Inside the Tank
Three friends, Jonathan Fritz, Stephen Bossu and Samantha Lee, went to the University of Illinois together and did some home brewing together. After college they went their separate ways, Stephen and Samantha got married, but they ultimately came back together and last year opened up Hopewell Brewing Company in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago.
Back in January we chatted for a bit with Neil Fisher and Colin Jones of WeldWerks Brewing Company at the Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines festival in Breckenridge, Colorado. The guys were nice enough to step away from their crowded booth and give us a thorough walkthrough of their upcoming 2017 plans, dropping so much exciting news and knowledge on us that we decided to pluck this interview out and do a feature.
St. Louis’ brewing legacy does not start nor end with Anheuser-Busch. Not by a long shot.
According the bible of St. Louis beer, “St. Louis Brews” the list of major breweries included many names still known around here a century later. Names like Busch, Lemp, Falstaff and Griesedieck, still ring familiar to beer drinkers, generations after their heyday. But you know the saying, “what was old is new again.”
That is exactly what is happening with the rebirth of the famed Griesedieck family brewery.
Situated on the north side of Chicago, Aquanaut Brewing Company features a small line of year-round beers, but has plans to launch more seasonal and one-off beers as well as opening up a taproom in the future.
Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of sharing a delicious five-course meal paired with Foolproof Brewing beer selections while sitting across from head brewer Steve Sharp. I fell in love with their craft creations, which are distributed to the Northeast, but unfortunately not in my city! Still — I believe in this brewery and am spreading the word through an insightful interview with Foolproof’s founder Nick Garrison. Cheers!
Walk into nearly any bar in American and you’ll likely spot a beer served with an orange slice. Immediately Blue Moon Belgian White comes to mind. First brewed by Keith Villa at the Sandlot Brewery attached to Coors Field in 1995, Blue Moon Belgian White was originally called Bellyside Belgian White and bars served it with lemon. Things have changed over the years and I met up with Villa at the Great American Beer Fest to talk with him about his brewing background, the history and growth of Blue Moon as well as his thoughts on the craft beer industry.
Odd13 Brewing has had themselves a year, from the meteoric rise in success of their New England-style IPAs to their Robot Librarian hazy IPA collaboration with Fiction, WeldWerks and Cerebral, to the expanded distribution and new can releases featuring their iconic comic book themed illustrations. We sat down with founder Ryan Scott, as well as head brewer, Eric Larkin, to talk about their big year.
How would craft beer have evolved in America if we had a centuries-old farmhouse brewing tradition like Belgium? Head brewer and co-founder of Stickman Brews, Ethan Buckman, focuses his creativity on creating beers that could have existed in this alternate brewing history. He brews hop-forward American-style ales, which he then ferments farmhouse-style with different strains of Brettanomyces and wild yeasts in open-top fermenters. The resulting beers blur style guidelines in exciting new ways. Ethan doesn’t like to assign styles to his brews because he doesn’t feel there are any regularly used styles that accurately describe what he is trying to create.
He is probably right.
Walk into a bar in Chicago and you’re more than likely to see the colorful fist tap handles at the bar. Those fists let you know that Revolution Brewing is on tap and have become synonymous with Chicago craft beer.
Spiteful Brewing, started by Brad Shaffer & Jason Klein, has put out a lot of different beers since they began brewing back in 2012. The beers are well-known in Chicago for their unique labels and creative names. When we walked into their brewing space for the first time I was shocked at how small of an area they work with. In fact their current space is only 1,600 sq. feet, but luckily will be moving into a new space with nearly 7,500 sq. ft – a tremendous upgrade.
With so many breweries operating in Chicago, the ability to stand out is critical. Forbidden Root has been brewing beer for a couple of years now, and in February of this year they opened up a beautiful new tap room in West Town. The brewery uses botanics in its beers such as ginger, cherry stems, black walnuts and licorice to create unique flavor profiles.
Avg. Reading Time: 8 min
If you’ve walked into any beer store in Chicago, and now Colorado or New York, you’ve probably seen a Pipeworks beer. Known for their unique artwork and clever names, their beers have become well-known in the city and are sought after by craft beer fans in other states. From big IPAs to a barrel-aged program that is gaining notoriety quickly, Pipeworks Brewing Company is one of the best-known breweries in Chicago. They just moved into a massive new facility recently, so I went out there to talk with Co-Founder and Brewer Gerrit Lewis.
You’ve probably seen Off Color Brewing beer in your local beer store. The bottles stand out with their unique artwork featuring a little grain mouse. Off Color doesn’t brew your typical beer. They don’t have an IPA, instead opting to brew Sahtis, smoked beers and anything else outside the norm that head brewer and co-founder John Laffler can dream up. I sat down with John for the latest installment of Inside the Tank to get into the head of the man behind Off Color Brewing in Chicago.
Avg. Reading Time: 9 min