Blog

News, event recaps, photos and more from the minds behind Plank Road Tap Room, a craft beer bar in Elgin, Illinois. 

Announcing Thursday Night Bites, Not Flights

Thursdays.  They're the unwanted buffer day before Friday.  Friday-Eve, if you well.  Nothing fun happens on Thursdays.

WRONG.

We're taking Thursdays back with a new series of events.  Each Thursday for the next six weeks (minus Thanksgiving, obviously), we'll be tapping a little something special and inviting a few of our favorite food trucks out to make the most of your almost-weekend.

Here's what we know so far:

  • Nov 3: Firestone Walker Bretta Weisse and Mario's Cart, featuring a suggested pairing with their ceviche tostadas.
  • Nov 10: Firestone Walker Helldorado Blonde Barleywine and the Roaming Hog food truck.
  • Nov 17: Perennial Abraxas (and variants) and the Grumpy Gaucho food truck
  • Nov 24: Closed for Thanksgiving
  • Dec 1: Oskar Blues Brewery tappings (more details soon) and the Roaming Hog food truck
  • Dec 8: Some crazy Avery Brewing tappings and Mario's Cart
  • Dec 15: Beer and Chocolate Pairing with The Bruery (tickets on sale soon)
  • Dec 22: Pipeworks Tappings and the Roaming Hog Food Truck

Thursdays don't have to be boring.  Let's make them the days they deserve to be.

 

Worst Kept Secret Society Lottery

Some of you may have heard about the #WKSS.  If you haven't, we won't be explaining it during this announcement.

Yes, one of these is included in membership dues.

Yes, one of these is included in membership dues.

We have had a very small number of memberships become available for the upcoming year.  We could just assign them to customers, but that just didn't feel right since so many great people have expressed interest.  The plan is this...

Between now and the end of business on Friday, August 19th we will be accepting entries in to a lottery.  Shortly after that, Jeremy and Alan will take the entries to the management lair, place them in a hat, and then randomly draw winners.  

Once enough names have been selected, we will notify those people that they need to pony up their fees and be initiated.  We will not be notifying those not selected individually.  There will just be social media posts indicating that new members have been drawn.

If you would like to enter the lottery it will only cost you your full name, email address and cell number.  

Again, we will not accept a single entry past closing time on 8/19/16.  You must be present at the tap room to enter.  There will be zero exceptions made, no matter how cute your dimples are.

Chicago Craft Beer Week at PRTR (2016)

Chicago Craft Beer Week (CCBW) starts this Thursday, May 19, and we've decided to hold a few events this year to bring some of the fun out west.

On Saturday, May 21, Kevin from Oskar Blues Brewery will be swinging by to spread good cheer and great beer.  In addition to $4.00 you-call-it-cans from the brewery, we'll have a little something call Barrel-Aged Death by Coconut on tap, along with some other OB goodies.  Plus, back by your demand, the Roaming Hog food truck will be out to serve up their tasty pork cuisine. Check out more details and join our Facebook event.

The following week we've got a double-header on our hands, with events on both Thursday and Friday.

On Thursday, May 26,  Come hungry, the Roaming Hog food truck will be out back cooking up more pork dishes to dine on.  Check out what we'll be tapping from each brewery and join our Facebook event.

On Friday, May 27, drop everything and get out to the tap room ASAP.  Lucas from Founders Brewing is back and he's bringing liquid magic along.  You remember Lucas, right? The guy who never lets you down when he's here?  Yeah, that guy.  As for food, the one and only Toasty Cheese makes another Friday appearance to fill you up.  Keep an eye on the event page for more details.

So, there you have it, our schedule for CCBW this year.  Hopefully yours look similar.

CCBW-Logo-2016.jpg

We Brunched Hard with Founders Brewing Company

Brunch. That annoying, perfect combination of words that symbolizes a brief window of opportunity to eat and drink during the late morning hours between breakfast and lunch without fear of others' judgement.

When we sat down with Byron from Founders Brewing Company to work out the details of our next joint event, we knew that a simple brunch wouldn't do. If we were going to brunch, we were going to brunch HARD. We were going to make it a brunch that no one would want to miss, and if they did, they would regret it for a very long time.

We started throwing ideas around. Things snowballed. Then things got stupid, in a good way, almost to the point where we worried we might be pushing things a little too far. Then we laughed and realized that's exactly how far things should be pushed.

The proper glassware for Founders Brewing Breakfast Stout.

The proper glassware for Founders Brewing Breakfast Stout.

No Founders brunch could be conceived without including Breakfast Stout on the menu, so that was a given. How about KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)? Sure, why not? How about a couple of other Founders beers? All Day IPA? Okay, let's do it.

Then things got dark. And maple-y. What if we tap CBS (Canadian Breakfast Stout), one of Founder's most hard-to-find offerings...and not tell anyone about it until that morning? What if we let our fellow brunchers arrive to find this gem on the beer list and tell the world for us?

They came. They saw. They Untappd. 

Heavy hitters at 11am. But it's brunch, so...

Heavy hitters at 11am. But it's brunch, so...

Of course, drinks are only half of any brunch. Maybe 75-80% max. So we enlisted the help of our friends at Nobel House in Geneva to cover the food aspect of the event. They rose to the challenge with a menu of fine meats for sliders, a cloud-fluffy egg bake, fruit salad, and of course, bacon. Pair a plate of this grub with a pour of Breakfast Stout and you've just perfected Sunday brunch. 

The spread. Photo: Teresa Meyer

The spread. Photo: Teresa Meyer

We told everyone before this event that it was not to be missed. We told the truth. Hosting these specialty events brings us a lot of joy after weeks, sometimes months, of hand-wringing and sleep deprivation as we sweat the details. If you missed out this time, please don't let it happen again.

Byron from Founders Brewing trying to ignore a pesky regular. We kid.

Byron from Founders Brewing trying to ignore a pesky regular. We kid.

Drinking Breakfast Stout, Dutchess style.

Drinking Breakfast Stout, Dutchess style.

Dig in. Brunch won't brunch itself.

Dig in. Brunch won't brunch itself.

Sometimes, even Alan smiles.

Sometimes, even Alan smiles.

Announcement: The Worst Kept Secret Society

This project has been ongoing for months.  While we understand mug clubs and card swiping clubs at other establishments, they don't really fit us.  We prefer to keep things small and if they grow organically over time, so be it....which brings us to our latest announcement.

Announcing the Worst Kept Secret Society.

We will be accepting memberships to our club, the Worst Kept Secret Society.  The Worst Kept Secret Society will be a small group of folks that just like to hang out here and have a good time.  We have already given memberships to certain folks that played a role in the creation of this group.  Fair is fair, right?

With membership comes privileges*: 

  • Drink from your own** platinum-banded, numbered goblet when you visit the tap room
  • Entry to members-only events at the tap room
  • Early entry to select rare-beer tappings and other public events
  • Early opportunities to purchase tickets for our public events
  • Exclusive PRTR T-shirt, with a new design each year offered only to members.  The shirts will be ordered once all member's sizes are collected.
  • Additional opportunities for fun times with our members will constantly be explored.  We will not pass on a great opportunity just because it isn't on this list.

The fee for an annual membership is $50.00, renewable each year. Stop by the tap room to enroll. Be warned: there are an extremely limited number of memberships available for the society's first year.

* Subject to change
** The WKSS goblet is both the intellectual and physical property of Plank Road Tap Room.  You will receive the right to use the glass, however it does not EVER leave the tap room.  If you choose not to renew your membership, the goblet stays here.  If we're busy, cut us some slack.  You may only be able to use your goblet once that night.

One Year Down...

Plank Road Tap Room has made it through the first year!  In August of 2014, we opened our door to you and we're really thankful that you chose to walk in.  

On Sunday, August 2nd, we threw a little soiree to celebrate and were blown away by the support and love that we received.  Hundreds of people turned out to share a few laughs and drink some delicious beers with their friends, new and old.

We have some pictures of the day, but before you take a look through them, we have some thank yous to hand out.

We would like to thank the breweries and distributors that have made this year possible.  We have some amazing relationships that have allowed us to create and maintain a beer list that we're pretty proud of.  We'd like to send a little extra thanks to Penrose Brewing and Solemn Oath Brewery, specifically Tom Korder and Paul Schneider, for collaborating with us on our anniversary beer.  The gesture meant more than they know.  We enjoy our relationships with both breweries and hope they continue to grow.

We would like to thank our staff for a year of hard work and success.  Without the efforts of Teresa, Jon and Jeremy, who knows where we would be and what we would have been able to accomplish.  Their hard work and dedication have kept beer in your glasses and joy in your hearts.  Please thank them when you see them.

We would also like to express our heartfelt thanks to our customers.  Your loyalty has amazed us.  The culture that you've created is something that we can't even describe.  You welcome newcomers with open arms.  You express genuine concern and fondness for our tap room, staff and each other.  You don't park at the fire department.  You amaze us every day and we appreciate it.

In case you didn't get the gist of this, we are thankful to everyone who made this first year possible.  We look forward to a few more.  Keep an eye out for a special announcement or two in the next few weeks.

Warm Regards,

Alan & Breanne


#plankroadtrip: Yodo con Leche Launch - 5 Rabbit Cerveceria

On Sunday, July 19th, we sent a delegation down to Bedford Park to help our friends at 5 Rabbit Cerveceria celebrate the launch of Yodo con Leche, their imperial porter brewed with Costa Rican coffee and Argentinian dulce de leche milk caramel. The results were amazing and the party was fantastic. We sipped on Yodo, listened to incredible Latin American live tunes, sampled some Gaslight Coffee Roasters cold brew, and munched on skewers by Chef Aaron Patin.

Check out our photos from our road trip, and learn more about bringing Yodo con Leche to life via Good Beer Hunting and 5 Rabbit.

Photos: Jeremy Teel

Humbled

It's been an amazing opening month at PRTR! It's all because of our amazing community of people like you!  We have made new friends and created some awesome memories.

Last week we had Michael Kiser of Good Beer Hunting come by to shoot our space and capture good times.  Thought we would share a couple with you.

 

Cheers!

Cheers!

See you at the Tap Room - Cheers! 

Almost!

The pace around here has been nuts!  We have everyone from painters to carpenters to beer system techs working like crazy to get this place open.

To give you an idea, we have three more government bodies that will be in this week for their inspections.  The fire system, taps and everything else should be wrapped up this week as well.

After that, I just need to handle the little things like finalizing licenses, setting-up shop and actually getting beer in here.

Bottom line: we're almost there.  I'll let you know when we're open and, very likely, I'll give you zero notice.  I was going to post pretty pictures with this post, but at this point, you should be following us on Instagram.  I post lots of pretty pictures there.

Cheers!

Alan

State of the Tap Room Address

It's been a very active June here at the tap room.  As we bust in to July with the end/beginning in sight, we want to get you caught up.

When June began, this little cabin had peel and stick flooring, piles of cabinetry rubble everywhere, just one bathroom, and a ramp that had seen better days. 

The early stages of our men's room.  Just look at that boss tile.

The early stages of our men's room.  Just look at that boss tile.

In the past four weeks, we've put in new flooring that really enhances our space.  Our carpenter has delivered, and is currently installing, our new custom cabinetry, bar and drink rail.  We've also finished building our new restroom, refurbished our ramp/step, rewired, re-plumbed and several other things necessary to provide you with the highest quality beer and an environment to match.

The next few weeks will go as follows...

  • Install Fixtures
  • Stress
  • Install Refrigeration
  • Power Wash
  • Stain
  • Drink Beer
  • Plan Things
  • Drink More Beer
  • Repeat

Remeber to check us out on Facebook, Twitter (That's where announcements love to go.) and Instagram.  We're excited to finally open our, soon to be installed, front door very soon.  Hopefully, you'll join us for a pint.

 

 

First Round Project (The Maiden Voyage)

Tuesday, we are going to send out the test pilot postcard for our First Round Project. This brave little guy will be making the trip through our nation's postal system.  We expect it to make a safe landing in a mailbox nearby.  We'll then assess any damage from travel and record the data.

For those of you that are wondering, our First Round Project is our way of helping you do something nice for others.  

Can't get your beer without a stamp!

Can't get your beer without a stamp!

If you know someone who'd love our place and the beer we serve, you can send them a "First Round's On Me" postcard.  The postcard is then ink stamped, paper stamped and mailed for you.  Once your friend receives the postcard, they can redeem it for any draught beer from our current selection.

You don't need to know who gets this one.

You don't need to know who gets this one.

Your friend will love you for buying them a beer.  We'll think you're a little cooler than you used to be.  Everyone is happy!

We also have other flavors of postcard like "Wish You Were Beer" and "Every Journey Starts With A Single Beer".

Your beer journey is a lot more fun with friends.  Make them and keep them with our First Round Project.

(available in the tap room)

Sneak Peek!

There comes a point in every aging man's life where he takes the time to appreciate the little things.  This, friends, is not one of those little things!

After getting in to a fun-filled slap fight with the local post office, I picked up a package from a friend in the Northwest this morning.

Ladies and gentlemen...

We...

Have...

Tap Handles!!!

If I\we showed you all 14, your family would sue us for blowing up your mind.

If I\we showed you all 14, your family would sue us for blowing up your mind.

This bevy of elegant beauties are made of the finest bigleaf maple.  They made the trip all the way from Oregon in hopes of finding a better life and budding careers in the beer service industry.  

Why the use of a standardized tap handle, you ask?  You're more than welcome to ask me while you're swirling your first glass of beer.  My answers, unedited, are much more exciting.

Salud!

Alan