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Tribes Alehouse & Grill ~ Mokena and Tinley Park, Illinois, United States
Hey, my name is Niall and I own the Tribes Alehouses in Mokena and Tinley Park, IL. I am an avid fan of good food, craft beer, mead and wine and truly believe there is a world where everything can co-exist. In my opinion that world is located in the South suburbs of Chicago! So swing by for a beer, burger or just to say hello to our friends and co-workers. We are not a chain, so enjoy knowing that we all work really hard to ensure you have the best time possible when you come to our little Alehouses! We constantly host special events and specialty tappings, please keep an eye on our website and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the most current updates of whats going on!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Beer Bar Etiquette!

Believe it or not, it seems, as a society, we are starting to lose all sense of etiquette when we go out. I have not only noticed this at both of our Tribes Alehouse & Grill locations; but at other spots as well. Just the other day, as I was walking out of a local store, I watched a young man walking up to the ‘in’ door, pushing forward he proceeded through. Not a big deal, I am sure this happens thousands of times throughout the day. Except this time, behind him, was a young mother with her baby and rather than hold the door for her, he let it fly back onto her. She barely caught it on time. Had I been closer, I would have grabbed it myself; but the point is he never bothered to be aware of what was around him. It’s all a lack of or eroding etiquette.
Being a long time Hop Peddler, I have noticed a distinct lack of etiquette among the lovers of our brews. While this may be unintended, but I thought it was about time to put a little primer together!
So, here goes!

  •          Everyone has an opinion about beer. You may be an expert about craft brew; you may be a regular; but don’t suppose to know what others will like. Unless asked, let others experiment for themselves; let them discover their likes and dislikes. 
  •       Everyone drinks at different paces; it is perfectly fine for you to order a beer on your own if other folks aren’t ready. Don’t force those that aren’t done to gulp their beer down just because you are done and ready to buy. Also, if your beer is 90% gone and the server is taking orders for the entire table; it’s ok to let her know what you want. By the time she gets back, chances are you will be done. Making her come back with a full tray only to take the order you should have given 5 minutes ago is a bit rude.
  •           Please, please use a coaster. If the server forgets to bring one for you do not hesitate to ask for one. They protect the table top as we all know, but they also absorb the condensation that collects at the bottom of your glass and thats nice so that you or your drinking/dining partner don't pit their sleeves through one of your puddles! 
  •           Please be patient. All of the servers are working very hard, especially on busier nights. Frantically waving your tattered dollars in the air is not going to get you service any faster. Whistling, snapping and clapping will not help either!
  •           Please tip appropriately! Unless you have ever been a server, you will never understand this; our staff works hard to not only please you, but earn a good living. A large portion of their income is the tips you bestow upon them. Generally, a minimum of $1.00 per beer is the norm, if you run a tab or get food; 15% - 20% is acceptable. 
  •         If you have to get up from the bar to head outside to have a cigarette, push your stool in (to keep the pathway clear, and place a coaster on the top of your beer. Your server will know you are coming back! Similarly, if you in the dining room or at one of the high tops, push you chairs/stools in when you get up to leave. Tripping on someone else’s chair is never fun!
  •          On smoking. I always hate approaching this sensitive topic, especially in winter. Here goes; when standing outside to smoke, please stand away from the path incoming and outgoing patrons. Making them walk through your haze is not only rude, but inconsiderate! Better to stand off to the side and closer to the building if you must get out of the wind.
We try to make both of our Tribes Alehouse & Grill locations welcome and comfortable for everyone! Stop in this evening and experience the warmth, camaraderie and reveille of good friends and beer

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Writing is on the Wall...

I really love the way we decorated our two locations; we worked very hard to give them a nice, comfortable as well as inviting feel. From the rich oak color of the tables and chairs; to the earth tones of the walls and even to the various bric-a-brac that adorns our walls; everything about the décor of Tribes Alehouse & Grill is intended to make you, my very dear and loyal patron, comfortable.
I am especially proud of the art that currently decorates our walls and by art I am referring to the chalk boards that list our various brewers and specials. These are all hand crafted, painstakingly so, over hours and hours of labor. Even more pleasing, these have been created by a number of our very own staff members; and as I am sure you will agree; they are worthy of a hoity-toity art-house!
Which brings me to my little rant for the day…the creation of these boards are filled not only with colored powder dust, but love, passion and enormous effort as well as talent. It always pains me deeply to see oblivious people leaning against them, smearing the chalk or even worse wiping it clean. Last winter, I watched in horror as some young man in a knitted cap lean his head against the board and then proceed to rock his head back and forth.  A little perturbed, I approached the young man and asked him to please sit forward or at the very least, stop leaning his head against the art. He looked at me with actual disdain as he sat up straighter; as if I just asked him to do the most difficult thing in the world.
There are some, it seems, that have lost the basic respect for the property they are using; and yes, while you are in one of our locations; you are using our tables, chairs, stools, walls, etc. Would you expect anyone who came into your home to treat it with any less respect, as if it were their own? I don’t think so and I really do feel it is common courtesy to treat a restaurant or bar (no matter where you go) with the same kind of respect that you would your own home.
Which by the way, I am quite sure you would NEVER carve graffiti into your own dining room table. Would you? Then why on earth would anyone feel it was in any way shape or form, justifiable to carve graffiti into one of our tables? Don’t get me started about the state of the restroom either. Really, how hard is it to make it into the center of the bowl?
I love our customers, I really do! All I ask is please treat the facility with the same respect that you would treat your own home; but with your shoes still on when you walk in the door. So come on in, enjoy the ambiance  enjoy the art and above all, please enjoy a nice meal or a finely crafted brew!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Beer Explained: Part 3 – Even More Ale Styles

Last post we left off on the Porters, which by the way gave me an insane taste for a Breckenridge Vanilla Porter, a simply lovely beer! But I digress! Onward to the next phase of Ales, starting with (drum roll please):
Red Beers: Originally from Belgium, the red beer is a more acidic, reddish half-brother of the browns. Often filtered and sometimes pasteurized the reds get their color and flavor from the wooden tuns they are aged in.
Saisons: A summer seasonal beer from Belgium, this very light and refreshing ‘blend’ can be found nearly year round these days! Originally intended as a ‘thirst quencher’ for the local farmers, Saisons tend to be on the orange or amber side with a dry, citrus flavor that can truly quench the thirst!
Scotch Ale: One of my favorites! Fairly high in alcohol (upwards of 8%) and intense in flavor, Scotch Ales can be very malty and full bodied! The alcohol flavor gives it a clean finish and the relatively small use of hops make these Ales very pleasant indeed!
Scottish Ales/Scottish Light Ales/Scottish Heavy Ales/Scottish Export Ales: basically, all variations of the theme mention above in the Scotch Ale; ranging from lower alcohol, to low bitterness, to heavier, more robust flavors. Try one of each to gauge your taste buds!
Now here is something a little different, the Stouts come in 5 different major categories: Irish Dry, Sweet (Cream), Oatmeal, Foreign and my favorite, the Imperial Stout. Stouts generally are black in color with the exception of the Oatmeal and Imperial stouts which can vary from a rust color to black as midnight!
Dry Stouts: Notably the drink of Ireland, the dry stouts tend to be lower in alcohol with a bit of a bitter finish from the roasted barley. The Dry Stouts are famous for their heads (when poured properly from one of our friendly bartenders) and is most known for Guinness!
Foreign-style Stouts: Like the Dry Stout there is very little hop flavor to this brew, but the alcohol is just a tad higher!
Imperial Stouts: With a rich malty flavor and a very balance hop, this is a perfect winter brew with alcohol contents exceeding 8%! That will warm you pallet!
Oatmeal Stouts: With a very nice caramel/chocolate character, this moderately bitter brew can be luxuriously silky as it goes down! It is the addition of the oatmeal to the brewing process that creates the luxury!
Sweet Stouts: These stouts are just that! Sweet! Most Sweet Stouts contain various types of sugar and even milk which gives them a very soothing, comfortable finish!  You have to get a Southern Tier Crème Brulee when it is available!
Strong Ales: Just what the name implies; aged ales that range in amber to brown in color and can push the limits of alcohol at nearly 11%! Malty in flavor with a smooth finish, the Strong Ales can be a real treat!
Well, that wraps of the Ales for now. I know there are a few I did not mention; but I tried to keep the list to the more popular types that we server! As always, please feel free to ask our friendly staff or managers any questions! Test their knowledge and experiment with your tastes! You will find that it can be a lot of fun!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Yup! Go Ahead and Bring the Kids!

As a Restaurateur, I have to walk a fine line when it comes to those that are served or more appropriately, not served! The staffs at both Tribes Alehouse locations know to card hard; it is not only the law of the land, but the law of Niall as well! That being said, we do like to try and be as family friendly as possible!
Even Mom and Dad get a taste for a good brew every now and then but can’t seem (or don’t want) to locate a sitter. So we encourage you to come in and enjoy the ambience and flavor of some of your favorite brews! The only thing I ask, please control the kids! Our servers are busy bopping back and forth from table to table, gingerly balancing trays often loaded with more than a few pints!  There is nothing worse than playing dodge with a child who has decided that dancing around the table like it is a maypole is far more interesting than gnashing through some Aged Cheddar & Pancetta Macaroni & Cheese!
I have kids as well and I bring the family in for a dinner together at one of our locations from time to time. I have a strict ‘Stay in Your Seat’ policy as well as a ‘Respect Those Around You’ policy that must be followed until we leave the restaurant. I can’t think of anything worse than having a nice, grown up dinner interrupted by a misbehaving child.
True story – while traveling with the family some time ago, we stopped at a local eatery during a rather longer leg of the trip. We were all car weary and the kids were especially feeling pent up and restricted. A perfect time to stop, stretch our legs and grab some much needed nourishment! Not the most ideal time to enforce the above mentioned policies, but they are enforced none the less! We were nearly done with our meal when and elderly gentleman and woman approached our table….
“We would like to buy your children a dessert,” stated the gentleman.
Surprised, I looked to my wife and the looked back to the couple and asked to what do we owe this kindness?
The gentleman responded in one of the kindest tones I have ever heard, “We have been here since before you walked in, right at the table next to you, and never once did we realize that you had children at the table! I don’t think I have ever seen better behaved children in a restaurant.”
His wife added, “They are simply dears and deserve a treat for behaving so well!”
Well, far be it from me to look a free dessert in the eye and refuse and far be it from me not to reward my children for good behavior. So after a couple of Chocolate Lava cakes and a couple of scoops of ice cream, we were back on the road with full and sleepy children on the car!
So bring the kids in for a dinner and maybe, just maybe, some kind soul will reward the little tikes for their excellent restaurant behavior!

Beer Explained: Part 2 – Ale Styles

So the last post I introduced everyone to the different types of beers available today.  We talked (well, not really talked, I wrote, you read) about Ales and Lagers as well as the differences. In today’s post we are going to look at the different styles available in the Ales. Now there are quite a few, too many to list in one post, so today we will look at the more popular styles!
Barley Wine: Considered one of the most prized of Ales, Barley Wines have the strength of wine with the complexity of a fine cognac. Barley Wines, like wine, get better with age. They often have a rich, deep warmth that starts with the alcohol and finishes with malty sweetness.
Belgian Browns: This classic style that comes from Flanders Belgium has a wonderful sweet and yet sour maltiness. There a three different ages and strengths of the Belgian Browns.
Golden/Blonde: This often fruity tasting Ale is a bit on the lighter side and generally has a bit less alcohol than other ales. Although there have been Blondes that are a bit higher as in the very drinkable Duvel with an 8.5% ABV.
India Pale Ale: One of the more popular styles, the IPA is considered the star of the brewing world. Born out of necessity, the IPA came into being when the British first colonized India. Beer was sent to the troops from Britain to India and in order to make the long journey without spoiling, the beer was loaded down with hops and alcohol to take advantage of their preservative value. The brewers of today’s IPAs are pushing the envelope of strength and bitterness; at both Tribes locations we have an extensive selection of award winning IPAs!
Lambics & Fruit Lambics: Lambics are considered one of the oldest styles of beer (and beer brewing), originally created in Brussels, the style is more like wine or champagne. With brewing that includes raw wheat along with malted barley and wild yeast; most Lambics are aged in wooden casks that give a fruitful tartness to the finish. In Fruit Lambics, fruit is added to the brewing during the final stages causing further fermentation and giving the beer the subtle sweet, dryness of pink Champagne!
Pale Ales: While Pale Ales are not traditionally pale in color, Pale Ales were named as such to distinguish them from the Porters and Stouts. Most Pale Ales have a low to medium maltiness with English hops that provide a very nice bitterness.
Porters: Porters date back as far as the 1700’s and was one of the first beer styles to gain national distribution. First developed when beer making was untested and still evolving, the smoky color and roasty flavors helped to cover defects in the original brews.
I hope you are all finding this useful and fin to learn! Why not bring your new found knowledge into one of our locations and put your knowledge to the test? Our very friendly wait staff and bartenders are all available to help tutor you!
There are still quite a few Ale styles to go! Check back again for more and then…onto the lagers!!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

An Intro to Beer 101!!!

We used to have a weekly event called ‘Beer School’; at this event, our local distributor would come to the Mokena location and present 6 different craft brews for the students to not only sample, but learn about. Students would learn about the brewing process, the different types of hops and malts as well as some of the history of the brews! It was very well received and perhaps sometime in the future, we may be able to do a Beer School again!
But until then, I thought from time to time I would post some useful information to help educate you on the brews that we serve at both of our locations! Some of you may know this already and some of you may be experiencing the wonderful world of craft beer for the first time; in either case, I do hope that you find this information helpful as well as entertaining!
Let’s start off by defining the types of beer!
Essentially there are two types of beer; ales and lagers. The differences between the two are the yeast. Ales are brewed with ‘Top Fermentation Yeasts’. And Lagers are brewed with ‘Bottom Fermentation Yeasts’.
Ales are the oldest of the two beer types and depending on the brewing style (which we will get into later) can be at their very best when very young or very old. Much like red wines, ales are fermented and often served at room temperature. However, that is a matter of taste. Ales tend to have a more intense flavor to them and depending on the brewing style can range from the extremely bracing and bitter, to the subtlety sweet and savory.
Lagers have only been around for several hundred years (where Ales have been around for more than 5000 years). The yeast strains that make up a Lager were created by accident and like white wines, they are best served cooler. Lagers are more popular among the BIG brewers which make up a large portion of the general American drinking populace. Budweiser, Miller and the other popular ‘brands’ are all lagers.
Both types have many different styles to them! Far too many for a single post so I am going to try and pace it across several posts! We will start next on the Ale styles. If you have any questions, please post them here! Or better still; stop on by one of our locations and try one of our tasty selections! Each table has a very detailed Beer Menu to help you decide what to try. Also, our entire staff of servers and bartenders are extremely knowledgeable and are happy to answer your questions! Ask for a taste first, and above all, be adventurous! 

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Priest and A Rabbi Walk into The Bar…..

As a publican, I believe I have seen it all (nearly all at least), from the sublime to the extreme, all walks of life eventually make their way into one of my establishments. Halloween is always an entertaining time of year for just about any Hop Peddler; the masks seem to come off a lot more than they are placed on; if you get my meaning!  I think that is a post for another day, closer to Fall! We are actually closer to Spring when you think about it and having just lived through another series of Holidays, I am looking forward to it!
 So…anyhoo…a Priest and a Rabbi walk into the bar and park themselves in the corner high top table, the one near the electronic jukebox. I say electronic jukebox because it plays streamed music; there are no CDs or even MP3s stored on it – it’s actually pretty cool – it even has an app for the iPhone or Android that allows you to select, pay for and play music right to the jukebox! If you haven’t tried it yet, you should!
Ok, back to the story; a Priest and a Rabbi walk into the bar and find a resting spot in the front corner of the bar next to the aforementioned jukebox. At this point I don’t know they are a Priest and a Rabbi, after all, they were dressed in civilian clothes. Ha. I guess that makes it sound like they belong to some paramilitary outfit rather than two fine religious organizations. You rather might think they were superheroes in their civilian clothes, the uniform of their denomination hidden discreetly under their garments, waiting for the call to leap forward and save a soul! I digress yet again.
SO…a Priest and a Rabbi walk into the bar and find a spot in the corner (blah, blah..mentioned…mentioned) where they place an order for a couple of brews.  At this point, I am still unaware they are a Priest and a Rabbi. The Priest, a stately older gentleman looking distinguished with thick locks of gray (yeah, I am graying and I do think it looks distinguished!)  orders a Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour Ale and the irony of that is not lost on me! The Rabbi, a much younger fellow, looking as if he should be on a college football team rather than a cleric (wait…do Rabbis actually perform clerical work?), orders a very nice North Coast Old Rasputin Imperial Stout, another one that the irony is not lost! Now, to how I became aware that they were a Priest and a Rabbi!
It was a busy night, so as usual; I offer to help deliver some pints to the tables. Martina, never being one to refuse help (she is good, very attentive to her customers!) asks if I would deliver these two brews to the corner table top. Being an experienced Hop Peddler, I always engage in a wee bit of conversation with my customers. This is how I came to know that a Priest and a Rabbi walked into the bar!
HA! How many of you thought this was going to be an off color joke!

Yup, Beer Can Be Healthy!

I have always realized the medicinal quality of a good brew! I even commented in a previous post about how the Nubians of ancient Egypt knew about the healing qualities of beer! But I wanted to expand a little on that today with some actually scientific research that proves I am right! Not that I need proof, but what the heck, validation always feels good!
Ok, so to start, there have been a number of studies showing that moderate consumption of alcohol (including beer) can have heart healthy effects, reducing the likelihood of a heart attack in men by 30 to 35% (than those who abstain).
Beer, in moderation, also raises the high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the good cholesterol, in our bodies. It also seems to have a good effect on the lining of the blood vessels making them less likely to form a clot or rupture; good news for preventing high blood pressure!
The National Institutes of Health released a study that showed frequent drinking of beer in moderation may protect men from death due to cardiovascular disease by nearly 20%! Now overdoing it may actually have the opposite effect the study found, so as in everything, moderation is key!
In a 2003 study published by the Journal of the Medical Association, doctors found that adults over 65 who drank one to six beers over the course of the week had a lower risk of dementia than non-drinkers or heavier drinkers!
There have even been studies that show beer may play a role in preventing bone loss by rebuilding bone mass in men and younger women. This is especially true with craft beer as it tends to have a relatively high naturally occurring silicone content. Now bear in mind that excessive drinking may lead to brittle bones.
With the new crop of craft beers starting to pop up that are made with organic ingredients and others flavored with antioxidant-laden super fruits, like a New Planet 3R Raspberry Gluten Free, the healthier qualities of beer will only grow.  Beer will never replace a healthy diet or healthy exercise and habits. But it is also something that you can enjoy without feeling guilty! The point here is to approach everything in moderation and caution.
So stop in tonight and enjoy a healthy brew from our fine selection!  

Monday, January 7, 2013

Tribes Specialty Tappings!

People have been asking my staff, management and myself why we do these tappings each week. And - more importantly - why do we wait until 4PM each week to sell them to you?

Well, we have the good fortune of having access to some very cool, sometimes rare, usually seasonal and always limited specialty brews from the various breweries we work with from throughout the country. There are a number of our customers - you guys - that wait for weeks or months to try a Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout, Or a Bells Hopslam. Often times, these kegs run dry in a very short period of time. Sooo, to be fair, we set up a time in advance - in the case of the Tribes -  4PM - so that all the beer fans have ample time to prepare for the tapping. After all, its a big deal to be able to get a chance to try some of these brews. One has to be prepared to leave work early, or go in late (depending on  your job!). They need to be prepared to have their camera phone at the ready to snap a shot of whatever elusive nectar they are finding themselves about to enjoy, so that they may tease or impress their friends!

The Tribes in Mokena taps these beers on Wednesdays at 4PM, while the new Tinley Tribes taps them on Thursdays at 4PM.

This months specialties include Founders Backwoods Bastard and here is the brewery description:
"Expect lovely, warm smells of single malt scotch, oaky bourbon barrels, smoke, sweet caramel and roasted malts, a bit of earthy spice, and a scintilla of dark fruit. It’s a kick-back sipper made to excite the palate."

Additionally, Bells Hopslam will make an appearance, as will Goose Island Bourbon County Stout & Night Stalker and a whole buncha Stone specialties!

Beer Guy or Marriage Counselor? Hmmmm...

Did you know that scientists have long theorized that beer has actual medicinal value? Anthropologists found, thousands of years before the 1928 discovery of penicillin, people in ancient Nubia (located in Egypt) were using beer as an antibiotic to treat everything from infected wounds to gum disease. Nubian beer, it was discovered, contained tetracycline, that same tetracycline was found in the mummified bones of the Nubians! So, who needs a flu shot? Just grab a pint of Lost Coast Tangerine Wheat, at least it sounds like it has some vitamin C in it!
As well as being medicinal in value, I have seen beer bring people together! As a beer guy and restaurateur; I have seen many different people pass through my doors. Generally, during the week, you have a bit of an older crowd coming in. Single people hanging out, married people getting away for the evening or even the occasional date.; it’s the weekends that come alive for the dating crowd as they are the easiest to spot. So, having seen my share of the different types, I can always recognize the potential strains in the relationships!
On one particular evening, I noted a couple that had quietly come in, he slightly ahead of her, she behind him, head looking down, eyes slightly puffy. Let me interject here; what is it about a couple (married or not) that makes them soldier on through an issue even when they clearly should have gone home or somewhere less public to work it out? I never understood that. Ok, back to the story.
They took a seat towards the rear of the restaurant where we have a table for four tucked away in the corner, just opposite of the entrance wall. They sat across from each other, but barely looked at each other. 
They sit there, quietly, not looking at each other, until one of our servers, (Lets call her Sally), approaches them. Quickly looking through their menus they place an order and then go back to looking down. No drink order I noticed, so, being the curious, owner that I am, I walk to the table, introduce myself and ask if they have been taken care of yet, and if so, what they are drinking.
Both look at me, a little dazed and not really understanding what I was asking. So I turn to the puffy eyed lady and say, ‘You look like a Two Hearted Ale kind of girl!’ 
‘Really?’ she asks, ‘Why do you think that?’
‘Well,’ I respond, ‘If your heart is as big as those blue eyes, then you fit the Two Hearted Ale perfectly!’ Then leaning over to her husband I say, ‘Wouldn’t you agree those beautiful eyes are worth a Two Hearted Ale?’
Looking up, a little cofused, he stares into his wife’s eyes and when he does I see his look soften and a smile begin to emerge. She responds with a soft smile as her cheeks begin to redden; obviously that is a look she enjoys! ‘I absolutely agree!’ he responds!
‘Then it’s settled! A Two Hearted Ale for your lovely bride!’ And as I am walking away to alert Sally of the order, the husband asks:
‘What about for me?’
‘Well, if I know my situations, I would say a Stone Arrogant Bastard! Wouldn’t you?’
He smiles, she laughs, he winks and says: ‘Most certainly!’
Ah! The medicinal quality and marriage saving traits of beer! And not too shabby for this old Hops Peddler either!