PILSEN — Former Goose Island brewmaster Jared Rouben looked at 55 locations around the city before settling on Pilsen to open his first brewery, Moody Tongue.
Those two neighborhood hotspots won’t have to worry about Rouben drawing foodies away from them: Moody Tongue just wants to crank out beer and plenty of it.
While there won’t be grub at Moody Tongue, you will find plenty of food-infused beer. Rouben has a culinary background and his beer doesn’t shy away from fruit and vegetable-based recipes.
After attending New York’s Culinary Institute of America, the 31-year-old landed a job as a cook at Michelin-starred restaurants in Napa Valley, Calif., and New York before getting his feet wet as a brewer at Goose Island in 2010.
At the Culinary Institute, Rouben was the guy inviting home brewers into the kitchen to experiment with the dynamic between food and beer.
It didn’t always work out, as Rouben found when he tried to make beer with peas.
“Peas are great. But I don’t think peas are great in beer,” the 31-year-old said, laughing.
During his time at Goose Island, Rouben started a “farmers market” program, incorporating locally produced ingredients in his brew process. He’ll do the same at Moody Tongue.
“I really showcase the ingredient in its natural form. I’m able to utilize it and showcase it in a way that’s less manipulated and lets the ingredient speak for itself,” he said.
Rouben said the brewery should be producing beer by this winter.
“This neighborhood has got a lot of great history and tradition, and to be a part of something like that would be a great opportunity,” he said. “We’ll be making beer for the Pilsen community and Chicago, and I think we’re pretty darn lucky for that.”