An Evening with Doug and Tracy Hurst from Metropolitan Brewing

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I must say I’m a little up to my ears in beer. Allow me to qualify that statement. I’m not hammered or swimming in beer for that matter…I’m simply feeling burnt out by the whole beer scene (if that’s possible?). I only say this because not long after the Craft Brewer’s Conference took place here in Chicago in April, this last week (May 17th) was American Craft Beer Week. Needless to say, there have been countless events taking place for the last month all over the Chicagoland area. While these events and heightened attitude towards craft beer are exciting, it has been rather overwhelming.

Regardless if my feelings and determined to enjoy Craft Beer Week, I found an event taking place at the Bavarian Lodge in Lisle, IL. They were hosting Doug and Tracy Hurst from Metropolitan Brewing, local to Chicago. This tag-team, powerhouse brewing couple are making some great Lagers and doing so with passion. They have a genuine love for creating fresh quality products that are sessionable and beer drinkers can appreciate. I had some time to talk with Doug who explained a little of how the company got started.

After some schooling at the Siebel Institute of Technology/World Brewing Academy in Chicago and in Munich he felt the need to provide Americans with fresh Lagers like the ones he experienced while in Germany. I found this insightful because right away he decided to establish a niche, something unique about the brewery yet to be. Sure there are lagers being made in Chicago, but at Metropolitan that is what they do and they do it well. Both Doug and Tracy often times work 13 hour days not to mention various marketing events. Naturally the desire to brew amazing lagers would come at an expense. They needed a facility and financial support. He communicated that the need for a sound business model is a necessity. This was something they took a great deal of time and care in to prepare it for investor.

A couple take-a-ways I had after my conversation with them were:

  • You need to have a love for brewing and stay true to your likes. If you do not enjoy making a certain style of beer don’t do it. Doug emphasized that if you’re not genuinely interested and passionate about your product then it will show.
  • Pick one thing and do it well. Metropolitan can brew Ales, but they have established themselves as makers of quality Lagers. Their focus allows them to concentrate on producing the best product they can rather then trying to appease the masses with a variety of options. They contribute Lagers as their option to the craft brew world.
  • Stay humble and personable. I am continually impressed by the down-to-earth attitude and demeanor of those brewing craft beer. Doug and Tracy took the time to talk to me and be real. It made my next beer all the more enjoyable knowing that the people who brewed it actually cared about me.

At my end of the bar I enjoyed the company of fellow craft beer fans from around the world while drinking a Kolsch, Lager, and Alt from Metropolitan. There was Julie, who operates a very commendable organization that promotes responsible drinking habits (check out BuzzCheck Inc to educate yourself and make good decisions). Then there was Julian, a gentleman from Germany who loved Doppelbocks and shared stories of his Polish mother during WW2. The company was definitely welcomed.

At the end of the night I was glad to have paid a visit. It provided me with yet another reason why the craft beer scene is fun to be a part of. This wonderful community is made up of people from all walks of life, committed brewers, and great beer! If you are ever in Chicago make sure you stop by Metropolitan Brewing and check them out.

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