Monday, January 19, 2009

A trip to Metropolitan Brewing!

(from left to right, Doug, Dorrie and myself chillin' at Metro.)

I've often said that one of the coolest things about homebrewing is the people you meet. I guess there's just something about beer that attracts incredibly friendly and helpful people. Sometimes that can lead to disappointment, like when one of your favorite brewmasters decides to bolt for Oregon. But you know that old saying about how when God closes a door, he opens a window? Well, I guess it's true (even if a little impractical... have you ever tried crawling out of a window?) because while Chicagoland beer geeks are losing Flossmoor Station's Matt Van Wyk, they're gaining a brand new production brewery courtesy of Doug and Tracy Hurst. And Doug and Tracy just happen to be good friends of ours, so last night we headed up to the Ravenswood neighborhood and checked out Metropolitan Brewing. I figured I would share some pictures.

Dorrie climbs up to check out the mash tun with a little help from Tracy. They'll be mashing and lautering in the same vessel, just like most of us small-time homebrewers! Of course, they'll be mashing and lautering about 30 times what I do...

Here are the fermentation/lagering tanks. Unlike most craft brewers, Metro will specialize in German-style lagers. When we first arrived, Doug poured me a Zwickel (unfiltered lager) straignt from one of the tanks. Because it was both young and unfiltered, it had a noticeable yeasty/sulfury quality that kind of reminded me of a fresh Gose. Good stuff! Oh, and on a side note, all of their tanks are named after secondary Star Trek characters. I've always wanted to have a job where I need to name multiple items so I could name them all after secondary Simpsons characters (I know that sounds weird, but I got the idea while a grad student because one of my profs named all of his network drives after Pixies songs). Sadly the opportunity has not yet presented itself.

Dorrie walks down the steps from the mash/lauter tun and brew kettle. An out-of-focus Doug is enjoying the fruits of his labor.

Kegs! Kind of hard to have a brewery without kegs, right? Metro taps should be popping up in Chicago's better bars within a month.

"Heeeeeeeeeeeeere's Dorrie!" Okay, so she didn't proceed to chase us all with an axe like Jack Nicholson did in The Shining, but that picture totally reminds me of it.

If you want to check out Metro, you should go see BEER, a puppet show about beer (duh!) produced by the Neo-Futurists that's actually going to be performed in the Metropolitan brewery itself! Leah and I will be at the Friday, January 30th performance.

Afterwards, we went back to Doug and Tracy's apartment, where they treated us to a wonderful dinner and we proceeded to have an Altbier tasting. The tasting was the first step toward crafting their spring seasonal I-beam Alt. Knowing what an Altbier geek I am, they willingly listened to a good hour of me rambling on about my beloved German ale. I just can't wait until the day when you can pick up a real, Düsseldorf-style Altbier from the shelf of an American liquor store. In the meantime, if you happen upon a Metro taphandle, be sure to try a pint. Here's to craft lagers shared (and brewed!) among friends.


Anonymous Jim Vondracek said...

Hi Russ, this is Jim Vondracek (Pappers on BA). What a great blog you've built! And is Dorrie your little one? She is such a cutie. I remember (fondly) when my guys were that little.

And thanks for the heads up on Metro - I will definitely check them out! Best wishes,


8:57 PM, January 21, 2009  
Blogger Ted Danyluk said...

I can't wait to try out Metropolitan lagers. I'll be looking for them.

I also can't wait to visit. With your great photos, almost don't need too. Being on my route to and from work, it shouldn't too hard to stop by. It feels so good to have a family brewery in town.

Any time you are in the area, I'd love to show you my kegerator system. Cheers Chibes!

10:35 AM, January 22, 2009  
Blogger Russ said...

Good to hear from you, Jim. Yeah, Dorrie's our little brewster-in-training.

And Ted, funny you should mention stopping by. As we came upon the Metra tracks, it occurred to me that we were indeed pretty close to your place. And then, as I checked on the Eagles-Cardinals score, I realized it was almost exactly a year ago that we were at your place for the tasting because that was also the night of the NFC and AFC Championship games. So yeah, we'll definitely have to stop by the next time we're in the 'hood.

8:47 AM, January 24, 2009  

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