Food & Drink in this week's Reader: an off-the-grid brewery in the making, beer guides, Rustic House, Cocktail Challenge, and more | Bleader

Food & Drink in this week's Reader: an off-the-grid brewery in the making, beer guides, Rustic House, Cocktail Challenge, and more




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.

In Food & Drink Mike Sula reviews Rustic House, where chef Jason Paskewitz is turning out upscale contemporary American fare similar to that at his other Lincoln Park restaurant, Gemini Bistro, with the exception that here he has a built-in rotisserie to work with, producing free-range organic chickens and daily specials including suckling pig, leg of lamb, and duck l’orange.

Key Ingredient returns next week; in the meantime you can watch outtakes from the shoot of Michael Carlson at Schwa.

In Cocktail Challenge Daniel de Oliveira of GT Fish & Oyster, tasked with mushrooms—a food he happens to hate—concocts a portobello-cayenne syrup he combines with tequila, lemon juice, and red pepper shrub (a vinegar-based syrup) to make the Guadalajaran Handshake, named after a recent incident at a dinner in Guadalajara, when a wasted guest drunkenly groped de Oliveira’s manager under the table. Next up is Matty Eggleston of Perennial Virant.

Scraps previews the "brewer's BYO" dinner at Logan Square Kitchen tonight at 7 PM, where a three-course meal by Gaztro-Wagon will be paired with Half Acre beer; gives an update on 4 Wheel Kitchen, a food truck from two Chicagoans operating in Milwaukee to allow cooking on board; and announces a pop-up collaboration between Asado Coffee and Square Donutz, who'll be serving beignet-style doughnuts and coffee at T's Bar on Monday from 6 to 10 AM.

In the listings are 13 new restaurants, among them the recommended Etno Village Grill, Northdown Cafe and Taproom, and Tolotzin Mexican Restaurant.