So I met this guy at beer school
That’s how most great stories start, right? It did for the guys behind Dovetail Brewery. Bill Wesselink and Hagen Dost were in the midst of their master brewing classes at Doemens Akademie in Munich when they began working on their plan to bring traditional German and Belgian-style beers to Chicago.
Before their brewery and tap room opened to the public I was able to get a sneak preview tour of the facility and chat with the owners. First of all, the space is incredible. They have a 22,000 square foot facility that is owned by Bill and Hagen, with no additional tenants in the space. I immediately started thinking of all the great events they could host, ya know, like my birthday coming up in a few months.
Their five-vessel brewhouse is custom made and spans multiple floors in the building. They have four vessels on the main floor and the coolship is upstairs along with the totally instagram-worthy spontaneous fermentation barrels. The open fermentation vessels are in the basement of the building (seriously, this place is HUGE). Everything looked fancy and clean and new. Well, with one exception. One of the most striking pieces you notice is the copper vessel on the main floor. I asked why copper since it isn’t something I had seen before and they told me the surprising tale of how they ended up with that particular piece of beer history. Apparently they were visiting an equipment broker out in the Bavarian countryside on the search for fermentors when the guy said “hey we have a barn with some stuff, come check it out”. The copper vessel had been cut in half and was laying on the barn floor among a mausoleum of archaic brewing equipment. Turns out it was from the world’s oldest brewery, Weihenstephaner in Germany. After getting it back to the US they had a guy from Milwaukee weld it back together.
I kinda hoped they would have taken pictures of all the relics, it would have made for an interesting photo series. I imagine it was like a cabinet of curiosities, the floor lined with piles of discarded machines and vessels. Sort of like that scene in Indiana Jones when he uncovers a hidden treasure. OK, maybe its better they didn’t have any pictures so I can keep my dream alive of a mysterious beer wonderland…
Once we got through the beer nerdage (to be honest they talked extensively and most of it was over my head so I wouldn’t want to recount any incorrect info), we finally got to my favorite part. TASTING! Yusssssss. Their three flagship beers are a Lager, Hefeweizen, and Rauchbier. In keeping with their traditional roots they will not be giving any names to their beers, they will be named by their style. I was really hoping to check out their glassware as they will have custom pieces for each beer but unfortunately they had not yet received their shipment when I arrived. This also meant I didn’t get a glass to take home, bummer. The beers however were super tasty and as promised, delighted the senses.