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Chicago's beer stein runneth over with new craft brew....

Chicago's beer stein runneth over with new craft brew....
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  • Chicago's beer stein runneth over with new craft brew....

    Post #1 - February 23rd, 2012, 10:36 am
    Post #1 - February 23rd, 2012, 10:36 am Post #1 - February 23rd, 2012, 10:36 am
    The craft beer business is booming in Chicago, with openings planned for several microbreweries — and even smaller “nanobreweries.”
    http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/ ... 120229929/
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #2 - February 23rd, 2012, 10:47 am
    Post #2 - February 23rd, 2012, 10:47 am Post #2 - February 23rd, 2012, 10:47 am
    Interesting article - thanks for posting this.
  • Post #3 - February 23rd, 2012, 1:53 pm
    Post #3 - February 23rd, 2012, 1:53 pm Post #3 - February 23rd, 2012, 1:53 pm
    I'll be curious where some of these places are in 2-3 years. I remember when Half Acre hit the market with their lager and it was utterly forgettable (ignore the oxymoron there). It wasn't until they came up with Daisy Cutter (and canning, possibly) that they started getting traction. How many of these operations will be able to go for a couple of years before they get similar attention/traction? Not to take away from any of these new brewers/brewery owners and their passion and interest, but it's a crowded market right now with a lot of established brands. One bad batch or one mediocre beer and I'm ready to pass that brewery by for the immediate future.

    What comes to my mind is Finch's. I tried their initial line-up and felt pretty ambivalent. Still, when I saw bottles of their Diriter Bird (dopplebock aged in Koval barrels), I went ahead and picked up a $16 bottle. While it got good buzz coming out of FoBAB, some of the reviews of the bottled stuff give me reason to be concerned (unbalanced flavors, not conditioned long enough, some pretty obvious off flavors, etc.). In another thread, there was a comment about some breweries jumping on bandwagons and pushing trends and limited editions over quality. I'll admit that Finch's may be one of the breweries guilty of this behavior (never mind my role as a consumer who didn't think twice about buying it) -- granted, I haven't yet had the bottle and I should remain quiet until I try it myself.

    Similarly, will 5 Rabbit take off? While their signature golden ale is pretty good, I wouldn't say it's remarkable (and if it weren't new/local, I don't think I ever would have bought a six-pack). I tried their Ancho-chile brown ale, 5 Vulture, and couldn't taste a hint of ancho. Bad batch? Do we fault the contract brewer who made the beer? Will it be better once they have their own production facility? Etc, etc. Like with Finch's, the owners are marketing executives first, beer fans second and while that doesn't particularly bother me, that may prevent the 'craft beer diehards' from ever getting behind them. But if the craft beer market continues to blow up, I'm guessing that breweries won't need to rely on the diehards quite so much.
    best,
    dan
  • Post #4 - February 23rd, 2012, 3:35 pm
    Post #4 - February 23rd, 2012, 3:35 pm Post #4 - February 23rd, 2012, 3:35 pm
    Thanks for posting. Frank from Broad shoulders is a friend of a friend. He was actually at my bachlor party at Goose Island back in 05 when he still worked there. Very good guy and I hope his brand takes off. He definitely knows his stuff.
  • Post #5 - February 23rd, 2012, 3:42 pm
    Post #5 - February 23rd, 2012, 3:42 pm Post #5 - February 23rd, 2012, 3:42 pm
    danimalarkey wrote:Similarly, will 5 Rabbit take off? While their signature golden ale is pretty good, I wouldn't say it's remarkable (and if it weren't new/local, I don't think I ever would have bought a six-pack). I tried their Ancho-chile brown ale, 5 Vulture, and couldn't taste a hint of ancho. Bad batch? Do we fault the contract brewer who made the beer? Will it be better once they have their own production facility? Etc, etc. Like with Finch's, the owners are marketing executives first, beer fans second and while that doesn't particularly bother me, that may prevent the 'craft beer diehards' from ever getting behind them. But if the craft beer market continues to blow up, I'm guessing that breweries won't need to rely on the diehards quite so much.

    I agree there will be a shakeout; it's already starting to happen elsewhere - I believe at least three craft breweries around the nation shut down last week. And I'm similarly unimpressed with Finch's beers — they're very good at marketing and distribution, but that doesn't change the fact that, IMHO, the beers themselves aren't anything special, despite the brewmaster's Flossmoor Station pedigree.

    5 Rabbit is another case altogether. Isaac and Andrés knew they had the business expertise, but brought in Chicagoan and world-renowned creative beer expert Randy Mosher to develop the beers and guide them through the actual brewing process.More of the story is here. And I think the fact that their 5 Lizard Latin-style witbier won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival in the fruit beer category says that diehards are likely to get behind it. Very impressive for such a new operation.

    There's more about possibly upcoming breweries in Chicago here:
    http://aleheads.com/2012/02/06/chicagos ... -profiles/
    But it doesn't mention Temperance, coming in Evanston.
  • Post #6 - February 23rd, 2012, 5:21 pm
    Post #6 - February 23rd, 2012, 5:21 pm Post #6 - February 23rd, 2012, 5:21 pm
    danimalarkey wrote: Like with Finch's, the owners are marketing executives first, beer fans second and while that doesn't particularly bother me, that may prevent the 'craft beer diehards' from ever getting behind them.


    Once I read that I figured there was no need for me to try their beer.
    While if any of my CB buddies told me that the beer was great, I'd try it then...
  • Post #7 - February 23rd, 2012, 5:40 pm
    Post #7 - February 23rd, 2012, 5:40 pm Post #7 - February 23rd, 2012, 5:40 pm
    mhill95149 wrote:
    danimalarkey wrote: Like with Finch's, the owners are marketing executives first, beer fans second and while that doesn't particularly bother me, that may prevent the 'craft beer diehards' from ever getting behind them.


    Once I read that I figured there was no need for me to try their beer.
    While if any of my CB buddies told me that the beer was great, I'd try it then...


    Gabriel Magliaro, founder of Half Acre, didn't come from the beer industry either, he was in marketing/design. The problem with Finch isn't that marketing guys started the company, it's that the beer isn't particularly good, and gimmicks like co-branding with a clothing company for their IPA don't change what's in the can/keg.

    Come this summer Finch's three offerings in stores will have competitors in the same style, in cans, also brewed within the city limits. Marketing can take you a long way in the beer industry (the most dominant beers in market share are all about marketing) but I'd like to think the craft beer consumer actually cares more about what's actually in the bottle or can.

    Then again, there seem to be a number that mainly care about getting their hands on every limited release in order to sell it on eBay or ransom it for beer trades, so what do I know.
  • Post #8 - February 23rd, 2012, 8:23 pm
    Post #8 - February 23rd, 2012, 8:23 pm Post #8 - February 23rd, 2012, 8:23 pm
    AdmVinyl wrote:
    mhill95149 wrote:
    danimalarkey wrote: Like with Finch's, the owners are marketing executives first, beer fans second and while that doesn't particularly bother me, that may prevent the 'craft beer diehards' from ever getting behind them.


    Once I read that I figured there was no need for me to try their beer.
    While if any of my CB buddies told me that the beer was great, I'd try it then...


    Gabriel Magliaro, founder of Half Acre, didn't come from the beer industry either, he was in marketing/design. The problem with Finch isn't that marketing guys started the company, it's that the beer isn't particularly good, and gimmicks like co-branding with a clothing company for their IPA don't change what's in the can/keg.

    Come this summer Finch's three offerings in stores will have competitors in the same style, in cans, also brewed within the city limits. Marketing can take you a long way in the beer industry (the most dominant beers in market share are all about marketing) but I'd like to think the craft beer consumer actually cares more about what's actually in the bottle or can.

    Then again, there seem to be a number that mainly care about getting their hands on every limited release in order to sell it on eBay or ransom it for beer trades, so what do I know.


    Exactly, Finch's main problem is their beer isn't very good. Secondly, their beers already have a direct competitor, that they lag so far behind, in the same format and price in Daisy Cutter and Gossamer.
  • Post #9 - February 24th, 2012, 8:34 am
    Post #9 - February 24th, 2012, 8:34 am Post #9 - February 24th, 2012, 8:34 am
    A got a nice ancho kick from the 5 Rabbit when I tried it at BApple. And I loved the creaminess of their Vita y Muerte (or something like that). I'm really enthusiastic about that particular brewery and hope their distribution spreads further throughout the city's liquor stores.
    pizza fun
  • Post #10 - February 24th, 2012, 8:52 am
    Post #10 - February 24th, 2012, 8:52 am Post #10 - February 24th, 2012, 8:52 am
    I actually thought Finch's Pale Ale was pretty good.
  • Post #11 - February 24th, 2012, 9:32 am
    Post #11 - February 24th, 2012, 9:32 am Post #11 - February 24th, 2012, 9:32 am
    The Threadless IPA was my favorite (and I think it has the best label art, too, for cans) -- but I never felt it was so good that I'm particularly anxious to try it again. I won't argue that their product is the problem, but I'm just wondering which of these new breweries are approaching craft beer from a similar perspective (ie. let's create a marketable product!).

    I'm most excited for Pipeworks, if only because those guys have been making beer for years, it seems like, and following their progress on the brewery construction (including the licensing headaches) has been pretty compelling. They may still have spots open on their "Friends With Benefits" list, too, for anyone that doesn't want to deal with lines and/or limited/rare releases ($100 donation gets you a guaranteed allotments on all bottlings).

    i<3pizza wrote:A got a nice ancho kick from the 5 Rabbit when I tried it at BApple. And I loved the creaminess of their Vita y Muerte (or something like that). I'm really enthusiastic about that particular brewery and hope their distribution spreads further throughout the city's liquor stores.

    Just curious, was this on draft or via a bottle? I picked up a bottle about a month ago from LUSH and got zero chile. It was just a thick, syrupy, almost sludgy brown ale. I know they recently switched contract brewers but I'm not sure if everything is getting brewed at the same place or not. Despite Mosher's involvement, he's not their brewer, per se, and while I'll be glad to try new stuff on tap (I am excited for their Huitzi), I'm more anxious for consistency.
    best,
    dan
  • Post #12 - February 24th, 2012, 9:37 am
    Post #12 - February 24th, 2012, 9:37 am Post #12 - February 24th, 2012, 9:37 am
    Maria's Community Bar is also opening a craft brewery, hopefully this year. It will be in the building directly to the east of the bar.
    "Baseball is like church. Many attend. Few understand." Leo Durocher
  • Post #13 - February 27th, 2012, 9:12 am
    Post #13 - February 27th, 2012, 9:12 am Post #13 - February 27th, 2012, 9:12 am
    danimalarkey wrote:
    i<3pizza wrote:A got a nice ancho kick from the 5 Rabbit when I tried it at BApple. And I loved the creaminess of their Vita y Muerte (or something like that). I'm really enthusiastic about that particular brewery and hope their distribution spreads further throughout the city's liquor stores.

    Just curious, was this on draft or via a bottle? I picked up a bottle about a month ago from LUSH and got zero chile. It was just a thick, syrupy, almost sludgy brown ale. I know they recently switched contract brewers but I'm not sure if everything is getting brewed at the same place or not. Despite Mosher's involvement, he's not their brewer, per se, and while I'll be glad to try new stuff on tap (I am excited for their Huitzi), I'm more anxious for consistency.

    It was on tap, and several months ago -- so maybe things have changed since I tried it?
    pizza fun
  • Post #14 - February 29th, 2012, 10:51 am
    Post #14 - February 29th, 2012, 10:51 am Post #14 - February 29th, 2012, 10:51 am
    Another remarkably incomplete article on the same topic.
  • Post #15 - February 29th, 2012, 12:50 pm
    Post #15 - February 29th, 2012, 12:50 pm Post #15 - February 29th, 2012, 12:50 pm
    I'll chime in here and say that I was negative on Finch's from the outset because of the way they approached the business. Their thinking was "craft beer is taking off and is easy to market." That just doesn't sit right with me and the beer reflects, at least to me, that it was an afterthought. The difference I see between them and 5 Rabbit is the fact that 5 Rabbit started as a beer company first, not a marketing vehicle. I'm excited once the Pilsen brewery opens up to see what they can do. I don't think it's particularly fair to judge the beer at this point (though I really do enjoy it and Huitzi was a real hit in my book) because they have been bounced between about 5 different contract breweries so far and haven't had much chance at consistency.

    The brewery that probably irritates me the most right now is Argus. They have broken promises and completely changed their model and are making incredibly mediocre beer rather than focusing on doing things the right way.

    One last thing I'll comment on is that I think there is plenty of room for more of breweries in Chicago. It's just a matter of filling a niche. I think that Frank and Broad Shoulders are going to be amazing, having tasted some of the pilot batches. I believe that his model is the right one for what he wants to do, namely to have a taproom and production beer. More breweries should look into the brewery-tavern model in my opinion. I've hear rumblings that, now that they have bought out the building, Half Acre is acquiring a tavern license so they can pour actual pints at/near the brewery. More breweries should follow this model, imo. It gives a real connection between the brewery and its patrons.
  • Post #16 - August 21st, 2015, 7:33 am
    Post #16 - August 21st, 2015, 7:33 am Post #16 - August 21st, 2015, 7:33 am
    Craft beer is finally finding its way into the posh North Shore suburbs. Ten Ninety Brewing, a small, two-year-old brewery that got its start contract brewing in Zion, got approval this week to open a brewery and taproom at 1025 Waukegan Road in Glenview.

    http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/ ... orth-shore
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #17 - April 22nd, 2020, 4:56 pm
    Post #17 - April 22nd, 2020, 4:56 pm Post #17 - April 22nd, 2020, 4:56 pm
    After a lifetime of trying to turn the corner, Argus Brewery shutters in the shadow of coronavirus

    https://www.chicagotribune.com/coronavi ... story.html
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #18 - April 22nd, 2020, 5:08 pm
    Post #18 - April 22nd, 2020, 5:08 pm Post #18 - April 22nd, 2020, 5:08 pm
    Dave148 wrote:After a lifetime of trying to turn the corner, Argus Brewery shutters in the shadow of coronavirus
    I'm confident pudgym29 will deliver a moving eulogy.
  • Post #19 - April 27th, 2020, 1:44 pm
    Post #19 - April 27th, 2020, 1:44 pm Post #19 - April 27th, 2020, 1:44 pm
    bweiny wrote: I'm confident pudgym29 will deliver a moving eulogy.
    Well, since I was challenged by bweiny :wink:, I had better reply. I'll refer these images into the Beer Advocate forum as well.
    I have been to the venue which was probably Argus' first account [December 2009]; the Ballydoyle Inn in Downers Grove (still a solid pub).
    These are from last September's Argustober Fest. Ted Furman is an unsung craft beer masterbrewer going all the way back to the mid-1990s. Yes, Golden Prairie was on the list of potential beer sponsors for the indoor soccer franchise (if we had gotten it in Summer 1995). Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image
    Valuable links you can use, without the sales pitch: http://208.84.112.25/~pudgym29/bookmark4.html

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