In the past, including any alcohol options was enough to set a fast casual restaurant apart from competitors; now many chains are looking to customize their regional selections by offering local beers.
With the opening of Mantra Artisan Ales in Nashville later this year, Maneet Chauhan joins a growing number of well known chefs like Rick Bayless and John Howie who are turning their attention to the brew kettle.
Brothers Mike and Ed Marszewski founded Marz in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood with Ed’s brother-in-law in 2013. An intricate web of friends, designers, and brewers connects the rest of the Marz collective.
Wood from an old barn, floor pieces from a local bowling alley, and refurbished fixtures from the original structure make up the restored hotel that houses St. Nicholas Brewing Company in Du Quoin, Ill.
A good brewery is aware of the atmosphere it’s creating. They don’t just want you to stop in and check it off your list; they want you to hang around, ask questions, bring friends. In essence, it’s all about community-building.
Brothers Jim and Jason Ebel opened Two Brothers Brewing in 1997 as a family affair. Jim set up a distribution company out of his Ford Bronco. And on weekends, family and friends would bottle, label and package the beers.
When Doug Hurst and his wife, Tracy, founded the Metropolitan Brewing Company, they wanted to bring something different to Chicago. Metropolitan stands out in a crowded craft beer market because the brewery is married to its hometown’s brewing culture.
Anheuser-Busch: brewing your area code?; Sunoco testing growlers to-go in western NY; beloved friend of beer, Ray Deter, passes away; Senate Small Brewers’ Caucus formed; and change in Massachusetts law threatens dozens of small brewers.
Illinois breweries fighting to keep right to distribute; Goose Island acquired by A-B InBev; Surly campaigns to change law and build brewery/restaurant; Mexican brewery unveils world’s first beers for the LGBT community; and Indiana state laws may stifle breweries’ growth.
Chefs around the world are taking the concept of pairing the two a step further by treating beer as a core ingredient when cooking. The result is a growing culinary passion for cuisine that offers layers of depth that only beer can bring to the table.
The city’s brewing culture, long rooted in German lagers, has recently taken a turn towards assertive hops and Belgian yeast; that fact, and the tenacity of Chicago’s neighborhood pub culture, makes this a lively time to go drinking your way across the Second City.