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. 

\ 11 may 18 /

asleep on a sunbeam.

spring has officially sprung. and we’re eating stinging nettles and english peas and smelling the oil that the rains beats off the rocks and burning firewood with friends and riding our future wives on our pegs and it’s all glory and honor in mother earth’s name.

this week, a new friend wrote up a little interview about us for foxtrot. click hereif you want to read more of my silly rambling. and if you want a sneak peak at our latest barrel-aged release.

i guess you’ll soon see why we're again listening to a song about a little bird.

anyway, dig deep / stay tuned.

middle brow | citizen how \ 4 may 18 /

boomer betrayal. 

remember bill haley and the comets? no? oh... that’s because the height of their fame came just before the boomers were turning 14. prime music-consuming age. and so since they were never really a boomer band, despite being massively popular in their time, they never had a massive spread in rolling stone. or a GRAMMY-sponsored tribute night where SZA sings one of their songs with shawn mendes. and they never appeared on letterman. and they never did a reunion tour. apart from at their local carnival. just below the zipper. and next to a deep friend funnel cake. or, if they were lucky, a cevapcici.

it’s remarkable how much boomers shaped, and continue to shape, our culture. since the 60s, when they started consuming pop culture, and voting, we’ve been subject to their preferences and whims. their sitcoms on CBS. their CBS radio. their... CBS. their justin-timberlake-too-late-he’s-boring-now specials on NBC. their maddening love for jimmy fallon. their views on abortion. their disgust of war. then their embrace of war. their embrace of the worker. then their dismissal of the worker. 

which brings me back to may. funny how much the boomer generation benefitted from the struggle of the worker against the capital owner. but how they shunned the worker when they became the owner.

may 1st. earlier this week. is a very important day in world history. and world contemporaneity. it’s may day. the day that weird europeans celebrate by dancing around a maypole. and by crowning someone the may *QUEEN*. and the day that communists and socialists celebrate the worker. and memorialize the haymarket riots that took place on the south side of chicago.

does anyone know what... actually, scratch that, i’m gonna start this paragraph the way donald trump would: very few people know what the haymarket riots were. they started as a peaceful rally for the eight-hour workday. the rally was organized as a response to the killing of some workers by cops or pinkertons a few days earlier at *another* rally for the eight-hour workday. if that doesn’t give you a sense of how much effort it took by labor activists to give you enough time to coach your daughter’s t-ball team, ask yourself when you last remember a strike or protest effecting policy or political change. it was a real fucking struggle. a fight. rich people were willing to kill to avoid giving you the eight hour workday. and they did. ... anyway, the cops and the pinkertons were out there at the strike defending big money. the capitalists. the owners. and some anarchists thew bombs at the law and injured and killed some of them. and then the law retaliated and killed some workers. it was all pretty ugly and messy. 

so back to it... this month of may is for laborers. and the boomers in power, despite benefitting enormously from workers’ efforts throughout the 20th century, have so depriortized the working class that .......... they now consider donald trump a working class hero? once they had stable jobs in the late 70s and early 80s, they started voting for politicians who prioritized profitability for the ownership class over living standards for the middle and working classes. they voted for free trade and for tax cuts. they decimated budgets for programs that give 20th century workers 21st century skills. they voted against the guarantee of basic health care at an affordable rate. they voted to make it easier to dump hexavelant chromium into the great lakes. the working class hero’s ocean. they laugh off teachers who are striking in wisconsin or arizona or oklahoma or west virginia as entitled. or as part of some public union cabal. they praise millennials who work 14-hour days to make rent. ....... in essence, they’ve completely forsaken the conditions and policies that allowed them to flourish. they’ve gotten greedy. 

this month of may, remember the worker. while you’re drinking a *QUEEN*.

new beer breakdown \ 4 may 18 /

*QUEEN* - bohemian pils - 4.7%

*QUEEN*. so we mother may i’d this beer a few months back. it was light. and bright. and fruit fwd. and clean. and platonically ideal. and we thought it was greek. but then realized it was closer to german. but fully czech. which is plenty greek to someone, somewhere. and we had a party for it at ipsento 606 with our friend kerem and so many new and old friends came and we saw the whitney guys there and the apologue guys too and we all planned separate fun projects together and everyone was blissful and ignoring april the terrible and so we turned to each other and said “shit-hey! let’s make this beer again! and get it in cans!” and so we did. the first of our middle classics.

and. just this week. now. it’s finally out in cans. *QUEEN*. a boho pils with hallertau blancs. and sparsely and strategically we dropped the suckers all around the city. so, lots of special boutiques got special deliveries this week. go find a can for the first may weekend.

look for a special softness on the palate. and a super subtle’n flirty fruit on the nose. and a cleanliness on the finish. and another one in the four pack. to crack just after you finish the first sixteen’r.

new beer notice \ 6 april 18 /


*LITTLE CRUSH* - a session ipa - 4.7%

we like little beers. we like soft beers. and we like hop subtlety. and so we brewed a session ipa. it's got'a not a lot of alcohol innit. and the hop character is pretty. and sharp where it needs to be. and touching. like an opera. el dorado. mosaic. chinook. tropical-y. frui-t. pīn-e. it's got all three. you're gonna love it. scour the city by tunesday. or, maybe, pay attention to our instagram on either tunesday night or tunesday morning. we'll tell you where to look to find a *LITTLE CRUSH*. it'll give you butterflies. and memories.


*SELLS OUT 007* - a hay-z ipa - blended yeast; 007, azacca, mandarina - 6%

we also told you to expect that secret agent sell out. 'bout the hop helmer of our latest *SELLS OUT*. half british. half militiaman in some mountain-western forest. *SELLS OUT 007* arrives thurnesday, i reckon. 007s. azaccas. mandarinas. pop!


middle brow | citizen how \ 30 march 18 /

in search of: convenience, excitement. 

that combo seems to be the main driver of human behavior, right? convenient excitement. like, we pretend we like local and small and artisanal until we shop at amazon for a pair of fucking scissors. it's so damn convenient! and where would i even find scissors?! well, i know i used to get them at the CVS on the corner, but that closed. and there's a hardware store down there somewhere, but i'm pretty sure it just makes keys now. and also serves as backup storage for a local dollar store.

and really. this applies to craft beer, too. craft breweries are loads of fun! and they're super adaptable! like, if they make a quadruple ipa that's actually green from hop dust and for some weird fucking reason it doesn't sell that well except to the guy in the slayer shirt who's been drinking craft beer since two years before he was born, they can adapt! they can immediately make a less hoppy beer. they don't have seven marketing departments to consult. and a design team. and an accountant. they don't have very many long term contracts that would make a quick shift impossible or costly to bear. they tend not to have shareholders who care about every last tenth of a percent of margin. 

and craft breweries are also great because they help local economies. and they create jobs. and they take risks with forgotten beer styles. and they make beautiful labels. and they have a mission! and a belief system! entirely apart from their bottom line. (which any macro could only imitate and pretend to have.) and usually there's someone with a cool beard in the building. 

and that's all great! those are all great reasons to support craft breweries. and to have fun at a craft brewpub on a saturday night. but are they really the reason we like craft breweries? query: if budweiser opened a brewpub, would it be full on the weekends? or, if, say, they opened a brewpub and called it "goose island", would it be full on the weekends? (we'll truly always love you, goose. promise. this is just an intellectual exercise.) what if constellation brands (corona, high west) opens a brewpub in the west loop and calls it ballast point? will it be full on the weekends? i think we all know that the answer to all of those questions is a resounding yes.

two of our biggest pains as humans. bigger pains than a broken bone. or heartbreak. or a sty in your eye. or a pinched nerve in your lower back. or when you drop a 55-gallon steel drum on your elbow and it slices the tendon connecting your bicep to your elbow and your bicep literally rolls up like a snap bracelet and gathers at your shoulder. the two pains that are constant and that slowly destroy us are boredom and the efforts necessary to eradicate boredom. and craft breweries mitigate both of these pains.

how? well listen. first. we humans ain't afraid of hard work. have you ever seen a man leaving a textile factory after a long 10-hour shift and smiling ear to ear?  i have. have you seen a woman on a construction site whose shirt is drenched in sweat, laughing like a hyena at a super politically-correct joke about international economic policy? i have. people aren't afraid of hard work. of that kind of effort. instead, we're afraid of efforts that require us to make a change. to do things outside of our comfort zones. that's the kind of effort i'm talking about.

and boredom? that's straightforward.

so craft breweries erect these small breweries. where they serve beer. in a plain warehouse. in a place with ample parking. and music. and. uh. in so doing, they remove boredom. i mean: beer?! that gets your really drunk?! with music?! and parking?! and no dress code?! you mean i can wear my slippers-with-the-fluffy-insides-but-since-they-have-rubber-bottoms-i-pretend-they're-shoes-even-for-church?! so wait, this bordeom killer is also really convenient? it's in my neighborhood? and it doesn't require me to do anything different from what i normally do? and they're making the beer right behind the bar!!! what an amazing distraction from my boredom! (i was getting bored of plain old bars, as they are.)

anyway. there's more confirmation of this in our habits around whole foods and amazon. so many of us profess to love local food. and farmers. and breweries. and generally shopping local. it gives us some pleasure to spend money at a local, independently-owned store. as it should. because we feel like we're helping someone. we're sold that story. and we buy it. but what's more convenient and does a better job of killing boredom than a struggling small business? that big whole foods with all the people in it. and the wine bar. and the sample plates. and the section with all those fake olives. pretending to be covered in oil. (swear to god. those olives aren't real. they're made of polypropylene so they look squishy. and then they're covered in soybean oil.) its so exciting in there! and guess what? it's so fucking convenient. it fits the paradigm of what a grocery store is. so we don't feel out of place. and it has a parking lot. and it has berries in the fucking summer. so you can make those blueberry pancakes that your kids think are terrible. effortless excitement! local businesses and community members be damned!

and no doubt. i know all about the above because i do it. i shop at whole foods. i love whole foods. whole foods sells our beer! they sell lots of it! and we'll keep selling it there for as long as they'll so graciously have us. this is more of a "why do so many of us profess to prefer small things but act in such contrast to that preference?"


anyway. the bit of information that set me off on this train of thought was an article in eater about how the relationship between small farmers and suppliers, on the one hand, and amazon-whole foods, on the other, has soured since the acquisition. and how we laughed when the whole beer- and food-media industry wondered aloud how the merger would turn out. about what would happen to craft beer. about what would happen at whole foods generally. about what would happen to all of those incredibly happy, dyed-in-the-wool hospitality personalities who hand-sell certain socially-radical chicago beers and indiana crackers and wisconsin cheeses. we had studied antitrust law years ago. and we had a modest hunch that we knew how this would turn out. first, we thought: prices would drop. (they did.) second: consumer choice would suffer. (that's just beginning with this crackdown on whole foods' small suppliers.) and third: layoffs would start. 

big companies like amazon make decisions that maximize shareholder wealth. that's it. that's it. honestly. if they don't, they'd face certain lawsuits by their shareholders. it's the legal duty of the officers and directors to do so! and cutting labor costs and streamlining logistics (by reducing choice) always increases profit margins. 

but is any of this behavior going to stop us from shopping at amazo—er, whole foods? fuck no! it's conveniently exciting!


which brings me back to some thoughts that often circulate on top of my body about anarchy and libertarianism. and all of this stuff reminds me of why i think those political philosophies are sorta bunkish.

sure. libertarians aren't arguing for anarchy. they're just arguing for the absolute smallest government imaginable. so let's lump the two together for the sake of this argument. (and thats taking libertarians for their word. even though they're all who we know they are: republicans who support gay marriage. because at the end of the day, what they really believe is that less regulation will enrich job creators, who will then send welfare on down the chain to the working class. how magnanimous is this?! so magnan that they shout it unashamed from their BMWs as they blow stop signs in bucktown and lick ice cream cones in suburban indianapolis.)

sorry. got off track there. the goal here is to tie libertarianism to the whole convenient excitement thing. and i can do it! i promise.

so... what would happen in an anarchist state? if the libertarians, or something like them, won? 

i mean, sure! true self government sounds pretty enticing. it would mean we wouldn't pay taxes to fund wars we don't support because we're pacifists. or fair housing policies we don't support because we're racist. or whatever! total freedom and bliss! (presume, for now, that we're all white men. ok? the freedom and bliss thing doesn't really work without that presumption.)

but anyway: we're governing ourselves! we've removed the shackles of the big federal government and the commie government of the state of california! and we can run our town the way we want to. yay yay yay yay! and nobody is really in charge. but then.... guess what? 

some small inconvenience arises. like, a road crumbles. or someone is dumping too much waste upstream of the town's water source. or the local hardware store owner will retire because there really ain't much of a market in this new independent state. or cuz this racist hippie (yes. they exist.) sets up his slip-n-slide such that he lands across his neighbor's property line. giggling his stupid fucking head off.

and people hate inconvenience. and they hate disputes. so, what then?

well... someone has to solve the problem. and small disputes can be adjudicated by the community. but then who'll enforce their decision? hmm. i think we need some kind of force! some group of people with authority. and maybe even some way to physically dominate over others in the community to enforce the policies determined by the community. let's call them... the colice! since they'll be enforcing "community policies". but how will we pay for them?

and some of the bigger inconveniences. like the problem with the road. they have to be solved by the rich folks in town. and when those rich folks spend money to fix the road, they're gonna want something in return. like, some kind of power, or return on their investment. cuz, uh, that's how they got rich.

really, the broader principle here is this: whenever there's an inconveniece, human nature is that someone will take over. and human nature is also that the group will let them, as long as they're reducing some inconvenience.

right now the discomfort is with a faraway government's commands. but if some libertarian community removes the shackles of that faraway power. and then a local player—an individual (political) or group (business or political) will find some other discomfort. and will remove it. and in so doing will gain little bits of power or wealth or both. and then they'll have traded one shackle for another.

and, y'know, power corrupts. so the newly-imbued with power we get a little trippy. and not, like, acid trippy like the racist hippie would. but power trippy. and he or she would start imposing upon the less powerful in the town. (see famous yale study.) especially, given the tribalist nature of humans, people of a different race or economic class or religious and sexual or gender persuasion. the outsiders. and then, what recourse do those outside the tribe have? there's no government for them to turn to when they're being oppressed, remember?

the only solution for those outside the tribe will be to remain oppressed—which is surprisingly common, given our tendency to adapt to shitty situations like amputations—or to move away, which is an oppression and inconvenience in and of itself. and so many won't move. and those folks will be lorded over by the newly rich and powerful.

and there goes your fancy anarchy.


this is how amazon gains power and wealth. and facebook gets our data. we're looking for convenient excitement. or, put another way, convenient distraction. we like convenience. and we like distractions from our boredom. and we praise and subject ourselves to those who deliver either/or.

maybe let's all stop being so lazy. and maybe our neighbor won't have to declare bankruptcy.

middle brow | citizen how

we men and women of the silhouettes. 

you heard we're opening a brewpub? it's true. and we want to talk about the equipment we're buying for it.

but first... when you come to our communities. you see beyond the periphery. behind the shadow. we're here with our children. and our warped frying pan. and our dog-eared books. and our hand-me-down bicycles. and our messy heads. and we work hard. and search for and find a place in our community. 

and it's not that you rich men don't do all those things. or, at least, that last thing. it's just that the consequences of many of your actions make it harder for us to do those things. they make you and your communities richer. but they make us poorer. and you claim to know that. and to have a quick-and-easy solution to it, but you always find a way to avoid implementing that solution. because rich men become rich as a result of their loss aversion. ... they hold on, hold on to what they have. desperately. and despite any negative result for their former communities.

what the fuck am i talking about?

it's sorta like this. ever hear of a needle exchange program? i don't think there's a strong one in this city, but just you wayt. needle exchange programs provide clean needles to drug addicts. they're an almost obviously positive thing. but it takes some work to get fully on board with them. to come to terms with the fact that you're supporting drug addicts. but it's ok! you should support drug addicts! because before they were "drug addicts", they were people. and after they were "drug addicts", they were people. and while they were "drug addicts", they were people. and they're gonna shoot up, whether you like it or not.

now, should they shoot HIV into their veins in addition to heroin? let's say no. let's just accept the fact that drug addicts exist. and they'll find their fix either way. and let's give them a place to acquire clean needles. let's not ignore reality.

and what about the term *sponsored content*? you see it everywhere these days. on your favorite news sites. on the most devilish social media platform going. everywhere, really. the term just means: "hey. we're trying to get you to buy something. and the old way to advertise it don't work no more. so we're just gonna pretend that a writer from this seemingly independent newspaper wrote an article about the thing. touting its pros and ignoring its cons. and after you read the "article", you'll be compelled to buy the thing."

can you imagine if this sort of thing was happening in secret? it'd be a massive scandal. nobody would ever trust the washington post, say, again. but because they add the phrase "sponsored content" to the top of the article, and a little two-line disclosure at the bottom of the article in italics, we let them off the hook. we're meant to understand that the associated article is a sort of advertisement.

that's bull shit, though. right? we know damn well that humans generally ignore smaller text. and italicized sentences. and formulaic text. and boilerplate disclosures. we know that! and that's why the *sponsors* of the content are fine with adding these types of disclosures. because they know that for tons of folks who read those articles or tweets, the *sponsored* nature of the content won't ever register. and they'll just walk around thinking they stumbled upon some new truth. let's not ignore reality.

which brings me back to our equipment. our dear leader imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum last week. but what in the hell are tariffs? they're quite simple, actually. a tariff is just a *tax* on an import.

so, if you imagine cars as whole products, conjured up all at once. and you were standing in detroit, talking to two car salesmen. and both were trying to sell you the exact same chevrolet, one housed in windsor, canada, and one in detroit. if there was tariffs on cars, the car from detroit would cost less than the car from windsor. so you'd buy the car from detroit, right?! and then you'd take your savings and go buy some pogs to add to your collection.

you can imagine the effect this would have on the car industry in the US. tariffs *protect* domestic industries by making their products cheaper than similar products made in foreign markets. but *protection* is a good thing, right? wrong. protectionism often leads to trade wars. which can lead to real wars. like, ahem, world war i, say.

and so to avoid trade wars. and real wars. FDR started liberalizing US trade rules. and convinced much of the developed world to do the same. and we entered an era of free trade among countries that culminated over the last two decades in massive multilateral trade deals like NAFTA, the FTAA, the WTO, and the EU. 

but all this free trade meant that the domestic industries that were inefficient relative to foreign industries were at risk of deteriorating. if chinese steel firms could make steel more cheaply than US firms could, then US steel firms would slowly shut down, the story went. but wait! the free traders argued. if steel and aluminum and meat and precious metals are cheaper for other countries to produce, we'll get richer! and the products made with those raw materials will be cheaper for all of you to buy! and there'll be all this extra money! and we can use that extra money to *retrain* workers from dying industries. and we can give them free healthcare while they're undergoing this retraining. and they'll come out way more skilled than they ever were! and prepared for a twenty-first century economy! and on top of that, we'll still have extra money. with which to create more companies and more jobs.

but then those same free traders voted time and again to cut the shit out of taxes. such that there was no money available for healthcare. and for giving new skills to unemployed sheet metal workers. and communities were torn asunder. and tribalism and racism reemerged. and donald trump was elected.

whoops! back to trade. 

the point is: let's not ignore reality. free trade might be great for lots of reasons! it might have been the rising tide that lifted all our boats! but then it wasn't. because the people in charge of our boats were also in charge of their own boats. and they made sure their boat was standing on a tower of water before even remembering there were other boats around them.

so back to tariffs: while i'm opposed to broad-based tariffs. unthought out tariffs. the kind donald trump would impose. of course. not all tariffs are bad. targeted tariffs that punish bad actors. or that protect dying or newly-budding industries make sense. as long as their phased out over time. and as long as we're addressing the needs of all the people affected by those industries. but let's not ignore reality. currently, we don't care about those people.


what's this got to do with our equipment? the vast majority of the equipment we purchased for our brewpub is made from US steel and oak by US manufacturers. because we believe in the workers in these communities. we don't want to add to the pile. we want to support them where our government and business leaders have not. and we're excited to share the stories of our purchases in the coming weeks.

for now, the belief that guides all of our decision-making:

we believe the financial ethic that has defined corporate behavior for the past 30 years must be countered with an experiential and stakeholder ethic. and since this experiential and stakeholder wealth depends on strong communities, we work to strengthen our communities through beer and labor. drink good. do better.

comfortable eating and drinking.


thanks again to lula cafe for having us at their comfort station chef's dinner this pastmonday. we were stoked to be paired with diana davila's rabbit mole dish. she's working wonders over at mi tocaya. go have yourselves a happy happy hour at hacien...

wait just a fucking second! wait! what?! holy f'n shit. obv i have to do the occasional google search for these missives. to confirm accuracy about this point or that. and i just read an article about diana davila. and she's from our hometown! oak forest, illinois! and she's also 35! and look, oak forest is our beloved shithole of a town. it ain't naperville. where, like 1 out of every 3 people grow up and work in finance or banking and move to chicago. and the other 2 move to denver. it's an amazing scrappy-shit town. so when someone even has a 708 area code, i get excited. but our beer just happened to be paired with this bad ass chef's food. formerly of oak forest, illinois! happenstance! superstance! hello, diana! meet ya soon!

new beer breakdown


*QUEEN* - bohemian pils - 4.7%

i don't know how we ever made anything but pilsners. drinking a clean, crisp pilsner is something plato would probably do if he lived in this super cool craft-beer-bro-it's-everything era. socratic method brewing company. they'd launch with an aristotelian amber. take home 6th place in paste mag's blind tasting with their pythagorean pale ale. speak to the late 80s craft beer aficiando in every town with their metaphysical english mild. and go in and out of style with their platonic pilsner. it's *almost* the perfect beer form. easy to drink. floral from some just-a-touch'n hop'n. bready. clean finish. so crisp it could snap a streak of twelve 40º days in a row. there's a reason macro beer derived from this style. it's sorta weird that pilsners ain't greek. like everything else in the world secretly is.

anyway. they're not. they're czech. and sometimes german. and either way pretty similar in the end. and we made one in the czech tradition. a bohemian pils. we like to think we're pretty bohemian. and we really dig vaclav havel. he fought for the little guy. and the little gal. the easy-to-ignore. the silhouettes of men. not quite in the shadows. but only ever seen in the periphery by the powers that be. a man after our own hearts.

our boho pils is called *QUEEN*. and he's just a poor boy from a poor family. if you couldn't tell, we named it after a famous little classic rock hymn. the very first kegs will the city late next week. and in about a month's time we'll have some cans on your favorite shelves. so keep peelin' your eyelids back!


*coming in april* 

little. hoppy.

we've got some big'n hoppies under our belt. but yesterday we brewed our first little hoppy number. is it a session ipa? a pale ale? you'll soon find out. in any event, it was hopped up with el dorado, mosaic and chinook hops. be ready for the big three: tropical, citrus and pine. more on this in a few weeks.

big. hazy.

and remember: we never want you to forget that we're total sell outs. like, secret agent level sell outs. hint: the hop helmer in our latest *SELLS OUT* takes her name from britain's most famous spy.

a modest announcement


hi there.


this is why i wanted you to stay tuned.

we'd like formally and finally to announce that: middle brow is opening a brewpub.


this coming fall.


on armitage avenue. in logan square. (read article below closely.)

 imbibe magazine. 

imbibe magazine. 

we'll brew belgian beers there. and middle classics. and wild ales. and we'll do very much beer blending.


we'll also have pizza ovens. which we'll likely use to make pizza. but... maybe not?


and we'll be adding quite aggressively to our social efforts. think: labor as fundamental. stay closely tuned on this point.


and we'll raise herbs and hops and fruits and vegetables in our on-site community garden.