Begyle Brewing Opens New Taproom

May 13 2015 - 9:03 PM

Fall too much in much in love with your own looks, or have too much self-esteem wrapped up in your exterior, and you’re eventually headed for a rude awakening.  To be truly taken seriously, even the prettiest exterior must eventually be answered with substance.  These principles bring to mind my experience with Begyle Brewing.  The first time I saw their beautiful logo, with the shapely, lean, timeless cursive, I automatically thought, before my first sip, that this was a brewer which would demand attention.  Indeed, in Begyle’s case, the substance matches the style.

IMG_20150510_180127Their lineup of sturdy everyday beers such as Hophazardly IPA, Farmer’s Hand IPA, Flannel Pajamas Stout, and Euchred Pale Ale, to name a few, separates them from the pretenders and has further anchored the local brewing scene with a roster of outstanding but accessible beers.  Yet, they’ve shown tremendous artisanal promise.  Begyle’s fledgling barrel-aging program has produced some gems, such as the sensational BA Imperial Pajamas stout, and the stunning Maybe Next Year brown ale.  Both of these beers were superb; the brown ale floored me – with surprise, that is.

What was no surprise was that Begyle has built an inviting taproom, which opens this week as part of the kickoff to a huge week in Chicago craft brewing.  They courteously invited a few of us to their “soft” opening this past Sunday to scope out the new digs.  Based on the building’s exterior, one might think Begyle would be shortchanged on space.   The brewery resides in a neighborhood of tightly nestled industrial and warehouse buildings on a corner of Cuyler Ave. and narrow Ravenswood Avenue, which abuts the Metra tracks.   However, Begyle’s space is deceptively large.  The ceilings seem rather high, giving the appearance of extra square footage, and the room receives an abundance of natural light.  Things are wisely kept uncluttered but for a smattering of simple picnic tables which could comfortably seat around 15.

IMG_20150510_180356Begyle stresses a “neighborhood” theme.  Like Half Acre, their brewpub does not serve food but guests are encouraged to order in or bring takeout.  Since there’s no kitchen, dogs are also welcome, and a couple of them were roaming about during the event.  As for the bar itself, it’s set back from the seating area and consists of a ten-foot counter with around a dozen sliver tap handles coming out of the wall.  These days when you head over there to fill up your growler, you can bring your food, bring Fido, sit for a spell and drink an Oh, Hey! Porter or two.  And from a travel standpoint the brew pub is as accessible as their beers.  Begyle’s a stone’s throw from the Irving Park Brown Line stop and bus station, plus the Damen and Ashland buses are nearby, too.

We also toured the production facility, which, as you would figure for a small brewer, is in the adjacent room.  For the moment, their barrels, which on this day happened to be Heaven


Hill barrels housing Imperial Pajamas, are kept on the production floor.  Begyle has purchased space upstairs which will eventually house all barrels.  The production floor will soon add nine additional tanks to foster an expansion.  But for now, even though you can find their beers at Whole Foods and Mariano’s, they still self-distribute out of a van.  How cool is that?  It’s the kind of charm you’d expect from your local brewer.

But that logo suggests bigger things are in mind.

–  M. Sheppard

Begyle Brewing

1800 W. Cuyler Ave. 1E