Argus Brewery Closes in COVID-19 Downturn

Argus Brewery Closes in COVID-19 Downturn
The historic Argus Brewery Building. Source: Argus Brewery.

Argus Brewery, in Chicago’s far south Roseland neighborhood, has announced they are closing after 10 years in operation.

A story today in carried the announcement. The father and son team of Bob and Patrick Jensen opened Argus in 2009, in an old Schlitz Brewery distribution stable at 11314 S. Front St. Argus had relied mostly on draft sales, which dried up once Illinois bars had to shut down to fight the COVID-19 virus. A surge in bottled beer orders has allowed them to remain in operation until its current stock is sold.

Argus started by providing house branded beers to local taverns in the Chicago area. Among its more notable brews has been Paschke Pilsner, a Polish style lager named for Chicago artist Ed Paschke. In 2016, they hired brewmaster Ted Furman, who had founded pioneering brewery Golden Prairie Fermentations in 1990. Furman re-launched Golden Prairie in 2018, after his flagship Doppel Alt won a Gold medal at the Great American Beer Fest. Argus also took a Bronze medal at the 2016 World Beer Cup for their Argus Lager. In 2017 they released Tuskegee Airmen Pursuit, an homage to Jack Lyle, a regular taproom customer who was also one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen, a group of African-American WWII military pilots.

Argus’ building has been visible from the Metra Electric line, with its distinctive terra cotta horses heads. The stable were designated a Chicago Historic Landmark in 2011, along with a neighboring “tied house” that once formed “Schlitz Row,” a block of Schlitz taverns and housing for Schlitz workers that just happened to be across the street from the dry Pullman area.

Argus also paid tribute to the old Pullman neighborhood by releasing Pullman Monumental Lager in 2015, upon the occasion of Pullman being declared a National Monument. The occasion brought a visit to the site of the Pullman rail car factory and its workers’ quarters from President Barack Obama, who heard about the one-day beer release. Argus got a call from the Secret Service, requesting four cases to be put on Air Force One.

Bob Jensen told Patch he hopes to sell the brewery building and its equipment as a turnkey for new owners.

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