Pig Minds Brewing is a 100% vegan brewery in Machesney Park, Illinois. Expect mouthwatering comfort foods like nachos, vegan wingz, sandwiches, and tacos. Worthy of a road trip stop!
In the last ten years or so, microbreweries have really taken off. It seems like you can’t go a mile or two in my town without happening upon another one.
I’m not a big beer fan. (I’ll have a glass of Malbec, thanks!) But one thing I really appreciate is that microbreweries tend to have pretty vegan-friendly menus. (Shout out to 30 Hop & Big Grove in Eastern Iowa!)
But you know what’s even better than a vegan-friendly brewery? A 100% vegan brewery!
Pig Minds Brewing is an all-vegan brewery in Machesney Park, Illinois.
I’ve had a chance to visit Pig Minds a couple of times recently. Today I’m sharing some of the new dishes I’ve tried, as well as highlighting items I’ve tried in the past that are still on their current menu.
Pig Minds is tucked away like a delicious secret, off of a main street in an industrial park.
The inside looks like a lot of microbreweries with metal finishes and wood tables. But they’ve made the space uniquely theirs with artwork featuring pigs, including signs on the bathrooms with Porky and Petunia.
Whenever I’m there, it’s clear that Pig Minds is doing good business. They are always bustling with an array of families, couples, grandparents, and kids.
Tantalizing vegan appetizers
Fried pickle rolls
I could happily make a meal of appetizers. And no place is that more true than at Pig Minds. If you love salty snacks as much as I do, prepare to be tempted!
I’m a huge fan of fried pickles. So I was really excited about this unique take on them – fried pickle rolls.
Briny pickles are rolled into vegan eggroll wraps with non-dairy cheese. It’s a satisfying mix of crispy, creamy, and crunchy. The fried pickle rolls are served with gochujang ranch for dipping.
The wingz are a popular appetizer option and one of my favorites. They’re beer battered and panko breaded.
They come in a choice of flavors – mild, sweet & spicy chile, house BBQ, or hot, which is what I tend to choose. The wingz come with a ranch dressing that has a wonderful tangy zip.
The heaping nacho platter is topped with chili, cashew queso, olives, jalapeños, onions, and more. The endless nachos just keep going & going.
Sandwiches, wraps, tacos, and bowls
The gyro is filled to the max with thinly sliced seitan, onion, and tomato in a warm pita. It’s topped with dairy-free tzatziki sauce.
I would have preferred a tangier or bolder tzatziki. But a few dashes of hot sauce on top fixed that.
I had it with broccolini on the side.
Fried avocado tacos
The fried avocado tacos are loaded with pico de gallo, lettuce, and lime sour cream on soft flour tortillas.
I didn’t grab a bite of the avocado tacos. But my friend, Laura, who ordered them said they were on the mild side. She added several dashes of hot sauce to finish them off.
David’s favorite standing order is the chickin’ sandwich. The soy-based patty is beer battered and panko crusted in house. It’s topped with lettuce, tomato, and onion and comes with a choice of sides.
You can get it plain like David does, as well as buffalo, barbecue, or Nashville hot dipped.
Korean barbecue tacos
Two things I wouldn’t order again are the Korean barbecue tacos and buffalo mac & cheesy bowl. Both are made with Soy Curls.
I really like Soy Curls. But I’m very particular about the preparation. I like them to have a crusty chewiness about them like in my vegan barbecue Soy Curls or buffalo Soy Curls. The one exception is if I’m having them in something like meatless chili, where the crispiness isn’t relevant.
They keep the Soy Curls very squishy and wet at Pig Minds, without any browning on the outside.
I had them in the Korean Barbecue tacos, which were marinated in a smoky marinade and topped with Napa cabbage and lime sour cream.
Then I had Soy Curls again in the buffalo mac & cheesy bowl. The Soy Curls were quite soft, and the mac and cheese was on the soupy side.
(You can see a picture of the mac and cheesy bowl by scrolling through these Instagram pictures. There’s also a chocolate espresso brownie & grapefruit basil cocktail.)
But what about the beer?
Like I said, I’m not a huge beer aficionado. But I’ve tasted HappiDaze, a refreshing blueberry California ale. They actually include a few fresh berries in the glass. I also enjoyed a raspberry beer they had once with a fruity edge that was perfect for my palate.
But probably my favorite drink I’ve tried at Pig Minds was a grapefruit juice & basil cocktail that was on the menu as a special this summer.
Plan a road trip stop on your next Midwest trek through Machesney Park, Illinois. Have some tasty vegan noshes, and see how Pig Minds is showing that vegan food is playful, unintimidating, and fun.
Originally posted August 2015. Content and photos updated October 2019 to revise, add new menu items, and omit items no longer on the menu.