The signage isn't up yet, but the fun will start in mid-September for Old Irving Brewing. Head brewer Trevor Rose-Hamblin is applying his culinary expertise accrued from working at restaurants like Moto and iNG. Together, along with Matthias Merges’ (Yusho, Billy Sunday) Folkart Restaurant Management, they’re ensuring wood-grilled meats and veggies pair well with the seven or so beers Rose-Hamblin is brewing for next month's opening at 4419 W. Montrose Ave.
Not counted in that beer number are collaborations with Rare Tea Cellars and Pipeworks Brewing Co. The Old Irving team raves about the support they’ve received from Chicago’s brewing community. Local breweries have advised the team on how to scale beer production as Rose-Hamblin brews over at Old Irving partner Jeff Linnemeyer’s house. Support also comes in the middle of the unique circumstances surrounding the brewpub’s opening. Merges has taken over the role of his friend, the late Homaro Cantu.
The team behind the food includes Andrew Gietzen (The Bristol, Tru), and he’s excited that Old Irving will offer whole-animal service for certain events, including big plans for Oktoberfest. Vegetarians and vegans will have plenty on the menu to pick from too, as Rose-Hamblin explained there’s a conscious effort to ensure beer pairs with meat-free options. For Merges, this will be his second brewery-related project this year, as The Finch Kitchen opened earlier this year. Old Irving will have a different flavor with more composed dishes, Rose-Hamblin said.
There’s also a focus on fun, as there’s 8,500-square feet inside with half devoted to the brewing equipment and 100 seats in the dining room. They’ll have a room with a television projector that could be used to show bigger sports events or themed film marathons. Rose-Hamblin said the room reminds him of Hogwarts from the Harry Potter movies. They’ll also have bags and darts inside, and plenty of private event space.
The brewery stands near the Montrose CTA Blue Line stop, and that could be a boon for suburban residents who can easily commute from the Northwest suburbs. There’s no need for a cab or Uber, and there’s no need to be a slave to the Metra schedule. Old Irving wants visitors to linger and hang out. "We don’t want you to just come and have a meal and take off," Rose-Hamblin said.