Blue Sky: The Future of Craft Beer in Chicago
Josh Noel, beer, spirits and travel writer for the Chicago Tribune, leads a conversation with Goose Island Beer Company general manager Ken Stout, Solemn Oath chief executive officer and president of the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild John Barley and Empirical Brewery chief development officer Sumit Mehta about the short history of craft brewing in Chicago and, more importantly, its future. At the helm of large, medium and small breweries, these brewers share a dedication to the industry’s growth, but approach it from very different vantages. Grab a beer and settle in for some unfiltered opinions, insights and predictions on the future of beer.
The Hideout will sell special and rare beers from each brewery:
Goose Island Beer Company: St. Genevieve (Available June 1)
Belgian-Style Wit aged in wine and brandy barrels with oranges, limes, pears, mangoes, pineapple, and blueberry for a flavor profile similar to Sangria.
Solemn Oath Brewery: Pain Cave (Available June 15)
American double IPA -- Crisp, citrus hop aroma and firm bitterness balanced by light caramel malt sweetness and medium body. More info: http://solemnoathbrewery.com/beer/pain-cave/
Empirical Brewing: Gamma Ray Ginger (Limited availability)
Check out the video on Empirical Brewery’s website for the uncommon partnership behind Empirical Brewery and Twist Out Cancer: http://www.empiricalbrewery.com/gamma-ray-ginger-wheat
6:00 p.m. – doors
6:30 p.m. – program starts
About the speakers
Josh Noel has written about travel, beer and spirits for the Chicago Tribune since 2008 and occasionally writes about other subjects, such as homelessness, food, crime, baseball and history. He is a Chicago native who previously covered crime for The Advocate in Baton Rouge, La. He has contributed to the public radio program “This American Life” and reported the oral history of Wrigley Field for the 2014 book "Wrigley Field: An Oral and Narrative History of the Home of the Chicago Cubs."
Ken Stout is the general manager of the Goose Island Beer Company in Chicago where he leads the brewery’s operational, sales and marketing initiatives. A long-time beer professional and lifelong south side Chicagoan, Stout previously held the director of consumer experience position for Goose Island, leading experiential marketing and training & development efforts. Prior to his six year stint with Goose Island, Stout worked at Star Brand Imports-Heineken USA as the business development director for the 19 state Central Region. Stout started his beer industry career in 1996 with the James Page Brewing Company out of Minneapolis.
John Barley is co-founder and president of Naperville-based Solemn Oath Brewery. Barley’s passion for the brewery’s distinctive Belgian-inspired beers developed after numerous trips to Belgium in college. A trip to California in 2010 solidified that passion, after Barley and his brother Joe, co-founder of Solemn Oath, hosted a craft beer party and visited dozens of breweries in preparation. On the flight home, Barley began drawing up a business plan. Soon after, he recruited Tim Marshall from Rock Bottom to manage the brew house. After scouting locations across the Chicagoland area, Barley selected Naperville, a large municipality with an untapped craft beer market, and turned one of its only light industrial complexes into a full-production brewery with adjacent taproom. Solemn Oath launched into the market in 2012, showcasing three beers at Chicago Craft Beer Week. By January 2013, Solemn Oath completed its first expansion, increasing annual volume capacity by nearly 100 percent. Embarking on its third anniversary, the brewery will soon launch a canning line. In addition to his role at Solemn Oath, Barley is president of the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild.
Sumit Mehta has been a beer lover for 25 years. Since his father first gave him a sip at age 15, he knew he was hooked. At college in Austin in the mid-90’s, Mehta founded a craft beer club at which members brought new craft beers for a weekly bottle share and participated in organized trips to nearby breweries. Little did he know then, that 20 years later he would be one of the owners of a brewery in Chicago. Mehta first met his partner Bill Hurley shortly after moving to Chicago in 2003 and the two immediately bonded over their love for craft beer. They first brewed their own beer in 2009 and began working on plans for Empirical Brewery in 2011. After three years of planning, prodding, poking, and mostly questioning if they were sane Empirical Brewery launched its first beer at Navy Pier in July 2014 and is now served at more than 100 fine establishments across the Chicago-land area.
No refunds within 7 days of the event.
DigitalPLUS member tickets subject to limited availability.
You will not receive paper tickets. You will receive a confirmation email that includes a confirmation number for your ticket(s). You must display them on your smart phone or print and bring them with you.
For questions concerning this event, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 312-222-3422.
In order to purchase these tickets in installments, you'll need an Eventbrite account. Log in or sign up for a free account to continue.