Carlyle Brewing Co.
Ratings: 30 | Reviews: 25 | Display Reviews Only:
3.38/5 rDev -13.8%
Not expecting alot of greatness in Rockford... I love the town... and Cheap Trick... but being a visitor in that town for over 15 years to see family... I've never had a great brew experience there until recent years.
The Carlyle is good. The food is typical brew pub choices and the beer is OK. A bit flavorless at times... but good enough.
I think they need to embrace the wonderful brew mentality that is just up the road in Wisconsin. More classic retro brewing recipes...and homages.
In Rockford, The Carlyle is a safe bet.
09-24-2008 19:56:37 | More by Hedeen
4.38/5 rDev +11.7%
This is one of my favorite places to go in Rockford. The interior of the building is very rustic from the exposed beams to the the 18th century style tables along the walls. The center tables are more modern. You can see the brew kettles from your seats through a gated doorway or windows. There is a slight Scottish theme.
The staff is generally very nice and helpful. However, when it gets busy it can be a while before visits. The owner is frequently in the bar and will sit down and talk with you if invited. In fact just last Saturday night he joined some friends and I for pint.
The food menu is not extensive, but everything on there is excellent. They probably have one of the best reubens in the city and the beer brat is also excellent. Their beer menu does change with the seasons. There are some staple favorites on there all year round.
If you are in the Rockford area and like good beer, you would be remiss not to visit.
06-24-2008 22:16:37 | More by Contagion
4.28/5 rDev +9.2%
Glass façade with the brewkettles in full view from the street. Once inside the double doors, there was a preliminary board listing the current specialty brews. It was December, and I was happy to see an Imperial Stout and Christmas Ale listed.
The first thing to draw my eye after stepping in was the colorful "Lion Rampant" flag of Scotland high on the back wall. Brewery area was gated off by Tim Burton style iron gates, right out of the Nightmare Before Xmas. Deep red and blue hues on some walls, with a large exposed brick wall to one side, with 5 educational banners about the brewing process. All house taps at the bar, dark wooden tables and benches in the small seating area.
We sat down and decided to order a pizza, but waited a while for service. Once the server got to us, I could see that he was also working the bar with one other staff member. We probably showed up between shifts, because the service was great once we ordered. They brought several samples over the course of the evening. Didn't get a growler, but the Imperial Stout was the highlight. Pizza was ok, it was ultra thin and employed a flour tortilla as the crust. The other menu items sounded good, deli sandwiches and soft pretzels.
Worth a detour off of I-90, this seems to be the best beer stop Rockford has to offer (in 2007). Also of note in town is Toad Hall, an emporium of collectibles, mostly records, books, and odds & ends.
12-27-2007 20:10:13 | More by emerge077
4.8/5 rDev +22.4%
This brewpub is located near the Rock River in downtown Rockford. It is in an older brick building, and has exposed brick walls on the inside, very charming. The brewing area can be seen from the outside, off to the rightside, and from inside, it can be seen behind glass behind the right side half of the bar. The physical environment combined with the indie rock, jazz, and lounge music piped in on the satellite radio renders a very urbane, even hip ambience. They have only their own beers here, all on-tap, and roughly a dozen or so. The beer here is excellent ! I had one of the best quad's I have ever had, and a really good tripel, as well. I also had some 4 oz. sample sizes of an excellent strong ale ( which is what they called it, I think it was a barleywine ), as well as an excellent hefe-weizen, and a really good scottish ale. The servers here were very friendly, and helpful, and knowledgible. They have food, apparantly of the pub-food variety, but I did not have any since I had just come from having had a huge dinner previously, but maybe next time I will. Anyway, this place is excellent, and has excellent beer, and I would come here often if it was in Chicago, or if I lived in Rockford.
08-27-2007 15:18:43 | More by ultralarry2006
4.3/5 rDev +9.7%
At $3.50/pint for all except the specialty beers, this place is a great value. It's all about the superb beer, and the owner has no intention of becoming a restaurant.
It's good to note that about a year ago this place voluntarily went smoke-free. The strip club next door, Ken's Hideaway, went out of business in fall of 2006, and Carlyle Brewing has purchased the building and is in the midst of expansion, including plans for a beer garden sometime in the summer of 2007. As of this writing, the stone wall for the bg is half finished.
Food is secondary, but tasty, and freshly prepared to order. The 7" and 12" pizzas have a super thin crust...they are actually flour tortillas..and they are tasty. The 16" is made with a different crust, still thin, but not like the tortillas. The ingredients are fresh and what goes better with beer than pizza? No fried foods, no grilled foods.
The beers are mostly excellent. The owner/brewer is a Belgian fan, and a big beer fan. Trippels, dubbels, quads, American strong ales all dot the menu. Thankfully Don Carlyle, the owner/brewer, who is a graduate of the Seibel Institute, isn't afraid to experiment. While most of his beers are very true to their styles, he's had some fun with a variety of bourbon barrel stouts and monster big beers.
The atmosphere ranges from quiet, a place for conversation...to crowded and fun. Don't look for TV's, neon, juke boxes or ashtrays.
When the place gets busy, service can be a little slow. The wait staff insists on personally pouring every beer order, then walking the length of the place to behind the bar....then back around. Also strange is the absence of any touch screen order entry. Not a problem during quiet times, but it's a comedy watching the staff operate during peak hours.
Regardless, Carlyle Brewing produces beautiful ales, and when in Rockford, you must visit.
05-07-2007 23:05:51 | More by Humulus51
2.94/5 rDev -25%
Not very large but they had good seating for the space they had. There is a front and alley entrance. Reasonably priced. Good Quality beer. Sandwhiches and Pizza are on the menu. I did not notice anyone smoking. Middleclass 30 something crowd. Service a little slow for how busy it was, but one cannot judge from just one waitress. Plenty of schwag to purchase. Growlers available also. Quite a large selection of beers. I had their IPA which they have monikered Humulus Lupulus. Plenty of seasonal beers also. Good atmosphere. I'd definitely go again!
12-28-2006 21:10:22 | More by TechMyst
3.88/5 rDev -1%
Stopped in two nights in a row while traveling to this burg. The place obviously has a good set of regulars, which gives it extra points for the neighborhood bar feel. Not crowded when I visited, service was attentive and friendly. Menu is limited. I got a small pizza and it was fine. Not great, but a good deal, tasty, hot, good ingredients.
The beer selection is OK - they had what was important to me, a dry-hopped IPA with a killer nose, good flavor. A fine brew. The American Wheat was awfully close to MGD, althogether lacking in distinction. Coulda-shoulda-woulda tried the stout.
From a seat at the bar, one can see through to the brewing area, and there is serious production going on here. Too bad they don't offer tours more often. This is a solid place, deserving of your visit and patronage, and capable of providing you a brew to remember. Recommended.
11-02-2006 02:21:06 | More by dickroop
4/5 rDev +2%
Nice simple decor. Old brick building and the owners are milking the old brick feel. It's in downtown Rockford, right next to a titty bar and a hip little vintage clothing store.
Came in early evening, right when a bunch of professional-class types were getting off of work and getting ready to drink. The crowd was almost enitrely in its 30s and 40s. Smoke, but not too smoky. Dim lights, but not bar dim, not depressing. The music was old blues and it wasn't playing very loudly.
The bartender and waitress were both friendly. I didn't have any need to test their knoweldges, thanks to a large chalk beer menu that listed and described each beer that was being offered, along with a menu at each table. There were about ten brews to choose from.
The beers ranged from middle of the road to exceptional. The pints were 3.50, quite reasonable (and cheap, compared to the Chicago area). All in all, it's a nice little place. Worth stopping by if you're in the area.
03-13-2006 02:49:07 | More by mynie
4.14/5 rDev +5.6%
Located in downtown Rockford, very near the Rock River. You can easily see the cool brewing equipment in the window from the street. Nice, cozy atmosphere, though maybe a bit small. There were several strip clubs in the neighborhood (one next door), so I expected maybe a rougher crowd, but it was surprisingly laid back. Perhaps all the ruffians were next door drinking macros for half the price. Not to say that the joint was expensive. Pints were $3.50, and then they had Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout for like $8. That's fair in my book, for a brewpub.
The beer selection was not huge in any sense, but somewhat unique. They had a vanilla cream ale (which was not great but worth a try), and a triple/belgian seemed interesting. The rest of the selection was fairly standard.
The service was prompt, helpful, and moderately attractive. I had one pint while I got my growlers filled. I didn't have food, but the menu was real simple. Brats, sandwiches, pretzels, that's all I recall. The simple menu is a plus in my book, sort of, because you can tell they are focused on brewing and not cooking. The menu seemed well matched to the simple atmosphere
09-17-2005 07:10:30 | More by zjungleist
4.34/5 rDev +10.7%
My in-laws were nice enough to stop in here with me on our way to Madison today. From the outside you can see the brewing equipment. From the inside, it sits behind the bar, visable through a window. I saw that their bourbon aged imperial stout had just gone on and asked about getting a growler of it. I was told that it would run me $60 bucks...so I got a growler of the Pale Ale to go and had a chalice of the stout while there. It was a typical bar-type establishment. I've heard rumors that they do food, but saw nothing that let me know that while there. The bartender was very nice, taking the time to let the brewer know I had a question. He came out and I was able to ask him what barrels he used to age the stout (Jack Daniels barrels, so bourbon stout is a bit of a stretch). The beer was good, there was a very nice patron that was rather interested in my love of beer and my reviews, so it was really nice to see people taking the time to ask me about what I was doing. I gave him a note with the web address here and my username, so hopefully he will be reading this some time and sign up and see what it is all about. There were 8 brews on tap, all house beers. OVerall, this was a very positive experience. Everyone was very nice and I could easily sit down and have a few beers there.
05-08-2005 02:05:30 | More by kmpitz2
Carlyle Brewing Co. in Rockford, IL
89 out of 100 based on 30 ratings.