What happened to Flywheel at Fountainhead

July 6, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Tom Keith

With 9+ pages of beers, the recently-opened Fountainhead tavern (1970 W. Montrose Ave. Chicago, IL) joins Chicago’s top pantheon of great non-brewpub beer joints (Map Room, Hopleaf, Quenchers, and arguably Yard House in Glenview).

And last Monday night (July 5), it was a terrific place to finish off the holiday weekend, as Fountainhead gave its new beer engines (for cask beers) a real workout. We had to wait until 7 p.m. before two special cask beers were unveiled – Two Brothers’ massive Double IPA Hop Juice (9.9% ABV, 100 IBUs) and a dry-hopped version of Metropolitan’s Flywheel bright lager. But that was fine – it gave me a chance to try Metropolitan’s version of an Altbier,  I-Beam, a richly malty brew with plenty of body. Metropolitan’s brewmaster, Doug Hurst, said I-Beam was originally intended as a seasonal beer, but it may become a year-round brew. (We’ve previously discussed Metropolitan here.)

Doug’s dry-hopping was limited to one cask of Flywheel. “I was just trying something … an experiment.” But he hadn’t tried the results of the experiment until about five minutes before Fountainhead released the results of the cask to the rest of us unwashed masses.

Normally a subtle, finessed brew, it was surprising how dry-hopping the Flywheel beer with Hallertau (a noble German hop) changed its flavor profile. Obviously, it upped the hop aroma, but it also added a vaguely floral, sweet, possibly honeyed note to the beer’s flavor. Even more interestingly, after sampling a sip of the Flywheel after trying the Hop Juice, the flavor changed further. Said Doug,  “Yeah, there’s almost a berry flavor in there. I don’t know why.”

Doug and Tracy have a lot of interesting things planned for the coming months. Keep an eye on the Metropolitan beer shelf at your local retailer.