Eating/Drinking

From Tasting Menus to Custom Crystal Glassware, Moody Tongue’s New Brewery Is Unlike Anything Else in Chicago

Photo by Jordan Balderas/Courtesy of Moody Tongue

The Gist
When Moody Tongue first opened its Pilsen brewery and tasting room, spotlighting culinary beers alongside an abbreviated menu of oysters and German chocolate cake, it immediately established itself as one of Chicago’s most unique beer destinations—one that utterly transcended the notion of a brewery as we knew it. Now Moody Tongue is taking those same envelope-pushing conceptions to whole new levels with its brand-new South Loop facility, complete with expanded brewing operations and both a dining room and bar manned by a Michelin-starred chef.

Photo by Jordan Balderas/Courtesy of Moody Tongue

The Beer
The two distinct spaces and concepts at the new location each bring a different beer roster to the table, accentuating president and brewmaster Jared Rouben’s unparalleled knack for culinary brewing, seasonal ingredients, and an almost Wonka-like sense of whimsy and innovation. In the dining room, beers are presented to complement the food and pair with tasting menus, poured in custom-made crystal glassware. New and old favorites alike include the Sour Peach Belgium Golden, the Unfiltered Mango Pineapple New Zealand Hazy IPA , and the debut of the Scotch Barrel–Aged Peated Scotch Ale. In the bar, 16 taps offer perennial staples and more exciting offerings, like the Bourbon Barrel–Aged Gingerbread Imperial Stout and the Freeze-Dried Black Lime Wit. Additionally, all current bottle offerings are available for retail on-site.

Photo by Jordan Balderas/Courtesy of Moody Tongue

The Food 
Perhaps the thing that most sets Moody Tongue apart is its above-and-beyond food program, which includes 12-course tasting menus in the dining room and upscale bites and snacks in the bar, both concepts spearheaded by award-winning chef Jared Wentworth. For the fine-dining space, Wentworth oversees seasonal degustations inspired by the chef’s worldly travels, with dishes like lobster with matsutake chawanmushi, apple, squash, and wort consommé; and scallops and foie gras with Tokyo turnips, leeks, guanciale, melon, and barley wine. Things are more casual at the bar, but no less dazzling. Here, à la carte offerings include smoked beet tartare with spruce-infused ricotta, egg yolk jam, and birch syrup; ambrosia with charred pineapple, lime sherbet, coconut, and milk jam; and even a burger made with Slagel beef, pimento cheese, and togarashi aioli.

Photo by Jordan Balderas/Courtesy of Moody Tongue

The Space
If you were wowed by the chic, sophisticated design of Moody Tongue’s original Pilsen tasting room, prepare to pick your jaw up off the floor at this one. Clocking in at 28,600 square feet, the South Loop location is not only much larger, but it’s divvied into different cohesive sections, each one equally as handsome and stunning as the next. There’s the cozy 28-seat dining room, flanked by walnut fixtures and gray brick walls and adorned with oak tables and leather chairs, while the bar feels more social and lively, with 85 seats situated around a central black marble bar. Both spaces are preceded by an elegant lobby area, which has a short hallway branching off toward the dining room.

Photo by Jordan Balderas/Courtesy of Moody Tongue

The Deets 
The dining room is open Tuesday–Saturday with seatings at 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. The bar is open Tuesday–Wednesday, 4–10 p.m.; Thursday, 4–11 p.m.; Friday, 4 p.m.–midnight; and Saturday, noon–midnight.