Brewer’s Choice: Elmhurst Brewing co-owner Frazer Donaldson on Deth’s Tar from Revolution, Kinslahger’s mash-hopped lager and his own 5-year anniversary party Feb. 4
Illinois brewery professionals share opinions on what’s tasting great, who’s doing big things and what they’re most proud of
Co-owner at Elmhurst Brewing in Elmhurst, IL
1. The last really good beer you drank was… a hefeweizen straight from the fermenter at Crust Brewing in Rosemont, while head brewer Rob Hunter was brewing at 9 p.m. on a Tuesday! He was kind enough to give EBC’s management team an awesome tour of the former Hofbrauhaus space and brewing equipment — thanks Rob!
Before Covid, our team would bring our beer to visit 2-4 breweries a night, once every few months, and we just started this up again. It’s great to see everyone’s spaces and talk about what we’re all seeing in customers, the retail market, etc. We also hit Short Fuse (Hi Kat!) in Schiller Park and Illuminated Brew Works on the NW side of Chicago, where Brian had some solid beers on tap, especially his biere de garde.
2. What fellow Illinois breweries and specific beers have impressed you lately?
Illuminated Brew Works’ white peanut brittle stout was a nice surprise. Kinslahger’s mash-hopped lager is excellent, and Right Bee‘s Clementine is an outstanding wintery cider with some honey and cinnamon; Charlie did a great job on that one. Revolution’s Deth’s Tar and the Deep Woods series continue to wow me — so smooth and flavorful — and I hope to meet owner Josh Deth one day (I’m not worthy!).
Elmhurst Brewing’s fifth anniversary blowout will be February 4, and if you can’t make it to the party, stay tuned for their annual Mayfest with 20 breweries in the 3,000-square-foot beer garden.
3. What are you most proud of at your brewery?
The fact that Elmhurst Brewing opened up five years ago with traditional European styles, ranging from a helles lager to a schwarzbier to a porter, and have stayed the course to see the market demand more of these styles. We did finally give in to demand for a hazy IPA, and our head brewer, Cam, created a tasty top-seller, Julius Squeezer.
4. What do you have coming up that people should know about?
Our fifth anniversary blowout will be February 4, with our original lineup of beers available in our brewpub, and our made-from-scratch food from Chef Alex. Fans may recognize Professor Plum (biere de garde with plums), Beer Riot (pre-Prohibition lager), Poncharello Porter (porter with chickory and habanero peppers), and our original DIPA, Brutus.
It’s a ticket-only event, so check social media and our website for details! If you can’t make it to the party, stay tuned for our annual Mayfest with 20 breweries in our 3,000-square-foot beer garden.