Humboldt Park’s first brewery is pegged to open by the end of the year inside a building near the Bloomingdale Trail and Kimball Avenue. Orkenoy is from a pair of friends who met while working at Lagunitas Brewing’s Douglas Park taproom. The brewery is opening inside the Kimball Arts Center, 1757 N. Kimball Avenue. The 606 elevated trail overlooks the building near the Kimball Avenue exit.
The bar will have 12 taps, spirits and wine, plus a full kitchen for food. Jonny Ifergan and Ryan Sanders, two beer industry vets — Ifergan works at Whiner Beer and Sanders works inside Lagunitas’s kitchen — have partnered on the project. Ifergan’s brother Tohm Ifergan will also open a coffeeshop inside the space. He debuted Dayglow Coffee in 2017 in Silver Lake, California. Tohm Ifergan will open his second Dayglow inside his brother’s brewery.
Jonny Ifergan confessed that he prefers malt over hops, despite the trendy IPAs that dominate craft beer culture. Ifergan said he wants to “make malt sexy again.” He’s inspired the beers of Norway and other Scandinavian influences. The brewery’s name dates back to the early 17th Century. It’s the name of a Scandinavian ship. Expect to see farmhouse ales, raw ales, and smoked lagers. Ifergan is also fond of using foraged ingredients. The beers will be named after pets. They’ll even take name submissions from customers as a way to better interact with the public. It’s a good way to subvert beer naming controversies where breweries take names that have already been used.
They’ve taken over about 5,000 square feet inside the arts center, a facility that includes an archery range, art gallery, and architecture office. Art is important to Ifergan. He recalls leaving Lagunitas after multinational behemoth Heineken purchased the brand in 2017. Ifergan has since volunteered at breweries including Lake Effect Brewing. That allowed him to work on his brewing skills.
“I really wanted to go back to something smaller, to start something that really meant something to me,” Ifergan said.
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In exactly one month we will be celebrating in our future taproom space with all our neighbors, friends, and families. Join the Raft on Fri June 7th (link in bio). Featuring: Art & Interactive Photo Exhibits by @jimvondruska & @mrmaxmackie , DJ sets by @nodancingproductions @billyghost @dan_leu @bryankveton and @toddcbeyer. We will be serving small bites and some of our own future beers + wine and cocktails. Free giveaways from us and our friends @dayglowcoffee (hint hint). See you there ! . . . . . #humboldtparkchicago #theraft #craftbeerchicago #the606chicago #stayhumboldt #orkenoy #industrialdesign #chicagoartists
Orkenoy should have an artist’s spirit as a welcoming place for creatives of all types. It’s also going to be a spot for cyclists and pedestrians walking the 606. Some Chicagoans may know Ifergan as the guitarist from indie rock band the Kickback. They’ve toured nationally with acts like Bush. Hauling brewing equipment feels a lot like carrying musical instruments into a bus or van, Ifergan said.
Sanders is from California and feels comfortable working in the kitchen. His menu won’t be designed for folks to gorge. He wants to give them small plates so they can linger. He mentions a smoked pastrami and a gigante bean “ceviche.” It’s a vegetarian dip with piquillo peppers, pickled red onions, and more. It will be served with plantains.
Ifergan doesn’t want people to see Orkenoy as only a brewery. Just like his brother did with Dayglow in LA, he wants to create a lifestyle brand.
“Yes, we make beer and we want to make great beer, but it doesn’t have to be just about that,” Jonny Ifergan said.
There are plenty of breweries in Logan Square, one of the neighborhoods that borders Humboldt Park. Orkenoy will be the first beer maker in that neighborhood. Expect more news about the brewery later this summer.