brewpub Archives – PorchDrinking.com
On Tuesday, Ballast Point Brewing owners announced that they would be closing the brewpub in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood for good. The location was open for just under three years and while the pandemic definitely played a factor, the location for the brewpub was always going to present big challenges.
When Katherine and Chris Valleau say they built Exit Strategy Brewing Co. from scratch, they’re not kidding. “When we first walked into the building, the skylight was hanging down from the ceiling and there were birds flying around. Everything had been stripped. No plugs. No running water. Only four walls,” said Katherine. Nearly six years later, the couple has turned that once empty space into a popular, name-brand brewpub (food and beer), frequented by locals and often visited by traveling craft-beer aficionados.
While many Illinois breweries were able to reopen with outdoor seating on May 29, Chicago-based breweries have had to wait a bit longer. However, this Wednesday, the city’s beer scene will finally begin breathing new life as brewpubs have been granted permission to reopen June 3.
In the city, things will operate under different guidelines than the rest of the state. As of right now, if a brewery location doesn’t serve food, they will not be able to reopen, even with outdoor seating. That will drastically limit which breweries in the city can reopen starting Wednesday.
Opening a brewery in Denver? In 2019? Truthfully, that act seems anything but counter-culture. But leave it to Counter Culture Brewery and Grille, the Mile High City’s newest craft brewery in the Governor’s Park neighborhood, to find a way to live up to its anti-establishment name.
In 2015, the CANarchy Craft Brewery Collective was born out of Oskar Blues Holding Company in what began as a financial partnership with Fireman Capital Partners, a Boston area private equity firm. The Collective brought together a group of like-minded brewers who still maintain their independence under the Brewers Association’s definition of a small and independent brewery, but have also become part of a unified entity that has allowed for greater collaboration of ideas, resources and distribution networks. Just two months after the formation of CANarchy, Oskar Blues brought Michigan’s Perrin Brewing Company to the fold and have since added four others.
As more and more breweries pop up, the idea of the neighborhood brewery is becoming increasingly popular. To wit: Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales’ only location outside of Michigan, their Hyde Park location which opened in 2017, is quickly become a gathering space for the community.
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.
About 60 miles south of Downtown Chicago, in a town of roughly 18,500 people, one will find a superbly crafted American Pale Ale (APA). You remember APAs, right? Craft beer drinkers used to consume multitudes of them a few decades ago. Well, they still exist, and they are as good as ever, exemplified by Brickstone APA from Brickstone Brewery in Bourbonnais, IL.
A lot has changed over the past year for Empirical Brewery. They moved to self-distribution, the brewpub, just a stones throw away from the taproom, is in full-swing, and they are moving from bottles to cans. There’s a lot of great beer coming out of the small taproom in Andersonville so we went out there and spoke with CEO Bill Hurley and Head Brewer/Taproom Manager Jacob Huston about Empirical, craft beer in Chicago and the industry in general.
The pillars are gone. John Hall is gone. The cozy, public house atmosphere is gone. But, the revamped Goose Island Brewhouse oozes elegance; it’s clean, modern and sophisticated. You won’t see any Anheuser Busch InBev (ABI) signs in the taproom, but evidence of the company’s influence is impossible to miss. It’s hard not to ooh and ahh at the grander things in life, like an expensive sports car or a large home — the new Goose Island Brewhouse exemplifies that concept.
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.
After winning a coveted Michelin star this past November, Band of Bohemia welcomes in spring with an industry leading list of brewers. On May 1st they’ll host, “Chicago’s Premier Brewpubs and Breweries Under One Roof”. They are teaming up with the James Beard Foundation and The Illinois Restaurant Association to put on the event.
Heritage Brewing Company was started in 2013 via a Kickstarter campaign, so it’s fitting they looked to the same tool to help launch their next big move: An Arlington-based brewpub and coffee roastery, about 30 miles from their home location in Manassas, Virginia.
From day one, the Band of Bohemia team consisting of Michael Carroll, Craig Sindelar, Matt Dubois, Carlos Matias, Mario Lopez, Tom Santelle strove to reflect the highest of standards in the field of culinary and brewing excellence. That distinction has now been validated as Band of Bohemia becomes the first brewpub to receive a Michelin Star recognition of excellence in the culinary dining field. More impressive, is the fact that the Chicago-based brewpub’s is just celebrating their one year anniversary this upcoming November 19.
Notre Dame isn’t the only source of gold in South Bend; there are plenty of pint glasses filled to the brim with golden lagers and ales, too. Not to mention, barrel-aged barleywines, stouts, and everything else one can imagine are all being served in Northern Indiana.
Header photo by: Desiree Duzich
800 Lincoln St., Denver, CO 80203
Capacity: 7 Barrel Brewhouse
Open Date: February, 2014
Hours of Operation:
- Sunday-Thursday 11am-11pm
- Friday-Saturday 11am-12am
*There is free parking just north side of the building.
Inspired beer. Delicious food. Patio seating. You’ll find all three and more at 5 Seasons Brewing Co. in metro Atlanta.
After a crushing move by state legislators to peel Georgia brew pubs out of take-home beer sales that were originally proposed in Senate Bill 63, I’m throwing some extra love towards 5 Seasons Brewing Co. If you’re visiting Atlanta, it’s a must. If you live here and haven’t been to 5 Seasons in a few months, go back. Go support your local brewers.
Recently, one of our writers shared a link to an article entitled, The Blonde and the Bubbly, about a strip club/brewpub in Medway, OH. I kept inaccurately referred to the article as “Beer and Boobs” in conversation all week. Clearly, the Dayton Daily Paper’s headline is classier. It got me thinking, however, that beer + activity = specialty brewpub, and there must be dozens of untapped ideas out there. I asked our staffers what specialty brewpubs they’d like to see.
If there are any investors out there, leave your information in the comments.
This week, find out a little about yourself from the beer you drink. Also, be jealous (or lucky if you’re there) that Oregon has two craft beer weeks overlapping. Finally, there’s big news for Mikkeller, 3 Floyds, and The Bruery – all in this edition of the Growler Fill.