837 W Fulton Market
Chicago, Il 60607
My Tab: $75
Do you like beer? Do you like pork?...Then you'll love The Publican!
I was invited, by my co-worker Bryan ,to his once monthly Boys Beer Club. May's bustling beer establishment of choice was The Publican.
Now, it is well-known that I'm not a beer girl...I'm a Grey Goose vodka martini girl...but every now and then I'll allow some barley and hops to pass across my palate. And I must say I was quite pleased with most of the beer that I sampled.
The Publican also serves fantastic fare to nosh. They have a full dinner menu if you care to take a seat or they offer you a smaller menu (the afternoon menu on their website) if you are just drinking and snacking. Mind you, if you are a part of the latter group, you will be standing, so ladies, don't wear heels, you'll quickly regret it!
I'll start with the snacks. We had the Spicy Pork Rinds ($5), Frites ( $5) , Liverwurst ($6), Charcuterie Plate ($21), and Oysters-6 piece Chef's Selection ($15).
I did not get to taste the spicy pork rinds, which I think attests to their deliciousness! The boys scarfed those things down. I was initially hesitant on trying random pork products encased in who knows what, but the boys were very convincing.
The Liverwurst was served with homemade pickles, dijon, and rye bread. Though I will not likely have liverwurst again in the near future, I must say, that it paired very well with the beer. The wurst seemed to be of very good quality, tasted very fresh, and was very flavorful. It is a must to pair the liverwurst with the dijon and pickle; adds so many more layers of flavor and brings out some of the finer tastes of the sausage.
The Charcuterie Plate featured pork done 5 ways and was served with pickles and coarse grain mustard. One of those ways was headcheese, and despite much head shaking to the contrary, I ate headcheese....and I enjoyed it. I blame the beer!
The frites were served Belgian style in a conical stand. They came out steamy hot, topped with the perfect amount of salt. They were served with a garlic aioli but of course, you have the option of good ole American ketchup!
The Chef's Selection of 6 oysters was comprised of 3 east coast and 3 west coast mollusks. They were all fantastic. Not one complaint about their oysters. They were served with the typical accoutrement of lemon, cocktail sauce, Tabasco, and red wine vinegar-shallot mignonette but quite frankly you did not need it. If you have a palate which appreciates the true flavor a raw oyster, I'd advise you to eat these fellas bare! They were sweet and herby and melted in your mouth.
And now for the beers. I know I drank at least 3 beers, but I'm quite positive I had more like 5 beers...though the names of the last 2 have been lost in the black hole, that is my brain post 3 beers! The beer menu is amazing. It is divided into sections by the style of beer and lists the beer name, brewer, region and percentage of alcohol.
Name: Westmalle Trappist Tripel
Price: $12 for 11.2 oz
My beer lingo is limited, however, I'd describe this beer as light in taste moderate in hops and pairs well with oysters and pork bits!
Name: Duvel, Belgian Golden Stronge Ale
Price: $6 for 11.2 oz
This beer was my favorite of the 3 I tried. The beer was very balanced and easy to drink. I told our waiter (who was amazing by the way), "I'm not much of a beer person, what do you suggest?" He then suggest the westmalle and duvel. I was very pleased with his selections.
I should have continued to ask for his assistance, because the 3rd beer, which I chose on my own, was not to my liking.
Name: Blanche De Bruxelles, Witbier
Price: $9 for 11.2 oz
Low in alcohol, low in flavor, I would not recommend this one. I was anticipating more of the orange peel and coriander flavors to come through but I was disappointed.
I would recommend that you check out The Publican, whether you're a beer connoisseur or a beginner like me. The staff is very helpful in assisting you with beer selection. The food was fantastic. And for those of you that would rather not imbibe in beer, they offer a full wine menu as well. I intend on returning in the near future to order some of their mussels (they were smelling amazing, every time a bowl of them went by, my nose followed it to their final destination!) and to work my way down their hefty beer menu!