versed in the food or the beer during my visits about two weeks after Two Hound Red’s debut, I expect they’ll be experts by the time the grand opening rolls around this fall. With plenty of cool features in the works—from a back patio to rooftop planters for growing ingredients—this new addition to the west burbs is definitely one to watch.

Photos Courtesy Two Hound Red