Let's face it, Emporium is one of Chicago's most underrated craft beer bars. It's chock full of arcade games, 20-somethings, and cans as far as the eye can see. Smart move, but they've also quietly played host to some critical craft milestones, like Pipeworks launching aluminum.
This Wednesday, buyer Jared Saul is going about 88 miles an hour toward another one of this milestones with the launch of the Twin Pines Imperial IPA with Spruce Tips & Wildflower Honey -ironically enough, in 22oz bombers, Pipework's OG format. It celebrates the 30th anniversary of the back to the Future franchise, which makes me feel both nostalgic, and old as fuck. But whatever, at least Doc Brown is running for prez.
Jared got a taste of what it means to make a Pipeworks collab, when a couple weeks before the brew day he got an email from his compatriot, Mike Shallau, asking if he wanted to be on the label. "This was accompanied by a picture of the poster for BTTF2," explains Saul. "I was in, obviously. I figured they'd just throw a cartoon version of me as Doc & Mike as Marty on the label like the Abduction series. I was very wrong. Mike had found these ridiculous BTTF costumes online. Obviously we had to use the old, beat-up PDubs delivery van (RIP Millennium Falcon) as our DeLorean."
For Saul, collaborating with Pipeworks is the consummation of a very long courtship. "They were my homies before we ever started the business relationship," explains Saul. "They kind of have this devil-may-care attitude about their beer, their artwork, and their identity as a brewery. That's rare in this industry and I think a lot of the reason they have such a hardcore fan base. That's why I wanted Emporium to be among the first bars to get them on draft. Before they really had any cooperage I would literally drive empty kegs over to the brewery to be filled with whatever it was they were packaging that week. That was the start of a beautiful relationship. The beer collaboration was always an idea we toyed with, but never pulled the trigger on until just recently when I threw out the BTTF idea. It was a no-brainer for both parties. Nerding out on one of the most iconic movie franchises of all time, via deliciously piney beer."
Twin Pines is being released on October 21st, this Wednesday, the exact day that Marty McFly travels into the "future" in the second film. The beer name, Twin Pines Mall, is inspired by the Hill Valley shopping center of the same name (until Marty runs over one of the pines and it then becomes 'Lone Pine Mall'). They chose the former version of the mall so that they could make the beer an "imperial" style (aka: twin).
Twin Pines is only available on draft at Emporium Arcade Bar (Wicker Park) starting October 21, 2015 at 7:00pm. Package will be available on premise at Emporium Arcade Bar (Logan Square) starting October 22, 2015. Available off-premise at various local purveyors in late October.
In the end, the beer is serious, but the idea is all about a great long-play of a joke, played out perfectly. "As a "public place of amusement" we have an obligation to the drinker to help them have fun," explains Saul. "Most of the time that transaction begins at the bar."
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