(October 2016). A dozen plus visits over a dozen years, including four in the past few months have confirmed that this place is still on top of the Rockford beer scene, beer-wise. They still don’t have much of a food menu and it’s a small place that is pretty much just a bar, but the ambiance and service and the generally excellent beer make it worth regular visits. And the area of East State street that it inhabits has improved significantly over the past decade and offers a lot more choices of food and drink than it used to, so this is very much worth spending part of a longer visit to the area in.
Oct 05: Well, this latest visit brought the wonderful Delirium de Carlyle and the best-of-style California Common. It’s an odd place, across the street from the place my parents shopped for furniture when I was 7 and my brother and I got lost...oh just go already, this place is great.
Nov 04: A nice place, and one that I really hope succeeds in the 20-year depressed old industrial city that is close to a "hometown" for me. Dark wood, old-timey midwest pub feel, but clean and well put together. Little in the way of food when I visited (July 04) but good to very good beer...the stout in particular was fine. Really friendly, warm service. I’ll be back at Christmas.
A great place. Beautifully laid-out. I usually visit there for lunch, as they have nice subs, pizzas and sandwiches (but that’s about it as for the food). Their selection of beers is nicely varied, as are their seasonal selections. Usually a nice place to visit and have good conversation with friends without having to yell over the music or other screaming people. I love that they don’t allow cigar smoking (and don’t allow smoking of any kind on Tuesdays & Thursdays).
Nice place in downtown Rockford. Not many people there when I went with my son (which is nice to not have to worry about people smoking,) but it was only 1:00 p.m. on a Saturday. Bartender was very accommodating and wanted to make our stay as best as possible. Well lit and good ventilation when a few smokers showed up. Had nine different beers on tap when I went, including a bourbon barrel imperial stout and an imperial IPA. A trip that was enjoyable and worthwhile, and a standout in the world of brewpubs.
SubstanceT (114) Saint Louis, Missouri | September 14, 2005| Updated February 7, 2007
Food looks better. Now serving pizza and is now NON smoking!
So it is located downtown not exactally in the best part of town but I dont think anyone would feel unsafe here. Cool atmosphere brick wallks bar and some tables. Nothing more than that. The beer menu is about like 9 or so when I was there. They had a sampler of all their beers that was 12.50 but I really think that the price depends on how many you get. Beer is not bad. If you are in the area go check this place out, besides woodmans it is the best beer thing to happen to this town.
Narnad (19) Crystal Lake, Illinois | July 22, 2009| Updated July 23, 2009
One of my absolute favorite hang outs. I can not stress the high quality of their beers. I have honestly never had a beer here that wasn’t fantastic. Everything on their list will very honestly quell any a yearning you have for drinking. Generally have 10+ beers on tap at any given time. The website is generally up to date with the range of brews they have on tap. Food selection is very minimal with it being limited to pizza (which is good) and some simple sandwiches like Italian beef Service is okay but there is generally only one server for the entire bar. They recently acquired the next door strip club and turned that into another area for sitting and some games like suffleboard and pool are over there. If your into sitting down, best to get there before 9 as the place seems to fill up very quickly with lots of large groups of people. A decent turnover of people does occur so seats do open quit quickly. Prices for their beers are very modest for the quality and growlers are average price. Parking is simple as there is a municipal parking lot pretty much across from it. Calm, easy going, comfortably lite and solid beers make this a place to visit and then revisit again and again.
I like the layout of this place, kind of like a neighborhood bar but with good beers on tap. And that’s the key for me. The eight beers that were available on my visit were all solid, the IPA very good. The staff was very friendly and the crowd agreeable. The next time I’m in Rockford I will definitely be stopping in again.
TheEnemy (44) Chicago, | September 10, 2005| Updated March 25, 2006
WARNING: EAT ELSEWHERE. The food here is barely an afterthought, and they don’t even try to pretend otherwise. [EDIT: They have now started making thin-crust pizza that is actually quite good, but there still isn’t anything approximating a full menu.] This place is all about their beer. They make no attempt to distract you with anything else, including their sparse menu of sandwiches. Never packed but rarely empty, this is a nice space to enjoy a quality pint. Exposed brick wall to the east, bar to the west, a smattering of tables in between, and a large windows to the brewhouse all along the east wall. Beer quality is surprisingly good too -- not something I would have expected to find in Rockford. Tap selection is not terribly expansive, with about 7 offerings at any given time -- but they’re all high-quality offerings. Even their light beer is flavored with rose hips so it’s worth trying. During a recent 2-hour Saturday afternoon visit, I counted 17 growlers brought in for refills. That kind of repeat business says it all about the beer quality. If you’re driving through the area, by all means take a detour into downtown Rockford and give this place your business.
P.S. Congrats to Carlyle for earning a spot in the 2006 Page-A-Day beer calender.
the place looks european brick walls arched door ways beer garden but it is what it is a brew pub bar not fancy at all food sucks but your here for the beer i have been here 3 times now since it is with in 30 mins. they always have 10 to 12 beers on tap its not a scary place at all like duke man says but it is close to the bad side of rockford but rockford isn’t chicago i do hope some day they will bottle so more of us can sample thier brews, they do sell growlers and most of the waitresses are very friendly and pleasing to the eye if you are in rockford check them out but if you are hungry stop somewher else first, my kind of place with people of all ages and both sexes not just a guy bar
Brigadier (310) Chagrin Falls, Ohio | April 30, 2006| Updated March 22, 2007
Stopped here on the way to Dark Lord Day. My only complaint is that it happens to be all the way across Rockford from the interstate which means dealing with about 450 stop lights. Still, it was a great place to stop and I would do it again. The selection of beers crossed a wide variety of styles, although I only tasted two since I had to drive later. At $1.00 per sample the prices weren’t too bad either. There is not much to the building but it is well set up. It certainly has a brewpub feel to it; in fact it felt like a pub that happened to serve food because the menu is fairly thin. Check it out if you are in the area - Tuesday and Thursdays are best because they are smoke free.
Update : As of January 2007 they are now smoke free all the time
My go-to place when im back home in Rockford. Don Carlyle can brew up some good seasonals (check out my ratings). Even their fruit beers are very well done. Im looking forward to christmas time when i stop in again!