Patrick Rue has been making some of the most ambitious beers in the US for years, and he’s inspired any number of breweries since to try the Belgian thing, which remains a long haul in a country that’s obsessed with pale malt hoppy beers with zero yeast character. He didn’t have a lot of models to learn from when he took the leap into small batch brewing, and now so many are following in his footsteps.
Alongside him today is John Barley of Solemn Oath Brewery in Naperville, Illinois, who is one of those breweries. When John was starting up, he collected business plans from anyone who would share them, he hired a brewer who wanted to play with Belgian yeast and hops, and rallied his family around him to join the start-up brewery game. Three years in and he’s a growing production brewery, perpetually on the cusp of compelling a major expansion.
These two coulnd’t be more different, and their breweries have little in common other than their inspiration point. But they were attracted to each other — Patrick came to town so they could make a beer together, and after this conversation they went to The Hopleaf and shared in a pretty wonderful beer dinner together. It was a pretty productive visit all around.