Despite the title, there’s no whining here. Just a running chronicle of what makes us Solemn Oath–matters serious and funny, big and small, and so on and so on.
The creation of Windy City by Jim and Jason Ebel of Two Brothers and their father in 1999 pioneered the distribution of craft beer throughout the Chicago area. When they began, it was just Two Brothers and Goose Island brewing locally and they couldn't persuade a major distributor to bring Two Brothers Brewing Co. into their portfolio. Unlike today, where the major distributors fight to get as many up-and-coming suppliers as possible into their network, nobody wanted to touch smaller brands. Windy City began as a way for Jim and Jason to sell their beer, and quickly became the go-to wholesaler in Chicago for small breweries across the country. Since then the dynamic has flipped, and the business that Jim and Jason Ebel created out of necessity, has helped pave the way for renaissance in Chicagoland beer that you are witnessing today.
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.
You stare down Tim, riding around on his sexy beast of a forklift in his vibrant, blue, rubber boots. And John, in his unnecessarily stylish Diesel jeans that are worn in all the right places, scrubbing those filthy kegs ‘til they sparkle. You think Paul manages to look even more brilliant as he rinses the floor, hose in hand, with a soft head-bob to Ke$ha.
So we had to unfortunately dump the whole barrel. It was a sad day. Until Joe said, “Hey team, let’s prohibition this son of a gun!” We all thought, “Gee, that’s a swell idea!” Or at least I thought that. And since I had Murray, my axe, for Bring Your Axe to Work Day*...
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).
I love listening to people's private conversations. Washing glasses in the taproom gives me the perfect opportunity to tune in to your intimate chatter; I look focused while I'm rinsing away yet I'm totally listening to your every word. TLC’s “Creep” is my jam. Aside from hearing about how your beloved hamster just died or how you strongly believe Justin Bieber is prettier than those guys in One Direction, a lot of what I hear is beer talk and a lot of what you say is bullshit. Let me clear some things up for you.
The easy answer to give is that it's a tangible product distinguished by passion, quality, and attention to detail. But ice cream is also a tangible product. It's made by brilliant artisans with dedication and love. Why isn't there an enthusiastic, far-reaching culture built around seeking out the world's finest frozen cream-based sweets? Why don't you and your friends plan weekend trips with the idea of hitting six ice cream shops across three states? For some reason it's different. For some reason with beer you sense a connection.