While you could order a glass of wine or a seasonal cocktail at Owen & Engine, the new Brit-style pub that opened last Thursday down the block from its (somewhat incongruous) sibling, Fat Willy’s Rib Shack, we’d like to direct your attention toward the beer. And not just any beer. Sure, you’ll find plenty of palatable bottles (46 total, including Leelanau’s Good Harbor Golden, $22) and drafts (20, such as Belhaven Wee Heavy on a nitro pour, $6), but we’d like you to consider, specifically, the cask beer—or those varieties maintained at a cellar temperature of 53 degrees and shuttled up to the bar via hand-pumped beer engine.
Although Chicago is no stranger to hand-pumping—we encountered the system most recently at Fountainhead—the phenomenon is new to many casual drinkers. “Yeah, we did a fair amount of explaining over the weekend,” says O&E’s beverage director, Andrew Algren. “But everyone seems pretty game to give it a try.”
If you count yourself among the curious (or already converted), Algren says he’ll run four casks at a time, with a new option added almost daily. Current offerings include Arcadia Sky High Rye and Onion Pub & Brewery’s Paddy Pale Ale (both $6 for a 20-ounce imperial pint); brews from Half Acre and Three Floyds are coming soon. Our photographer found plenty of folks raising pints when he visited the bar Saturday; browse the photos below.
Photography: Jeff Schear