Carlyle Brewing Co.

BEER AVG
3.94/5
Carlyle Brewing Co.Carlyle Brewing Co.
PLACE INFO

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

215 E State St
Rockford, Illinois, 61104-1010
United States

(815) 963-2739 | map
carlylebrewing.com

Notes:
No notes at this time.

Added by Dogbrick

BEER STATS
Beers:
12
Ratings:
80
Reviews:
22
PLACE STATS
Score:
91
Ratings:
40
Reviews:
27
Avg:
4.14
pDev:
13.29%
 
 
Taps:
12
Bottles/Cans:
0
Cask:
N
Beer-to-Go:
Y
View: Beers | Place Reviews | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 40 |  Reviews: 27
Photo of emerge077
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

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.

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Photo of Yetiman420
4.94/5  rDev +19.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Stop #354 on my world brewery tour.

Located in what appears to be a slowly gentrifying area of historic downtown Rockford next to a chocolate shop and running store. Lots of people riding by on their bikes but not for exercise. Old building with a good view of the brewing operation.

I went with two sampler flights and a full pint. From a style execution standpoint, these beers were as good as I've ever had. If you've ever been turned off by a bad Helles lager or cream ale, Carlyle will make you a believer in great session beers. A couple of comments where appropriate on the beers I had....

Flight one
Pale Ale - wonderful crystal malt balance.
Helles
Saison
Hefe
Vanilla Cream - Fantastic! "Fresh vanilla," I'm brewing one next summer.

Flight Two
Honey Ale - The least desirable of the beers I had. Still ok
Humulus IPA (full pint) - Beautiful IPA with full flavor
Irish Red - Testament to great malt balance
Scottish
Stout - Wonderfully roasty and complex

The only beer I didn't sample was the Quad as I was driving and didn't want to overdo it.

I didn't have any of the food but it seemed more like snack food than what you might have for dinner (not a lot of options). Service was friendly and proactive...lots of older locals enjoying themselves at the bar.

Highly recommend for the beer and historical ambiance.

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Photo of mynie
4/5  rDev -3.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

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.

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Photo of spointon
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Visited on 10/11/2008.

Being the only brewpub in town, we decided to visit while on a camping weekend at Rock Cut State Park.

This place is located near the river in downtown Rockford. Parking was easy to find on a Saturday afternoon, but I could see it being a problem at other times. Upon entering I was immediately liking the ambiance of the place. The brew house is all off to the right and visible through windows and an open (gated)doorway. The main bar room is to the left and is a long skinny room that has the bar situated on the right side and the tables and booths over to the left. Everything is dark stained wood and very comforting in an old, well-used pub sort of way. The beers are clearly listed on a giant chalkboard at the end of the bar along with the relevant ABVs. The beer garden was down a long hallway and out behind the building (in the alley). It was nicely done (stone wall around it with a gate in the corner) but I decided against it because, well, it was in the alley and hot as hell.

I was impressed to find 12 beers on tap at this little place! A nice assortment of brews including some standards as well as a few showing some creativity (i.e. vanilla cream ale). All but 2 of the beers were in the 4.5 to 5.5 ABV range. I had the American Strong Ale, the Festbier, and the Vanilla Cream Ale. All were what I would consider good and drinkable but nothing earth-shattering to note.

Service was friendly (we sat at the bar) and the bartender was willing to comment on some of the beers, pour free samples, and generally shoot the breeze on a slow Saturday.

The prices at this place were in my opinion very good. The day we visited, 10 of the 12 beers were just $3.75 per pint and the other two were $4.00 per pint. Price wise, my only complaint was that the 2 "expensive" beers were each $26 for a growler refill while the other 10 beers were just $9 per growler refill.

Overall, this is a solid good place to find fresh beer in the Rockford area. I will definitely visit again without reservations on my next trip out that way.

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Photo of italianstallion
3.44/5  rDev -16.9%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3.25

Photo of hoosier222002
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Stopped in on a Thursday afternoon with some friends. This was the first time I had been in for quite a while. They had approx. 12 beers on tap with a nice range of styles. I enjoyed their Five Malt Ale, Scottish Ale and Imperial Stout. The only downside to the visit was that they were out of the Humulus Lupus (their IPA).

They have recently expanded their food for those interested. They now offer small sandwiches along with pizza and some small snacks.

The atmosphere is nice and relaxing while sitting at the bar and talking with friends. All in all, a very positive experience. Looking forward to going back and enjoying the beer garden for the first time.

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Photo of stouts4me
3/5  rDev -27.5%

Photo of kmpitz2
4.34/5  rDev +4.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4

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.

 1,301 characters

Photo of SpdKilz
4.16/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Came here with my brother-in-law and my sister.

Walked in on a Saturday night at about six and there were already quite a few people there. We were only going to stay for a bit so we took some seats at the bar. The vibe was quite nice and the bartender helped us out immediately. The place was very cool looking with some stone work and overall just a very well done bar. The bartender was quite attentive the entire time and helped us with any questions we had. My brother-in-law and I ordered a beer each and then some tasters while my sister just had the Vanilla Cream Ale (which I admit was not the best – vanilla seemed pretty artificial). Their saison stood out to me and I actually got a second glass of it. There was a good selection of house taps and the tasters allowed us to try quite a few beers which was nice. We did not get food here but the prices/selection seemed on par with what you’d expect. Overall, an enjoyable experience and I can’t wait to come back here again.

 993 characters

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Very clean and nice place for a beer. Excellant bar food, the pizza is my favorite. Vanilla Ale and Stout are stables and every now and again, they have a tastey BIG BEER too fron thier specialty list! The rootbeer is amazing also, they make it in house. One of the first bars I would go to on a regular basis when I first started to like craft brewski! Still is a favorite. Its easy to spend money in that place. They have a shuffle board in the back along with bumper pool. This place is always packed on the weekends.

 520 characters

Photo of bcm75
3.06/5  rDev -26.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 1.75 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Decent place. Well lit for a bar, family friendly at least around dinner time. The beers are decent to very good. However, our server completely forgot to put in our food order; by the time we noticed that it wasn't just slow service (other tables who came after us were getting food), it was almost time for the hockey game we were going to attend. To be told, at that point, after waiting over an hour, that it would take 25 minutes for a food order isn't acceptable. They offered to comp our next round, but again, we were leaving.

 534 characters

Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.79/5  rDev +15.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75

A wonderful little place I stumbled on. Great beer that is underrated. Nice variety with 11 on tap. Great service with old world coolness with nice, knowledgeable bt. Gave huge samples of whatever. Parking a little tough but on beautiful riverfront. I highly recommend a visit!

 283 characters

Photo of dickroop
3.88/5  rDev -6.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

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.

 873 characters

Photo of DOCRW
3.25/5  rDev -21.5%

Photo of pkeating59
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.75

Photo of Lemke10
3.76/5  rDev -9.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

My wife and I dropped by in December 2012 before heading off to see a show at the BMO Harris Center that is located just a block away. Located in the downtown older part of Rockford, this is a fairly decent sized place as there is kind of a hidden part to the building. On a Saturday night this place was hopping. We weren’t offered any kind of seating so we took it as a “seat yourself” kind of place. The food menu is pretty basic brewpub food, just something that pairs well with beer. Staff was nice and the beers were average to above average quality wise. A nice little place I would be interesting in visiting again. However their website could really use some help. No food menu and talk about weird hours opening at 3pm most days. Closed on Sundays? That wouldn’t fly in Wisconsin! More hours and a more appealing lunch/dinner menu would greatly help this place.

 879 characters

Photo of CSO
4.07/5  rDev -1.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.5

Photo of ultralarry2006
4.8/5  rDev +15.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

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.

 1,211 characters

Photo of andywelp
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

Photo of KFBR392
3.73/5  rDev -9.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.25 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.25

Atmosphere: A very relaxed and easy going atmosphere, even on some nights where it is packed with people. Shuffle board, darts, and billiards are all available to the patrons. A couple different seating areas which easily accommodate a large group or yourself and a date is very nice. No doubt a fun relaxing place to have a few beers.

Quality: The quality of the beer is good but nothing great. All of their beers seem to have the same piny hop character. Not sure what specific hops they are using but it runs throughout their whole line. Its not an offensive flavor but lacks diversity. That being said though, I will no doubt take their brews over all of the usual places to go in Rockford.

Service: No real problems here, but nothing that ever blew me away. There was always a waiter/waitress in close range to get ahold of. Servers were always pleasant, even on busy nights which is always appreciated.

Food: Perfect beer drinking pizza! Very thin crust with many different toppings available. They also have some traditional snacks like salted pretzels which is a favorite of my girlfriend. Definitely have something to tide that appetite during a long evening of drinking.

Overall: A great place to go and I highly recommend it to anyone passing through/in the Rockford area. Good beer and some very solid food. Just switch up those hops every once in a while and we would really be in business!

 1,409 characters

Photo of zjungleist
4.14/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

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

 1,157 characters

Photo of foretheloveofbeer
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%

Photo of Tconder
3.25/5  rDev -21.5%

Photo of Contagion
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

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.

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Photo of zebulon
3.43/5  rDev -17.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3 | food: 3

Pleasant bar atmosphere. A little dark but that just made it relaxing.

Not a lot of beer selection but most major types available. Had there IPA which was OK. Had their Triple which was like sweet liquid bananas, the alcohol was hidden in the sweetness - dangerous. More like a light bodied syrup than a beer.

Service was mixed one bar tender (that took care of me) was friendly and informative. The other looked through me like I wasn't there and spend his time with what seemed like regulars.

Lots of regulars in the place, both at the bar and at tables.

Very limited menu bar food brats etc.

A decent place for a snack and a beer. I like to support local breweries when I visit a town and I will be back if I come to Rockford. Not a great place, but certainly worth a stop.

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Carlyle Brewing Co. in Rockford, IL
3.94 out of 5 based on 80 ratings.
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