Midwest Coast Brewing Company Opening
This was a first for us here at The Beer Thrillers, we were contacted by a new brewery opening up to discuss their opening and to discuss their brewery and brewing operations. It is an honor to get to do this write-up for them and to help their business start up and grow. We love hearing from breweries and individuals and brewers about their craft and their businesses and always love to help where we can. While we here at The Beer Thrillers are primarily located in Central PA – we do cover breweries across the country (and world) and do beer reviews from breweries all over. Midwest Coast Brewing is located in Chicago, so unfortunately we have not yet gotten to check out their facilities, but I have been in contact with their owners and brewer to write up this article, and they have also sent pictures of their facility (as well as their grand opening) to provide a view for everyone who is interested in checking them out. Hopefully in the near future we will be able to make the visit out and check them out!
Late September I was contacted by Elena Veckman and Cameron Compton of Midwest Coast Brewing to discuss on our blog their brewery opening. Since I have been unable to make it to their facility, they have graciously answered many questions about their facility, themselves, beer, and then after their grand opening weekend – how the weekend went.
Elena Veckman (or Lanie as she likes to be called) and Cameron Compton are sister and brother who have decided to chase their dream and open their own brewery. They purchased an old warehouse in the Industrial Corridor / Brewing District of Old West Town Chicago. As Lanie describes their beer and brewery so far: “We’re focusing on more classic beer styles that go down smooth – our British ESB and Hazy IPA (we consider hazy a classic American style now – it’s not going anywhere, thank goodness!) for example have gotten great reviews from bars and people. We’d be thrilled to connect over the phone and tell you more, or have you to the taproom to check it out (and taste it) in person. We’re really proud of the vibe we’re creating in our taproom, we’d love to have you in!”
The brewery is located at 2137 W. Walnut St. Chicago Illinois. A Google Map showing their location can be found here: Midwest Coast Brewery. Their brewery is a ‘verified venue’ on Untappd and their menu can be found here: Midwest Coast Brewery Menu.
When asked about their tap room, Cameron Compton replied: “We subjectively think our taproom is gorgeous – the building is nearly 100 years old and has the type of architecture you’d expect from a building that age. Covered with brick, wooden bowtruss ceilings, concrete floors… We really had a great canvas to work with. We just “polished” it and chose furniture that would accent the building and provide a timeless look. We want to be a place that’s welcoming to everyone, where you can bring your dog, bring your kids, and just relax over a few beers. So come enjoy beers in our booths, high tops or cozy corner!”
As one can see from the two pictures above, the brewery and tap room is very spacious and able to accommodate a large amount of people. The building looks gorgeous and has room for all kinds of seating, from high top chairs, to a bar, to even a sofa (see next picture). There is a very old school motif to it as well as a new-age “hipster” appeal to it that should endear the taproom to all guests who come out to visit. With large open spaces for people to stand and talk as well as mingle and chat and hang out with friends, co-workers, family and the brewers and workers themselves, this looks like an extremely fun and inviting place to visit and grab some local beer and grub.
As this picture shows, there is a bar area, a couple of rows of booth seating, a nice corner circular sofa area, as well as the large tables for sitting and eating and the open floor space. The lighting looks terrific with lots of ambience, and as this window shows, a beautiful view of their brewing facility.
Cameron Compton describes the brewing facility: “We purchased our 10BBL system new from Alpha Brewing Operations out of Lincoln, Nebraska. We (currently) have two 10BBL fermenters, two 20BBL fermenters, and a Brite Tank of each size as well. We have room to grow, and are already pushing our cellar capacity, so are looking into adding some more fermenters soon.” As you will see from the opening weekend pictures, there is plenty of space in the brewing facility for growth, which should be great news for all fans of beer.
They currently do not have a running kitchen (although there are plans for one in the future), but they are currently partnered up with an app called 2nd Kitchen which allows customers at the brewery to take pictures of the QR code at their tables and order food to be delivered to the brewery. There is many excellent local restaurants that this app works with that will gladly deliver to the brewery.
They currently do not offer brewery tours, but there is plans for this in the future once things are more formalized and set in stone at the facility. You are able to view and see the beautiful brewing facility at your own leisure. As a last minute change to this article, I’ve been informed that informal tours are starting at the brewery and going forward might be progressing towards formal brewery tours. You will need to check (and / or contact) Midwest Coast’s social media and / or onsite personnel to find the full details out of this, as it’s a slowly evolving feature at the brewery, details are sparse and better to check with them yourself.
There is a host of events lined up at the brewery, with something to do on nearly every night of the week. Monday is service industry night, where customers who work in food, beverage, restaurant, or brewing industries can receive 30% off. Tuesday is taco truck and trivia Tuesday. Wednesday is currently a floating schedule, sometimes there will be live music, sometimes arts and crafts, with a host of different events lined up or soon to be announced. Currently Thursday through Sunday is more of a leisure time aimed around their televisions. There will be a push to air the Chicago Blackhawks hockey games as well as the Chicago Bulls basketball games, as the brewery is just a mere four blocks away from their arena.
As of right now, they currently have 12 taps at their bar. 11 for their own beers, with the 12th as a rotating tap for any of the various local Chicago craft breweries. Their current tap listing is:
1) Guest Tap: Very Very Far Off (Off Color Brewing) (Just received a 2019 GABF Gold for “Other Belgian”.)
2) Red Bandana – American IPA
3) The Colonies – British ESB
4) West Town Brown – American Brown
5) Local Time – American Blonde Ale
6) Elevator Shaft – Tropical Pale Ale
7) Oktoberfest – Marzen
8) Volkslager – German Pils
9) The Holly Shed – Saison
10) Driving to Cashmere – American Pale Ale (brewed with all Cashmere hops)
11) Canis Rubum – Red Ale (brewed with all Mosaic hops)
12) AlottaZacca – Hazy Pale Ale (brewed with all Azacca hops) (collaboration with Exit Strategy Brewing)
As of 10.10.19, their Untappd page has them with a global rating of 3.67 out of 735 ratings, with 15 unique individual beers to their name. The write-up for their Untappd listing is: “We are Midwest Coast Brewing Company – We’re regular folks who love making great beer and sharing it with those around us. In our opinion, Chicago is about the greatest place in these United States, and we’re proud to join the great breweries here in West Town’s Chicago Brewing District. Bring some friends, have some pints, share some laughs, and, as always, #LoveWhereYouLive” You can view their Untappd page here: Midwest Coast Brewing Company.
When asked about himself, Cameron Compton responded: “I was born and raised in Northern California just outside of San Jose, and first became enamored with Chicago while attending Notre Dame. I graduated from there in 2010, and started homebrewing immediately. My roommate and I immediately fell in love with it, and I knew this was something I wanted to do long term. I continued brewing at home regularly for the next 7 years or so until I, with the encouragement from my fiance and older sister, finally decided to pull the trigger on the brewery, and Chicago seemed like a market poised to explode. It took us 2.5 years to find a building and navigate the Chicago permitting processes, but ultimately opened our doors in late summer 2019. As for our preferred styles, we lean on the classics. We love a good German Pils, British ESB, and balanced American IPA (among others of course).”
Doing a quick little Q and A with him, I asked him some questions about his favorite breweries, beers, styles, his go-to beer, where he foresees the brewery in the near future. When asked for favorite breweries, Cameron replied: “I love Monday Night out of Atlanta and Modern Times out of San Diego. Everything both of them make is top notch. Locally for larger breweries I’d say Half Acre, and for smaller breweries I’d say Hopewell and On Tour.” Favorite beers: “I know they’re a little out of style with New Englands taking over, but I was born and raised in Northern California, so I still have a soft spot for West Coast IPAs. That style was all the rage when I started drinking craft beer. Love Duet by Alpine (right outside San Diego), and of course have to mention Blind Pig and Pliny by Russian River.” Pound for pound his go to beer, the beer to always stock up his fridge would be: “The American Pale Ale is my go to as a fridge stocker. For a long time it was Saint Archer Pale Ale (when I lived on the West Coast), but now I’m trying to keep the fridge stocked with Cozmo Pale by Noon Whistle here in the Chicago area.” When pressured to say where he foresees the brewery in five and ten years time, Compton replied: “We’re so new it’s hard to look past the next 5 or 10 minutes, but our long term goals are to be a major player in the Chicago beer seen and then the Midwest as a whole. We believe slow and steady is the way to do that. If people start to grow too big too soon, corners tend to get cut and quality can drop. We want to make sure we’re doing things right as we grow, and the only way to do that in our opinion is to keep the growth measured and organic.”
They have already been recently covered in several media outlets, including the Chicago Tribune as well as the Chicago Beers Pass podcast.
Over the last weekend of September, Friday the 27th, Saturday the 28th, and Sunday the 29th, Midwest Coast Brewing hosted their grand opening. It was a fantastic weekend for the brewery, for the community, and for all who came out. It was packed full, with lots of customers leaving happy with big smiles and full of beer joy. In the process of having a fantastic and wonderful grand opening weekend, the brewery also raised 2,200$ for three different charities: The Ann and Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital, Chicago West Community Music Center, and Catcade (a cat rescue). It is always extremely great to see a brewery giving back to their community, and to do so with such great results and so soon into their operation is beyond fantastic.
You can find more information about the Ann and Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital here.
As well as more information about the Chicago West Community Music Center here.
And finally you can learn more about the Catcade here.
It has been a wonderful time getting to talk via with Elena Veckman and Cameron Compton about their brewery, about their love and enthusiasm for brewing, for their love of Chicago, and what they want to do with their dream. They are wonderful people and the brewery and taproom and facility look tremendous. We personally here at The Beer Thrillers cannot wait to get to come out and visit them and take a tour and sample (all of) their beers as they all look delicious in the pictures. We will be keeping a keen interest and look on them as they grow and will be on the lookout for whenever they start canning and bottling to grab some and do some beer reviews here on the blog for them. So if you are in the Chicago area, make sure you stop by and check them out, and let them know you heard about their brewery here, I’m sure they’ll be glad to know how they were recommended and referred.
I hope you all enjoyed this. Its not everyday we get approached by a brewery so it was great fun getting to work with them to promote their business and to help them as they start out. We are always looking to help breweries and brewers get the word out about their product. If you wish to contact us, you can do so by clicking on the “Contact The Beer Thrillers” at the top and that will directly send us an e-mail. We are always more then willing and gladly able to work with brewers, breweries, and other people in the industry on articles and blog posts, beer reviews, and brewery reviews, and will do so to the best of our abilities. So don’t hesitate to reach out and contact us and we will gladly do all that we can.
Enjoy and cheers everyone!
Post Script: I would like to thank Cameron Compton and Elena Veckman for working on me to get this article published. We have been in communications nearly daily to get this article written with lots of Q and A and back and forth e-mails. Even me sending Cameron emails over his wedding weekend, which he had a very nice and humorous auto-reply email setup for emails received over his wedding weekend. This was a lot of fun to work with them and get to help build this article and see this small piece of their vision come to fruition. Their brewery looks beautiful and wonderful and I am completely looking forward to a trip out to Chicago and getting to see their facility.
There is also a lot of stuff going on with the blog. Yesterday I finally got a beer review up (a bit overdo), and today I am looking to post two more throughout the day (Thursday and Friday being my days off from my REAL job, you can always expect to see more content on these days), the reviews are varied on the beers I’ve had recently, including the Hershey’s Chocolate Porter from Yuengling, a Boneshire Brew Works beer, a flight from Troegs Independent Craft Brewery, as well as some beers from my beer mail from South Carolina. I am also due to receive a beer mail package tomorrow, so that might result in some beer reviews as well. I also have backlogged beer reviews of Fuzzy Nudge, Tattered Abomination, and several others from breweries like Troegs and Tattered Flag.
Also, J. Doncevic is coming out of retirement with a beer review that should go live tonight. So be on the lookout for that as his beer reviews are definitely not ones to be missed.
I also have a fair amount of backlogged blog posts to put up, including one about my hop harvest at home, a canning day from Tattered Flag back in the day, some beer events like a home brew event, the Ffej of July, my trip to the western edges of Pennsylvania, as well as a small news article about some GABF winners. So please be on the lookout for those. They might get pre-dated since they were started at a previous time, so I’ll have to check out how that all works and might have to re-post links or something. Not sure yet on that, but be on the lookout for them!
Thanks for reading this (possibly the longest blog post yet, even over the Harrisburg Breweries blog post). This blog wouldn’t be what it is if it weren’t all of you loyal readers. So please comment, like, subscribe, follow, and follow us on Twitter at: @TheBeerThrillers. You can also follow us on Instagram at: The Beer Thrillers on Instagram, or Pintrest: TheBeerThrillers. Or even our brand new Facebook page (which we just created and opened today): The Beer Thrillers.
So as a final send-off, please check out Midwest Coast Brewing, they are good people and care about their craft and their community. Keep checking out their social media sites like their Facebook, Twitter, etc, and keep updated on them (I know we will be!), and keep up to date on us here at The Beer Thrillers as well.
Keep drinking and keep putting those livers to work everyone!
–The Beer Thrillers