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'Ambiguously Grain Duo' Beer Unites Horse Thief Hollow and Revolution

By Howard Ludwig | January 30, 2015 5:52am
 Beverly-based Horse Thief Hollow has partnered with Revolution Brewing in Logan Square to produce Ambiguously Grain Duo — a German-style beer known as a Sticke Alt. This dark, seasonal beer made with Kolsch yeast is named after the popular "Ambiguously Gay Duo" skit on "Saturday Night Live."
Beverly-based Horse Thief Hollow has partnered with Revolution Brewing in Logan Square to produce Ambiguously Grain Duo — a German-style beer known as a Sticke Alt. This dark, seasonal beer made with Kolsch yeast is named after the popular "Ambiguously Gay Duo" skit on "Saturday Night Live."
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DNAinfo/Supplied Illustration

BEVERLY — Buddies often share birthday cards laced with innuendo. Likewise, a pair of Chicago breweries have created a suggestively named beer ahead of their shared anniversaries.

Beverly-based Horse Thief Hollow has partnered with Revolution Brewing in Logan Square to produce Ambiguously Grain Duo — a German-style beer known as a sticke alt.

This dark, seasonal beer made with Kolsch yeast is named after the popular "Ambiguously Gay Duo" skit on "Saturday Night Live."

Pictured on the label is Horse Thief Hollow brewmaster David Williams flying through the air doing his best "Ace" impression. Wil Turner, head pub brewer at Revolution, clutches him from behind — a la "Gary."

 Neil Byers, owner of Horse Thief Hollow, will celebrate his brew pub's second anniversary with Revolution Brewing in Logan Square. The North and South Side breweries have teamed up on a beer called Ambiguously Grain Duo.
Neil Byers, owner of Horse Thief Hollow, will celebrate his brew pub's second anniversary with Revolution Brewing in Logan Square. The North and South Side breweries have teamed up on a beer called Ambiguously Grain Duo.
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DNAinfo/Howard A. Ludwig

Howard Ludwig says the two breweries have a strong relationship:

The ambiguous beer will be unveiled at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 6 at 10426 S. Western Ave. in Beverly. Horse Thief Hollow will celebrate its second anniversary that evening with Revolution Brewing, which celebrates its fifth anniversary in February.

The beer that pokes fun at its creators began as Horse Thief Hollow's nod to Revolution Brewing, which stands as a role model, according to Neil Byers, owner of the upstart brewpub in Beverly.

Revolution Brewing began as similar-sized brewpub at 2323 N. Milwaukee Ave. A second-floor brewers' lounge was added in July 2011, followed by a production brewery and taproom in spring 2012. The North Side brewery plans for continued expansion as well, on the heels of its popular Anti-Hero IPA.

"Our goal is to be the Revolution on the South Side," said Byers, who admires Revolution's trajectory.

Revolution's Turner is also a resident of nearby Evergreen Park and often visits Horse Thief Hollow. It was during one such visit that Byers told him he wanted to host a South Side party for Revolution Brewing before its upcoming anniversary.

Byers had quietly saved a barrel of Revolution's 4th Year Beer from 2014. Also known as Quadruple, this Belgium-inspired beer is said to improve with age. Turner was honored by the gesture and offered to return the favor by partnering on a special brew with the beer-makers at Horse Thief Hollow.

Turner "has always been a fan of what we do, and I've always been a fan of what he does," Byers said.

For its part, Horse Thief Hollow has a dedicated tap throughout the year for one of Revolution Brewery's craft beers. For the anniversary party, the South Side brewpub will add three more of Revolution's products to its rail.

Horse Thief Hollow also will unveil DeLorean at the party. This Scottish ale is made using charred oranges and was produced ahead of the BAC to the Future fundraiser. This annual auction, set for Feb. 21, raises money for the Beverly Arts Center.

Byers also will debut Horse Thief Hollow's Hopewellian at the anniversary party. This double IPA is three years in the making for the business owner, who said he'd been meaning to create this beer using a special yeast blend since first opening the doors of his brewery.

For Byers, this type of beer-making is a form of art. He approaches his work in the kitchen the same way.

His artistic leanings also have drawn the interest of the local art community. Horse Thief Hollow has cultivated this relationship by lending its brick walls to local artists interested in showcasing their work.

The Local Art on Tap series has hosted three shows on the brewpub's walls. The next show will debut on March 19, featuring "horse-themed" art.

"The creative process is really what fuels me," Byers said.

Looking back on the last two years, Byers said his relationships with customers stands out the most. He recalled the story of Caroline Griffin, 21, who died on Jan. 15. Griffin underwent a heart transplant before she was a year old.

For her 21st birthday, Byers made a special beer for Griffin, dubbed Ultimate Fighting Bee. The brew was made with honey and named after the mascot of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa. Griffin played on the school's golf team.

"The day of her wake, 60 people came in here," Byers said. "People told me, 'You have no idea what this meant to her.'"

Byers hopes to cultivate similar relationships and continue to experiment with new beer and creative foods.

He said the upcoming year will set the tone for his business going forward.

Two months ago he added three 10-barrel tanks to his brewery. The larger tanks will be used to produce Horse Thief Hollow's popular 18th Rebellion and Kitchen Sink beers. The smaller tanks will be kept for seasonal and experimental brews.

"I finally feel like we can show what we can do," he said. "We are not going to rest."

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