Pipeworks Brewing Company Kickstarts Business With Free Tasting in Lakeview

By Patty Wetli | Thursday, December 16, 2010

Beejay Oslon and Gerrit Lewis of Pipeworks Brewing Company.

If you’ve seen “The Social Network,” you know things didn’t work out so well for Facebook’s initial investor. But Beejay Oslon and Gerrit Lewis, founders of Pipeworks Brewing Company, promise not to Zuckerberg you if you take a chance on their start-up craft brewery.

Donate to their Kickstarter campaign, which aims to raise $30,000 by January 1, and you’ll get a nifty sticker, just for chipping in 5 bucks. Contribute $100 and you get first dibs on future bottle releases; pony up $1,000 and they’ll put your face on a beer label. Now doesn’t that sound like a lot more fun than stock options? Plus you get bragging rights that you were in on the ground floor of, if not the next Anheuser-Busch, then at least the next Half Acre.

To kick-off their venture and showcase their product, they are holding a free tasting at West Lakeview Liquors, 2156 W. Addison on Dec. 17, 6-9 p.m.

Actually, the fundraising effort is serious business for the duo, who met while working at West Lakeview Liquors. Having served an apprenticeship with Urbain Coutteau of Belgium’s highly regarded De Struise Brouwers, Oslon and Lewis returned Stateside with the aim of opening their own brewery in Chicago. Ideally the space would encompass a tasting room, small brewpub and bottle shop to showcase their small-batch ales and lagers.

If they reach their Kickstarter goal (as of this writing, they had topped $23,000), additional backers have agreed to provide matching funds, giving the guys the cash infusion needed to start larger-scale production. If they fall short, they walk away with nothing but crushed hopes and dreams.

Oslon, a Chicago native, and Lewis, a transplant from Colorado, don’t expect you to just take their word regarding the quality of their product. They’ve scheduled a pair of upcoming tastings, so you can sample your potential investment (I’d like to see a hedge fund manager try that). What’s on tap? Recent brews, which demonstrate their affinity for non-traditional ingredients:

  • Smoked Porter (7.5% alcohol by volume), brewed with cherry wood and smoked malt.
  • Pastrami on Rye (8.5% abv), brewed with 11 presumably secret herbs and spices, but tastes nothing like KFC.
  • Belgian Wit (5% abv), brewed with coriander, orange peel and chamomile.
  • Abduction Imperial Stout (13% abv, previewed at Goose Island’s Stout Fest 2010), aged with oak and a bit of bourbon.

Quaff these or whatever Pipeworks has on hand at:

Both events are free, no RSVP required.

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