Three Floyd's brewery Alpha King Pale Ale is one of my all-time favorite beers. It is, by far, the most hoppy and forward tasting Pale Ale I've ever had. But it's very smooth and full-bodied. And it's also pretty expensive - $10.99 a six pack at most places in Chicago. However, the Three Floyd's brewery and brew pub is located just across the Indiana/Illinois border south of Chicago. It's not far from one of my far southern suburban dealers in Chicago and I decided to go over there one day for lunch.
Three Floyd's began in 1996 in a small building in Munster, IN. Nick Floyd had been a brewer at the Florida Brewery, a defunct small brewery in Florida; and the Weinkeller brewery in suburban Chicago before starting the brewery with his brother Simon Floyd, and his father Michael Floyd. I believe I read somewhere that the other two Floyd's are no longer involved in the business.
Nick Floyd hired brewmaster Jim Cibak away from Goose Island Brewing in Chicago and the company was off and running. However, I understand that Cibak left the company in a dispute with Floyd in 2006. Cibak, who concocted many of Three Floyd's signature beers, ended up at Firestone Walker brewery in California. (Firestone Walker also has some pretty good Pale Ales.) It's reported that he's back in Indiana looking to open a brewery in Crown Point.
After a few missed turns and long ways around, I was able to find the Three Floyd's brewpub in a small industrial section of Munster (see map). I knew I was in the right place as there was a sculpture of the Alpha King holding a beer keg next to the street. The brewpub looks like it was an after-thought to put it on the brewery. The addition sort of juts out from the original brewery.
Once inside, you'll find a combination dining area/gift shop with a big window looking into the brewing area. On the left is the bar area with a projection television and a lot of funky kitsch on the walls and shelves. The Rocky Horror Picture Show was playing on the projector - with no sound. And The Grateful Dead were playing on the sound system. I knew I was going to like this funky little place.
For around 1:30 in the afternoon, the place was sort of full. I was able to get a seat next to an elderly guy at the bar and I got a menu from the bartender. And I also ordered up a Three Floyds Alpha King. Damn, is that good beer!
I ended up ordering a Reuben sandwich with fries. I've been on such a Reuben kick that I had to keep going. The bartender said, "That's a great choice. We have a good Reuben here."
While I waited for my sandwich, I was talking with the gentleman next to me. He told me that he just loves Three Floyd's beer and doesn't like all the "watered down" American beers. He said, "I spent a lot of time in Austria for my work a number of years ago. I retired about 8 years ago and I couldn't find any beer that compared to the beer I used to have in Europe. Then I had a friend who told me about this place and they have about as close to what I was used to drinking in Austria."
My sandwich showed up and I got another Alpha King to help wash it down. The sandwich had thick slices of corned beef and a tangy homemade Thousand Island dressing on the side. It was very good. The seasoned fries were also very good. But the Reuben was a spot-hitter.
Before I left, I asked the bartender if they sold beer to go. She said they did, so I got a couple sixers of the Alpha King. For buying them at the brewery, you save a buck a sixer - $10 each. Expensive stuff, but it's worth it.
The Three Floyd's Brewery has an annual event - DarkLord Day - usually held toward the end of April. That's the one day the brewery sells their DarkLord Russian Imperial Stout. I've been told it's a huge, huge deal with bands, food, and beer tastings. It sounds sort of fun.
The Three Floyd's brewpub is sort of tough to find - you just gotta pay attention to the cross-street signs along Calumet Ave. in Munster. But the beer is great, the food is good and the atmosphere is fun. I'm writing this at 6:45 in the morning and my mouth is watering for an Alpha King Pale Ale. I'll definitely go back.