Brewer’s Choice: Mickey Finn’s Jason Martens on Roaring Table’s appeal, creating a level of approachability, and his own Santa’s Magic Belgian strong ale
Head brewer at Mickey Finn’s Brewery
345 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Libertyville, IL 60048
The last really good beer I drank: More Than A Zealand pale ale from Cannonball Creek Brewing in Golden, CO. I love New Zealand hops, and I try to swing through there anytime I’m in the Denver area. They really kill it with their hoppy beers, especially lighter pale ales and session IPAs. They don’t distribute much, if at all, so it’s something you need to get at the source.
What fellow Illinois breweries and specific beers have impressed you lately?
I know I’m not the first to say it, but Roaring Table knocks it out of the park with just about any of the wide variety of styles they do. I’m on a dark lager kick, so Art History’s Varitace and Maplewood’s In Dark Trees are both great. Goldfinger’s Pils as well. It’s so clean and crisp.
I’m proud of our approachability at Mickey Finn’s. That includes our atmosphere, but also our beers. We try to keep a very balanced lineup of offerings so there’s something for everyone.
What are you most proud of at your brewery?
Overall, I’d say our approachability. That includes our atmosphere but also our beers. We try to keep a very balanced lineup of offerings so there’s something for everyone. Specific beers I’d say our La Oveja Negra dark lager and our Hop Excursions series. There’s such a plethora of hop varieties and concentrated hop products these days, it’s fun to have a series for experimentation.
What do you have coming up that people should know about?
The holidays here are always a special time, and our winter seasonal Santa’s Magic Belgian strong ale brings a lot of people out. Next year is our 30th anniversary, so we’ll have some nods to throwback beers for us like a barleywine and wee heavy with a barrel-aged offering of both.