Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries

August 17, 2007

Beer Diary:

Ten Years Of Beer

Two Brothers celebrates a milestone anniversary.
by Eddie Glick

I like my beer like my women: pale, strong, full-bodied, and extremely bitter.
Contact Eddie»
Back in 2005, Jim and Jason Ebel, the brothers behind Two Brothers Brewing Company, realized they were successful enough that they’d make it to their 10th anniversary. They figured they better come up with something special to celebrate and thus was born Project Opus, a Belgain kriek-style lambic.

“The style takes a long time to develop and mature,” said Jason Ebel in a recent interview. “It was on oak the whole time.”

Project Opus is only one of the many artisan beers Two Brothers is releasing for their tenth anniversary. The first was Victor’s MemoriAle in honor of their grandfather who donated the dairy equipment that helped the brothers start their brewery. Then they re-released Cain & Ebel, a red rye. Next came Hop Juice, an American Double IPA. The most recent artisanal offering appeared at the end of July: Heliocentric Bragot, which is half mead and half beer, using local sunflower honey. What comes next? Ebel wouldn’t spill too much. “Just a couple of weeks ago, I was enjoying a beer on the deck with my wife, and I came up with the next artisan beer. It’s exciting?one of the more drinkable ones. The flavor profile isn’t huge alcohol, but it’s a fun concept.”

The artisanal beers have been a big success. The Ebels are so pleased with the results of their lambic that they’ve planned a barrel room in their new brewery so they can continue to produce Project Opus. The brewery is slated to open around Halloween. In July they moved the warehouse portion of their space. “It’s forty thousand square feet,” said Ebel. “It’s four times bigger than we have now.”

With their current brewery maxed to capacity at 7,000 barrels, the brothers look forward to getting into their new space, which will also be over four times their current capacity and will have a pub for visitors to enjoy their specialty products on tap. “We’re planning on demand,” he added. “Right now we’re constantly out of product.”

The new brewery will also allow them to expand into new territories. “The first thing is to fill Chicago,” said Ebel. “Every day we’re out of something.” In January 2008 they’ll be expanding into three new territories. “We will be going into New York City,” said Ebel, “and the other two are in the Midwest.”

“We get calls from all over the country [to distribute], but we have no strong desire to be national. Our goal is to kick out some fun stuff that makes us happy while we do it.”

For the first time in six years, the two have decided to enter this year’s Great American Beer Festival in Denver this October. “This is something we rarely do,” said Ebel.

They’ll be entering five beers into the competition: Hop Juice, Cain & Ebel, Domaine DuPage, The Bitter End, and Project Opus.

“We worked hard for ten years,” said Ebel. “Now we get to have a little fun.”

In the fall you’ll be able to have some fun with the grand opening of the new brewery. Look for six-pack carriers with information about all the festivities.

Drinkin’ And Thinkin’

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