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Old Irving Brewing Opening This Week: Take A Look Inside

By Patty Wetli | September 20, 2016 9:36am
 Old Irving Brewing Opening Preview
Old Irving Brewing Opening Preview
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OLD IRVING PARK — Old Irving Brewing is set to open by the end of the week, and owners are excited to introduce their baby to the neighborhood.

"We want to fill this place up," said Jeff Linnemeyer, a partner in the enterprise with chef Matthias Merges and head brewer Trevor Rose-Hamblin.

Here's what patrons can expect when doors open at 4419 W. Montrose Ave., possibly as soon as Thursday.

The beer 

Old Irving's Scentinel beer is likely to become the brewery's signature, according to head brewer Trevor Rose-Hamblin. [Facebook]

Rose-Hamblin described Old Irving's brewing style as a modernist take on the classics, with a hefty dose of playfulness.

There's a Belgian wheat ale inspired by pho; a stout, dubbed the Precinct, that has hints of coffee and doughnuts; and an American pale ale with notes of honey and orange, though neither is an ingredient.

The flavors will be subtle, promised Rose-Hamblin, who earned a culinary degree from Kendall College.

The brewery's signature beer will be the Scentinel, an IPA that recently took home best beer honors at the Beer & BBQ Fest.

"It's almost an anti-IPA. It's not bitter; it's very much Midwestern," Rose-Hamblin said. "We want to make sure you can drink multiples of everything."

Look for six to eight Old Irving beers on tap, with the remainder of the draft lines given over either to collaborations (like Holloway, brewed with Pipeworks) or rotating brews from fellow Chicago area craft brewers. At the brewery's opening, those will include beers from Ale Syndicate and 18th Street Brewery.

The drinks menu will feature a selection of bottles and cans and even some "macros" for folks who want to hang out at Old Irving with friends but don't want to drink craft beer.

For now, Old Irving beers will only be available at the brewery (the exception being collaborations with other brewers), but Linnemeyer said distribution outside the brewery's walls is the ultimate goal.

"We got some good-sized tanks," he said, pointing to a row of gleaming 30-barrel tanks.

"These big boys ... we got those because we did want to have a ton of beer ready to go," Linnemeyer said.

There's even space in the brewhouse to add another line of tanks, when or if that becomes necessary.

"We have room to grow," said Linnemeyer.

The food

With Merges, best known for Yusho, on board as a partner, as much attention has been paid to the food as the beer at Old Irving.

Though the menu hasn't been made public, a few items, like pig's feet croquettes, have been leaked.

According to Linnemeyer, the menu encompasses bar snacks, appetizers, sandwiches and entrees, many of which take advantage of Old Irving's wood-fired grill.

Everything, from wings to deviled eggs to the pork chop entree, is designed to be "very shareable," Linnemeyer said.

"Two to three people could attack that," he said of the pork chop.

Desserts will include beer floats, with housemade ice cream, Linnemeyer said, and the brewery also will offer a children's menu.

"Kids are totally welcome," said Linnemeyer, who lives in the neighborhood and is a father himself.

"I couldn't in my right mind open a place that wasn't family-friendly."

The brewery

This area has been dubbed "the taproom." [All photos by DNAinfo/Patty Wetli except where indicated]

Old Irving's 8,500 square feet have been divided into three semidistinct "rooms."

Patrons enter the "taproom," which is anchored by seating around the central bar and a handful of cozy tables.

An opening in the brick wall leads to the "beer hall," an airy room that feels even bigger courtesy of the vaulted, sky-lit ceiling. The area will be available for events rental, Linnemeyer said.

From the beer hall, patrons have a wide open view of the brewhouse and "game room," which has been set up for bags tournaments. If Linnemeyer, who played Division II basketball, had his way, there'd also be a hoop on the wall for impromptu pickup games.

TVs line the walls and will be tuned to college football on Saturdays and the NFL on Sundays, though Linnemeyer was quick to add, "We're not a sports bar."

The overall vibe is laid-back and casual, a place to grab a quick drink and bite or hang out for an entire day.

"It's an option to keep people in the neighborhood," Linnemeyer said. "We really wanted to have a neighborhood brewery."

Old Irving Brewing's hours will be: 5 p.m. to midnight on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday; 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturday; and 10:30 a.m. to midnight on Sunday. The brewery will be closed on Tuesdays.

Where the magic happens.

The beer hall's high ceiling makes the brewery feel larger than its 8,500 square feet.

The staff gets a last-minute training session.

Looking for a place to write your novel? It will probably be about beer.

Who's up for a game of bags?

Old Irving Brewing takes delivery of a load of used barrels — to be used as furnishings — from pals at Ale Syndicate.



#oldirvingbrewing #beer #here

A photo posted by Matthias Merges (@matthias1966) on



#grilledchicken #oldirvingbrewing #soclose #brewery #food #together

A photo posted by Matthias Merges (@matthias1966) on


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