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moss’ newest brewery project, Begyle Brewing (formerly Argyle Brewing Co.) models itself after the increasingly popular CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and is Chicago’s first “CSB” (Community Supported Brewery). Founders Matt Ritchey, Kevin Cary and Brendan Blume decided to start their subscription based brewery after a few brainstorming sessions. Like CSAs, members will receive a share of craft beer on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. Begyle is expected to open its craft beer programs starting this summer.
Though it’s new to Chicago’s shores, community-sustained brewing finds its roots deep in German history. In the 13th and 14th centuries, central brewhouses in each town would produce the liquid base of beer, called the wort, which was then collected by individual citizens. These select few would ferment the wort, and then place a special sign on their door (Zoigl, pictured above.) The six-pointed star looks just like a Star of David, but it’s actually a brewer’s star, one point for each beer-making element: hops, yeast, malt, grain, water and brewer. The Zoigl signaled to townsfolk that their neighbor had opened a temporary, communal pub in his home, a.k.a., to come over and have a cold one. After the beer from that house was gone, the next homebrewer would collect his wort and so the good people of the town were never without local beer (one hopes.)
We peeled back 70 years of dirt, grime and funky looking remodelings of a historic Traverse City opera house to restore its original luster and charm. The result is Brew, a coffeehouse and gastropub with a mighty list of local beer that uses repurposed elements to connect the city with its roots. Brew occupies the bottom floor of the 100-year-old opera house, whose maple floors, yellow masonry and rustic tin ceiling have been rescued from years of neglect. Windows that were obstructed by more recent construction work are incorporated into the new design to flood the space with natural light.
It’s not just the centenarian opera house that gives Brew it’s ultra-local construction: leftover wood from a nearby bowling alley forms sturdy tables, and wood from a old barn features in the design. Mid-century furniture lends the café a cozy, living-room feel. Pieces like the reclaimed pendant light fixtures echo the region’s sawmill history, while an old school 18-inch zinc bar with a galvanized pipe footrest rounds out the historical design elements.
A café by day (featuring locally roasted beans and a custom built pour over stand) and a tavern by night, Brew also offers food and spirits sourced from local farmers, artisans, distillers and brewmasters with continually evolving menus, cocktails and craft beer pairings. Photos and project info inside. Read the rest of this entry »