Sunday, August 1, 2010

Metropolitan Brewery Tour

Two Saturdays ago, I visited Metropolitan Brewing Company, for their brewery tour and some beer sampling. Doug, Tracy, Jess, and John, the entirety of the Metropolitan staff (Phelps, the brewhouse dog, is unpaid, for tax purposes) plied us with a bit of their Krankshaft Kolsch and Flywheel Bright Lager, while taking us through the brewery process, and explaining to the crowd of about 30 the difference between lagers and ales (see following post about Metropolitans beer offerings).

Their brewery could easily stand in for a strange music venue, with some metal bands on top of their refrigerated storage room, while people mill around in the space between fermenters and brewhouse and awesome toolbox trolley turned mobile kegerator. Well-designed for future expansions, so cross your fingers lager fans. More pictures of the brewery below.

The inspiration behind Metropolitan is suprisingly simple. Doug Hurst, head brewer, started Metropolitan with his wife Tracy. Doug's been homebrewing since 1989, and basically made it sound like at that time, you were brewing an American Pale Ale at home, with very limited grain and hop choices. Years later, Doug spent time at the Siebel Institute in Germany, falling in love with the readily available German lagers. The lagers Doug quaffed in Germany were fresh, without the damage those same beers suffer by the time they make it to a liquor store or bar in the Midwest (long waits at customs, bottles that don't keep enough light out, hot warehouse temperatures, these are all bad for beer).

Realizing the Chicago area (and really, most of the country) lacked in a source for fresh german-style lagers, Doug and Tracy gave birth to a a business plan in April 2007, and by January of 2009, after a 6 month build out, had a brewing space in Chicago's Ravenswood neighborhood. Tracy, by the way, celebrates her love of both their brewery and their beer with a very detailed and impressive tattoo of hop vines and the gear logo above.

Part 2 of this post will look at the three Metropolitan flagship beers, as well as two of their seasonals.

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