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The Beer Thinker: Make Beer, Not War

Chicago Craft Beer Week, which is not really a week at all but 10 days (not that we're complaining), begins Thursday and has either the good fortune or misfortune of overlapping with the NATO summit.

If traffic is too jammed up by protests and NATO-forced road closures to travel, where would you rather be but a bar, where you are able to sample some of the newest and rarest that the craft beer community has to offer?

On the other hand, how easy is it going to be to get to your favorite watering hole in the first place if Chicago becomes fully Occupied?

I don't follow any political causes ardently enough to actually get off the couch, let alone march down the street and possibly break stuff in their honor, but if there ever would be one I could really get behind it would probably be something like "World Peace Through Inebriation." Local craft brewers certainly seem prepared to do their part, as CCBW comes at a time when several of them are making big news in their efforts to produce even more of their beer, and make it even easier for us to get it.

While we ecently wrote about the plans of the California-based Lagunitas Brewing Company's plans to open a behemoth brewing facility on the South Side, local beer newshound Josh Noel has been reporting on expansion plans from some of our homegrown brewers:

* North Center's own Half Acre Beer Company will soon open a tap room at its Lincoln Avenue storefront, where it already hosts huge lines every time it launches a new brew.

* Contract brewer 5 Rabbit Brewery is planning its own production facility in the Southwest suburbs.

* Three Floyds of Munster, Indiana, is hinting that it wants to open a tap room in Chicago, the better to tap into the local scene (Munster isn't far away, but if you have ever tried to find Three Floyd's, it's not as easy as it would appear - or maybe I just keep confusing Munster with Muncie).

In addition to all this news, we had known previously that Revolution Brewing was expanding beyond its brewpub roots to open a new production facility on North Kedzie Avenue. The grand opening of that facility happens to be one of the biggest events for the latter half of CCBW, as Revolution is hosting a May 25 party at its new digs.

While you're giving your CCBW lanyard a workout at all the tastings and parties over the next several days, you might also want to consider the breweries we might be talking about and sampling as future CCBWs roll around. Red Eye recently shared a list of 12 new Chicago breweries currently in the works.

That list includes Panic Brewing, which is in the early stages of being started by Lincoln Square resident Gary Gulley. I recently interviewed Gulley for a new local craft beer journal called Mash Tun, which will be dropping its first issue this week at the CCBW Beer Under Glass event at the Garfield Park Conservatory.

Mash Tun was started by Bridgeport's own Ed Marszewski, publishing entrepreneur, arts aficionado and proprietor of Maria's Packaged Goods & Community Bar in Bridgeport. If you're not classy enough to attend Beer Under Glass (or you just weren't quick enough to get a ticket before it sold out), you will also have a chance to get a copy of Mash Tun at the Mash Tun Fest this Saturday afternoon at the Bridgeport Art Center. You can also find Mash Tun at Maria's and at Quimby's.

CCBW events probably will provide the setting for many late-night conversations between craft beer fans who get the idea in their heads that they should start their own brewery. Gulley's blog at the Panic Brewing website is like a how-to guide for anyone dreaming of or daring to start their own craft brewery. After reading a few posts, you will either be convinced you can do it, too, or just convinced that you would never want to try. We hope it's the former.


Previously in The Beer Thinker:
* Tapping Lincoln Square
* Size Matters
* Lagunitas Changes Everything


Dan O'Shea is The Beer Thinker. He welcomes your comments.


Posted on May 15, 2012

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SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

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