Spotlight on Two Hound Red: West suburban Glen Ellyn is home to this visually striking brewery with an innovative menu and a focus on lighter, simpler flavors of beer
Two Hound Red Brewing Co.
486 Pennsylvania Ave. in Glen Ellyn
Tuesday-Thursday: 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
Friday-Saturday: 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m.
Sunday: 11:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m.
History in short: Head brewer Steve Woertendyke’s brewing career got off to a rather inauspicious start to be sure. Stationed at Ft. Lewis in Washington, he would drive around Washington and Oregon with his uncle and cousin and make stops at impressive breweries like Pyramid, Anchor Steam and Red Hook. One day they drove past a home brew supply shop, which made him wonder if he could make beer as well as they did. The next logical step? Why brewing beer in his Army barracks using hot plates, of course. It was a trial by error to be sure.
Eventually he was transferred to Korea, so he sent his home brew kit to his brother to experiment with his father in law. “But his stuff was really good, and that wasn’t right because I felt like it was my equipment,” Steve says with a laugh.
Once his military obligations were up and college was completed, he gained valuable experience at breweries like Werk Force and Two Brothers before landing at Two Hound Red a year after it opened in 2019.
The space: It is a visually striking interior, as the ownership went all in on the renovations of an old pharmacy to uncover some beautiful bow-truss wood ceilings and repurpose the tin ceilings as decoration in the barrel room. Exposed air ducts, an open kitchen, leather booths and a massive brick wall highlight the room, while tons of dark wood and red bar stools create a nice contrasting visual.
In short, it’s got a polished look but has an old-school feel, using a fair amount of salvaged items with local ties. The front windows open up accordion style during the summer, and there are four TVs inside — not overwhelming but there if you want them. Don’t forget the flower-lined patio covered for shade while the nice weather lasts.
Ownership went all in on the renovations of an old pharmacy to uncover some beautiful bow-truss wood ceilings and repurpose the tin ceilings.
Interesting note: Glen Ellyn is a family-oriented town, and we noticed there is no shortage of families enjoying Two Hound Red at any given time. A new weekend brunch kicked into high gear this summer, a popular Friday happy hour that offers up $5 pints and half off appetizers runs 3-6 p.m., and themed beer and food menus have been created in coordination with nearby exhibits at the McAninch Arts Center.
Also, Two Hound Red is now open for lunch Tuesday-Friday, where guests can enjoy $10 classic burgers or $10 personal pizzas. For NFL Sundays, they offer $5 select pints as well as $10 smoked wings and $10 handhelds.
What we’re eating and drinking: Two Hound Red offers up a solid selection of 12 beers on draft, covering everything from a clean and lighter Mexican lager called Steel Machete to the juicy Hazy Hound IPA and the Freud’s Folly malty Vienna lager. The food menu is innovative and enticing. Try the Besto Pesto chicken sandwich, shrimp risotto or fall harvest salad and thank us later.
My philosophy is that with the lighter and simpler flavors you use, there’s less to hide behind. And that’s why I favor lagers. If you’ve mastered those flavors, you’re on your way. — Head brewer Steve Woertendyke
On the horizon: Two Hound Red served up a scorpion chili dopplebock at last spring’s Beer Under Glass festival that was a big hit, and a dinner series with a local hot sauce that they paired with the food and beer may become a regular thing. The same goes for painting parties, like the one they’re hosting on Oct. 24.
Swing in ASAP this fall to indulge in some of their small-batch options like Smoke Fest (German-style rauchbier) and the Headles Oarsman (pumpkin-spiced porter) or an annual favorite like Dia de los Muertos, a Mexican-style dark lager with notes of chocolate, caramel, coffee and biscuit — think malty and delicious with a dry finish.
From the brewery: “My philosophy is that with the lighter and simpler flavors you use, there’s less to hide behind. And that’s why I favor lagers. If you’ve mastered those flavors, you’re on your way. Some can hide behind the roasty, coffee flavors of a stout or the fruit of a hazy or sour, but if you can brew a great helles lager without any glaring flaws, you’ve done something special.” — Head brewer Steve Woertendyke