OAK PARK, Ill. (WLS) --For about a century, it was impossible to get a beer in Oak Park. But a recent ordinance allows local businesses to both produce and sell beer on the premises.
Two new businesses have jumped at the chance to produce craft-style ales and lagers since the recent ordinance now allows them to sell alcohol without a kitchen.
All of a sudden, Ernest Hemingway's hometown has a pair of breweries.
Like a lot of brewery owners, the guys behind Kinslahgher - a new Oak Park brewery that gets its name from "kinship" and "lager" - started out as home brewers. But they've now got a permanent space, including some giant steel tanks, where they can produce their favorite beers.
"We wanted the business to be in Oak Park because this is the community we live in and we wanted to support the community by bringing business here, particularly to our location here on Roosevelt Road," said co-owner Keith Huizinga.
Huizinga showed off his top five.
"Prohibition Pilsner is light in color, it's a pilsner-style beer that would have been made by German immigrants around the turn of the century," he said.
"The Alt beer is a style that comes from Dusseldorf, it's more copper-colored, a little bit malty. The Dunkel is a dark lager from Munich, very malt-forward and wonderfully smooth and drinkable. Baltic Porter is higher alcohol, fuller bodied, lots of dark chocolate and coffee flavors in that beer."
Finally, the Chicago Common.
"Flavors there are earthbound, they're piney hops and it's a fuller-bodied, firmer in terms of its bitterness but still balanced by its rich, malty character," said Huizinga.
Just a mile or so away, the Oak Park Brewing Company has been brewing for years, but only recently, opened their brewpub.
"We actually have a couple of lagers out now, ones a collaboration with Metropolitan Brewing Company, but mostly ales," said owner Brandon Wright.
From a light, farmhouse saison, to a more bitter rye IPA and the Mary Hoppins, a pale ale getting its name from their adjacent business, Hamburger Mary's, which features the obvious, but also a number of giant salads.
"We are connected to Hamburger Mary's here so of course the burgers are a key focus of the menu, but we have lots of other things on the menu as well," he said.
So now that there's an ordinance allowing businesses to actually produce beer on-site, you have two breweries in town that have opened up within a month of each other. Clearly, locals are pretty thirsty.
Extra Course: Michelada at Oak Park Brewing
In this week's Extra Course, Steve introduces you to the michelada at Oak Park Brewing. Think of it as beer-plus-tomato-juice at brunch.
Kinslahger Brewing Co.
6806 W. Roosevelt Rd., Oak Park
Oak Park Brewing Co.
155 S. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park