• The Brotherhood by 18th Street Brewery and Pipeworks

The Kickstarter page for the nascent 18th Street Brewery bears the headline “Proud to become Gary’s first ever brewery.” I’d be surprised if that were true, given that the city was founded in 1906—and of course the Melanie Brewery Company, maker of cult-favorite cheapo lager Beer 30, is based in Gary, Indiana (though you could argue that it doesn’t count because it does all its brewing by contract in Wisconsin). Anyhow, being first wouldn’t make 18th Street’s beer better or worse, so I’m happy to leave the question open. Whether or not founder Drew Fox would really be the only brewer ever to set up shop in Gary (he hasn’t done so yet), the town is lucky to have someone so dedicated and creative making the effort now.

Fox was raised in Humboldt Park and fell in love with Pilsen (hence the brewery’s name); he moved to Gary six years ago and has been homebrewing pretty much ever since. More important for his present purposes, since last spring Fox has been learning his way around a commercial-scale brewing system at Pipeworks—he came aboard at batch eight (they’re into the 70s now), and he’s been on Pipeworks’ payroll since the summer. He and the Pipeworks guys have brewed lots of 18th Street beers there as well.

Fox quit a job managing a restaurant in a tony hotel to start his brewery, and he hopes to have an operation in Gary up and running by August. He’s looking at locations in the Miller Beach area, near the South Shore Line—he wants the spot to be within a ten-minute walk from the train. One of the leading candidates is an old schoolhouse.

Philip Montoro

Philip Montoro has been an editorial employee of the Reader since 1996 and its music editor since 2004. Pieces he has edited have appeared in Da Capo’s annual Best Music Writing anthologies in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011. He shared two Lisagor Awards in 2019 for a story on gospel pioneer Lou Della Evans-Reid and another in 2021 for Leor Galil's history of Neo, and he’s also split three national awards from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia: one for multimedia in 2019 for his work on the TRiiBE collaboration the Block Beat, and two (in 2020 and 2022) for editing the music writing of Reader staffer Leor Galil. Philip has played scrap metal in Lozenge, drummed with the Disasters, the Afflictions, and Brilliant Pebbles, and sung for the White Outs. He wrote the column Beer and Metal from 2012 till 2015, and hopes to do so again one day. You can also follow him on Twitter.