The idea for one of Limestone Brewing Company's seasonal beers came to brewmaster Ken McMullen in a dream inspired by a trip through Springbrook Prairie.
The aptly named Springbrook Honey Ale made use of fresh honey from Naperville's Talbot Apiary and Scottish heather tips instead of hops. The ale is, sadly, no longer available. But the creativity behind it demonstrates why craft beer lovers should give this Plainfield brewery a try.
Limestone Brewing Company
12337 S. Route 59, Plainfield, (815) 577-1900, limestonebrewingcompany.com
Hours: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday
Motif: An unimpressive exterior belies a spacious, open, high-ceiling interior with comfortable, well-spaced seating. It boasts a basic brew house design, more smartly decorated than most.
Service: Knowledgeable and attentive wait staff makes the dinner and drinks selection process easy. Our waitress had only been with Limestone for three weeks yet had a complete appreciation of the qualities of all the different in-house brews.
Liquid consumption: Limestone pours an outstanding collection of in-house brewed ales, pilsners, porters, stouts, wheat beers and specials, with the added bonus of several "guest brewers" selections on tap and a well-thought-out menu of craft beers from across the nation.
A good start is with the Limestone beer sampler seven 5-ounce glasses for only $11. Among them were a wonderful light pilsner (Electric Park Golden Ale) and a very nice Hefeweize (The Wheatlander). Of the seven I tasted, I would gladly go back for at least five of the brews.
If you're not a beer lover, Limestone has plenty of martinis and other options.
Food: Menu choices are wide and varied, including seafood, steaks, pasta and sandwiches. The winners on our visit were the appetizers.
The Bottle Caps were juicy, delicious slices of breaded and deep-fried jalapeņos served with a cooling dipping sauce. The Spicy Shrimp Casco featured just-right sauteed Cajun rock shrimp in garlic butter. And the sauteed calamari proved a wonderful surprise with a huge helping of fresh-cut squid in a divine garlic and lemon broth.
We weren't as impressed with our sandwich selections. My burger was rather dry, as was the Buffalo chicken sandwich.
Sounds: Music plays at a low volume over the sound system, and bands appear several nights of the week. You'll find plenty of TVs as well, but it's all muted enough so that you won't have to shout to carry on a conversation.
Crowd: Limestone attracts a wide spectrum of patrons, from self-avowed beer geeks to families. Yes, it's a brewpub, but both the atmosphere and menu are well-suited to those with kids or adults who aren't that into beer.
Parking: Large strip-mall parking lot in front.
Overall: Open less than a year, Limestone Brewing Company offers both quality and quantity in their fresh-brewed beers. This is a great place for trying new options.