901 West Kinzie Street, Chicago in 2016 and 2017

With the summer 2023 opening of the Guinness Open Gate Brewery Chicago announced just head of this St. Patrick’s Day week, I’m taking the opportunity to look back at the 901 W. Kinzie Street location. These are the “before” pictures, if you will, of the site before its redevelopment. This building used to be along my bike commute route to and from River North. 2017 photos show intensive mural art decoration—and the 2016 photo below shows that the murals hadn’t been there all that long. (And from the current photo accompanying the Sun-Times story, it looks like the murals are already largely gone—and there’s already an adjacent residential highrise.)


In the introduction to Locally Brewed: Portraits of Craft Brewing from America’s Heartland, Anna Blessing writes, “In part this is a book about beer, but mostly it is a book about people: the craftspeople and artisans who brew the beer.” And—spoiler alert—that’s exactly what it is. Blessing has deftly pinpointed what’s most interesting about each brewer’s story and spends several pages, illustrated with photos of the brewers, beers, and breweries (taken by Blessing herself), telling it.

Julia Thiel reviews a new book about midwestern craft brewers.


HOW TO: Enjoy draft beer at home

As promised, here is a list of everything you need to enjoy draft (home)brew at home and a look at how it all goes together, courtesy of the Bell’s General Store.

1. Gas splitting options

  • At regulator: Y splitter and ball valves
  • Inline: 2,3,4 or more way air distributor

2. Bevlex options

  • 3/16” – beer or gas
  • 5/16” – Gas or beer – line over 12 feet

3. Pouring options

  • Picnic tap: Direct from keg
  • Faucet: Mounted through a flat surface

4. Keg options

  • Corny: Ball or pin lock
  • Sankey: American Standard or other

5. Beer line length: 6 foot minimum

Price for equipment (as shown): $281.96

Price for adding another corny: $113.63

Price for equipment compatible with Sankey keg: $261.18

A lot of my beers sound like food just because that’s my background, but they can be enjoyed on their own, and usually are. I just happen to think about food when I think about beer. For me, beer is food. We use our hands and take raw ingredients and create something that people consume. The only difference is, brewers intoxicate people.