LOGAN SQUARE — Just when I thought Chicago’s craft beer scene jumped the shark — yes, I’m talking about “Pizza Beer” — a collection of brewers pulled off an artistic collaboration that restored my faith in the artistic side of hyperlocal microbrewing.
It gives a whole new meaning to "Brew and View."
Eight microbreweries and two filmmakers got together to produce “Barrel Aged,” a documentary about brewing a special beer called “Turn Brown For What” that you can watch while sipping the very beer that’s on screen at the one-night and one-barrel-only premiere on Dec. 13 at the Logan Square Auditorium.
It’s the handiwork of BeerFX.com publisher Kent Weber and filmmaker Mark Skala, who shot and directed the 30-minute short. They teamed with local microbreweries to craft an imperial brown ale aged in a Kentucky bourbon barrel.
“It was an idea we had to go to Kentucky, get a barrel and have all of our friends at the microlevel of brewing make a beer and tell the story of who they are, what this local craft beer scene is about, and let people drink it while they’re witnessing the film,” Weber said.
Production started in 2012 with a trip to get a hard-to-get Kentucky bourbon barrel from Angel’s Envy distillery.
Weber — who calls himself a “beer guy but not a brewer” — scored a broad strokes recipe from Jared Rouben, head brewmaster at Moody Tongue in Pilsen. He got some English Ale yeast from Goose Island Brewing and then worked with his pals to craft their own formula and age it for 10 months.
After several tastings, their beer and film are ready for an audience. Everyone who attends the movie premiere will get a 4-ounce taste of “Turn Brown For What.”
Beers from 15 other breweries also will be available at the premiere, which doubles as a beer fest.
“It took a lot of time and effort, but it culminated in an interactive experience that I think will be worth it,” said Weber, who lives in Logan Square. “We’re hoping to get the movie in some film festivals. I don’t know if that will happen, but we’ll try.”
While Weber plans to show “Barrel Aged” at other beer events around town in the future, he recommends that beer geeks show up for the premiere.
“That will be the only time you’ll be able to try it,” he said. “There’s only one barrel.”
For tickets, click here.
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