LOGAN SQUARE — The founders of Logan Square's upcoming Hopewell Brewing Co. have come a long way since their days of college home-brewing.
It's been six years in the making, but future location of Hopewell Brewing Co. at 2760 N. Milwaukee Ave. is finally taking shape. The partners on the project hope their brewery and taproom will become an anchor of a block of Milwaukee Avenue just southeast of Kimball that is undergoing a transition.
The three co-owners, a husband and wife and their best friend, all met at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign where they bonded over beer. That bond and adventures of home-brewing in between class and studying in the late 2000s never went away. Although the group spent years living in New York, Portland and Philadelphia following graduation, the brewery has been in the works since 2010.
By mid-to-late November they plan to have their brewing operations up and running as well as a storefront taproom in the terra cotta building at 2760 N. Milwaukee Ave.
"The whole point of the taproom is to be this almost experimental lab," said 27-year-old co-owner Samantha Lee. "It's an awesome opportunity to serve someone a beer and get feedback immediately."
Lee and her husband Stephen Bossu moved to Logan Square a few months back after living in Brooklyn for three years. Bossu worked as a brewer at Brooklyn Brewery and has a background in brewing science from studying at University of California at Davis. The third partner on the project, Jonathan Fritz, grew up in Chicago and has lived in Logan Square for five years.
The brewery will place a heavy focus on lagers and will initially only brew draft beer that will be distributed to local bars, restaurants and be served in the front taproom. They also plan to sell growlers of their brews.
The spacious 6,000-square-foot space is undergoing an extensive renovation that will have a modern, clean and bright look once complete, according to Bossu.
"It's ultimately functional and utilitarian," Lee said. "Modern, unfussy."
Hopewell will have capacity to produce 2,500 barrels of beer a year and is expected to sell 20-30 percent in the taproom, but no food. As of this week, the brewers plan to start with five beers, two lagers, two IPAs and a saison.
"I've got my notebook with 20 other recipes that are ready to go," Bossu said.
To start, all three owners will be behind the bar, brewing the beers and making deliveries on their own.
When the owners originally brought their idea to the public in September 2014, there were concerns by residents of parking problems, and some said that this portion of Milwaukee was becoming "the next pub crawl."
The owners said they don't plan on the taproom being a late-night option.
"We want to tie it to experience. Come into our bar and try our beer and then go down to Crown Liquors and have our beer," Lee said.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: