Back before Solemn Oath beer ever hit taps, I thought I blew my chances of working there. I met John and Joe at Bangers & Lace for some feel-each-other-out beers and promptly got into it with one of their newly minted sales reps.
Goose was old news, he swore, hemorrhaging all its talent and cutting corners already, just a year after the sale to AB-InBev. Too many exciting new breweries were coming up for Goose to stay fresh and hold onto its tap handles while adapting to corporate top-down management. Their sales force was playing dirty with dollars. Goose Island was no longer Chicago’s craft darling, and never could be again.
Bullshit. I called it then, I believe it now, and here’s why: ten reasons you should be drinking the good stuff.
We hope you’ve noticed that our beer is reaching more and more of your favorite bars and restaurants. We’ve finally reached a point where we’ve been able to open up sales to some of the people in Chicagoland that want it.
With our production level reaching capacity comes the possibility of bottling. The first few runs are carved deep in our calendars and should have you stocked up by year’s end. Small quantities for sure at first. Also around town, be sure to keep an eye on Penrose Brewing in Geneva as they close in on opening, and if you were lucky enough to get a FoBAB ticket, we’ll see your happy ass there.
Over the last several years, Chicago has been in the midst of an aesthetic renaissance. Young artists and creatives are pushing the boundaries and placing their stamp on the world around them. Kyle Fletcher is one of these people. We first became connected to Kyle through mutual friends and immediately developed a deep admiration for his craft.
At Solemn Oath, we have worked with Kyle on branding for our upcoming city location (yeah, that’s a real thing). From his mindfuck digital imagery to an impressive redesign of the branding for Good Beer Hunting, Kyle constantly displays a lack of fear and complete versatility. We hope you will be as inspired by him as we are.
It was August. It was time to get the hell out of town. The bustle of a brewery expansion and festival season receded into the foggy recesses of beer-soaked memory as our head brewer’s reggae-themed wedding and marathon honeymoon loomed on the horizon. If not now, then when? If not because I just fucking needed to, then why?
I set out with Emily, your favorite Solemn Oath taproom server and my wonderful girlfriend, on a two-thousand-mile journey to South Dakota and back with a hatchback full of camping gear and possibilities. It would be a voyage about finding ourselves–could we really stand thirty hours in the car with each other?–and about finding what’s not ourselves. Going out into the wild forces you to consider what you really need–what’s bullshit and what’s real. So we traded the man-made millieus of Logan Square (home) and Naperville (the brewery) for the untamed peaks, spires, and buttes of the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota, hoping to glean something about the nature of the universe and our place in it.
You know, the sharp-as-a-tack heart-throb from across the pond. Grant. Hugh Grant. Not really.
The grant we’re talking about here is a critical piece of our brewhouse. If you’ve ever been on a brewery tour or brewed beer at home, you already know that virtually all breweries have at least two stainless steel or copper vessels in their brewhouses. You can’t really get by without having a mash-lauter tun (MLT) and a boil kettle (BK), though there are exceptions–just check out Lunar Brewing Co. in Villa Park. A good chunk of breweries also have a hot liquor tank (HLT), though Pipeworks manages just fine with instant in-line water heaters. We’ve already covered the heat exchanger, which is the last stop for wort in our brewhouse before going into a fermenter. That leaves the grant.
We know you’ve been buying Christmas decorations and drinking pumpkin beers for months, but we like to keep our seasonal calendar grounded a little more solidly in, oh you know, the calendar.
In case you missed it, we recently released Hexafoos and None More Black. We have some more Wreckagemaster out, and the last batches of this year’s Snaggletooth Bandana are coming out of the tanks as we start brewing Kidnapped By Vikings in its place this week.
Sit on this for a minute: everything you ever do will be forgotten, with no lasting effects.
On the grand scale of existence, yours is laughably small and inconsequential. Our sun will burn out and end life in this solar system. Things will go on as usual elsewhere. The laws of nature will still govern matter, energy, light, gravity, time, and space. The miraculously-organized stardust that is you will cease to operate and appear as you’re used to, and cease to be known by anyone or anything else. Everyone who ever knew you or cared you existed will disappear, one by one. If you happened to leave some recorded mark on the world–an invention, an idea, a story–perhaps some living creature from another galaxy will someday come to know you as they sift through the historical and archaeological record of life on earth. But in such a big picture, there’s no denying that you matter very, very little.
You know that scene from Fight Club? The one where Brad-Pitt-Tyler Durden teaches Edward-Norton-Tyler Durden about chemical burns?
That’s what caustic is. Sodium hydroxide is the core of Project Mayhem’s soapmaking-cum-explosives-making operation, and it’s also at the heart of our cleaning processes here at the brewery. Tyler uses powdered lye; we use liquid caustic detergent made of sodium hydroxide (NaOH), potassium hydroxide (KOH), and water (H20).
For brewers in these parts, August is punctuated by The Great Taste of the Midwest. We gather. We share. We drink. Some streak. We name no names.
In the surrounding days and weeks, we continue making beer. Snaggletooth Bandana and Mr. Inappropriate will be around for awhile longer. Oxford Comma and Lil’ Spitfire are on their way out. Here’s all the rest.
Just like Kidnapped has Ravaged, Snaggletooth Bandana has Wreckagemaster. You’ll recognize the hop flavor and aroma profile of this double IPA from Snaggle, but we brewed it with a higher original gravity and bitterness to take the stakes just that much higher. This beer is smooth and flavorful without being hot or sharp; it’s eight-percent so mind your intake. Wide release, available now. Read more about Wreckagemaster.
We love our Belgian yeast and American hops around here. Their flavors and aromas can complement each other in unexpected ways. In this beer, they meld into a melony, grassy, slightly spicy fusion. We love this beer, and so do you. As soon as Flashmob went out of rotation, we started hearing about it. “Where’d Flashmob go? When’s it coming back?” That’s enough out of you. Here it is. Wide release, available early August. Read more about Butterfly Flashmob.
This is the new kid. In the same family as Whisper Kisses, but half the intensity. This is a flavorful, drinkable beer for the late summer. Lots of fruity, tangy yeast character from a Belgian strain fermented on the warm side. Tropical fruit aroma, citrus hop flavor, light body, dry finish. Limited release, available late August. Read more about Hexafoos.
None More Black
This is an easy favorite of the SOB crew. Pitch black, dry, and funky with a big pine-resin aroma. This will be the second batch of None More Black, and it’s going to show up in time for you to break out a growler around a bonfire and find yourself everyone’s new favorite friend. Think of Hexafoos and None More Black as your twenty-four-hour funky beer solution. Limited release, available late August/early September. Read more about None More Black.
Each month we will give you a preview of what to expect in the way of beer releases. In no way are we saying we’ll actually meet your expectations–just set them. If this sounds good to you, you should probably reevaluate every important relationship in your life. Like, now.