Located in front of the Westin North Shore Hotel in Wheeling, Spear’s Burgers, Bourbon, and Beer is a unique, local owned establishment that offers high quality in all it does, including giving back to the community.
Offering over 300 bourbons and whiskeys, grass fed, non GMO chicken, beef and wild game, plus a huge selection of craft beers, this is definitely not a chain restaurant! Spears is passionate about bourbon, and the fall and winter are perfect seasons for getting reacquainted with this drink.
All About Bourbon
Originally from Bourbon County in Kentucky, bourbons can now be found all over the country. But what makes Kentucky bourbon unique is the limestone water – how water is filtered through limestone to give it a unique flavor.
Bourbon is only made in the U.S. Many consider Jacob Spears to be the first known distiller of bourbon. Spears Bourbon, Burgers, & Beer uses this name in recognition of this pioneer.
To be a true bourbon, the mixture must have a minimum of 51% corn mash and be stored in new oak charred barrels for a minimum of 4 years’ minimum. Often these barrels are then sold to breweries for bourbon barrel aged beer, which you’ll also find at Spears.
You can tour many famous Bourbon distilleries by traveling along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail (kybourbontrail.com). On the path, you can visit companies such as Four Roses, Jim Beam, Makers Mark, and Woodford Reserve. You’ll find bourbons from all of them served at Spears.
Bourbon at Spears
A favorite bourbon of Spears is J. Henry, made by a Wisconsin distillery which uses its own locally grown and harvested grains. J. Henry exudes an exceptional quality, with hints of vanilla and caramel in its taste. Spears can also “smoke” J. Henry WI bourbon at your table or at the bar.
The Smoker is a form of pipe that lights hickory, cherry, or apple wood chips then forces the smoke into a glass box with the Bourbon glass to give the Bourbon and even smokier taste. This is unique in the Chicago area and I don’t know of anyone else that does this. When Spears does this at the bar, it is like a magic show and always attracts a crowd.
Even the house brand brand bourbon at Spears is excellent! Woodford Reserve is used for the Spears Old Fashioned, served with a sphere of ice (a round ball of ice that keeps the drink cold but doesn’t melt as fast as ice cubes). Spears also offers Bourbon flights so you can sample different bourbons.
Yes, this is a very popular option, as bourbon and other “brown” liquors are becoming more popular with millennials, including women. As with many aspects of modern life, the experience of sampling Bourbons is important to many people. Spears embraces this!
Burgers at Spears
When it comes to burgers, Spears is unique. GMO free, grass fed beef, wild game and range free chicken are all offered at Spears.
Bored with just a burger? Then consider a bison burger, which is juicy and low in fat. Or elk which is the leanest meat, and wild boar with a blackberry compote. These unique wild game burgers pair well with Bourbon and craft beers.
Spears is kid friendly with IBC Root Beer, cotton candy and carnival funnel cake.
Beers at Spears
Beer pairs well with burgers. And when visiting Spears, you’ll see 24 beers on tap, always rotating including 6-8 local beers.
It’s common to find Chicago beers from Half Acre, Pipeworks, Revolution, and Lagunitas (which is from CA but also brewed in Chicago), along with 3 Floyds from Indiana. And, as with its bourbon, Spears offers beer flights for people to experience a variety of beers without drinking too much.
Finally, Spears gives back to many organizations. The popular Wounded Warrior Project fundraising event takes place each July. And last winter, the restaurant hosted a benefit for the 100 Club of Chicago and the city’s first responders.
Whether you’re hungry, thirsty, or a little of each, Spears has something for you. It’s a favorite of our editor! Visit Spears at 723 N. Milwaukee Avenue in Wheeling, 847-353-8933, and go to www.spearschicago.com for more information.