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BREWEREY FEATURE//ALE SYNDICATE Falling slightly higher on the spectrum of alcohol content than a traditional session beer. Sunday Session weighs in at 4.8% ABV, making it the lightest beer in the collection. Sunday Session is sweet though not overtly complex-a wheat beer and pale ale hybrid reminiscent of peach juice. “It is the beer we would like to be drinking ourselves,” Jesse said, sharing an apparently popular sentiment. Sunday Session was so well-liked after its release in Summer 2013 that one of the first bars to serve it requested it stay year-round. Alongside Richie Imperial Porter, Municipal IPA and Sunday Session, Ale Syndicate currently serves Petrillo Pale Ale and Van de Velde Belgo-Pale Ale, as well as boasting an arsenal of specialty beers that rotate seasonally. Even after initially struggling to establish their brand in Chicago, it still wasn’t always rainbows and hops for Ale Syndicate. “With our previous brewery we did all self-distribution. We knew when we started [Ale Syndicate] we wanted to make a lot more beer, but we had to find a distributor,” Jesse said. Legislation after prohibition illegalized the common practice of brewers selling directly to consumers, resulting in a three-tier system that causes a lot of headaches for small craft breweries. Ale Syndicate luckily has a flexible arrangement enabling them to maintain ownership and control over their product and choice of retailer. Dedication to community building is another of Ale Syndicate’s priorities, as is demonstrated by their unique relationship with the effortlessly trendy Arcade Brewery. Arcade Brewery operates out of the same building as Ale Syndicate, legally sharing the space through what is called a rotating proprietorship. Ale Syndicate Brewery is the one of the first in the state to have a legal designation and a license for this unique provision that enables them to host tenant brewers. “When [the tenants] are making beer, they are legally responsible as if they owned the whole place,” Jesse said. Arcade brewery produced their first bottled six-pack this past October, three years and six months since Ale Syndicate and Arcade Brewery struck up their partnership. “For the first year they are getting themselves set up as a brewery and then someone else can come in here and do that. We are building more of a community that way.” The foreseeable future looks bright for Ale Syndicate. In Spring 2015, they will open their doors to the public with a fully functional taproom. To source the menu, they will work with local chefs and food establishments. Further expansion, however, is not part of their plans. “I would love to be one of the main beers in Chicago,” Jesse said, “But I’m not trying to take over the world.” Ale Syndicate’s dedication to unfiltered, unprocessed and incredibly high quality beer effectively limits distribution to local retailers and enforces a slim shelf life to stay true to the quality over quantity. Beyond that, they are fiercely loyal to their hometown and hope to contribute to Chicago’s culture and appeal as a destination for extraordinary food and drink. With an in-the-works taproom, partnerships with start-up breweries, a constantly shifting roster of locally-sourced creative collaborations and a headstrong dedication to making only premier quality beer, Ale Syndicate has already set the bar incredibly high for themselves. But if anyone can succeed, it is this ambitious, seasoned group that is carving out their presence in the Chicago craft beer industry. When asked about motivation for the none-too-easy road ahead, Jesse referenced the quote posted on the doorway of his makeshift office and employee lounge: “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood.” Drawing inspiration from the historic Daniel Burnham, city planner for Chicago, Ale Syndicate looks fearlessly toward a bright and tasty future. For more info, go to http://alesyndicate.com/. 36 <strong>CUSP</strong> MAGAZINE WINTER ’14 ISSUE