Grains, hops and flour are the recurring themes at the new Middle Brow Bungalow, located along West Armitage in Logan Square. The brewpub really started out as a passion project for a former attorney-turned-gypsy micro brewer.
EXTRA COURSE: Toast at Middle Brow
"We focused in the early days on Belgian styles, yeast-forward styles. But we've matured into a brewery. We like to think we've matured into a brewery that offers something for everyone," said Pete Ternes, the owner.
Not just IPAs and Pilsners, but tart Berliner Weiss styles, like a berry infused German wheat beer.
"Really light, 4 percent. We add boysenberries, cranberries, cacao and vanilla to it. So it's really fruity and tart up front, but pretty rich and round on the back end," he said.
To eat: lots of bread, certainly.
Jess Galli oversees anything coming out of the oven, including the high-moisture loaves that are formed by hand each day, proofed, scored and baked-off in heavy cast-iron, resulting in sturdy crusts and soft, porous interiors, or "open crumb" to use baker's lingo. Get it with whipped mortadella or just the simplest butter, seasoned with French sea salt.
Pizzas are also majestic, their crusts soft-yet-crisp; from baseline margeritas to more creative options, like a pureed butternut squash base, greens and more squash. Fired in the gas oven for about seven minutes, it's garnished with sage, pickled shallots, Calabrian chiles and capers.
If you prefer no gluten, try the big salad, with massaged kale, fennel and red oak leaves; dressed simply with lemon and some raw slices of purple daikon and citrusy cara cara oranges.
Ternes said they're trying to satisfy the neighborhood at all hours of the day.
"It's kind of a bread-based food program, where we've got pizza at night, and toast and sandwiches and tartines and terrines and such during the day," he said.
There are plenty of pizzas in Chicagoland, but even fewer making artisan pies as good as the ones here at Middle Brow. But a serious bread program to go along with those pizzas? Good luck finding that anywhere in town.
Middle Brow Bungalow
2840 W. Armitage Ave.