Here's a quick rundown of our upcoming events and other happenings at Plank Road Tap Room.
News, event recaps, photos and more from the minds behind Plank Road Tap Room, a craft beer bar in Elgin, Illinois.
Thursdays. They're the unwanted buffer day before Friday. Friday-Eve, if you well. Nothing fun happens on Thursdays.
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.
Plank Road Tap Room has always desired to be a family-friendly environment and a community meeting place. What we have come to realize over the first two years is that having persons under the age of 21 on the property may not be in everyone's best interest.
We've received plenty of feedback from our customers, most of which questions our allowing children on the property. We have been through our fair share of having to ask folks to attend to their children. Those facts combined with our place not having anything of interest to children, have allowed us to make a decision to benefit our customers as a whole.
Beginning today, we are respectfully asking that no persons under the age of 21 come to our establishment. We will not have any hours of operation that will allow for persons under the age of 21.
We hope that you understand our decision and know that most of you will. If you would like clarification or to voice you opinion, my email address is listed in my signature. We hope to see you soon.
We received an overwhelming response to our WKSS Lottery for new memberships. While we'd love to have enough space to pull everyone's name during the lottery, we were only able to select a fraction.
The names have been chosen and those who were selected have received their notification. As we stated when we announced the lottery, we will not be able to issue personalized emails to those who were not picked in the lottery. We appreciate the unbelievable turnout for this lottery and hope that you would not hesitate to enter again the next time that memberships are available.
Plank Road Tap Room
Some of you may have heard about the #WKSS. If you haven't, we won't be explaining it during this announcement.
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 (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 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.
We have partnered with Lagunitas (more importantly, our friend Dan) for an event to benefit Children's Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation during the entire month of February.
Children's Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation is very close to our hearts. My brother-in-law, Tyler, is a long-time survivor of Neuroblastoma. Neuroblastoma is a rare cancer, occurring mostly in children under the age of five. Unfortunately, many amazing children have been lost to this disease and many more have dealt with lingering effects in to adulthood.
CNCF is dedicated to finding a cure for Neuroblastoma through research, education and awareness. They are also committed to being an advocate for families dealing with Neuroblastoma and being a liaison between those families and their healthcare providers.
Here's how we can all help:
All month long, we will donate $1 for every Lagunitas beer that you purchase. We will rotate through plenty of Lagunitas kegs to keep you surrounded by delicious options. We are also throwing a month-end event on Saturday, February 27th with Lagunitas to really end this fundraiser the right way.
On Saturday, February 27th, we will have a keg of one of the most requested beers from 2015 - Lagunitas' High West-ified Imperial Coffee Stout! This delicious rye barrel-aged stout was donated by the fine folks at Lagunitas, which means...
We will be able to send every last penny of the proceeds from High West-ified to our partners at Children's Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation!
Today is the first day of this partnership and we can't wait to bust open the doors and serve you some delicious Lagunitas beer for the best reason we can think of!
If you'd like to know more about CNCF or contact them about making a donation privately, please check them out at http://www.cncfhope.org. Your support means a lot to us. We'll see you soon!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Alan & Breanne
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.
Photos: Jeremy Teel
For those who aren’t aware, I am a Latino. I’ll give you a few seconds to digest that. My father’s side of the family is Mexican. I may have my mom’s pale skin and a very poor grasp of the Spanish language, but being half-Mexican is a very important and prideful part of my existence.
Recently Donald Trump made this comment about Latinos (Mexicans, specifically): “They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime. They're rapists and some, I assume, are good people…”
I’m not writing to comment about the stupidity and outright bigotry of Trump’s comment. I’d like to think you’re all aware of it. I am writing to point out how a brewery close to us has handled the situation. I was made aware of their actions through this article on the Good Beer Hunting website:
5 Rabbit Cerveceria, in Bedford Park, was founded by Andres Araya. It is my pleasure to know Andres and consider him a friend. He was born in Costa Rica and has worked in the beer industries of Mexico and the U.S. before founding America’s first Latin-inspired brewery.
5 Rabbit had formed a partnership with Trump Tower for a house beer. In the wake of Trump’s ignorant and hateful comments, 5 Rabbit chose to do the right thing. It couldn’t have been the easy thing. 5 Rabbit chose to sever ties and remove itself from Trump’s properties.
They have also renamed this beer in a way that seems very fitting. The beer has been renamed “Chinga tu Pelo” as a polite reference to Mr. Trump and his feelings about Latin Americans.
While I don’t see Plank Road Tap Room as a means for political or social commentary, I am compelled to show my support for Andres and the entire 5 Rabbit crew.
As soon as I read the GBH article, I called my distributor. We are now, proudly, pouring Chinga tu Pelo! This beautiful little golden ale from our friends will be featured as our “Beer of the Month” for July.
As a point of reference, I am not a big fan of “Beer of the Month” promotions. They’re weird and clunky. I don’t like seeing the same beer on tap for any length of time. However, this one means more to me than just showing support to a brewery or earning points with a distributor. This is the best way that I know how to show my disdain for the ignorance of “The Donald” and to show my appreciation for 5 Rabbit and their ability to stay true to who they are and the people they proudly serve and represent.
Please come in this month and grab a cold pint of Chinga tu Pelo and tip your glass to judging people as individuals and on how they treat you.
"Way out in Elgin, IL Alan and Breanne Moreno started a taproom unlike anything the area had ever seen. It’s a beer desert out there, and they appear like a mirage on a small country road serving some of the area’s best beer. Sometimes that means he gets anything he wants, and sometimes that means he’s a target for manipulation as a premier account. Who wins? Well, it’s not always clear who wins. And today he’s here in the studio to talk to us about the many ups and downs of selling beer in such a tumultuous environment."
Photo by: Good Beer HuntingRead More
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.
See you at the Tap Room - Cheers!
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.
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.
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
- Install Refrigeration
- Power Wash
- Drink Beer
- Plan Things
- Drink More Beer
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.
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.
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.
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)
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...
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.
We had a big day at the tap room on Saturday. We were blessed with a gorgeous day for lawn care and we took full advantage.
As much as we would have liked to keep all of the trees around, we just couldn't. A few were dead. One was interfering with your future good time. Our hope is to re-purpose the cedar, pear and maple for a few cool ideas.
We spent much of the day focused on the tree removal, but had the chance to remove a few existing cabinets and half of the floor tiles during our "breaks".
The last piece of good news is that we removed the current Pepsi signage. First of all, I'm a Coke man for life...secondly, it just needed to come down. In it's place, we'll be placing a banner as soon as we can get it from our supplier.
As you can see, we're moving forward as quickly as we're allowed. In the coming days and weeks, you'll start to see contractor trucks and dumpsters. Don't be alarmed. They're there to enhance your experience.
Keep checking in with us as our opening gets closer.
This weekend I had the opportunity to attend the first screening of the Michigan Beer Film outside of Michigan. My father-in-law (Larry) grabbed a pair of tickets and it just so happens to have been held at a familiar place, Good Beer Hunting Studio.
First, and pretty importantly, Michael Kiser can host an event. The studio was set up very well for Saturday nights purpose. There were tons of snacks, water was set out in carafes for those (everyone) dipping in to the two kegs of Greenbush beer. There was also a tastefully executed swag table to purchase the film, grab a Hermetus bottle opener or (in my case) buy an Uppers & downers tee.
Before the screening we had the chance to meet the film maker, Kevin Romeo of Rhino Media, who is a great guy. I assure you that opinion isn't solely based on the Greenbush beers that he brought with him. I enjoyed hearing his viewpoint on things other than film and sharing some of what we're hoping to accomplish here at Plank Road Tap Room.
The Michigan Beer Film itself was fantastic! I left with a much better understanding of Michigan's craft beer culture, which I expected to. I didn't, however, expect the film to resonate so much with my opinions on craft beer in Elgin. I walked away from the film with a lot of hope for our town's ability to develop and nurture its own beer culture...something that I think exists in the people, but not yet in the town and establishments.
After the screening and a well-deserved ovation for Rhino Media we were treated to a Q & A session. Both Kevin and Michael fielded questions and added another level of insight in to the film and beer in general. Discussions were had, jokes were made and glasses were tipped. I even realized that 5 Rabbit Cerveceria's owner Andres Araya, a man that I have great respect for, was in attendance. Stupidly, I balked on more than one opportunity to introduce myself. Disabling social anxiety won that battle.
I walked away from The Michigan Beer Film screening with more than just another great night hanging out with Larry. I left with two clear messages for Plank Road Tap Room's audience. Message #1: Watch/purchase the Michigan Beer Film! It is a great watch and you're supporting a good guy and his amazing creation. Message #2: If you ever have the opportunity to attend an event hosted by Michael at GBH Studio...go...run...do it!
As always, thanks for reading. I should be able to post a few updates soon that will speak to our status and give a clearer vision of our opening.