#breweryshowcase – PorchDrinking.com
The addition of suburban-Chicago’s Oswego Brewing Company (May, 2018) further demonstrates that the craft beer industry is far from “too crowded.” Oswego Brewing has fit in nicely, thank you, and is drawing in its own new loyal crowd of craft beer fans. Operating out of spacious building — the town’s former fire station — and under the direction of the multi-award winning head brewer, Marc Wilson, Oswego Brewing deftly balances the art of offering sophisticated special releases alongside solid, versatile year-round and seasonal choices.
Brickstone Brewery has won medals at FoBAB, the World Cup, and GABF. One can find Brickstone at every Jewel, several Buffalo Wild Wings, throughout Guaranteed Rate Field (White Sox games), at beer fests — and even gas stations these days. It’s tough to find a Chicago-area bar without some tap handles adorned by Brickstone artwork. Yet, most Chicago-area beer fans have never been to Brickstone. Born of a family-restaurant in the 1990s, the Bourbonnais business added a brewery in 2006 and has since evolved into a dually-located, full-fledged, 9k to 10k barrel-per-year brewery (with a capacity for 18k) and, as it always has been, family restaurant. Located 45 miles south of downtown Chicago, Brickstone has simultaneously discovered a way to cater to its local clientele while also existing among the biggest names in Chicago beer.
Enter the BuckleDown Brewing taproom and you’ll find, among other elements, an arrangement of leather furniture around a table (barrel) that makes one feel as if they have been invited into the BuckleDown home. It’s a fitting setting for an inviting brewery where the people matter as much, if not more, than the beer served to them. Ironically, BuckleDown opened with a production mindset in place rather than a brewpub or any concept intended to draw people through the door. Nonetheless, people arrived and relationships were forged. Catering to people isn’t a business strategy at BuckleDown: it’s organic and genuine.
Many craft beer fans are apt to consider Fort Collins, Colorado as integral to the genesis of America’s craft beer boom. It’s not uncommon to hear this northern Colorado town described as the “Napa Valley of Craft Beer.” With this in mind, it is understandable that the introduction of any new brewery could prove challenging. It is an even more daunting task then to bring an established brewery from a foreign country and set up the first state-side shop in the former lot where long-time beer veterans Fort Collins Brewery stood (FCB was acquired by the Vancouver brewery last year). While a hefty endeavor indeed, the crew at Red Truck Beer Company relished the idea of such a challenge.
The Vancouver brewery opened the doors to the Truck Stop, their Fort Collins location, on August 17; they did not disappoint. We had the chance to discuss the opening with general manager, Laird Mulderink, who shared the process behind the opening. We also spoke with head brewer Shaun Salyards, previously of Fort Collins Brewery and Snowbank Brewing, who provided insight on the 18 (yes, 18) beers on tap.
For nearly seven years, Carton Brewing Company has exemplified life in New Jersey and the team has kept its focus on local, for-the-moment beers. The brewery opened on August 11, 2011 in Atlantic Highlands and it became the state’s 13th brewery. Owned by Augie Carton (who was previously an underwear salesman, among other professions) and his cousin Chris, the brewery is located where the owners were born and raised.
Don’t think of LaGrow Beer Company as an organic brewery; think of it as a family-owned brewery dedicated to using the purest ingredients imaginable, from soil to suds.
At LaGrow, the ingredients used are pure, which results in a beer abound in flavor and exceptionally crisp, clean and fresh. Even if one doesn’t care about ingesting chemicals, the resultant flavor derived from chemical-free ingredients is sure to please any beer drinker, from beer geek to macro fan.
Nestled in the southside of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania—a stone’s throw away from the Sands Casino, SteelStacks and Lehigh University’s Asa Packer Campus—is the little brewery that could. Going from a grand opening to two GABF medals in just over a year requires a lot of hard work, dedication and a metric shitload of positive thinking. The team at Bonn Place Brewing Company has all of these things, while still making the time to greet each and every patron as they enter (many of them by name).
The wall of barrels, two-deep and floor-to-ceiling, that stretches along the length of the brewhouse captures the eyes of those walking through the Scorched Earth Brewing taproom doors. The tantalizing tower of aged beer induces salivation in a manner that would make Pavlov proud. Still, the diverse beer menu and exceptionally warm, inviting taproom environment amounts to a brewery that is attractive to just about every type of beer drinker.
The recipe for each Alaskan Brewing beer is simple: Use authentic, regional ingredients; add creative ingenuity and throw in a dash of brewing history. Since 1986, Alaskan Brewing has enthusiastically embraced its Last Frontier location while simultaneously playing the role of craft beer pioneer.
“As a startup, you have the opportunity to self-distribute since nobody knows who you are,” said distributors to Sun King Brewery co-founder, Clay Robinson in 2009. Now, as Indiana’s second largest brewery and with numerous, prestigious brewing medals to its name, plenty of people know about Sun King Brewing.
Brewpubs are not a new trend by any means, as they have been in business in St. Louis since at least 1991, when The Schlafly Tap Room opened just west of downtown. However, the practice of pairing a limited or full menu with beer brewed under the same roof continues to grow more popular in St. Louis, and few do it better than Ferguson Brewing Company.
Tucked away in an industrial part of town near the old Fort Collins Airport, you’ll find a bright red building, originally an airplane hanger, and now a family-run brewery called Horse & Dragon Brewing. Inside, long community tables and round tops casually welcome you to put your phone away and have a seat. There are no TVs, live bands, or food trucks for entertainment. Instead, the brewery welcomes you to come in, grab a beer, chat with some friendly patrons or staff, and enjoy the moment. And immediately, you will feel welcome. There is an inexplicable vibe that Horse & Dragon exudes, that can only be attributed to owners Carol and Tim Cochran. Their love of craft beer and the Fort Collins community is poured into the brewery and here is their story.
In a craft-beer world abound in ales, a brewery focused on lagers can reap the benefits of exploring a whole new world of brewing innovation and experimentation. And that’s what you’ll find at Kinslahger Brewing in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, Illinois,
The Only Child Brewing story involves several unique chapters. Some sections are straightforward, yet compelling, such as mentioning the brewery’s ultra-hip, slick taproom or the brewery’s personable, enthusiastic staff. Of course, one can also talk about its beer that exemplifies the term, “artisanship.” However, other portions of the Only Child Brewing story are far more complex, including the nearly simultaneous, and tumultuous, birth of both the brewery and its owners’ newborn twins. The story may not be a fairy tale, but all signs point towards a happy ending.
Real Ale Brewing Company has just celebrated 21 years of brewing beer in the Texas Hill Country — and they don’t show any signs of slowing down. The Brewers Association recently posted the Top 50 Craft Breweries in the US by sales volume and Real Ale made the list at number 49. It’s impressive for a brewery whose motto is “unavailable in 49 states”. That’s right, you can only enjoy the popular Firemans #4 or a unique small batch Mysterium Verum release in the great state of Texas. Recently, the brewery announced the launch of the Real Spirits Distilling program that includes Hill Country Signature Whiskey, Grain to Glass Gin, and the highly limited first batch of Single Barrel Whiskey only available at the Real Ale Taproom.
Known for its expanse of warehouses and industrial vibe, the West Town neighborhood in Chicago has become a hotbed for craft beer, including the recently opened On Tour Brewing. Positioned within walking distance of Forbidden Root, All Rise Brewery and Goose Island, On Tour Brewery is the perfect midway point for any West Town brewery crawl due to its relaxed vibe and its exceptionally well-rounded beer list.
Photo Credit: Noon Whistle Brewing via Facebook
The Noon Whistle Brewing story resembles one enjoyed by innumerable craft breweries, especially in Chicago. The brewery first sought to create a niche within the booming craft beer market by becoming Chicago’s premier session-beer location. But, now in its third year, abundant success has forced the Noon Whistle Brewing crew to adapt its vision, both to accommodate its growing business, and also satisfy a desire to brew a variety of great beer. Noon Whistle has transitioned from audience-seeker to a trusted name brand.
Featured imaged photo credit: Portner Brewhouse’s facebook page.
Portner Brewhouse is trying to do many, many things: resurrect pre-Prohibition family recipes, encourage local experimentation among homebrewers, serve delicious German food and of course, brew and serve beer.
And prost! They are actually doing it all — and doing it well.
Featured photo provided by Maxline Brewing
Step inside Maxline Brewing and you’ll see a small tasting room lined with large, wooden community tables and expansive garage windows that open out to a patio in the south-facing sun. Inside the tasting room, three fermenters are in full view with chalkboard titles tantalizing guests with the beers to come. On this particularly sunny day, the patio is full and beers are flowing. Maxline staff, often called beertenders, weave seamlessly throughout the tasting room stopping to exchange pleasantries with customers, pet a dog or two (dogs are allowed on both patio and tasting room), and high five children on their way out. For this midtown location in Fort Collins, it’s as if “everybody knows your name.”
Nevin’s Brewing Company (NBC), located in Chicago’s suburban Plainfield, is a restaurant, banquet hall, music venue and a brewery — and now that brewery has its own name, Nevin’s Draft Company. The “B” in NBC, occasionally got lost in the mix, so the brewing arm of NBC created a new, separate identity. The beer has always been good, but now more people are going to know about it.