CUSP Magazine: Winter Issue 2014


CUSP Magazine is a Chicago based publication focused on helping up and coming creatives gain exposure for their brand and products. Our company is a collective of highly motivated individuals who work together to bring a new voice to the creative community.


Walking west on Diversey Avenue toward the Green

Exchange, it is difficult not to notice the sleek new building, standing

out conspicuously among other industrial constructs on the corridor.

Entering through the front door is forbidden. Access requires a

detour to the side of the facility, which is marked with glossy insignia.

Once inside, a rudimentary outfit contrasts starkly with the polished

exterior. Well-circulated air reeks with the must of fermentation and

white noise from engines powering five massive fermenters belays

the ears—without even a fully functional bathroom, it’s incredibly

minimal, but a more practiced eye could imagine the tasty fruits

born of such industrial labor. This is the new home of Ale Syndicate.

Opening a brewery in Illinois, a state renowned for its over 83

craft breweries, is ambitious work, but brothers Jesse Edwin Evans

and Samuel Evans are up to the challenge and making their mark

in Chicago’s craft brewing community. The Evans brothers pride

themselves on producing fresh, original takes on traditional beers,

with a homespun Chicago feel.

As their beer very much reflects, Jesse and Samuel are

Chicagoans to the core, but they got their unlikely start in brewing in

another of America’s beer meccas, California. Chasing his dreams

out west, Jesse, then 23, landed in Sonoma where he got involved

with the wine industry. Jesse readily admits he initially aspired to

make wine, “Winemakers that I started befriending when I got out

there really made me feel like I wanted to be a winemaker when I

grew up, but they were the ones who introduced me to craft beer.” In

a region that lives and bleeds wine, the locals need a little something

extra to help them kick off their shoes at the end of the day. “When

they get off work, they’re popping open west coast double IPAs.

Craft beer is the thing that they relax with.” After their

introduction to craft beer, it was love at first sip for the Evans brothers

and their obsession took swift hold. They began volunteering at local

breweries and seeking out mentorship in the creative, technical and

business aspects of the beer industry. Their hard work paid off in

2006 with the launch of Lucky Hand Brewing, a backyard brewing

operation-turned contract company. Born out of a partnership with

colleagues they met in the wine industry, Lucky Hand produced

regionally and historically authentic beers, particularly lagers. “We

were making an unfiltered, unpasteurized beer [in California] that

was very much what would have been drunk in the saloons if you

had been around there prospecting for gold,” Jesse said. The Cali

Common lager to which Jesse referred, was a steam beer that went

on to win the prestigious bronze medal in the 2012 American Beer

Cup. Bolstered by success and fueled by proceeds from the buyout

of Lucky Hand, Jesse and Sam then headed home to pursue their

dream of opening a bigger, more successful brewery with a distinct

Chicago feel.



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