Like so many indie rock bands, nano brewers tend to play in a few different bands. While they’re getting their own operation up and running, then still return to places like Pipeworks and 18th street to help out, returning the favor of a scrappy education. And they tend to collaborate and partner with each other in unique ways, sharing spaces, equipment, personnel, ingredients, whatever it takes to make sure the next batch gets made. Theses a transparency and ethos that defines a generation who grew up with ubiquitous internet and social media, where few things were owned and almost everything was shared. So while on the surface it’s easy to see a generation full of ego and self-promotion, underneath that layer is a much deeper understanding of community and co-existence than our culture has seen in a long, long time.
Today, I talk to a pair of brewers in Chicago that I think exemplify this community. Steve Miller of Slapshot Brewing, and Mike Pallen of Mikerphone Brewing. Two guys who have been developing their brewery concepts independently for a few years, and who recently found the support and inspiration they sorely needed, in each other. It’s a compelling look at what makes craft beer’s nano layer so fascinating.