Mokena's newest grill offers one of largest craft brew selections in state
December 09, 2009 | 01:08 AM
Nial Freyne, Mokena native and former owner of Galway Tribes Pub, is back in the restaurant biz with his newest adventure, Tribes Alehouse, located in Mokena at the former site of Vito and Nicks II.
Despite the slightly similar name, Tribes "couldn't be more different than Galway," according to Freyne. Tribes is an alehouse. Patrons should get the idea the moment they walk through the door, as more than 40 handles line the wall, each connected to a different keg of fresh craft beer from America and around the world.
"[After Galway closed] I said that if I do this again, I'm going to focus on a draft beer bar," Freyne said. "This is a nice place on [U.S.] 30 — an adult draft beer house, and a family restaurant."
Assistant Editor Michael Gilbert and I stopped by Tribes on Dec. 3, around 4 p.m. — I wanted to make sure it was late enough in the day to have a beer.
Before speaking with Freyne, I was treated to a DogFish Head Indian Brown Ale, one of a seemingly endless list of beers on tap at Tribes. The beer arrived very dark with a finger of foam on it and with a well-hopped and malty taste. It also came with an alcohol by volume content of 7.2 percent, and is in the higher mid-range of ABVs of the beers there (which currently rise as high as 11.5 percent). That's close to double your average domestic lager. The ABVs of all beers are listed on the menu — so you shouldn't surprised by the size of the kick.
In addition to craft beers, Tribes also offers a selection of domestic lagers and light beers that you would find at most bars.
Freyne said "people shouldn't be intimidated by good beer," and if you don't know a porter from a pilsner, don't worry, Tribes staff is extremely knowledgeable and can point you in the direction of a beer that suits your taste.
After my beer, Gilbert and I dug into three selections from the food menu. We had just two sandwiches and an appetizer, but left with three doggie bags. Are we on a diet? No, we just had more food than we knew what to do with, particularly as we started off with a Tribes favorite, Giant Nachos ($11 full, $7 half). The dish came out on what looked like a large pizza pan and was piled about 10 inches high with chips, chicken, tomato, jalapenos, cheddar cheese, guacamole, onion, black olives and sour cream.
"What the heck did you order?" said Gilbert as the chef brought out the app. Freyne just wanted us to try it, but said staff often warns groups of two and three to stick with a half-order (he recommends the full for parties of six to eight).
After the nachos, we tried two sandwiches: The Roast Beast ($8) and grilled Ruben ($8). Both were served hot and I finished one-half of each. The Beast was a delicious variation on a classic beef, with Swiss cheese, tomatoes, horseradish sauce and served on a panini.
Galway's food was always hit and Freyne was able bring most of his kitchen staff over to Tribes.
Among Freyne's most gracious offerings at the restaurant is his Incredible Lunch Deal, where, Monday-Friday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., the entire menu, no exclusions, is half-price, plus a buck for patrons who dine in and order at least one beverage.
"It's a fantastic way for a family to come out for a cheap lunch — you can get a great burger and a beer for under $8," he said.
Tribes Alehouse is open daily at 11 a.m., and the kitchen closes at 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The bar closes nightly at 1 a.m.
You can visit Tribes on the Web at www.tribesalehouse.com, or call at (815) 464-0248. Tribes is located at 11220 U.S. 30, in Mokena.