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Craft Beer Swap: 4 Paws Turns Over Brewery to Strange Pelican

By Patty Wetli | January 8, 2014 7:24am | Updated on January 8, 2014 10:33am
 Strange Pelican will begin brewing out of digs formerly occupied by 4 Paws.
Strange Pelican will begin brewing out of digs formerly occupied by 4 Paws.
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Facebook/Strange Pelican Brewing

LINCOLN SQUARE — You know what they say: When one door closes, another brewery opens.

Actually, no one says that, but it seems to be the case in Lincoln Square.

On Sunday, Meghan and Matt Gebhardt, owners of 4 Paws Brewery, in operation for less than a year, announced they were getting out of the craft beer game.

It was just last January when Matt Gebhardt told DNAinfo Chicago, "We always wanted to open a brewery." No reason was given for the decision to sell the business, and the Gebhardts did not respond to a request for comment.

"4 Paws Brewing was officially sold this past week," the married couple posted on the brewery's Facebook page and website, first reported by the blog Guys Drinking Beer.

"We are retaining the 4 Paws brand," the Gebhardts added, "and have sold the equipment and transferred the lease to a local Chicago craft brewer who is really excited about the space. This frees Matt up to discover his next adventure, but it keeps the Chicago craft beer movement planted solidly in our backyard."

That unnamed "excited" craft brewer turned out to be Strange Pelican Brewing, co-owned by Philip Tadros, who's also the entrepreneur behind Kickstand Coffee, Dollop and Bow Truss.

Strange Pelican took over the 4 Paws leash, er lease, at 5435 N. Wolcott Ave. on Jan. 1, despite having previously stated its intention to open a bar in Lakeview, with its own brewery under construction on the Near West Side.

When the 4 Paws' set-up became available, Strange Pelican quickly shifted gears.

"We were stuck waiting for building permits at our Fulton location so when this opportunity came about we couldn't pass it up," Eric McNeil, Strange Pelican co-owner and brewer, told DNAinfo Chicago in an email.

"The equipment is almost identical to what was being built for us — 15bbl brewhouse — and the 4 Paws crew took meticulous care of it," he said.

With the move to Lincoln Square, the proposed bar appears to have been scrapped.

"We have no plans to open a bar in Lakeview at this time," McNeil said.

To date, Strange Pelican has been teasing beer aficionados with samplings of its brews at festivals and special events. Tadros' involvement has allowed for some interesting cross-pollination among his various interests, like McNeil's experiment with a coffee-infused porter.

With a place to call home, the company's products should now become more widely available.

"We are thrilled and cannot wait to start brewing in this amazing space," McNeil said.