Noon Whistle tasting room, brewery draws beer lovers to Lombard

 
 
Updated 2/27/2015 9:07 AM
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  • The decor at Noon Whistle Brewing includes 15-year-old bourbon barrels. Set on end around the bar, they make a great place to set your glass.

      The decor at Noon Whistle Brewing includes 15-year-old bourbon barrels. Set on end around the bar, they make a great place to set your glass. Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Tap selections rotate at Noon Whistle Brewing in Lombard.

      Tap selections rotate at Noon Whistle Brewing in Lombard. Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Jugs of brew are available to go at Noon Whistle Brewing in Lombard.

      Jugs of brew are available to go at Noon Whistle Brewing in Lombard. Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Noon Whistle Brewing in Lombard has a few tables in its large standing area.

      Noon Whistle Brewing in Lombard has a few tables in its large standing area. Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Mary Kreiner pours a High Falutin at Noon Whistle Brewing in Lombard.

      Mary Kreiner pours a High Falutin at Noon Whistle Brewing in Lombard. Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • The tap list at Noon Whistle Brewing in Lombard offers each selection's alcohol content. Watch for beers and different styles to rotate here.

      The tap list at Noon Whistle Brewing in Lombard offers each selection's alcohol content. Watch for beers and different styles to rotate here. Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Mary Kreiner pours a First Born at Noon Whistle Brewing Company in Lombard. A patersbier, it's described as having a Belgian yeasty character and being a thirst quencher.

      Mary Kreiner pours a First Born at Noon Whistle Brewing Company in Lombard. A patersbier, it's described as having a Belgian yeasty character and being a thirst quencher. Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Noon Whistle Brewing in Lombard is set to the back of the small shopping center at 800 E. Roosevelt Road.

      Noon Whistle Brewing in Lombard is set to the back of the small shopping center at 800 E. Roosevelt Road. Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Reclaimed wood paneling adds warmth and partitions the bar from the brew tanks at Noon Whistle Brewing in Lombard.

      Reclaimed wood paneling adds warmth and partitions the bar from the brew tanks at Noon Whistle Brewing in Lombard. Mark Black | Staff Photographer

Walk into Noon Whistle Brewing in Lombard and you walk into the complete brewery process -- from tanks to tasting. I'd call the look industrial garage chic, but the space and staff make a visit inviting.

Motif: Cement floors, white walls, industrial-height ceiling, warehouse overhead lighting and giant stainless steel tanks could make the spot come off as cold, but it's not. Big, roomy or communal wooden tables, reclaimed wood paneling and bar and 15-year-old bourbon barrels set on end are great to stand around and set your glass on.

All this, plus softer lighting with lowered pendant lamps, make the tasting space feel warm. A big-screen TV has been added and there's a glass garage door in the wall for bringing the outside in during nice weather.

A word of warning, though: There is little to no signage on Roosevelt Road so watch for The Tile Shop on the north side of the street and turn into the parking lot. Noon Whistle is tucked at the back of the strip mall, to the left of WhirlyBall.

Liquid consumption: Session beers, Noon Whistle's main focus, feature bold and complex flavors with generally less than 5 percent alcohol. This beer is for tasting and talking. Enjoying and savoring. There is one beer on the menu boasting an 8.5 percent alcohol content -- High Falutin, which is a Scotch ale.

The tap menu will rotate by seasons or by what turns out to be popular.

I first tried the beer in the number one spot on the menu, First Born is a patersbier. It's described as having a golden color and Belgian yeasty character. The menu classifies this as a thirst quencher and I would agree. I hope it proves to be a menu staple.

My friend was enticed by the claims of the Bernie, a milk stout, slightly sweet with a hint of chocolate and roasted barley. It was dense and creamy, a complex beer. At the time, one of the bartenders was suggesting patrons try the Bernie with a shot of pomegranate syrup, making it slightly sweeter. I found it delicious and perfectly sweet as-is.

Another additive is woodruff. The syrups are added to cut the sourness of the Berliner weiss and other beers. They have to import the woodruff, distilled from flowering perennial plants common to much of Europe. No good looking in the condiments aisle at the grocery store for that one.

After enjoying our first selections, we split a Freshman At Life which is described as the lightest beer they serve. It was light -- too light for my tastes.

If you're unfamiliar with the beer flavors and styles, try a flight of four selections. Enjoy them one at a time, too, so they don't grow warm. A few people were ordering flights leaving the choices up to the server. A tasty way to try the employee favorites.

If you can't stay to enjoy, beers are available to go in a few forms.

Food: No food is served but you are welcome to bring your own or order carryout. People who'd come early one night with family brought pizza. Food trucks park in the lot, too. Check the website for the truck rotation schedule.

Crowd: The spot draws laid-back beer lovers of all ages. The idea behind the Noon Whistle hearkens back to a time when small town residents would take a break when the whistle at noon was blown and that is the vibe here any time of day.

Music: Check the website for events, specials and live music. Like Noon Whistle on Facebook for announcements of when brewing is in progress.

Service: We found the staff friendly and knowledgeable. Clearly, Noon Whistle employs people who know and love the product. First-time visitors should jump in with questions, and I found other patrons around us were ready to discuss the beer, too.

Parking: Plentiful parking in the shopping center lot.

Overall: A laid-back enjoyable place to watch some of the brewing process, enjoy and learn about handcrafted beer -- and drink it, too.

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