Forbidden Root has established itself on Chicago retail shelves and festivals thanks to a more scientific approach to brewing, touting its use of botanicals and herbs in its family of beers. But founder Robert Finkel isn't sure what type of reputation his brewpub will develop when he hopefully opens in October inside the former Hub Theater at 1746 W. Chicago Ave.
Construction continues on the 8,000-square-foot space, which Finkel said will give the company a showplace for their innovation. Keeping the old theater's character is a must and they'll eventually build out a private dining space in back that will be reserved for special occasions. The makings of a centrally-located bar can be seen and there will be room for about 150 seats. There will be two televisions, but it's not a sports bar, or a bro-hole of any sort: "I'm not just a kid with a kettle," Finkel said.
He takes his craft seriously. He talks about elixirs, syrups that patrons will be able to drop into the beer or non-alcoholic drinks. They're working on several flavors, and these elixirs are unique to the brewpub. Don't assume they'll be sweet, Finkel said, the variety will surprise. Finkel developed his palette before working for General Foods Corp. and recalled days trying Cool Whip flavors.
But that's a departure from Forbidden Root's creed of natural flavors, infusing ginger root, cherry pits and chestnuts into a variety of drinks. Finkel's a bit of a mad scientist, experimenting with new recipes. He's also converting the theater's old projection room upstairs into offices, and will have a window so he'll be able to observe what's going in the bar from above.
There's a retail component to the left of the entrance where they'll sell growlers and use an Austrian filling system that will ensure beer stays fresh and sealed for four months, which beats normal fills that last only a few days. The brewpub will also increase Forbidden Root's capacity and increase distribution, hopefully to other parts of the country. Currently they're using their pals' facilities at 5 Rabbit.
Twelve beers will rotate on tap, almost on a daily basis. There's also homemade sodas. There aren't many details about the food, as they haven't officially named a chef, but he promises to name one soon. Finkel's patient—he's been developing this project for three years, and hopes that pays off next month.