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.
BREWEREY FEATURE//ALE SYNDICATE 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. 32 <strong>CUSP</strong> MAGAZINE WINTER ’14 ISSUE