I know many friends in the area have been waiting patiently for DryHop Brewers to finally open; they’ve been teasing everyone for a long time with the coming soon sign. Ken and I talked with them back in September 2012 and from what they said then, they still had a good ways to go before they would be pouring their own beer at their own brewery. They seemed up to the challenge and all that work has really paid off, they’re now only months away from opening the doors. Greg Shuff told me that their goal is May.
Last night the brewery debuted with a brewery warming party for industry folks. It seemed like everyone made it out and wanted to see how the place was doing and sample a few beers. Even though the 10 barrel brew house has been installed, fermenters and serving tanks are in, Brant isn’t brewing at the brewpub yet. There is still a lot to hook up and of course final permits and inspections from the city.
It’s going to be tight in the space but DryHop Brewers is taking full advantage of the space they have. With just over 3000 square feet and seating for 70, it’s going to be cozy. Greg said the windows that are currently boarded up would be able to fully open and there will be some patio seating in the summer as well. Which should make the space feel more open. But my favorite feature is the bar, or what will be the bar. You’ll be able to sit facing the serving tanks and the brewhouse will be to your back. Making for a great experience when sipping on one of DryHop’s tasty beers.
For the event they were pouring three beers; a Chicago Common called “Shark vs. Hipster”, a Belgo IPA called “Shot A Man In Simcoe” and finally a Black IPA called “Johnny Quest Thinks We’re Sellouts“. Yes that is a Less Than Jake reference if you were wondering. If you’re familiar with the Chicago beer scene and have bellied up to the bar a few times, some of those beers might sound familiar. “Shot A Man In Simcoe” is a collaboration with Lake Effect and “Johnny Quest Thinks We’re Sellouts” is a collaboration beer with Begyle Brewing. This was my first time getting to sample these beers so it was a treat. The “Shot A Man In Simcoe” had some great flavor, it was pretty cloudy and looked like it was poured straight from the fermenter. “Johnny Quest Thinks We’re Sellouts” pours a black-brown color, that had a nice, rich malt character with the hops giving it a nice, bright flavor.
The only non-collaboration beer was the “Shark vs. Hipster”, this beer was a test batch done by Brant Dubovick. I’m looking forward to seeing how this one evolves and changes once it’s moved from the home system to the larger commercial system at the brewpub. It’s a nice, easy drinking beer that if you’re in the area you’ll have no problem knocking back a few with friends.
My favorite beer of the night was the “Johnny Quest Thinks We’re Sellouts” and not just for the awesome name. The beer poured perfectly and tasted great. Both Begyle Brewing and DryHop should be proud of this beer and if you’re in Chicago you might want to get a taste of both the collaborations because once they are gone that might be it…
We’ve got a good number of production breweries opening in Chicago this year but DryHop will be a brewpub, which is really going to make it a destination not only for the people in Lakeview but also everyone in the city. I’m looking forward to seeing what Brant, Greg and the chef Pete create. I’m sure you’ll see me there in May once they finally remove the wood from the windows and open the doors.