LOGAN SQUARE — Minimalism runs through Logan Square's upcoming Hopewell Brewing Co., from the taproom's interior with light oak wood walls, tables and chairs, to the labels, to the actual beer being brewed in back.
On Friday afternoon, the young couple behind the brewery — their first — started the first batch of what they hope to be the signature beer, a classic lager.
"A lager has a lot less to hide behind," said Stephen Bossu, co-owner of Hopewell Brewing and its head brewer. "We've always gravitated toward that."
Bossu, who worked as a brewer at Brooklyn Brewery, has a background in brewing science from studying at the University of California Davis.
"We've had plenty of anxiety with this project, but the beer has never been an issue," he said.
Hopewell Brewing Co. hopes to open its taproom by the end of January. [All photos by DNAinfo/Paul Biasco]
Hopewell Brewing has been working on its space, 2760 N. Milwaukee Ave. for well over a year.
Once this first batch is ready to go, the owners plan to open the doors to the taproom, likely toward the end of January.
The brewery's 20-barrel capacity is equivalent to that of Half Acre when it first opened, according to Samantha Lee, co-owner at Hopewell along with the third partner Jonathan Fritz.
"We have high aspirations," Lee said. "It made sense for us to go this size."
Lee said she expects about 20 to 25 percent of the company's business to come from the taproom and the rest to come from distribution to Chicago bars and restaurants.
The taproom has a 99 person capacity and will serve nothing but beer.
Stephen Bossu and Samantha Lee peer into the start of what will become their brewery's first batch Friday afternoon. [DNAinfo/Paul Biasco]
Lee and Bossu hope to provide a unique place to drink, a bright and airy spot in contrast to dark corner bars and taverns. Not that there's anything wrong with those establishments, they say. They just want to stand out in the city's ever-growing beer brewing scene.
Hopewell started brewing its "First Lager" Friday, planned to start an IPA over the weekend and has plans to brew a total of five beers to start: two lagers, two IPAs and a saison.
Hopewell will have the capacity to produce about 2,500 barrels of beer a year.
The taproom's hours will be limited at first from 4 p.m. until 10 p.m. six or seven nights a week.
The owners don't anticipate the taproom turning into a late-night spot, but rather a place to go enjoy good, simple beers with friends.
The business will be the latest to open on a transitioning stretch of Milwaukee Avenue just southeast of Diversey. It is a few storefronts down from where the Dill Pickle Food Co-op plans to expand this spring at 2748 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Lee anticipates there will be a crossover of customers between those who want to shop for organic, local goods at Dill Pickle and those who want to stop in to fill up a growler from what she hopes will become the local brewery of choice.
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