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Brew pubs.

A trendy, new drinking, eating and meeting place has emerged in the '90s - brew pubs. Brew pubs offer the familiar atmosphere of a restaurant bar with a new twist: beers brewed on the premises, usually within the sight of patrons and served with zesty foods in a warm, inviting setting. And what beers they are. Pale gold and copper-colored, these beers have the malty sweetness, hoppy bitterness and creamy heads of fresh brews. Made from only natural essentials - water, hops, malted barley and yeast - they are rarely bottled, pasteurized or filtered. Beer doesn't get any fresher or finer than this.

Opened four years ago, Goose Island Brewing Co. (1800 N. Clybourn St.; 312-915-0071) in Chicago has windows overlooking its brewery. Goose Island offers five to seven different brews at any time, ranging from light to full-bodied and dark.

Goose Island's best seller, according to general manager Heather Dillon, is its Golden Goose pilsner. American foods and European specialties, particularly those cooked with beer, are also served. Once a month, the restaurant holds a beer appreciation dinner - a five-course meal matched with the pub's brew and imported beers.

Zip City Brewing Co. (3 W. 18th St.; 212-366-6333), New York City's only brew pub. opened less than a year ago and has quickly become to place to be after work for the Chelsea neighborhood's publishing and advertising crowd. Low-key yet upbeat and friendly with a wide and varied menu, two gleaming copper brew tanks sit at the bar dispensing light or amber beers and a dark beer; the amber outsells the dark two-to-one. Ironically, Zip City's copper tanks are housed in the same building that was once home to the National Temperance Society at the turn of the century.

When it opened in 1986, The Commonwealth Brewing Co. Ltd. in Boston (138 Portland St.; 617-523-8383) was not only the first brew pub the first to brew beer in Massachusetts in 22 years. Located near the Boston Garden, today, it serves nine beers in a brew pub that gleams with copper - copper tables, copper bar and copper kettles. Patrons can see the brewery through windows while downing their drinks and dining on sandwiches and burgers as well as lobster. "Our best-selling beer is our blond ale, which is an American version of an English pale ale," says general manager Jim Lee.

Denver's Wynkoop Brewing Co. (1634 18th St.; 303-297-2700) has an extensive menu of "fancy food served casually," says co-owner John Hickenlooper. Opened since 1988, Wynkoop offers six to 10 beers - the favorite being a smooth English bitter. Wynkoop's bar is 65 feet around; even so, it's hard to find space come Friday evening, the busiest time of the week. There's even a jazz club downstairs." And the crowd is almost half women," says Hickenlooper.

Three more brew pubs would hardly be noticed on the West Coast where there are at least 200 and counting. Gordon Biersch Brewery and Restaurant (640 Emerson St.; 415-323-7723), for example, opened in Palo Alto, Calif., in 1988. It was so successful another brew pub was opened in San Jose in 1990. That one grew almost 400% faster than anticipated, so a third was opened this last April in San Francisco. In all three, the beer is German-style lager, and the crowd is mainly professional.

Why brew pubs and why now? "There are enough people willing to pay extra for an extra-special product," says Hickenlooper. "Imported beers helped," adds Lee. "It showed Americans how good a beer can be. And, people's taste buds became more sophisticated," says Lee. Although brew pubs will never replace the convenience of commercial brand beers, those like Dillon think beer is taking up a trend where wine left off. "People are beginning to appreciate the various subtleties and differences in beer." Not to mention the aura of friendliness, comfort and belonging that brew pubs offer.
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Author:Fried, Eunice
Publication:Black Enterprise
Article Type:Directory
Date:Aug 1, 1992
Words:642
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