John Barley President
John Barley

CCBW in 2014

This week we embark on the annual sleep-deprived binge we call Chicago Craft Beer Week. It’s a time for special tappings, hang sessions with the friends, and a jovial celebration of all things craft beer.

The best way to attack the madness is to embrace the advice your dad has been trying to pound into you since you were little, “Have a goddamned plan.” This is our schedule, so be sure to join us for a few things and bring some friends.

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Jourdon Gullett

Before Solemn Oath began, I sought to build a company where individuals could be unleashed in a creative atmosphere with a united goal. The work of our artist, Jourdon Gullett, is an excellent example of how this looks when it goes really, really well.

The person we sought for our brewery art was one who would understand our goals and make Solemn Oath Brewery a part of their home. Joe and I had an affinity for raw illustration and tattoo-inspired work and those dimensions defined the space we wanted Solemn Oath’s art to inhabit. Our world collided with Jourdon’s through a mutual friend, and he has since filled it with all things dark, dangerous, and unfathomable. 

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SAVEUR Best Wine or Beer Blog Finalist

Your mother was wrong. The use of profanity, even in print, is not always inelegant. Nor apparently does it disqualify you from incredible and humbling honors. Last week SAVEUR Magazine announced Solemn Oath’s SOB Stories as a 2014 Best Food Blog finalist. Unbelievable.

We’re one of six finalists in the best wine and beer category, each of which have incredible sites. While we hope it is us, please take the time to vote for your favorite. Voting closes April 9 and we’d love to have your support. And dammit share with your friends.

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An E-Ville Axe

William Faulkner said, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” That crazy SOB was right. E-Ville, an American Brown has reared its, well, evil head a number of times over our first two years. Axe Scar Pig. didn’t debut until 2013 but this American Red Ale was actually spawned from E-Ville. These two beers have a past.

In August of last year one of our wood-aged E-Villes went rogue. And when a barrel goes rogue in a bad way we move it outside and rid ourselves of its contents. Obviously at SOB we weren’t just going to pop the bung and pour it out. Obviously we were going to hit it with an axe. Why would we not hit it with an axe? And thus, Matt Offerman’s Thursdays With Murray was born.

During the production of a never released accompanying drama section of this masterpiece, Tim sliced the shit out of his leg with the axe while performing an action that can only be described as pretend kneeling. These things happen. Life happens. And, at the time we were looking for a name for this American Red so that was that. You will have to ask Tim about the pig section, that part is just too crazy to write about. Here’s the plan, enjoy.

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Well, I’m A Regular Visitor Here

Wisconsin. It’s funny how life really works. I remember there being taps everywhere when I was growing up, but I wasn’t paying much attention to them–not nearly as much as I will be from here on.

Yesterday we signed with Wirtz Beverage, making Solemn Oath their first brewery for the state of Wisconsin. We couldn’t be more thrilled and excited to pave the road with the Wirtz family, Nate Phippin, and their entire team in a state with such a proud and storied brewing heritage.

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Tickle Me Kidnapped

Let us take a moment to thank you for your continued support as we’ve expanded and developed new formats and offerings. We’re working to get more and more beer in your hands in more and more convenient ways. You’ll be happy to know that it’s our third highest priority – More on that from Paul is coming soon.

It took us a while to get to packaged product and thus far the response has been incredible. Continued support from our family of SOBs and the support of shops throughout Chicagoland has been humbling. This month we continue on and grow with both 1) our first beer that head brewer Tim Marshall will actually admit to being “cellarable” and 2) our largest release bottle release to date in Kidnapped.

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February Beer Releases

How many months have 28 days in them? All of them! Remember that overly-intellectual prick who dropped that in high school? He probably still tells that dumb joke. February is great. It’s short and next up is March which tricks your brain into thinking it should be spring.

Just because it’s insanely frigid, it does not mean the beer will stop. This month we’ll be waving bon voyage to Kidnapped By Vikings as we have already brewed our final batch of the season, we’ll wrap our metaphorical tastebud-arms around some wood-aged disciples, we’ll enjoy Death on draft, and swoon over a barleywine. Bottle schedule announcement coming soon.

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Screw Taxes. Death and Butterflies.

In the history of Western civilization we’ve had our cultures woven around the idea of threes. From religion to folklore, our generational storytelling has been influenced by this concept for thousands of years.

In modern society, ‘The Rule of Three’ is a writing principle in which grouping things in threes is funnier, more interesting, and a better way to communicate your point. Charles Dickens’s used this principle in a A Christmas Carol with the three spirits. There’s the Three Little Pigs and the Three Stooges. There’s also always the Latin phrase ‘omne trium perfectum’ means everything that comes in threes is perfect.

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Founders & Radicals: Clay Robinson

Businesses can grow too quickly. Often, that rapid expansion is at the cost of culture and authenticity.

Since they began in 2009, Clay Robinson alongside Dave Colt and their colleagues at Sun King Brewing in Indianapolis have created one of the most genuine and respected breweries in craft beer. From just 509 barrels in 2009, Sun King kicked out 5,024 in 2010 and surpassed 21,000 barrels in 2013. More than anything, they’ve grown well–maintaining an incredible culture and having never wavered when it comes to their focus on quality.

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