ALBANY PARK — Twisted Hippo, which was destroyed in a devastating fire earlier this year, will start brewing at District Brew Yards in the West Loop while its owners search for a new permanent home.
Starting Monday, the brewery will begin roasting and preparing 200 pounds of beets for a new batch of Twisted Hippo’s Beeting Heart fruit beer, co-owner Marilee Rutherford said. The plan is to have it available on tap at District’s beer hall, 417 N. Ashland Ave., by August, Rutherford said.
“That’s one of our one of our most beloved and bizarre beers,” Rutherford said.
Marilee and Karl Rutherford, a wife-and-husband team, opened Twisted Hippo’s first taproom at 2925 W. Montrose Ave. in 2019. A fire that began at an apartment building next door spread to the brewery in February, destroying Twisted Hippo, the Ultimate Ninjas Gym and displacing residents.
Since then, fans of the craft brewery have launched fundraisers for the employees while its owners navigate the insurance process and look for a new building.
While the brewery was able to salvage some of the beer from the fire, those reserves have been diminishing with each beer festival, the most recent of which was at Horner Park.
Moving into District allows the brewery to resume producing its popular, off-kilter beers during the rebuilding process, Rutherford said. The arrangement was made possible by Bold Dog Beer Company deciding to suspend its brewing operations in Illinois after more than five years at the craft beer collective, Rutherford said.
Bold Dog’s owners were not immediately available for comment.
In addition to the “wall of beers” at the 417 N. Ashland Ave. location, Twisted Hippo’s will supply beer to District’s Wheeling location, Rutherford said.
“The nice thing about being in this group, this facility, is that it gives us some flexibility as to what we’re able to offer and how we’re able to rebuild,” Rutherford said.
Twisted Hippo will also begin offering distribution to bars, restaurants and packaged goods stores starting next month, Rutherford said. Anyone interested in carrying the brewery’s beers can reach out to the brewery at email@example.com.
Rutherford and her husband are still looking at properties in Albany Park, she said. While she’s excited about some of the locations, there’s still a long way to go before Twisted Hippo can reopen its own brewpub, she said.
“It’s always hard and always complicated to open one, but supply chain issues and inflation and all that nonsense has made it a little bit bonkers,” Rutherford said.
Twisted Hippo’s former building was torn down after the fire. This week, crews began demolishing the apartment building where the fire started at 4337-39 N. Richmond St.
Apartment building owner Gary Carlson was not immediately available for comment. The Department of Buildings said there are no current permit applications for 2915-2925 W. Montrose Avenue or 4335-4339 N. Richmond Street.
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