4030 Fox Valley Center Dr.
Aurora, IL 60504
There are several things I love in life, and good craft beer is one of them! For this reason, I think it’s only fitting that my first restaurant review is a microbrew pub.
Nestled in a strip of shopping on the outskirts of Fox Valley Mall, in Aurora, Illinois, Hopvine Brewing is one of those places you’ve probably driven past a hundred times, but didn’t see it. However, once you’ve found it, you’ll be back for three reasons:
- Amazing beer!
- Al fresco dining in their “Hop Garden” – where you can enjoy your meal surrounded by raised planters of hop vines.
- Amazing beer!
- Phenomenal wings!
- Oh, and did I mention — Amazing beer!
Let’s start with the beer. The brewmaster, Ken McMullen, is a freaking magician when it comes to brews! Seriously, I’ve toured many brew pubs, and there’s usually one or two good beers, but Ken nails it time and time again, no matter the beer.
Want a deliciously hoppy IPA? Go for the Alpha Mastadon. Are you more of a stout drinker? Go for the Ukranian Koffee Krusher. This Russian Imperial Stout is a complex blend of oak and vanilla, accented with Guatamalan coffee beans. While we were there, Ken was running a rye saisson through a Hop rocket, packed with oranges, honey and fresh ginger. Oh yeah!
My recommendation – get a flight! What more can you ask for than a selection of 6 delicious beers?
Oh wait! There is something more you can ask for…
For more than a decade, I lived in Western New York – home of the wing. Needless to say, I’ve eaten a lot of chicken wings. Buffalo – barbecue – terriyaki – garlic butter – and more. If it’s an appendage of a chicken, smothered in sauce – I want to try it! Yeah, I’m a bit of a fan. So, when I saw Smoked Chicken Wings on the menu at Hopvine, I had to try them.
Yes, I know they’re an appetizer – but I had to have them as a meal… and I’m so glad I did! Look at these bad boys!
These aren’t your normal fried than slathered in Buffalo sauce wings. These finger-licking pieces of chicken are first smoked, which gives them a depth of flavor you just don’t find in your typical wing. Next time, I’m going to have to try them with Hopvine’s homemade rootbeer barbecue sauce!
CONCLUSION: If you’re in the mood for wings — go to Hopvine… NOW!
My only disappointment on this visit was the onion rings. Buttermilk-brined thick slices of red onion are coated in Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs. They’re served alongside a garlic aioli for dipping. Sounds good, right? They would’ve been…
If they had been hot.
Sadly, our mountain of onion rings was room temperature.
Not even a little warm.
We ate them, and they were good, but they would’ve been INFINITELY better had they been served hot. I’m not sure what happened, and I’m sure our server would’ve brought us another batch had I said something.
I kind of wish I had, because if they were good cold, I’m sure they would’ve been fab hot!
All in all, I’m giving Hopvine two thumbs up. I can’t wait to go back and try some of their other dishes, as well as what Ken has new on tap! Perhaps the the fried chicken and waffles, with a maple ginger syrup, or the mac and cheese with Renard’s white cheddar, with the suggested Brew Monkey Imperial Belgian Ale. Mmmm!