Illinois Brewing Insider: Bubblehouse Brewing’s Evan Nimke on lagers by Art History and Goldfinger, the friendly vibes at The Beer and Now and Freedom Brothers in the west burbs, and their own grodziskie collaboration with Brother Chimp
Taproom manager and marketing director
Bubblehouse Brewing Company in Lisle, IL
Favorite breweries: Obviously, I’m partial to Bubblehouse Brewing in Lisle, as I work there, but even if I didn’t, they would certainly be one of my top faves. Outside of Bubblehouse, I’m a huge fan of Phase Three and I’m very excited their new taproom and kitchen is open in Elmhurst. Also, Noon Whistle, Roaring Table, Hop Butcher, Riverlands, Goldfinger and Saint Errant are a few other local faves I reach for often that rarely disappoint.
Drinking tendencies: I’m all over the place. I have craft beer ADD, and I love to mix it up. I’m always down to try something new and explore different styles, and I’m always looking to support local breweries wherever I may be. I consider myself somewhat the opposite of a “beer snob” because very rarely do I find myself not enjoying a local craft beer in front of me. Even if it’s not “perfect,” I know someone put lots of hard work into it and I’ll always respect the craft when it’s done properly. I look at it as liquid artwork, and that’s why I always say BEER IS BEAUTIFUL!
Recent beers that have caught your eye: As a marketing nerd at heart, I love seeing all the creative collaborations that local breweries are doing within their communities in partnership or in support of other local businesses or non-profits. I’ve always believed that beer brings people together. As for specific beers, Art History’s Gravitace (dark Czech lager) and Smoke Two Lagers (smoked helles lager) by Goldfinger are great. And I love Phase Three’s Bushel of Apples this time of year.
Goldfinger turned me on to the grodziskie style, and we released our own this fall called Oh My Grod, which we brewed in collaboration with Brother Chimp. It’s awesome.
What are you looking forward to enjoying on draft this fall/early winter?
Like most people, I love drinking all the different Oktoberfest style beers that come out this time of year. Seasonality plays such a huge part in the experience of enjoying a beer, and there’s no shortage of delicious beers that come out around fall and winter that help get me through the dark, depressing midwest winter months.
I’ve really been enjoying smoked beers lately as well. I love a good bonfire on a fall night with friends this time of year. Pair that with a crisp grodziskie or rauchbier… mmmm (chef’s kiss). Goldfinger turned me on to the grodziskie style, and we released our own this fall called Oh My Grod, which we brewed in collaboration with Brother Chimp Brewing. It’s awesome. Roaring Table and Riverlands did a collaboration last year called Heller Rauch that I still think about. I hope they do it again.
Favorite beer bar in Illinois: Easy. The Beer and Now bottle shop in Lisle. It’s walking distance from where I live, there’s always a great selection of local beer on taps, a knowledgable staff, friendly customers always down to talk about beer… and Mary is just best!
There’s a family-friendly pizza place that opened up recently in Naperville called Freedom Brothers Pizzeria & Alehouse that has good food, good tunes, and an extensive tap list of local beer options.
Secret beer spot: We’re spoiled to live in a state with so many great options for beer, so you don’t have to look too hard or travel too far to find a great local brewery or bottle shop. I’m a big fan of local restaurants dedicated to supporting local beer, so those places always stand out to me. There’s a family-friendly pizza place that opened up recently in Naperville called Freedom Brothers Pizzeria & Alehouse that my family discovered. They have good food, good tunes, and I was really impressed with their extensive tap list of local beer options. (Insider’s tip: If you have kids, get the cotton candy for dessert).
Best brewery you’ve hit on vacation: I lived in northern California briefly and will always remember the first time I made the pilgrimage up to Lagunitas in Peteluma. To this day, that experience has stuck with me and I’ve always considered that environment my “happy place.” The weather, the beer, the food, the music, the mountains, the people, the dogs… the whole vibe was immaculate and something I’ve been trying to recreate here at Bubblehouse as best as I can.