One of the most anticipated brewery debuts in recent memory got off the ground with guest bartenders from around the city, a killer taplist, dinosmores, Manhattan jello shots and of course 4 beer collaborations they have created since announcing Chicago’s newest brewery – Off Color.
It’s not often you see a brewery make an introduction the way these guys did. A 2 day , 5 session affair at Black Rock Pub on Addison & Damen. The coolest part about this Sunday/Monday party was that it felt like everyone we’ve ever met in craft beer was in attendance. One of the differences between Off Color and some of the other brewery projects in Chicago is that we pretty much all know who John is. This launch gathered the Chicago craft beer scene together in a way that you don’t typically see. In one corner you see the Hopcast filming their wildly popular video podcast. You spot a Michael Roper from Hopleaf rocking his Off Color hoodie. Greg Hall arriving on his bicycle as Good Beer Hunting is there to capture the moment. Bartenders from Local Option, Three Floyds, Big Star and The Map Room behind the bar! (WTF!) ..that’s just to name a few. We’re lucky enough to attend quite a few events, you don’t see gatherings like this one too often.
Of the 4 collaborations, I was most excited about the 2 with Metropolitan Brewing. We all appreciate what Metro does, it is the only crew in town that focuses primarily on pilsners & lagers. These are two traditional styles that take longer to produce and quite frankly are easier to f**ck up. There is nowhere to hide in those styles. So for me, when they crank the volume way past 10 and collaborate on beers like Pink Pils and the Smoked Bock w/ Off Color Brewing, it’s a real treat. It reminded me of getting lost in repeat samples of their Diablo Dynamo at Night of Living Ales. Or showing up to their yoga class at the brewery because it included Lemongrass Krankshaft. I simply enjoy seeing those variations of their beers.
Mischief was a celebration that took on the persona of Laffler and his partner on the project David Bleitner. I had never been to Black Rock, the pub was described to me as “The Place You Will Most Likely Get Beat Up By a Rugby Player.” That assessment was a bit off, but David is a brewer, and a rugby player. But he is also a very approachable dude in general. He was cool as hell and even invited me out to see his team kick ass some time.
The guest taplist was one to remember, it felt like a craft beer festival. As soon as one gem blew another different one quickly replaced it. Night 1 for me was all about the beers, I spent much of Night 2 with bartenders from The Office over beer cocktails. The Spruce is Loose and Bloody Lip both incorporated Off Color beers as part of their mix. Both of these cocktails were freakishly delicious as Monday night was slowly feeling less like a weeknight, and more like an extension of the weekend.
The party ended as it should, with Laffler on top of the bar sipping 25 yr old rum. He gave a spirited speech with everyone in Black Rock cheering him on with their glassware raised. Moments later after losing his shirt, he was whisked away in a van to head home.
Here is a list of all the beers we remember from 2 nights of Mischief.
Pink Pils Off Color and Metropolitan
Smoked Bock Off Color and Metropolitan
Half Bock Off Color and Haymarket
Tonnere Neige Off Color and Three Floyds
Screw You, Jeffe Goose Island
Boring Goose Island
Laura Goose Island
Rasputin De Molen
Double DBA Firestone Walker
Ashtray Heart Evil Twin
Mitten Virtue Cider
Mudpuppy Porter Central Waters
Its Alive Mikeller
Maracaibo Especial Jolly Pumpkin
Hommel Bier Perrenial
Hr Frederiksen Amager