With world-class micro-breweries surrounding Chicago like Three Floyd's, New Glarus and even Bells up in Kalamazoo, Prairie Rock doesn't get much attention, because the folks at the brewery keep a much lower profile. And the brewery's been doing some restructuring as of late, closing the Schaumburg location by Woodfield Mall and getting back to what they do best – making beer by the banks of the Fox River in downtown Elgin.
Located just steps from the Grand Victoria Casino, one could conceivably lose their shirt at the tables and drown their sorrows at the Prairie Rock bar. Food is on hand (a standard bar menu of fried appetizers, sandwiches, pizza and salad), but is by no means the reason to be there – you're there for the beer. Seasonal offerings and specialty beers like the Triple Nickel Stout, regular offerings like the Clocktower Amber and the Pale Rider Ale all impress, but the Vanilla Cream Ale is the real star of the show.
Creamy, rich vanilla mixed with just a touch of bitterness, creamy but not so heavy that you can’t have more than one or two; this is a beer that’s worth the trip to the western suburbs. At $2.50 a pint every Tuesday, you might want to plan ahead and have someone else do the driving for you – or be smart, and bring home a half-gallon growler for just under $14.
Average cost: $10-$20