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Friday, March 26, 2010

[Special Report] Revolution Brewing

Revolution Brewing
2323 N. Milwaukee Ave (GoogleMaps)
Chicago, IL
(773) 227-2739

I recently went to Revolution Brewing with Randy, one of the reviewers at the Chicago Bar Project website. For the uninitiated, Chicago Bar Project does reviews of Chicago bars. I'm not sure if there are more pizzerias or bars in this town, so their project is pretty ambitious and their website is pretty comprehensive. In addition to just writing reviews of neighborhood bars, they also have organized events where you take trolleys to different bars.

Because Revolution Brewing is trying to make high-quality food as well as great beer, we decided to team up to review their pizza and the bar. The review for Revolution Brewing is already posted here on their website. In brief, I have been here a few times now and while I am slightly underwhelmed with their beer thus far, the bar itself is very nice. It's custom built and an excellent use of their space. I'm not too worried about the beer given the pedigree of the brewers; I'm sure they'll make me a hop-overloaded IPA soon enough. My favorite beer, and last beer of the night, was the Eugene porter.

It was nice that our server pointed out to us that all meat products are from Boe's Farm in Ottawa, IL. We noted that the sausage is made at the brewery. Their oven has a large fire and appears, at initial inspection, to be a small wood-burning oven. A closer look reveals that while it has an open mouth, it's a gas oven with flames in the back that radiate the heat to the front of the oven where the food is baked. The pizzas here are cooked at about 500 degrees for 7 minutes before they are served.

On this trip, we tried two pizzas:

  • Duck confit with gorgonzola, pistachios, rosemary, red onion, and tomato sauce
  • Italian sausage with mozzarella and tomato sauce
The crusts were the same on both and kind of confusing. The edges were great - light, well-cooked, and almost flaky. However, the portion which was topped was not really up to the task of holding up the toppings and became soggy and limp. I thought it was between pizza and focaccia. The sausage was better than I had hoped for; it is among the better sausages to grace a pizza in this sausage loving town. I had a lot of problems with the duck confit pizza. We both felt it was too salty - not to the point where it was inedible (we finished it), but enough that it became a chore to eat. The duck itself was too salty, suggesting the cure was applied for too long or was too salty to being with. In addition, Revolution questionably adds gorgonzola cheese, which only augments the salt from the duck. The pistachios and other toppings, besides the rosemary, were hardly noticeable on this pizza, drowned out by salt.

At this point, I find the sausage pizza a success because the sausage itself is outstanding, but the duck confit needs some work. They have 10 pizzas on the menu plus a special. There are a few here that seem appetizing and I'd be interested to try them. I'm not sure if we'll have an official meeting here, but the overall package at Revolution Brewing is very nice for a beer lover like myself. I went on a Wednesday evening and had to wait 30 minutes to get a seat at a table or the bar. Clearly, I'm not the only one enthusiastic about an excellent brewery opening up in town.

Revolution Brewing on Urbanspoon


  1. I was fortunate enough to make a return visit to Revolution Brewing with the Chicago Pizza Club and this time sampled some of their food. CPC’s assessment of the pizza is dead-on. The pizza is somewhere between the kind you eat with your hands or with a knife and fork. The interior crust just doesn’t have the structural integrity to hold the toppings, making a spill down the front of your shirt a distinct possibility. The sausage pizza was far superior, making me wish we’d ordered another variety for our second tasting. Let me second the saltiness of the duck pizza—could barely get off my wedding ring the next morning salty. And it wasn’t just the duck. A little goat cheese goes a long way and this pizza went a bit too far.

    The beers I tried on my first visit were definitely superior to my second, though the IPA and Workingman Mild (Engllish luncheon beer) were not bad. The IPA seems like its playing it safe, trying to appeal to the widest possible audience. The mild was flavorful and lightly carbonated, a very nice accompaniment to the food. That said, I can’t wait to try their next batch of beer. The look and atmosphere of this place are both very appealing.

    Randy Kohl
    Chicago Bar Project

  2. Went back again and they're starting to roll out more beers on the firkin and also had stronger beers available. Revolution is really progressing nicely. The service can be a bit hit or miss, but it's very busy. The burger I had was cooked really well and I think it's a better bet than the pizza.