#insidethetank – PorchDrinking.com
While there are a lot of big name breweries operating inside the city of limits of Chicago today, the surrounding suburbs are producing notable beers that often fly under the radar.
Since 2014, Crystal Lake Brewing has been producing beers that have become a mainstay for McHenry County. In that time, the brewery has begun to make more of a name for itself outside of Crystal Lake, IL.
Noon Whistle Brewing beers have become staples on the shelves of craft beer shops all over Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. From pale ales to stouts to sours to their well-known Gummy New England IPA series, the brewery has an extensive portfolio of beers.
We sat down with owner Mike Condon and their other owner and brewer Paul Kreiner to learn more about this small, but growing (1,900 barrels in 2017 and pacing for 4,100 barrels in 2018), brewery and do a deeper dive on some of their thoughts on topics related to the craft beer industry.
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.
One day on Twitter I asked our followers which brewery we should visit for the next Inside the Tank. Almost immediately my notifications went off with people telling me to visit Open Outcry Brewing. I’ll admit I had never even heard of the brewery, but the support they got on Twitter got me curious.
Whenever I thought of Alarmist Brewing, its Entrenched IPA can stuck out. It’s probably the brewery’s most highly available beer and is distributed in the city. Located in the Sauganash neighborhood of Chicago – an area I typically don’t visit often, I had never been to the brewery before.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Half Acre Beer Company is a mainstay for any Chicago craft beer enthusiast. A consistent array of year-round, seasonal and special-release beers make one of the oldest craft breweries in the city a fan favorite. Matt Young just officially became …
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.