New brewer Tighthead debuts at Firkin Saturday

I haven’t said it in so many words, but the Chicago area is a booming craft beer place. I would have to take off my mittens to count all the new brewers that have come on line since I started blogging. And there are still more coming down the line.

But let me talk about the one opening this weekend.

Tighthead Brewing Company is a new production microbrewery in north suburban Mundelein, at 161 N. Archer Avenue, just off US Hwy 45. They are debuting their new beers this Saturday, November 26, at Firkin, 515 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville. Owner & Master Brewer Bruce Dir, and Head Brewer Billy Oaks, head brewer, will be on hand from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. to share a pint.

Tighthead’s web site describes the three beers that will be on tap at this event:

  • Comfortably Blonde Ale is an easy drinking American Blonde Ale.  This blonde is lighter and less bitter than traditional Pale Ales yet contains plenty of malt sweetness to support the ample additions of Crystal hops.  Brewed with American Ale yeast, this is a perfect gateway beer for the mainstream American Pilsner beer drinker.  We hope to convert the masses and make them comfortable with this perfectly crafted session beer.
  • Scarlet > Fire is an American style Red Ale.  The Name coming from the reference to the playful, improvisational transitions between Grateful Dead song’s Scarlet Begonias and Fire on the Mountain,  has a nice balance of malt sweetness from caramel malt and subtle toasty notes from roasted barley. The beer is brewed with American Ale yeast, and the hops are East Kent Goldings, paying tribute to its heritage as an Irish Red Ale.
  • IRIE is a malty and complex IPA.  Named for the Jamaican word “Irie” meaning “good, excellent, great or of good quality,”  this beer is all of those and more.  With an original gravity of about 1.070, the malt profile provides a sturdy backbone for the generous amount of Simcoe, Centennial and Columbus hops.  American Ale yeast ferments this beer cleanly allowing the dank hop qualities to come through in all their glory… IRIE Mon!

Bruce Dir started homebrewing in 1993 with a kit his then-fiancee gave him. As his interest in brewing grew, he became a co-founder of Lake County's BABBLE homebrew club. After some ins and outs in the corporate world, Bruce decided to pursue his dream of professional brewing in 2009, and learned about the business at Siebel Institute in Chicago and its World Brewing Academy. He also assisted Art Steinhof in brewing at Flatlander’s Brewing Co.

The name “Tighthead,” Dir writes, is a player position in Rugby, a sport that he played for many years. Hey, so long as it’s not another “Rock,” “Stone,” or “Chicago,” it’ll be easy for me to remember.

Tighthead’s brewhouse is a new 15 barrel facility, which is currently making beer for local draft accounts, with plans to expand into retail packaging. They have a tap room open Wednesdays through Sundays with their own beer in pints or growler fills, guest taps, and light snacks (patrons are encouraged to order dinner from local restaurants nearby). They’re also available for growler fills Mondays and Tuesdays, and will be offering tours Friday and Saturday afternoons.

Tighthead beers will be appearing at other accounts, like the Cubby Bear North in Lincolnshire, Buffalo Wild Wings in Round Lake Beach, and Biaggi's in Deerfield.

Follow me on Twitter, Google+ or my new Facebook fan page. For future events in first draft, check my Google calendar.

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    Mark McDermott

    Writer, trivia maven, fan of many things. I thought to learn all there is to know about beer as a way to stay interested in learning. It is my pleasure to bring Chicago's craft beer scene to you.

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