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On a snazzy section of W. Chicago Ave where peculiar buildings are covered in exquisite graffiti, there is an almost mystical place. Forbidden Root Brewery is Chicago’s first and only botanical brewery. Inside is a low-lit room with a hopping circular bar where beers with names like Snoochie Boochies, Fig Dubbel and Cherrytree Amaro are sold. On the walls, a daunting collection of herbs, roots and botanics are displayed in massive glass jars. Stepping into Forbidden Root is like entering a fantasy tavern run by medieval botanists, alchemists and herb masters - a style the owners embrace.
Self titled as “The Root Master,” Robert Finkel founded Forbidden Root after fleeing the harsh world of venture capitalism to pursue his passion for beer. A world traveler, entrepreneur and charity organizer, Finkel is Forbidden Root’s wizard behind the curtain. Hidden away on the upper floors of the brewpub is Finkel’s collection of honey, rare herbs and antique trinkets gathered from far and wide- a magical source of inspiration for the brewery’s creative botanical beers.
The Root Master’s number two is The Alchemist. Randy Mosher is Forbidden Root’s exotic beer expert and has been crafting strange and wild brews since the 80’s. He has published five books on the subject of brewing and is a major influence in the unique brewing techniques practiced at Forbidden Root.
Forbidden Root is a brewery that values creativity. Not only can you find beers with ingredients like rhubarb root, saffron and wormwood, but you can also experience an array of meals and beer-food pairings that push the limits of culinary creativity. Dan Weiland, Forbidden Root’s executive chef, is the mind behind one such innovative food item- the Forbidden Root Float. A combination of Strawberry Basil beer, pistachio gelato, strawberry granita, basil syrup and of course, whipped cream, the Forbidden Root Float is yet another almost magical addition to this unique Chicago Brewery.
Each month, Dan works with the brewer's to prepare a prix-fixe menu of food perfectly tailored to the current brews. It's a new way to experience craft beers, simply known as the Beer Dinner. There's always an event brewing at Forbidden Root, find out when the next one is below!
With beer brewed from a universe of unique ingredients, Forbidden Root has brought a never before seen element into the world of Chicago breweries. Wild ingredients, creative food, and a mystical environment are part of what has made Forbidden Root a spectacularly and innovative beer experience. Check out the how the brews get inspired in the video below.