The last seven years have been an education for Middle Brow Beer, a Chicago brewery which focuses on wild, sours, and experimental beers. They’ve seen the growth of the city’s beer scene with home brewers launching Kickstarters in hopes of opening breweries, and established brewers unveil blueprints for tasting rooms to add to Chicago’s bar scene. Middle Brow will add to that hoopla when it opens its own brewpub in Logan Square at 2840 W. Armitage Avenue.
Middle Brow’s founders began brewing around 2001, but the company was founded in 2011. Diners may have seen Middle Brow beers at restaurants like Longman & Eagle, Lula Cafe, and Au Cheval. When beer buyers from those restaurants began showing interest in Middle Brow, that’s when co-founder Peter Ternes knew his company had a bright future: “Maybe this could be something,” he said.
Middle Brow has plenty to finalize before the opening which could take place late this year or in early 2019. They’ll open early and serve coffee. They haven’t decided on a roaster, but may do a barrel-aged coffee program. They plan on 12 to 16 draft lines with yeast-forward, pilsners, experimental beers, and more. They’re also considering kombucha on draft. Like their friends at Off Color Brewing do at its Lincoln Park taproom, they’ll use foeders — large vats used to age wine and beer. They’ll have three oak foeders that allow yeast to add flavors and aromas to their brews.
Ternes doesn’t want to commit as they’re looking at other options, but it’s “highly likely” they’ll serve pizza. He wants a simple menu of four pizzas. Ternes is inspired by one of Chicago’s most beloved pizzerias — Great Lake Pizza. That’s the infamous gourmet thin-crust spot that closed five years ago in Andersonville.
They’ll have about 3,500 square feet inside with about 90 seats. The front will feel more like a cafe. There’s a bar area, and a dining room with communal tables — a layout that most who have been inside a taproom will recognize. The space won’t feature TVs.
Middle Brow is a socially-conscious brewer. The brewery makes it a habit out of donating a substantial amount of their profits to charities including Greater Chicago Food Depository and Ceasefire. They’re about a week or two until they get their permits to start construction. This would give Logan Square its third brewery with Revolution, Hopewell, and Maplewood already in the neighborhood. Bixi Brewery, a space inspired by Chinese brewers, should open this spring from the owners of Owen and Engine. Pipeworks also has plans for the neighborhood.