The beer program for the Bayless empire is based here, at Cruz Blanca, much like PQM does the meats for all of One-Off restaurants. This place is seriously growing on me. I love the casual vibes of the walk-up bars and find your own seating and the space is beautiful – the fun and fast paced ground floor with the taco kitchen, and the breezy second floor overlooking Randolph St. When I was there, the playlist was cumbia versions of American hits, people were in the zone.
The styles of beers are unique and under-appreciated, and mostly low ABV, which means you may even be able to remember the interesting and obscure gems of beer knowledge doled out by the bartenders. CB’s Rubia, with honey made in Chicago, is the perfect session beer, a French style I had never heard of called bier de garde. Smoke Alley, the smoked wheat beer, and agua fresca, magically and refreshingly combine for what they call a housemade radler.
For a restaurant, the food options are limited, but for a brewery the food options are way beyond the standard offerings. All 5 taco platters are outstanding, locally and humanely raised meat grilled over live fire and served with heirloom corn tortillas (I asked for a couple more and they gave me extra for no charge.) I am becoming a total cucumber radish salad head. When I was there the daily changing agua fresca was yellow watermelon and lemon, with the smoke wheat beer, Cruz Blanca starting to crush it!