With the location in place, planning for the brewpub started in earnest. Crowley and Neurauter found a chef in Chris Buccheri, who was introduced to the pair by yet another mutual friend and recruited away from Three Floyd’s Brewing Company in Munster, Ind., to work at Haymarket.
The brewpub will be split into three areas. Up front near Randolph will be a dining room, outdoor beer garden and the main bar. The middle section — which Bar Louie and Blue Point used as a shared kitchen — will be opened up to showcase glass-encased beer fermenters, a walk-in cooler and the kitchen.
The back room, finally, will accommodate a second bar, seats and a stage for Drinking & Writing, a theater series that explores the connections between imbibing, creativity and literature through readings, personal narratives and audience participation during approximately one-hour performances.
Drinking & Writing will make the location its permanent home, and program the space with monthly shows, according Sean Benjamin, one of its organizers, including the forthcoming “The City that Drinks,” which will examine Chicago writers and their habits with alcohol.
“I think it’s going to be one of the first brewpubs … in the city that integrates a theater into it,” Benjamin said. During performances, Drinking & Writing will take a door charge, while Haymarket makes beer sales.
The back space could also be used for tastings, private events, televised football games and, eventually, for live music.
As one meanders through the space, the idea is to carry a pint with you, Crowley said, and see the process of creation. In the open kitchen, Buccheri will prepare and plate homemade sausage, rotisserie chicken and smoked brisket. In the brewing rooms, Crowley and helpers will turn different grains into fermented, sudsy alcohol. Expect to see steam rising and water flowing, mashing, boiling, scrubbing and cascades of hops, malts and rye.
At any given time, Haymarket will offer 16 house-made beers on tap, ranging from classic Belgians and American pale ales to a rotating European-style lager and beers that combine different elements and flavors.
“There has been a really cool emergence in the craft brewing world of a crossover — we call them contemporary American styles — that might take some aspects of American beers, say IPAs, which are very hoppy, and making Belgians that way,” Crowley said.
From the basement, imperial stouts, barley wines and beers laced with coffee will age anywhere from three months to one year in at least 60 charred bourbon barrels.
Ten “guest taps,” meanwhile, at the main bar will be reserved for Chicago- and Midwestern-based brewers, and the bar will stock several dozen bottled beers from other microbreweries.
Wonder if the owners would want any of my photos of the area or of the Haymarket Riot Memorial to display on the wall? I’ll have to inquire…