Within a distinctive black brick building on Elston is a modest yet impressive microbrewery making craft beers locally in Chicago. Finch’s Beer, one of our amazing sponsors this season, brings the brew to the bout. If you were at our home opener you may have already been introduced to one of their refreshing ales. With a great taste and stylish logo I wanted to learn more. Happily accepting their invitation I went on a brewery tour last Saturday.
I quickly felt at home when Charlie greeted me with a beer. As chill music played, I took a sip of their Threadless/Finch collaboration India Pale Ale (IPA). As part of the collaboration, the Chicago-based t-shirt company Threadless held a contest to design the can artwork. With many of the owners having art backgrounds themselves, it isn’t surprising that Finch’s Beer supports local artists and looks for opportunities to work within their community. In fact, today (Friday, May 18) they will host a showcase of limited edition screen prints from FugScreens Studios to benefit the Kickstarter campaign for Galerie F. Also celebrating their one year anniversary, guests can catch the release of Toasted Summer at this sold-out benefit.
“Toasted Summer” sounds good, doesn’t it? Although I usually define myself as a wine drinker I enjoy this beer. Learning about the chemistry and care it takes to brew made me appreciate it even more. Being a wine drinker I tend to describe beer like wine, so understanding the term hops will help me better critique. For the non-beer connoisseurs, hops are the female flower clusters used to flavor and stabilize a beer.Charlie said that what makes Finch’s Beer unique from the other local breweries is that their hops come from the Pacific Northwest. No wonder I like it! That part of the country is gorgeous and sometimes I wish I was there. Now I can just crack open a Finch’s Beer and dream.
Buying local is seriously cool. It’s not just because you know where all the ingredients come from but being in the production space really puts things into perspective. The conveyor used for canning does not look as huge as you would think, maybe spanning 20 feet. Yet 5,000 cans per day can be packaged right there. When I buy Finch’s Beer I can picture the small operation (6 full-time employees as well as part-time employees) packaging my purchase by hand. I admire this kind of entrepreneurial spirit and dedication.
After the tour, the 40 or so guests mingled with beer in hand with the option of snacking on beer-infused meatballs from a meatball truck out back. As the music played I went to ask Charlie some specific questions. When I asked why Finch’s Beer chose to sponsor The Chicago Outfit he energetically responded,“Why not?”Owner & Managing Member Ben came to our home opener and many of their employees are anxious to see us play too. So I just had to ask if they’d ever create a Chicago Outfit Roller Derby inspired beer. There isn’t anything in the works right now, but if they were going to Charlie said that maybe a “bruising” double IPA would be in order.