R e l e a s e N e w s
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Off Color and Metropolitan Brewing present…
Debuting Friday 5/24 @ Metropolitan Brewing, 3057 N Rockwell
Casual Release Party Shenanigans to Follow
Mousetrap will have it on draft when we open Saturday morning!
And the story, because there’s always a story with us, right?
A long time ago (10 years but that's almost a generation in beer years) and in a brewery that is now another brewery, Doug and Tracy opened Metropolitan with the then radical notion that folks who love beer love lager beer. This was the time before the gold rush with Regional breweries anticipating the year after year 20% growth they had seen was, like disco, going to last forever... Before a wave of small, local breweries emerged (*waves hand*) making the oversized cellars the Regionals built to churn out commodity IPAs, to be sold farther and farther afield, obsolete... Before the debt they took out to finance them started to become burdensome so they justified their over-expansion and empty tank farms with a sudden and novel love of lager beer. A deep and abiding love they just had never bothered to tell anyone. Yeah. Fortunately, this isn't a story about them. This is a story about Doug and Tracy who built a small, local brewery making lager beer in an ale world when no one had opened a brewery in Chicago in a decade. Making beers that take twice as long as ales. That people expect to be half as cheap.
If this sort of cockamamy story of some otherwise very smart people choosing to do the more difficult thing because they think its beautiful sounds familiar, it's no surprise younger, pre-graying versions of Dave and John finished brewing school just around the time Doug and Tracy opened their doors and were too busy and too new themselves to know to shoo us out like raccoons. Instead, they fed us Thai food and began teaching us the myriad things you learn in a start up brewery that they don't teach you in brewing school. How to calibrate a flow meter. When to change a pump seal. How stuff in the Grainger catalog is usually more expensive than the same thing from McMaster-Carr. How McMaster will let you return all the wrong parts you order trying to find the right sized one. Of all the little things though, a couple big ones stand out. Like if you don't know how to do something, learn how to do it. And to find your niche in this world, the thing you care about, and do that. Especially if it's hard since that just means most people won't bother and someone should.
For Metro, it was making lager beer when it hurts. For OC, it was making esoteric, fermentation-forward beers with yeasts and styles almost no one had heard of. In the years since both our breweries have opened, a ton has changed, Jess and PK work at Off Color now, and much of what was groundbreaking at the time now seems commonplace. But that's a beautiful thing too. It means beer as a whole has grown and we got to be a small part of what it became. To celebrate (okay, mostly as an excuse tell stories to Dou'gs newer brewers about him doing stupid things), we got together to make a beer for Illinois Craft Beer Week. Speaking to what both our breweries care about most and named it after the noise Tracy says when she's really excited about something. You'll be able to find this draft-only beer at both our respective taprooms throughout Illinois Craft Beer Week and at a handful of our favorite watering holes. There's probably even going to be a party or something. [Ed. note: Stay tuned!]
[And the beer? Lest we forget...] Squee! is a traditional, unfiltered Czech style zwickel pils fermented with a blend of native, wild cultures and pure cell lager yeast, blended with foedre aged wild ale... What that really means is we pulled around 5 hL of a wild ale that had been aging in one of our Barolo foedres for 8 months with native yeasts harvested from blueberry skins and put it in a tank the night before we brewed 20 hL of pilsner wort with all our Metro friends in order to inoculate an otherwise traditional lager beer with wild cultures so it would ferment with both that and pure lager yeast. Then we took that tank and transferred it to the bright tank on top of a bit more foedre beer. You know, for symmetry. In the end, rich, grain forward malts and warm baked bread are accentuated with subtle tannins, a slight twinge of natural wine funk, and a delicate blueberry finish. We think it's lovely. Here's to the next decade doing difficult things and welcoming raccoons into our lives. (5.0% abv, 35 IBU)
Limited & Seasonal Releases
Available To Go
Here are some of the fancy beers we have in addition to year-rounds Apex Predator, Tooth and Claw, and Troublesome. Click the image to enhance the label for details.