I’m going to get this right out of the way. Timothy O’Tooles is not a good food restaurant. It is a “get out of work and hang out with friends who don’t care about food” type of place. The food I had there was so mediocre and middle of the road I had to liberally apply salt and pepper to my “Michigan Avenue” salad to give it some modicum of flavor. The salad comprised of grilled chicken, goat cheese, avocado, craisins, corn, toasted almonds, tomato, croutons & citrus vinaigrette should have been a shoo-in, so somehow making that taste like nothing makes your restaurant extra special. The pretzel bites themselves were fine, but the dipping sauce was so runny, it barely clung to the pretzel.
But people don’t go here for the food. It’s a sports bar plain and simple. Hell, their logo is a bald dude passed out on the bar. I don’t think people care their salad is flavorless as long as the drink specials are indeed special and hopefully cheap.
I wasn’t here for the food anyways. Oregon’s Deschutes Brewery was having a “We’re finally in Chicago!” party, and I’m always game for trying new beer. I called up my friend Jeremy and we headed down to Streeterville to try some beer and get our complimentary Dechutes pint glass (it’s pretty nice).
As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m not good at reviewing the fine points of beer. I just know if something tastes good to me. I was not equipped with the taste buds to appreciate the subtle oaky notes, or fruit forward direction of a beer. So, this is less a review of the beer and more a “I’d drink that again.”
The biggest surprise of the evening for me was their Black Butte Porter. Porters are usually beyond my comfort zone when it comes to beer. Decidedly strong, dark and bitter I tend to avoid them. Yet this porter was surprisingly smooth and while still strong and dark, the bitter bite was missing. Of the porters I’ve had, and that’s not many, this was probably my favorite, just because it wins by being the least like a porter.
Sweetest two words in the human language, “Forfeit.”
I did enjoy their Mirror Pond Pale Ale quite a bit, a “hop-forward” beer according to the press release and website. It was probably the cleanest pour (LOOK I’M USING LINGO!) of the evening, as evidenced by the two pints I had.
I’m not a huge fan of IPA’s, but the Chainbreaker White IPA wasn’t cringeworthy. I’m guessing it’s because it tasted like a mix of a Belgian white and a regular IPA. It’s not something I would order, but the free sample was nice.
The street team member was hilarious, and I started referring to her as our new best friend. I don’t know if people weren’t biting on trying new and different beer, but she was INCREDIBLY excited that we were there purely to try their wares. We even got a sweet Deschutes bottle opener keychain out of the deal. You can’t go wrong with free. Plus now, if a party breaks out in the middle of the street or a CTA car I’m all set. I will be there to pop those bottles if popping bottles is something that needs to be done.
What did I learn from this experience? Not all porters are terrible. Street team members for breweries are incredibly friendly and probably drunk. Free stuff is fun.