Julia Thiel’s feature offers a preview of what’s in store at the New Chicago Brewing Company, a 15,000-square-feet space in the Plant, a former meatpacking facility in Back of the Yards that’s being refashioned into a vertical farm. It joins a tilapia farm, a kombucha manufacturer, and a pickle company, all part of an effort to turn the 93,500-square-foot compound into a zero-waste facility. To that end, brothers Samuel and Jesse Edwin Evans are planning to take advantage of the Plant’s planned anaerobic digester, which will use bacteria to convert waste into biogas that’s then run through a high-pressure turbine, creating electricity and steam. The brewery’s spent grains will be used to feed the tilapia, among other things. “The project is about closing loops,” the plant’s designer, John Edel (also the force behind Bridgeport’s Bubbly Dynamics, aka the Chicago Sustainable Manufacturing Center), says.
Along with this story our beer package includes beer-nerd picks from Goose Island brewer John Laffler, Jess Straka (aka Anhalt) of Metropolitan Brewing, and local musician Jim Magas, and a snapshot of the Chicago beerscape: three new breweries, three brewery tours, three weird beers, and three stores that stock hard-to-find brews.