The City Provisions beer collaborations scheduled for the future are on point.
We stopped by City Provisions in Ravenswood this week, taken in by the opportunity to drink a nanobrewed cherry dunkel weiss created in conjunction with the proprietor, Cleetus Friedman, and the folks at Flossmoor Brewing Company. We came in looking for beer. We left with the promise of future master-crafted “homebrewing” swirling through our heads.
Let’s start with the beer.
Called the Kirsch von Blucher, the brew is a mellow and muddy beer with a gentle cherry sweetness in the background while up front, the beer is a synesthesia of autumn browns and maroons. I tasted the color of early fall. It’s a solid first start, but it’s not the beer that really excites us, it’s the concept.
Restaurants and providers have been doing collaboration beers and one-off experiments in conjunction with breweries for some time, but this series seems to us to take things to a new level. Not just nanobrewing or creating beers to pair with dishes, the future CP beers marry what we love most in beer – passion, creativity, and a WTF kind of sensibility. It also pairs the skills of hardened production brewers with the “fuck it, let’s see what happens” attitude of homebrewers. “Happy accidents” is a phrase I hear come up a lot around homebrewers, and I can’t wait to see what kind of “accidents” come from the pros as guided by the passionate outsiders.
Here’s what’s coming up, per an email exchange with CP’s PR:
- September: A dunkel doppel rye bock aged in a Templeton Rye barrel for 8+ months, brewed in conjunction with Metropolitan.
- October: A honey wheat brewed with Finch
- November: A sarsaparilla stout with GDB favorite Dark Horse
- December: A Belgian strong ale with Pipeworks (let’s hope they have better luck with this brew than Chicago Magazine did, when the ATF interceded in their summer beer release party with a nanobrewed Pipeworks beer in June)
Beyond that, brews with Two Brothers and New Holland are in the pipeline, as well as other collaborations with Metro and Flossmoor. Let’s take the opportunity to let the words “small batch Dark Horse sarsaparilla stout” sink in.
Whew. Okay. Holy shit. Wow.
One of the things we’ve always loved about homebrewed beer is how you can taste the laser-like focus on that little 5-gallon kettle. Efforts like this series pairs that focus with the skills of guys that do this every day, and presumably give them a bit of a chance to stretch their legs and have some fun as well. The Krankshafts and Golden Wings and Stationmaster Wheats pay the bills and keep the lights on, but we’re sure that for brewers it’s things like this that are really fun. We fully expect to be able to taste “joy.”
All this adds up to an opportunity for the public to taste what homebrew essentially tastes like. It’s hard to get into homebrewing – it’s somewhat cost prohibitive, you generally have to have friends that share the hobby with you, etcetera – but you can experiment more freely when you’re brewing 5 gallons versus a full production run. If more people equate homebrew with collaboration beers like this than they do a little plastic Mr. Beer kit, the more likely they are to join the fun. And from there, more craft beer dedication is created. Lofty hopes on our part, sure, but greater things have been built on less. We just want this to work.
There’s no plans for bottling, as I understand, so if you want these you’d better get used to the walk from the Damen or Montrose stops on the Brown Line. Maybe if we’re lucky, one of these will get paired with a brat or other sausage, as has been described by Paul at Chitown On Tap, In addition to these signature collaboration beers, City Provisions also offers craft brews by the bottle and can (single cans of Supper Club! yes!) as well as some pretty amazing local small batch spirits, including gins and white whiskeys from the brand-new Few in Evanston.
The best parts and experimental nature of homebrew, and the skills of the pros. This is a movement we can get behind. Some of us are even lucky enough to live minutes away.