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Moody Tongue Brewing Company Debuts In Style

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Jun 23, 2014 7:00PM

Moody Tongue's witbier spiced with crushed green coriander, paired with a "pork shake" from Dusek's. (Chuck Sudo/Chicagoist)

Moody Tongue Brewing Company, the highly anticipated brewery from former Goose Island Clybourn brewmaster Jared Rouben, is up and running. Rouben, his business partner and cousin Jeremy Cohn, and their crew held a coming out party at Pilsen’s Thalia Hall last Saturday featuring the company’s two beers paired with food from neighborhood eateries, tours of their 10,000 square foot brewhouse and talk of the future.

Moody Tongue is an extension of the “culinary beer” philosophy Rouben developed at Goose Island, with an emphasis on seasonal, farm fresh produce and spices and brewing beers specifically on how they will pair with different types of food. The various food stations at the launch party explained the beer pairings in detail. Here was how Sinaloa-style chicken from Pollo Express was chosen to pair with Moody Tongue’s witbier spiced with crushed green coriander:

Consider the weight of beer on your tongue. (For example, think of milk: skim milk = light body; 2 percent milk = medium body; whole milk = full body.) The lighter body of the wit complements the lighter body of the chicken.

Moody Tongue's cold-pressed paw paw Belgian-style ale, paired with tres leches cake from Kristoffer's Cafe and Bakery. (Chuck Sudo/Chicagoist)

And it did in a way few would have expected. The light spice from the green coriander also served as a contrast to the smoky mesquite charcoal flavor of the chicken. This philosophy continued whether it was pairing the witbier with a pork “shake” from Dusek’s or a Belgian-style ale infused with cold-pressed paw paws paired with braised Illinois lamb from Nightwood, carnitas from Don Pedro or tres leches cake from Kristoffer’s CafĂ© and Bakery.

The witbier was light on the palate and will make for a sublime summer sipper as Moody Tongue adds draft accounts across Chicago, but the paw paw beer was the clear standout of Moody Tongue’s two offerings. Grown by Green City Market vendor Oriana Kruszewski, the fruit does a marvelous job working in tandem with the more earthy aspects of the Belgian ale yeast, making for a complex beer that reveals subtle wrinkles with each sip.

Moody tongue's Jeremy Cohn (center) leads guests through a tour of the in-progress brewery. (Chuck Sudo/Chicagoist)

Rouben and Cohn have major plans in store for Moody Tongue’s brewhouse. The 20-barrel system is operational along with seven bright tanks, some specifically designed for Rouben to work on his more ambitious beers. Located in a former glass factory that was empty for a quarter century, there are still signs of construction throughout. Cohn said plans are in the works for a bottling line, a taproom and, eventually, a glass-encased kitchen where visitors to the brewery and people passing by outside can watch Rouben and his associate brewers at work making beer and experimenting with flavor combinations for future brews.

Moody Tongue Brewing Company is located at 2136 S. Peoria St.