The brewery formerly known as Finch's Beer Co. made that beer you occasionally saw on the cans list at your corner bar or perched on the shelf of your local grocery store with its familiar bird logo. It's been around Chicago since 2011, but has been a quiet player in the city's booming craft beer scene. The February sale of the brewery, from the founding Finch family to a team made up of its original investors, will bring a lot of changes to the fledgling company, now named Finch Beer Co.
The most visible upgrade is an 8,000-square-foot brewery and restaurant that opens Thursday at 2925 W. Montrose Ave., the former Breakroom Brewery space. The Finch Kitchen will serve an assortment of beers exclusive to the Albany Park brewpub alongside bar food by chef Matthias Merges. "We're definitely taking some notes from the brewers, working together, and using interesting ingredients," Merges says. "But more so we like the idea of a place where people can come every single day, and have a great beer and food that is recognizable with some interesting twists."
The menu is made up of encased meats infused with global flavors. These range from plated sausages such as a classic thuringer with red cabbage, buttered new potatoes, and Finch mustard to sausages on a bun including an Indian-style curried chicken sausage with housemade punjabi pickles, yogurt, and cilantro. Other elevated beer-friendly fare is divided between bar snacks; dishes for the table, like farmstand flatbread and mussels steamed in wheat ale; and sandwiches.
The opening beer lineup is an impressive one with eight new beers served exclusively at The Finch Kitchen. There is something for almost any beer drinker, from the Plumage pilsner to the Western Exposure Belgian witbier, Drive Thru Mexican lager, and even and non-alcoholic ginger beer. The bar also offers several guest brews — including two from Hypothesis Brewing, which Finch also recently acquired and took over production — in addition to draft and classic cocktails.
The start of the bar might not be the beer at all, but rather a tilled yellow bird that overlooks the space designed by Merges' wife Rachel Crowl of the architecture and interior design firm fcStudio. The bird theme continues throughout the brewpub, from a neon bird in the front window to a painted bird overlooking wood tables with red hightop stools and beige booths. Exposed timber beams and reclaimed wood walls give the room a rustic yet industrial feel thanks to window that offer a peek at the brewhouse.
This isn't the only beer-focused project in the works for Merges' Folk Art Restaurant Management. Construction is underway at Old Irving Brewing Co., which will open in mid-August at the site of late Homaro Cantu's planned Crooked Fork Brewing.
The Finch Kitchen is open Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to midnight, Friday from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to midnight.