middle brow | citizen how

the problem with cool.

so there's this blog called good beer hunting. (note all the rightward letter-tilts today. trying to balance out my leftism. you know. cuz americans really just want bipartisanship.) anyway, this blog-but-so-much-more is probably better described as a general disseminator of beer culture. a media company maybe? anyway it's made up of a bunch of good people who think all the time about beer and the broader beer business and culture more generally. and last week they tweeted a long rant written by this veteran in the craft beer industry. and they seemed to agree with it. and it's stuck with me. (more on politics next week, i promise.)

anyway, the argument went like this: if craft breweries pursue a model of tap room proliferation (he called them "satellite tap rooms"), they're being uncool. and they're being myopic. ... it'll come back to bite them in the ass. and it'll turn the industry into something it's not, effectively. 

the main reason it's myopic: satellite tap rooms directly compete with the bars and restaurants that supported and made possible that very brewery's growth. in other words: when a brewery drops a tap room into a neighborhood, all of the bars in its orbit are negatively affected. this is so because tap rooms increasingly look like taverns. with beer from other breweries. and with food. and events. and all sorts of "tavern" shit. so, they're very much competitive with bars and rest-stops. and so, over time, those restaurants and bars and shops won't carry the brewery's shit.

the main reason it's uncool: you don't compete with your friends. early-era craft breweries wouldn't have done this, for example. cuz they were cool.

but his point is super muddled. at least to me. and maybe the folks at GBH can clarify it.

on the myopia: why would these satellite tap rooms, which his point requires be *just like taverns* in order to pose the purported threat, in order to be super-competitive, fall out of fashion any faster than the historical taverns in each market? right? and if they never fall out of fashion, why does that brewery need super low-margin sales from bars and restaurants in its immediate vicinity?

maybe the point is: eventually the tap room mystique will wear off. and when it does, people will gravitate back to corner bars. and those tap rooms will have to shutter. and corner bar owners have a long memory, and hold grudges. 

but that point is very weak. because it seems way unlikely: natch, if the tap room is forced to close, the brewery is likely hurting more generally and the corner bar's childish grudge won't matter.

now, as for the cool story: i mean, i have no qualms with the logic in that argument. i think far too many breweries do business like dickheads. like in any industry. ... we try constantly to be cool. to do things right. to remember that we're in a community first. and we're individuals second.

but then... back to that industry vet's rant: the history he’s telling has to be wrong. and i only bring it up because it affects his allocation of responsibility. of blame for the problem he's seeing—i.e. less business. 

i know he's an industry vet and i'm not. but older people aren't always right. hear me out: for a new brewery to survive, it must chase either volume or margin. so, if it's got super low margins, it needs to sell high volumes of beer. on the other hand, if hey've got really high margin on their product, they don't need to sell a lot of it to survive. but... BUT: the pursuit of either threatens the existence of its very first supporter: the local craft beer bar. 

first, volume. by spreading its product to other craft beer bars, a brewery hurts its early friend. that is, the second craft beer bar in a neighborhood makes the first one less indispensable. and once restaurants get into craft beer, any distinction once held by that first craft beer bar is nullified completely. 

second, margin. by competing on the street level, with a tap room or brewpub, a brewery hurts its early friends in the tap room's vicinity (which is often naturally in the same neighborhood as the early supporters).

look at tap takeovers, for example. way back when, these drew people! they were exciting! you can get a local craft breweries entire offerings at one bar on one night. wow! you mean that brewery that just opened in our city. the only craft brewery in our city. and whose beer i can hardly ever find. they'll be at a local bar next thursday? and the brewers and owners will be there too? holy hell! grab your husbands and get to that bar right away after work and hop on a barstool and don't hop off 'til midnight!

these days: tap takeovers are a dime a dozen. and fucking taco bell carries craft beer.

that's the right story to tell. sure, we can only blame craft brewery actions for the decrease in craft beer bar business. but the breweries wouldn't survive without acting in those ways. and so craft beer bars have to get creative to keep business. just like every other bar and restaurant has to do. 

the problem with cool, see, is that it's cool. 

. . . . .

now, he’s right, of course, that we don’t have to be biz as usual. we can chase volume or margin in ways that are “cool” and not in ways that are 80s-ruthless. but it’s easier to buy that point when the story is fair. and blame ain't shifted and finagled and bent to rest squarely on the shoulders of satellite tap rooms.

cuz what's cooler than anything? fighting for the little guy.

real politics


stand up and speak out.

we love politics. and we'll never shut up. and i guess we'll take this opportunity to remind y'all that we've been putting our money where our mouths and fingertips are for 5 years. since we opened, we've been donating (more than) 50% of our profits to local social justice orgs. from cure violence to project fire to la casa norte to chicago women's health center. and we ain't gonna stop our social workin'.  

in the meantime, we're happy to be included in this article.

*mission beers*

dark happiness.

the second most exciting thing is our new dark blended beer! it's a collaboration with manual cinema. have you never seen a manual cinema performance?! no??? wow. well you're really in for a treat. and not just the beer. this crew will srsly blow your mind. ok. let me start by explaining what they do. it's a ....... shadow puppet show. i'm dead fucking serious it's a puppet show that will absolutely sit you in your seat. in reality it's so much more than shadow puppetry. it's called "manual cinema" for a reason. they use puppets, sure. but also shadows of human being. and shadows of whole set pieces. and they tell a cinematic story. that's totally immersive and overwhelming and beautiful. 

i refuse to post a video of some past performance. cuz it might ruin the delight you'd experience going in blind. so instead i'll post the most recent nytimes article on them.

in any event. we teamed up with them for frankenstein, which is premiering tomorrow at the court theatre in hyde park. the show runs through the month. but get tickets now because much of it is already sold out. and for now it's the only place to get our collaboration beer! ... for the show, we made a dark blended beer. a little honey. some chocolate. some salt. a crisp finish. a touch of something sinister on the nose. it's an amalgamation of sorts. of origins. or morals. a hybrid. but still beer. still, at its core, beer. and lovable for that. 

please come to hyde park. to love our beer. and to love humanity. and the dark beauty it bestows.


check the charts


to be cool. to be wide awake.

now look who it is. fancy old pete. back from a fancy little trip. too cool to write his mother and his uncles. probably too busy chasing exoticisms. talkin’ all weird. eatin' fancy foreign food. gettin’ all liberal. oh it’s ok. it’s fine. we’ve just been hanging around here, eating dinner together and supporting each other like usual is all. we’re so happy you’re so busy in the big city. with your trips and your instagram and your events. it looks like that video by that band fun. you’re setting that world on fire boy! keep having fun. we’re just a bunch of old boring people. don’t worry bout us. no really. we’ll just be checking our mail for amazon packages.

no no no no. no trips here. no time for them right now. maybe again someday. but... i'm still sorry i haven’t written. just sawin’ on our buildout. windows are in. tanks are set. oven is almost on. ... we’re still aiming for a december opening. at least of the soft sort. and we’re still lefty as hell. 

and thankful for the snow. it makes the last mostly-dreary week a little bit more fun. a little prettier. gives us a little something to talk about with each other. "oh my god it's snowing already?!?!?!?!" we could write a whole fucking newsletter on it weather-related commiseration. or start a clever instagram acct. or maybe a blog. chicagoan's on the weather. and on "how long they've been coming to this place and have lived in this neighborhood". our two most favorite inconsequential things to talk about here.

anyway, dig deep / stay tuned.

check the charts.

some things happen.

so in these past three weeks, the most important thing that's happened is OUR TANKS!!! they made it inside our building. after a sleepover party one night. it wasn't a party so much as i watched them sleep. pacing through our parking lot. smoking cigs. talking to myself. and to passing dogs and humans. and, in the smaller hours, passing rats. one of them grazed a our currently-boarded up front door. and i ran from my pacing path at the back of the lot. and on the way, i wondered aloud whether i was running to stop the rat from entering our construction site. or whether i just wanted to see something else moving.

so... here's a picture of some of the equipment. it was worth it.


middle brow | citizen how

ten short years.

remember that blue dress. or the floss dance. or that little girl who grabbed a white pigeon by the face, took the bread bit out of its mouth and ate it herself?

in talking last week about this country's crisis of legitimacy, i ignored a very important distinction. just to recap a bit here: the reason, we're told by scientists of society, that people believe tiny common-knowledge lies is that they often speak to some deeper truth about the world. and in which we believe. so, some voters "believe" that brett kavanaugh didn't attack dr. ford because they first believe that political conservatives are under constant cultural attack. but they don't even get to that point without there being a crisis of legitimacy at play, the scholar's scholarship finds. and what crisis of legitimacy is at play in america today, does he say? very much a political one, whereby the rich and powerful are governed by a different set of rules than the powerless. 

i went on to say that we can help change things for the better by, effectively, deriding cultural conservatives a whole fuckload less. and yes! that's still true!! things would likely improve if we on the left did that. but here's the important, related point that i ignored: while everyone can see our politics and our culture are badly damaged, we tend to focus too much on fixing each in isolation. just like i did last week. to wit: my 'stop yelling at union workers for eating cheeseburgers!!!' is an attempt to empower the working class culturally. but ................ BUT

it also empowers them politically. and it likely does so more effectively than more traditional political actions would. hear me up. you can change policies by changing the political actors who effect them. and, in a democracy, thank goddess, you can change political actors simply by voting! right?! well... no. not really. it's super disingenuous to suggest otherwise. it's sad but true that in most cases your vote in and of itself would not change anything. your tendency to vote might, though. by keeping you active civically. etc. etc. a conversation for another time. but the bigger point is, the solitary act of voting does not often cause change. (we're all very proud voters. just for other reasons.) this flies in the face of traditional arguments about political change. vote! vote! vote! (no no. you must do so much more.)

so, while you can hardly change politics with one vote every 2-4 years. you can change culture quickly. and that might be the best way to change politics. in other words, if we make it so the same cultural rules apply to you no matter whether you're rich or poor. black or white. right or left—and, as discussed last week, this is something we can do immediately! if we start treating the working power as good as the leisurely rich. then we start delegitimizing wealth and power in general. when excessive wealth power are seen for what they are—namely, unproductive, inefficient, embarrassing, ugly—the excessively wealthy and powerful will have a harder time retaining political power. and will lose control of the levers of rule- and decision-making. and political legitimacy can be restored. 

this is all a bit pie-in-the-sky. but, ask yourself, what's more likely to work? a viral instagram vid deriding wealth and power. or a quiet vote against a billionaire but for a millionaire? you might ask yourself, or me: isn't this a bit hypocritical? just last week you castigated liberals for making fun of conservatives, robbing them of their cultural legitimacy. and it's true! i did! what i'm saying here, though, is that the derision was misplaced. we allowed the wealthy to divide us along cultural lines, so that we didn't notice the extreme economic divisions between us and them. we should have been making fun of the excessively wealthy all this time. ... it took less than ten years time to trigger them death-throe spasms in republicans. that bodes well for a plan to take on the dickhead-rich.

in conclusion: we're voters. but we're also protesters. and we also stand up for the union teacher's desire to drink a macro lager after school. as a way to take both cultural and political power from the elite. it might take time. but we're pulling every stop.

til then...

middle brow | citizen how

you know i have a love for everyone i know.

what do you call a fucking racist? you call them a fucking racist. and you scold them. immediately and thoroughly. and try to teach them a lesson. but then... who're these racists you should be calling out? well, so, so many of us are. whether it's outward. or whether we benefit from institutional racism and refuse to acknowledge it. or intentionally hide from it. so what then? do you walk around telling 70% of the people you encounter that they're racist as f? 

i don't know. that seems pretty impractical to me. and likely way counterproductive. you should certainly talk to people you know are racists about your own racism openly. about how you're imperfect. and you're working on it. in an effort to encourage them to work on their own racist impulses. likely handed down to them through family. or neighbors growing up. etc.

but angrily haranguing the nicest boomer you know who happens to benefit from institutional racism and who sorta liked what mark kirk had to say: not wise in my book. 

and what about misogyny? what about that mark kirk voter? i forget whether he, the former short-termed senator from illinois, was pro-choice. but lots of republicans like him are not. and if your boomer mother voted for him because she thought, on balance, he sounded more sensible than tammy duckworth, it's not good sense to show up to thanksgiving dinner with a "mom hates women" sign. the misogynist bitch. also can't believe you forgot to put the rolls in the oven. (in crayon on the back, cuz you gotta use what you got.)

of course, there is plenty of misogyny and racism that calls for loud boos and bold signs. but not all racism and misogyny are equal. and it seems like a lot of us have lost sight of that.

- - - 

i know lots of trump haters (and some trump lovers) read this memo. and i say to them with 100% confidence: the side that's become increasingly openly racist is clearly doing greater harm to this country. is clearly *way more* in the wrong. but there's something to be said on the other side. that i've walked around thinking for two years but haven't put to paper because i was afraid of it. and here it is:

in some ways, the current climate represents a massive failure of creativity. by liberals. why can't we win the abortion argument without calling my deeply pious, selfless mom a misogynist? why can't we acknowledge the racism inherent in a lot of republican policies without calling every single republican voter (about 50% of the country) disgusting racists? 

let me take a step back. to a really killer tweet thread i read a week or so ago: this thread is both alarming and obvious-when-you-read-it. it speaks to why humans often pretend to believe or ignore common knowledge lies. like the ones trump tells daily. or the ones brett kavanaugh still seems likely to have told the public over the last couple weeks. the reason we believe a little bit of bull shit: sometimes, despite the bull shit being untrue itself, it reaffirms a deeper truth that we believe about the world. like, the tweeter says, the larger truth in the case of brett kavanaugh is that no one should be held to account for "soft" crimes they committed 35 years ago. or even, that GOP voters and traditions are under attack. kavanaugh worked both of these well. the deeper truth trump often appeals to is the latter one for certain: trump addresses the feeling many GOP voters have that they're under constant cultural attack, and so the obvious lie about his inauguration crowd (and dilly) size is oh-so-smoothly swept under the rug.

but what's more interesting about this scholar's work is that voters don't believe these common lies unless there's a crisis of legitimacy at play. and our political and economic systems are currently in serious crises of legitimacy. where a different set of rules applies to the big guy than applies to the little guy. the internet has done a terrific job of exposing that unfair imbalance. but it's ironic: the internet has made white lies easier and quicker to debunk. which has in turn has delegitimized the system. which in turn has led people to believe more white lies than ever. whoa!!!

anyway. back to real life. how is this relevant to you, trump voters and haters? well, for one, we have to continue to empower the little guy. the more evenly little and big guys are treated, the less likely people will look for white lies to believe.

but, for two, and much easier than for one: there's something we can do in our everyday lives. i said above that our current status partially represents a failure of creativity by liberals. here's what i meant:

1) we made fun of them. admit it. the left made fun of the right first. were you around for the first few years of twitter? we taunted them. we laughed at them. we scolded them. we ganged up on them on the internet! cuz it was easy! and we may have been right! better put, we may have genuinely believed in our deeper truth that the republican party was less inclined to support and empower women. but that didn't make it fair to make fun of mitt romney for his genuine attempts to hire from his binder full of women. 

2) we called them racist for believing in small government. now, i'm gonna be condescending here. something i constantly try to avoid, and sometimes succeed in avoiding. but not here: most people don't know that many arguments for "small government" are really just a dressing up of flat-out racism and misogyny. or, better put, dressing up attempts to retrench the white male status quo. that's totally true! of course it is! white males have power! have had power for fucking millennia! and they're rapidly losing it. and humans are way loss averse. they hate losing what they already have. even if they don't have much of it. (see: the occasionally employed coal miner in west virginia.) so they look for any way they can to retain power. to keep things "like they used to be". and so the powerful males make a bull shit low-tax-small-government argument, and then dog whistle to the less powerful males. 

but!!!! but! but! but! there are very legitimate reasons to be skeptical of elites. to prefer that the vast majority of government power should be vested at the local level instead of at the powerful political and economic centers of the country. so republican voters are not inherently racist. or, better put: are not any more racist than at least 60% of democratic voters. so, since it's not necessarily a distinguishing factor twixt pubs and dems, we shouldn't have been calling republican racists except where it was obvious and necessary.

3) exposure. ... so, someone expresses genuine belief in god. and belief in a particular religion and its tenets. and those beliefs make them want to restrict abortion. and suddenly, they "hate women". no. they don't. that's bull shit. they're voting the way most voters do: based on their own self-interest. and many of them haven't been in a position where an abortion was wise or necessary. and so they have a much harder time softening their religious belief on it.

what do i mean by exposure? some of the nicest damn people i've ever met say and think some of the most racist shit. but a lot of it is innocent. that is, there are truly superhumanly selfless people in the world. take: i was driving 13 kegs from pilsen to logan square yesterday. in my little ford ranger. and i did a shitty job tying them down. and somewhere on the near west side i went over one of those love-bumps the city adds to so many streets. in their wisdom. and the kegs went flying everywhere. all over the street. and dozens of cars whipped around me. and one white guy, on his way to work, stopped his car, helped me collect the kegs, and helped me restrap them to my truck. about 15 minutes all told. that's a lot of time to help a stranger. and true, lots of white dudes would never have helped me if i was black. but this one would have. sometimes you just know these things. you can just feel them. he would have. but he still made a softly racist comment toward the end of the affair. a comment that he would not have made had he had more exposure to the neighborhood. and to the lovely people in it. 

it reminds me, in a way, of how my liberal bubble views republicans. they tend to think monstrous things about all of them. mostly due to insufficiently frequent exposure. how sweetly ironic.
so we made fun of them. we refused to accept their genuine belief in the occasional wisdom of small government. and we hypocritically criticized them for their mere lack of exposure. and all of this made them feel illegitimate. think about how you felt when republicans called you unpatriotic when you opposed the iraq war. right?

but we have the power to be less hypocritical! and since we robbed them partially of their legitimacy, we can help restore it! if all it takes to prevent donald trump from being reelected is that i leave that white union worker alone when he eats a fucking cheeseburger. or i vote my conscience on abortion while i let my mom vote her conscience on abortion and i don't call her a woman-hater for doing so. then it's worth it.

think of it as one right-now small step in empowering the little guys and gals around you. and in the meantime, fight racism in it's most dangerous forms: outward and institutional. and then, bigger picture, get out the vote for little guy politicians this and every relevant february, march, october and november.

cuz. end of day. you're all pretty little too. little and in the middle.

new beer breakdown \ 12 oct 18 /

*AZACCA CRUSH* - session ipa - 4.8%

we drink ipa. it's a funny thing. to read it singular. like, as *ipa* instead of *IPAs*. you see beer writers do this more and more these days. like, "i spent the day drinking lager on a food truck compound in ... shoreditch". yes. that's fucking right. in shoreditch. in england. they don't pluralize their beer styles. BUT THIS ISN'T ENGLAND. we drink ipas. and lagers. and ales. and beer. (oh yeah. forget that little wrinkle.)

anyway. i don't turn my r into a w when i say paris. and i properly call it or-e-gahn. because i live and grew up in chicago. so stop singularizing ipas and lagers and saisons.

but, despite all that, we made *AZACCA CRUSH*. a beer that tastes like ipa. like real fucking ipa. like something definitive of the style. sessionable, yes. but definitive. light grape. hibernating papaya. evasive grapefruit. sparkling pine. it's all classic and platonic and, like, fucking greek. and it's only on sale at bottles and cans this weekend. so make a trip to damen and lincoln. a straightforward beauty of a beer on a totally slanted, maddening beauty of a street.

if you like ipa.

*so many other new beers* 

but this week has been a big ol' mess of beering into cans. we sealed up this year's very first batch of *AVANT GARDENER*. our biere de garde fermented with a blend of ale and lager yeast and spiked with orange blossom honey. malty-sweet on the nose, rich as ed-mar's personality on the palate, and dry and quenchable on the finish. the perfect beer to sip while you're handing out them black and orange candies to poor trick'r treaters on your block. just take care. cuz they're gonna throw 'em back at you. and it's a cool 7.6% abv. 

and don't forget the few of our other brand news: *SELLS OUT VIC* (our hazy farmhouse ipa with vic secret and pacifica hops), *MOTUEKA BRUT* (our latest simple brut ipa), and *BRETT BRUT* (our beauty brut, funked-up with brett and fruit-fantz w ella hops).

 avant gardener

avant gardener

middle brow | citizen how

 that’s our building there.

that’s our building there.

it's ok. i've already cleaned all of it off.

just for fun. that’s apparently what this clever triad stands for. and shit. i get it. they ain’t doing graffiti to be hard. and they ain’t spraying gang signs. and it’s so much fun for them! they get to hop fences in the middle of the night and rip down screens that people pay for and spray up a building and all at 2:15a and it’s so much fun to be out that late your parents don’t even know and anyway they moved out 7 years ago and they don’t gotta tell their parents anything anymore anyway cuz who are they just a couple boring stiffs if you ask me. phonies. 

but what when they spray a building that just had its masonry redone? i mean, brand new brickwork. beautiful grout work. truly a piece of art. work done by real middle and working class men. is it fun to cover up and sully that brand new art? their weeks of work? and what about when the company who commissioned said art (hired the masons) is very tiny and stressed for months about the work because it threatened to bust their budget and when it was finally finished and only 2% over budget, exhaled for the first time in months? what if they haven’t had time or money in ages to eat anything but rice and beans and apples? what about when that company donates half of its profits to local social justice organizations? one of them being arts of life, a collective of developmentally- and intellectually- disabled adults who make beautiful and meaningful art in chicagoland? and what about when the clean-up budget for the graffiti eats into half of their donation to that group? which art is more valuable to you? to them? to all of us?

i frankly love graffiti. and i frankly love the fuck-you nature of it. and i think it very often beautifies ugly parts of the city. like abandoned buildings and trucks and train cars. but if you’re just doing it for fun and attention (which, let’s be honest, inspire like 97% of all human behavior), do a little research first into who you’re hurting. mcdonald’s can afford paying someone to clean that shit for the day. a local small business that’s in the midst of spinning up a work training program for youth from your neighborhood can’t. and it really fucks up their budget and capacity for honest, positive work and change. 

i’m sure they justify their art somehow. i’m sure that even in situations like this they feel justified. but to me, it’s like killing an ant. like: fuck you, ant. i’m decided to end your life right now. i don’t care what you’re doing or how it makes you feel. or it’s like the US invading iraq. or grenada.  just, i guess, the dickheaded imposition of the powerful onto the powerless. at 2a, our building was totally powerless. vulnerable to them. and they said, to themselves no doubt, so it arguably doesn’t need quotes? i don’t know, i don’t have the CMS in front of me. but they said to themselves: fuck these guys. we’re putting our art here. whether they like it or not.

so, all graffiti artists are like dick cheney. 

 be a good person. drink good. do better.

be a good person. drink good. do better.

new beer notice \5 oct 18/


this new beer is an old beer. it's our blended yeast hazy farmhouse ipa, sells out. this was the third or fourth beer in the series. i can't remember and it's not important. point is: the softness of this ipa is staggeringly large. and the beautiful tropical fruits are a total trip. i mean out of this rain and into some other rain. southern hemi rain. or maybe, equatorial rain. ok fine. tropical rain. like, green all around you. papayas. oranges. other weird ass fruits you've never seen and can't name. that's what the fruits on this beer taste like.

it's wild. and sorta wild on the palate, too. from all them yeasts. in stores later today, sure. but mostly next week.


middle brow | citizen how

nobody haves. everybody have nots. 

we lost our bathrooms this week. like, a laborer purposefully destroyed the bathroom in our space. and i felt... sad. honestly. our really drab, basic, below-average bathroom. that i only used, like, 11 times ever. was destroyed to make way for all of the shit we've been designing for 9 months, and dreaming about for 9 years. and i almost wanted it back. 


and that made me think about servers. and the restaurant tipping model generally. ... hear me out.

you might not know it. but when you dine in a restaurant, the tip you leave doesn't just go to the man or woman serving you. a healthy portion (just how healthy depends on the restaurant, and the service philosophy) goes to the bussers and food runners and hosts and barbacks. and that makes for an interesting dynamic. 

on the one hand: servers have a really difficult job. people are by and large nice. but every server knows that even 2-3 surly, condescending customers. who believe restaurant workers are below them on some priority list somewhere. and who therefore scoff and flick and command and chortle against the service-oriented human being standing before them. they can ruin a whole night. and several days thereafter. ... serving takes major psychological and physical toll.

but so does food running. and so does bussing. because assholes tend not to understand the restaurant hierarchy. and so they don't discriminate in their assholery. 

so, on the other hand: servers and bartenders tend to make massively more money per hour than any other restaurant employee. and since that's sort of the tradition, they feel entitled to that money. and that entitlement (coupled with the customers refusal to pay a realistic price for the food they're eating) is what makes the system impossible to change. and what threatens to future of the restaurant industry.

and what's at the core of that entitlement, and customers refusal to pay higher prices? loss aversion. if we only knew how better to value the things put in front of us. the world would be a more sustainable place. and we aren't doomed! the more you know about loss aversion, the easier it is to combat it. in your own decision-making.

so please read all about it here.

in brief: loss aversion describes the idea that you value something more if you have it than you do if you don't. so, if someone offered me a snickers blizzard on a hot day, i'd pay not a cent more than $3 for it. but, if i was the one with the milkshake. and i had the long, glorious, shapely plastic spoon in my wretched, nervous hand. ready to dig into the first big, frozen chunk'a dat snick. and someone offered me $10 of the shake, i'd refuse. in other words: we're more afraid of losing something we already have than of not gaining that very same thing. it's a totally and beautifully irrational behavior. but it causes all sorts of problems in group dynamics and social organization.

anyway. our donating 50% of our profits to charity has helped us fight our own loss aversion. we feel less entitled to our profits, and so it's easier to give them away. despite how hard we work to make them. ... 

and we hope this ethic is reflected in our upcoming brewpub. where we plan to create piles of experiential wealth. every inch for the taking. all we ask is that you never feel entitled to any fun you have. and that you treat our employees like the human beings they are. 

new beer notice!


outside outsider art.

ever drink a beer and think: this would be so much better if the hops weren't screaming at me through the glass. or, this would be so much better if i didn't have to scrape hop dust off the back of my throat. or, this would be so much better if it didn't make my belly blow up after half a glass. or, this would be so much better if it didn't drag my palate down with sweetness. or, this would be so much better if it were like champagne for beer. like, with hops standing in for grapes.

yeah. us too.

so we made a brut beer. a brut ipa, in fact. it's light of body. like no body nobody's ever tasted or sniffed or sensed. the fruity nose dominates. with a very subtle and short-lived hop howl. just enough for you to smay-yall and taste before giving way to effervescence and oh-my-god-where-did-that-swallow-even-go?

now... have you ever seen a work of art. and been blown away. and asked around until you found the artiste. and then, when you learned that she was intellectually and developmentally disabled, started weeping internally, and eye-welling externally?

amanda gantner. who does her brilliant work at the arts of life. made our very brilliant label. and we'll have that work and several others of her pieces on show at the event. (special thanks to melkbelly for inspiring our subconscious to look up amanda's work.)

this saturday. daytime. we're releasing the first kegs of the beer. and displaying amanda's art. quite happily. at sleeping village in avondale. one of our new favorite joints. ... our pals from melkbelly will be spinning some vinyl, or maybe just spinning their iPod wheels, or maybe just your heads. but hopefully not plates. on sticks. that'd be ever so radiohead. ... and dj/chef/polymath/insomniac won kim from kimski over nearer the river will be manning the grills! so bring some hunger along with your thirst!

catch us this coming saturday. for a nice patio party. in the neighborhood that built chicago.

new beer breakdown \ 29 june 18 /

*JEAN GENIE'S* - kölsch - 4.7%

germans are super paranoid. insecure, really. and so paranoid. i know this because i'm mostly german of gene. they're true! that's why world wars i and ii started! the archduke was murdered, sure. but germany was sick of being looked down upon. and it was all landlocked and without empire for the most part. and so it spent lots of its treasury on weaponry. and the kaiser decided it was now or never and invaded belgium to preemptively attack france. and it was a wild mistake. 

but this paranoid style. this insecurity. it's led to lots of perfection. perfection from overcompensation, sure. but perfection nonetheless. ... we may tend against making german beer styles, but that tends to be what we drink most. and so when gene's sausage shop in lincoln square approached us about collaborating on a beer using their farm-grown honey, our tongues went all tangled. and we eventually yelped YES! and we got to work on a german style that'd be perfect for summer on a rooftop with a sausage.

enter *JEAN GENIE'S*, our blended yeast kölsch with gene's farm-grown honey and bavarian mandarina hops. part lager, part kölsch. a light kiss of honey. a pinch of mandarina hops. (i'd call this a kiss too, but let's not make out here in public. we ain't carnies, for chrissakes.) ... the beer drinks like a drink you can't stop drinking. and they're selling pitchers of it on the gene's rooftop! you can even order pitcher of it yourself. and sit up there in the hot sun, sweating and sipping from your pitcher. as you read paranoia-laced steppenwolf or the glass bead game by german herman hesse. you really owe yourself a day of outdoor reading. don't you?

another happy accident of german insecurity: the loud influx of hardworking european immigrants to the united states in the early part of this century. which made us think... wouldn't it just be perfection from insecurity to donate our profits from this beer to an organization that's fighting for families separated by the newest baby-boy-kaiser-style-insecure president drumpf?

yeah. it's perfect. so: our latest donation goes to CARA. a remarkable collaborative crew doing work on the southern border. more on this below.

so on the hottest saturday of 2018, head on up to gene's rooftop. there's a nice corner waiting for you in the pixar'st neighborhood in town.


middle brow | citizen how \ 29 june 18 /

bathing in the city aqueduct. 


SCENE I. minutes before the moment.

blaring blog rock. curtain lifts on early-20s poser.

you: oh shit! i was planning all fucking week to wear that t-shirt this weekend. and now where the fuck is it?!?!?!?! jesus h. it's my favorite fucking shirt. where the fuck?! where?! errrrgghghhggg. ...

mom, from backstage: did you look in the hamper???"

you: yes i looked in the fucking hamper but it ain't there. i haven't worn it for months cuz i always like to save it for special occasions. and that's what the f lollapalooza is!!!! mother fucker! i can't believe i didn't look for it last wee.... wait a fucking tic! did i leave it at brian's house? last winter?! after his big kegger? shit i think i did. i think i fucking left it at br... wait no. no no no. i also wore it when my friends were tryin' to set me up with that babe. and i just stumbled home and passed out that night. so it's gotta be here somewhere. where in the fuck! ok shit. i guess i gotta make a clever shirt. for today. quick. i need some ideas. black lives matter?


upstairs in the family home. enter mom and you. mom hears rustling from behind your bedroom door. clothes all over your bedroom floor, spilling into the hallway. you're frantically crawling on your floor, wisping handfuls of balled up pants and shirts around your room. mom clears her throat and you pause. on your knees. and look up. and slouch your shoulders into your torso.  

mom: did you find it? 

you: no! i can't fucking find that thing anywhere. how the fuck did i lose my favorite shirt?!

mom: stop swearing so much, it's just a shirt

you: but it's my favorite shirt! no other shirt fits me that way. it makes me look tan. how the fuck am i ever gonna get a girlfriend if i'm stuck wearing these stupid, clever urban outfitters shirts? i hate all my clothes. ereraggghhhhgereh. WHERE IS IT??????

mom: mijo! basta! it's just a shirt. get some perspective. ... remember when those US border agents pretended we were less-than-human and whisked you away from me and detained you indefinitely in a camp?

......... went no play, ever.


remember that guy from your high school class who loooooved to party. like, he'd party on a monday and on a tuesday and then maybe take wednesday off but talk about what was going on thursday night. when he'd inevitably be drinking alone in some forest or cemetery or behind some backstop somewhere. and then by the time you were seniors he started getting really dark and moody at parties. and threatening to do dumb shit for attention. like, he was gonna get in his car and drive right home right then cuz nobody loved him. ... clearly this ain't no laughing matter. that guy was likely either an alcoholic or depressed or both. but, you know, he's doing fine now. he's an insurance salesman in your old des moines suburb. and has a nice family. and has a handle on his depression. (and shit, we should joke more often and speak more readily about depression and alcoholism anyway. they're sicknesses. and we sure as shit don't speak in hushed tones about our stomach flus.)

and yeah. things are ok now. but for awhile there in high school and into college they stayed dark for him. he got a DUI when you were freshmen. and then another one when you were juniors. and he was close to losing his license when he got that third one when you were 24, but the judge was fairly lenient. and somehow he picked himself up and got himself together.

there's something really fucking creepy about trump's amoral mouthpiece, sarah huckabee sanders. and DHS secretary kirstjen neilsen. and attorney general jefferson beauregard sessions. and their insistence that by separating families they're simply enforcing the law. 

yeah. and a first time DUI in illinois can be punished with 1 year of imprisonment. but do you know anyone who's ever gone to jail for a year for a DUI? not if you're white you don't. 

there's something in law called discretion. prosecutors and judges both use it constantly. for instance, state prosecutors do no prosecute every single crime to the fullest extent possible. we couldn't afford that. there's be way too many felons in the state. and way more humans than available jail cells. and way too many lives would be ruined for offenses that are ultimately of very little moral turpitude.

judges also use it in sentencing guilty parties. remember that time you got pulled over for going 58 in a 40 and the cop merely gave you a ticket for having no proof of insurance. but you had insurance. you just didn't have the insurance card in the glove box. or maybe you simply couldn't find it. (the cop was also exercising discretion, by the way.) ... so on your first big court day you got all dressed up in your nicest pants and your new birkenstock bostons and your favorite shirt (this was before brian's kegger) and went down to the courthouse all nervous about what the judge would say to you. proof of insurance in hand. and the judge called you to his bench and asked to see such proof. and you gave it to her and then wiped your palm on your pants. and she quickly and without emotion dismissed the case and said some other shit and you looked at the young state's attorney standing next to you and she told you "you're all set. go talk to the clerque. he'll tell you what to do next".

things could have gone so much worse for you. (and they likely would have if you were black, by the way.) but the cop and the judge used discretion. because maximum enforcement of the law is extremely foolish and inefficient.

yet we pretend like we're obligated to enforce the laws to their max when it comes to migrants fleeing from violence in their own countries and seeking asylum in this religious nation of ours. ... religious?! ha! we'll take your tired, your poor, your scarred and bloody and separate them from their babies just to fuck with their heads a little. make them regret the hundreds of miles they traveled. make them wish they were back home. in their old neighborhood. on their old street. where murderous gangs ran the show. because at least they'd be with their children. the humans who they birthed and fed and raised and to whom they taught hard lessons about work and sacrifice and deprivation.

i mean, what good could they do us? only bad, right? i mean, some insecure german immigrant fathered amoral fred trump. who then fathered insecure-baby-boy donald trump. so we know how dangerous immigrants can be.


just 'cuz your attention has been diverted from this monstrous policy. by world cup soccer. or the retirement of a vapid supreme court justice. or the 4th of july in pilsen (DON'T MISS IT!). doesn't mean it isn't monstrous. doesn't mean our president and his henchwomen and men didn't authorize and execute on it. doesn't mean there aren't hundreds, even thousands of children who have no idea where their parents are or when they'll see them again. doesn't mean their aren't hundreds, even thousand of parents who have no idea where their babies are or when they'll see them again. or whether they'll in fact grow up to be doctors or lawyers or engineers, like they dreamed on the long journey here. as they gave their babies the last of the clean water. and the only remaining blanket. 

celebrate a different united states of america this coming wednesday. one that you may have heard about in history class. and not the immensely selfish one you've come to know these past few decades.

middle brow | citizen how

union painters make the world colorful.

i have an uncle. he’s a union painter. actually, i have three uncles who are union painters. but the youngest brother is a wild man. and a social champ. and a party lion. and a clever fucker. and when i was in my late teens and i’d drive over to his house and drink a bunch of publicly-traded beer, he’d often ask about what i wanted to do. with my life. or at some point something political would grace one of the waves and it’d just come up. that i wanted to be a lawyer. because back then i wanted to be a lawyer. how adorable, right? and that’d make him excited for the opportunity to be my fixer. and i’d insist that i wouldn’t be that kind of lawyer. i’d be an international or immigration rights attorney. and he’d smell that innocent pomposity in that comment and either get a little defensive or insecure or both, and would tell me about how painters “bring color to the world!” and we’d laugh. and it’d break the shit out of the tension. but he was dead serious. 

and it’s true. painters color the world. but are they really responsible for its color? if they didn’t exist, would we find a way to make things more colorful? the answer appears to be obviously yes. the difference, though, is in the application. i.e., we’d do a terrible job at it. or, at least, we’d do a really DIY job at it. leave “terrible” to the critic. (and we in beer know critics.) 

i digress.

anyway, we’d still have a really beautiful, colorful world without painters! it’s certain! and so why would he (seriously) claim that it was painters that make the world colorful? cuz he desperately wanted to make his daily toil seem more profound. his work choice, or maybe the work he accidented into, more meaningful. 

and so what? we all do it. back in 2009, i became a lawyer. and practiced law for 2-3 years. and me and all the other scum sucking lawyers (jkjkjk) would get wise and deep and talk about how lawyers help people. about how without lawyers, the world would be a less fair place. about how even corporate lawyers maximize value for corporations by minimizing risk. and therefore free up more money for hiring people. big, important shit we were doing.

but that was bullshit. the vast majority of the time, lawyers did nothing that wouldn’t be done anyway by two private citizens or corporations. or, their careful, lawyerly work would be for naught. and all the scary shit contemplated by two parties to a contract wouldn’t ever come to pass. (but risk aversion is real, and we pay big money for it.) 

and so why does the painter paint, and why does the lawyer law? likely for the same, or similar reasons: because they have a skill, and that skill makes people so happy that they’re willing to pay for it. in the end, painters satisfy our culturally-imposed (or natural?) desire for paint to be applied cleanly and neatly. it makes us feel happy to see our living room painted well, i guess. and so do painters make us happy? sure. and we by hiring them we make them feel necessary. and make them feel a little bit powerful. and give them meaning. and some money. 

and the large chunk of lawyers aren’t lawyers because they want to make the world a better place. they’re lawyers because (they like winning facebook arguments... ahem) they had a knack for logic and arguing their whole lives. and so they pursued law. and, in turns out, were really good at it. and now, when their client wants to avoid losing money or wants a debt paid, they spring into action and do their best to argue that at-risk money into their client’s pockets permanently. and even the immigration-rights attorney. she does some amazing work. and every time she helps reunite a family, it reaffirms her purpose. but what’s that? did she help ensure justice? maybe. but maybe not. she may have simply found a loophole in the law. that contradicts the intent of the law. and her morally right move might not have been an application of true justice then. but even if it was, did she have to be a lawyer to help reunite families? she could have been the administrator who worked with the legal team instead. or she could have been the translator. but she chose to be a lawyer because she had a skill, and her skill made people so happy that they were willing to pay for it. and that made her a little bit of money. but it also made her feel powerful. and it made her happy.

and so painters don’t have to get profound about their work. and lawyers don’t have to either. we’re all just traipsing through life. and stumbling upon things we’re good at. and over things we’re bad at. and we tend to do more of the things we’re good at and fewer of the things we’re bad at. and then, eventually, we make someone else somewhere a little happier with our work. and so we get paid for that work. and feel a little powerful. and a little stronger. and more meaningful for having done it. and that’s a perfectly fine reason to do something. 

and so anthony bourdain did not “connect the world”. or “make food cultural again”. or, i mean, maybe he did. shit, our instagram post even said so! but after thinking more about it. it seems to me that all those beautiful, heartfelt bourdain tributes were not about anthony bourdain. they were about us. they were about us making his life seem maximally meaningful to justify our shock. our grief about some public figure whom we never knew. but whose personality and love we somehow felt.

so what did anthony bourdain actually do? he had fucking fun. and we had fun watching him have fun. that’s it. end of story. drink good. do better. 

wait!!!! i actually ...have more to say? believe it? 

he and other chefs and other writers and other tv personalities. they do what they do to have fun. right? i mean, anthony bourdain wasn’t in food because food brings people together. shit. someone's gonna email me a quote with bourdain saying “food brings people together, and i do what i do to help show that to the world”. but still: i wouldn’t buy it. anthony bourdain stumbled into cooking. and was good at it. and it made his friends happy and his bosses happy. and, he could see through the kitchen window, lots of other humans happy. he wasn’t looking out of the fucking kitchen and saying “oh my god! look at all those people joyously talking while eating my food! i wonder if someone out there is on a first date. or reconnecting with an old friend. or catching up with a good friend. or teaching their young children about the cultural oddity that was dave matthews band. and eating myfood while doing it! ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh... spring in new york.”

no. he watched faces after people ate his food to see if they fucking liked it. that’s what mattered: if it made people’s mouths fucking happy. if their taste sense and smell sense went wild. and all the other stuff around cooking is just grist for our intellectual mills. 

and then he wrote a terrific book. almost by accident. because he had a story to tell and he thought he wasn’t half-bad as a writer. and someone else agreed. and published the book. and it sold like ramen noodles or ben and jerry’s at 7-11: really fucking well. and so he pursued that for awhile. writing about kitchens. and about food. and about food culture. and his writing made people happy. and more and more people kept paying him to write about and talk about food. and to travel and interview the local color. and his work may have “brought people together” in the sense that two people who saw the same episode might have said “oh yeah i saw this on bourdain” to each other. but that’s really it. he actually just made food that made some folks’ mouths have a ton of fucking fun. and then he made some tv shows that made millions of eyes and brains have a ton of fucking fun.

and that’s amazing!!! that’s something to write about! and to commemorate!

our fellow brewers often talk about how we help connect the world, too. about how we produce jobs. how we’re bringing manufacturing back. how corner breweries are amazing community spaces where folks from all walks of life can connect. and some of that’s bull shit. but some of it’s true! but even the true stuff... that’s not why we do what we do. and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. we make and sell beer cuz we’re sorta good at it. and people sometimes like the taste of it. and always like the drunk they get from it. and so it makes them happy. and that makes us slightly happier.

and that’s ok. we’re all doing work. the lawyer. the insurance agent. the plumber. the mailwoman. the bartender. the club owner. the middle manager. and we’re all doing it for a similar reason: that we make some people happy with our work. it’s good work.

and so anthony bourdain: if you’re reading this from outer space: we’ll miss your adventurous tendency. it was colorful. it was fun.

drink good. do better. keep paddling.





middle brow | citizen how \ 8 june 18 /

imagine your whole life is like applying for a building permit. 

i met an impressive dude at the hyde park brew fest last weekend. anyway, we talked briefly about the sterling brown incident. you know the one? oh, you don't? have you had the luxury of tuning out of all the racist power plays by policemen and women against black men and women? yeah. me too. i've had that luxury. and i took it. and i tuned out for the past 6-12 months. and when i heard the sterling brown video was pretty egregious, i told myself i would watch it. but i let it go for three weeks. and then couldn't put it off for any longer.

and yeah. he parked all shitty. i mean, a car across three spots in a walgreens parking lot. definitely a bull shit move that shows a lack of respect for others. but... have you ever double parked? have you ever parked across a parking stripe such that your car took two spots? have you ever just been an asshole on the road, unintentionally? or even, you know, have you ever been an asshole, period?

and did you get tased for it? did you even get approached for it? or did some other white sometimes-asshole just sorta look at your side-eyed for it? was that all what punishment you got?

i said to this new guy i met: that fucking video was infuriating. and he said: it shouldn't have been. and i was confused for a second, but then realized: oh wow. yeah. if that was infuriating, then i should be infuriated every single f'ing day. every minute of every day. as that shit happens again and again and again all over the country. and i'm clearly not infuriated all the time. i'm pretty happy! generally speaking! except when i'm driving! i might have a little anger problem there!

so basic logic sorta cut me down to size. and i got to thinking...

way back when... like, in late colonial times. there was a certain progressive position. i think it went like: "black people shouldn't be slaves... but, of course, no no no, yeah, i mean, you're right, they're inferior. i'm just saying, they shouldn't be slaves. i mean... i'm juuuuust saaaaayyiiiinngg. they shouldn't be slaves. i'm not saying it has to end tomorrow. you know. over time. is all. but then, like, they can have their own counties. or even just subdivisions if counties are too much. cuz they're definitely inferior. they just shoudn't be slaves is all. right guys?" this was the fair, ethical progressive saying this. the crazy liberal

and then what was next? after slavery was abolished. it was almost definitely: "no look. i mean, these conditions aren't right. we don't have to mix the races or anything. because god clearly didn't ordain that. and, you know, god is the racecar in whom we trust. and so we want to keep each race pure. or, at least, our race pure. we're all white here, right guys? wright? right? oh wait. henry you're cool, right? i mean, you're not like other black people. you're cool. and we're cool. and you agree, right? we want to improve the conditions of your people! we don't think you should be using the same water fountains as us. but, would you even want to do that? we've got terribly boring breath. and we pull up our pants way too high on our waists. i wouldn't wanna be seen near me. i know that much. so you go your way, i go mine. and we're happy, right?"

and that was a nice and righteous progressive liberal.

THAT WAS A LIBERAL. she probably lived in cambridge or madison or gary. or buffalo. or NEW buffalo.

so what's a progressive like now, w/r/t racism? probably like me, i guess. probably super infuriated by the sterling brown tape. but not so infuriated every minute of every day because we don't such tapes with such frequency. 

anyway i guess this is all to say: even the most progressive among us are likely filled with legacy racism. or, even if not, we definitely benefit from institutional racism. and we don't even know it. and meanwhile we do nothing about disfavored groups. we just keep shopping for expensive, breathable athletic socks online.

so, what? what is this: stop running from your racism. accept it. confront it. work through it. your racism might not be intentional or top of mind or malicious, but if you're white like we are, it's definitely there!!!! at the very least in the fact that you benefit massively from institutional racism. your streets have way fewer potholes. crimes against you get solved. education for you is more than just a free meal everyday. ... if you accept that this ugly thing is in you, you can work it out. if you don't, you'll end up totally fucking blowing it and saying/thinking something super trumpian like "the blacks love me". 

no they don't. 

but they might if you were honest'r with yourself.

\ 8 june 18 /


lucky to wait.

we got our building permit this week. it's big news, since we were meant to get itapril 1. it's 2+ months later. but, you know, as they say, *the city*. and it's totally true. it was sorta like being in a kafka novel. but we ain't complaining. we're lucky as fucky even to be applying for a building permit. thanks to the universe for that.

in any event, we've been taking pictures of it in all sorts of positions. on the ground. on a chair. on a table. on a barrel. with a beer behind it. ... we posted it up on a tree like it was a *no parking street cleaning* sign. we took it back down and taped it to the window of our neighbors car window like it was a ticket. then he came down and snatched it off the window and we took a picture with him holding it. we put it in with our groceries and then took a picture of the checkout man trying to scan it. we took a picture of it when some crushed raspberries stained it.


so time is now getting more precious. add a build-out to all the current work, and i'll have way less time for fancy writing. expect me to be more direct. (at least until i forget and start rambling again.)

(we may have more to say on this. but, for now, thanks chef bourdain. 61 years is a long time to live a great life. you seem to have. despite your struggles. true love will find you in the end.)

anyway, for now, as ever, dig deep / stay tuned.

new beer breakdown \ 1 june 18 /


*LITTLE CRUSH* - session ipa - 4.7%

you remember when you first tasted it. and you thought "hmmm. it's kinda cute". and you wanted another sip, but your friend ran out. and you thought about searching it out on untapped but got distracted by this amazing bit of lake michigan lore. and then a few days passed and you couldn't shake the thought of some unidentifiable "it". but you drink so many beers that you forgot exactly what it was or who made it or what the can even looked like. you just had that crazy nose-palate-memory. but it wasn't a real memory. it was one that you couldn't quite remember all the way. and then you walked into sleeping village this past week and saw it on tap and it all came rushing back. and you ordered one and realized how beautifully it ages. and holy shit you've been thinking about it ever since. looking it up on instagram. seeing if maybe it's on facebook too and maybe there's more pictures of it there. and you wonder what, like, the whole can looks like. and what it wears in the winter. and you would look for it on linkedin but linkedin tells people who's viewed their profile so you close the google results page before you accidentally click on that scary fucking link. and you keep trying to find a connection to it. you just gotta know someone who knows it.

anyway. it's hopped with mosaicel dorado and chinook. fermented with blended yeast. smells like a briar bush in a clearing in a forest in northern michigan. tastes like the moment you stop paddling and just cruise.

we're canning it today! tune into our @instagram stories at @middlebrowbeer.

and look! ***thrillist*** thinks it's one of the best beers of the summer!

middle brow missions \ 25 may 18 /

cans for cache.

it’s been a busy week, and not all so productive this time: illinois craft beer week 2018 is nearly in the books. it’s a week that sounds like it would be fun. and i won’t complain about all the fun events that breweries and bars host. but. you know. as a little throwback to our very finest newsletter: there’s massive event fatigue in the world right now. and when each brewery crams 20 beer events into a week, that don’t help. ... but we always try to do something broader. more inclusive. something that appeals to the masses and doesn’t drag on your palate. like: calling our friends at cellar door provisions, who made a radish ponzu with our beer this week and last (grab some before sunday afternoon!). or our sunday afternoon hang at sleeping village with mr.pulsaki's delicious foods and the band whitney spinning an all-day DJ set. a ton of fun, that. or our (beer +) event at the charleston with apologue liqueurs where we guzzled beer cocktails like they were la croixs.

but we think it’s important every year. after indulging the shit out of ourselves for a week. drinking all sorts fine potions. and slapping other breweries and bars on their backs. to remember why we started: to try to improve the lot of some underprivileged and underserved members of the city we’re so lucky to thrive in. to wit: so many of us benefit so much from the status quo. we grow up on quiet streets in single family homes with backyards and stable parents and supportive friends and family members. our streets are plowed in the winter. our potholes are fixed in the spring. our recess is unencumbered by stray bullets or lockdowns. we eat lunch even when school isn’t there to feed us. like on a saturday or sunday. we avoid addiction. or, if we fall prey to it, we have a massive support network to help lift us up out of it. we seek and receive mental health treatment the second we start feeling a little sick of head or emotion; depression and anxiety don’t last all that long.

others of us aren’t so lucky. whether bullets whiz by our bedroom windows on a weekly basis. or depression and anxiety go unrecognized. or addition goes untreated.

and homelessness is the most visible evidence of this luck/unluck divide. wait. whoa. hey there. “homeless”? huh? what’s that mean? like, there are people who don’t have anywhere to sleep at night? just, nowhere at all? and they also don’t have any food to eat? and, uhhhh, you just had a bridal shower and got like 38 gifts from all these people who love you and care about you and your happiness? as if you somehow “deserve” those gifts and the person sleeping in a tent (if they’re lucky) under a highway overpass (if they’re lucky) doesn’t “deserve” a home? like, we can’t justify paying enough in taxes to make sure nobody goes without an egg to eat and a stovetop on which to fry it? i ain’t asking rich people to pay for an xbox. just an egg and four walls where someone can sleep soundly. and then, so what if they wanted to pass their time with an xbox. how’s that any different from you passing your time with a podcast or an online crossword puzzle while you pretend to work at your insurance desk all day? is xbox'n unproductive behavior? yeah. the difference is: you actually get paid for your unproductive behavior. and the guy who simply wants to consume some xbox with his frosted mini wheats is a drag on society? i’d say the girl with the podcast habit is equally draggy.

so. the point. ... this saturday, please join us for our last event of craft beer week. cans for cache. from 12p-3p, swing by the location of our future brewpub with a 1-gal ziplock bag full of all the *HOMELESS SUPPLIES* you can fit from the dollar store. and we’ll give you a can or two of beer in return for you #CacheBag. depending on how our beer supplies are holding up. we’ll also have samples of TWO of our brand new blends:

*YOU WERE TIRED*: our brett beer, how it starts, blended with a beloya coffee roasted by our pals at gaslight coffee roasters

*HEART OF THE SUN*: a collaboration with 2nd shift brewing. two brett beers blended in blissful’n slick harmony.

and maybe we’ll have a sprinkler to run through. see you in the sunny noon.


new beer breakdown \ 25 may 18 /

*HOW IT STARTS* - dry-hopped brett beer - 5.5%

this all-brett-fermented beer is back. and it’s breaking hearts again. srsly. you should see the look on people’s faces when they suckle on a sample. “this is bEeR?!?!?!” yeah. it’s fruity as f. and very lightly funky. and a-just-an-oh-so-ever-so-lightly-go acidity to balance the whole thing out. it’s ready for summer, if you are.

new beer breakdown \ 11 may 18 /

*WHITNEY* - sour, dry-hopped table beer - 4.3%

whitney is our newest beer can, and it’s so good!

(can we just stop there? that’s about all we want to leave you with. but instead i typically drone on and on about how it’s good. but i’m tired today. i don’t think i have the energy to go into detail.

like, i might usually say something really plainly descriptive first this is a sour belgian table beer. dry-hopped with enigma. but i don’t have the energy to do that this time. or i might say that the beer is almost perfectly sour. enough to really wake you up when you’re writing a newsletter at 530a on a friday morn. but not so sour that you can’t have three. and three you can have! because it’s only 4.3%! and it goes down so light. lighter than a feather as long as you weren’t eating the feather cuz that i tend to think wouldn’t go down oh so lightly.

ok. hmm. light and sour. which is perfect for this nice change of season we’re having. but what might i say about the aroma? that it’s just a pop of fruit. a touch of wine. a slather of currant jam. and a hint of a funk as if from a guitar player in willie nelson’s touring band in the early 80s who was fired for adding funk to the country twang but who stuck around cuz they kept forgetting to put a “guitar player wanted” ad up in their memphis studio. and suddenly it was the end of the tour and they kinda liked it and so did everyone else.

i might say that it’s so good that i drank 4 on our canning day. and then two that night. and then the next day i took one into the shower as a little accompaniment. and ran short of shampoo so i just dumped a bit of whitney into my hair instead. and then that night i added half a can to the mustard i was making. and then i opened one this morning just to write about it and then i was gonna drain pour it cuz it’s 5 f’n 30 in the mourn and i should be sleeping but now i’m 3/4 done with it. ... 

it’s gonna be hard to keep these suckers on the shelves once they’re discovered. especially when that sun is shining. for now, i know you can find some at 57th street wines in hyde park. and at least once a year you should find a reason to go down to hyde park. it’s beautiful there. maybe take a nap on a bench on the lake. with an open can of whitney resting on your belly.)



*NEKO - a rye saison with ginger* - 5% 

we’ve talked about this one quite a bit these last few weeks. it’s a mover and a shaker. no no. don’t shake it. never mind that. it’s moving fast. and probably shaking around in the bottom of lots of beer bags but then it’s put to rest gently in the dark, cool confines of a beer fridge and it sleeps there for hours and hours, reabsorbing all of it’s CO2. preparing for its big moment. every friday. when the workweek has dragged on too long. and its owner just wanted a pick-me-up cup of beer. the ginger puts in near-perfect work as a balancing spice to the saison fruits. ask your local liquor store where to find neko. if they don’t know, they don’t know.