Visited on: Monday 18th June 2018
Gino’s East is a chain of Pizza restaurants found throughout the Greater Chicago area. Interestingly the name is always Gino’s East irrespective of the location in relation to the city centre.
We were staying for a few days in the River North district and there was a branch a couple of blocks away. No ordinary branch either, as this one houses a brewery.
The building has an interesting history having been built in 1887 as the La Salle Street Cable Car Powerhouse.
It supplied power to the North Chicago Street Railroad Company which expanded rapidly until it reached its peak in the 1890s. Then it carried around 100,000 passengers into downtown Chicago every day and was the largest network in the country. It was declared a Landmark Building in 2001.
The building also houses a Comedy Bar on the third floor. It also has had incarnations as Michael Jordan’s Restaurant and also the La Salle Power Co., before it became a Gino’s East. So, on a rather sultry evening, Linda and myself entered the building down a small flight of steps into the main bar room with the bar counter prominent of the right of the room.
As we descended we noticed the brewery on our left. I could see that they used Weyerman’s malt from Bamberg, Germany. Always a good sign.
The remainder of the room was occupied by varnished wooden furniture. We took a seat at the bar and viewed the available beer list which was advertised on a blackboard at the end.
This was the choice that day: La Salle Street Lager (5.7%), a German Helles; Witbier (4.6%), Belgian style; ESB (5.7%), English style; Broken English (5.7%), an IPA; The Great Bam-Gino (7.0%), a dark ale with rye; Gino’s Belgian Pale Ale (5.9%); Pineapple Imposter American Pale Ale (6.2%) and Keen’s Greens IPA (5.7%).
We tried four of these and this is what we thought: Pineapple Imposter American Pale Ale is very aptly named as we could detect no trace of pineapple in it. It had a sharp bitter taste, just about OK.
Broken English did indeed taste mostly like an English Bitter with some traces of Belgian malt coming through, quite good.
The Great Bam-Gino is described as a Rye Cascadian dark ale. It was soft, but was too malty with nowhere enough bitterness. Keen’s Greens was more pale ale than IPA yet had a nice dry taste and finish, very good.
The River North area is an entertainment district and you can do no worse than calling in here for a beer, especially if you fancy a pizza, especially the Chicago deep crust version.
Gino’s Brewing Company at Gino’s East, 500 North LaSalle Street, Chicago, Illinois 60654.
Tel: 312 988 4200. Web: ginoseast.com/river-north
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11.00-21.00; Friday-Saturday 11.00-22.00
A good way to get to Gino’s East is to use the 156 RTA bus.
This runs frequently from the west side of Chicago Union Station. Alight at La Salle & Illinois.
Go diagonally across the road junction and you will find Gino’s East.
The nearest RTA rail station is Grand (Red Line). From here walk west along Grand Avenue for three blocks. Turn left at La Salle Drive. Walk one block and you will see the pub on the right side of the road.