ROGERS PARK — A new brewery that aims to open in Rogers Park will be pitching plans to the community at a meeting this week.
Brewer Chuck Patella hopes to open Howard Street Brewing at 1617 W. Howard St. between The Factory Theater and Sol Café — just east of the Howard “L” station. Ald. Joe Moore (49th) will host a community meeting on the project at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the proposed brewery location.
The decision to open next to The Factory Theater is an intentional one — Patella has a background in theatre and his wife introduced him to the venue.
After bringing his homemade brews to theater events for years — over 1,000 pints of beer, he figures —Patella said he saw the adjacent vacant storefront as a perfect fit.
“What we are going to focus on, is everything,” he said. “We want to explore all of the different styles of beer, not just the popular IPAs and sours.”
Patella, who has been brewing at home for more than a decade, was able to secure funding for the brewery equipment through an Indiegogo campaign that raised more than $10,000.
After meeting with his architect, Patella looks to create a 35-seat tap room in the space. In true taproom fashion, the brewery will serve in-house beer only. There will be no food or liquor sold.
The brewing equipment will be on the west wall of the building with an open viewing area for patrons to watch the brewing process.
Patella said he just finished working on a chocolate vanilla milk stout he described as “amazing.”
Although this is his first attempt at opening a business, Patella hopes to draw on his background in the technology sector for fresh ideas — and he already has a few.
He’s thinking of offering custom brews to couples for their wedding, which would allow the pair to design (and help brew) a one-of-a-kind beer with a brewer to serve to their guests. They’d create a custom label for their tasty concoction and Howard Street Brewing would deliver the custom keg just in time for the wedding.
If all goes well, the brewery could open as early as May — if it draws community support and clears hurdles at City Hall. Patella is seeking a special-use permit and tavern license to open the brewery.
So far, Patella said he’s heard mostly positive feedback from the community, but he’s anxious to hear concerns, too.
“Right now, I think the biggest thing is that people want to meet me and find out who I am,” he said.
Do stories like this matter to you? Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.