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Lagunitas will open Chicago tap house by June

Douglas Park brewery to begin production by October

  • Lagunitas' forthcoming Chicago brewery will be the largest in the city.
Lagunitas' forthcoming Chicago brewery will be the largest in the… (Bill Hogan / Chicago Tribune )
February 26, 2013|By Kate Bernot, @redeyeeatdrink | RedEye

Chicago craft beer fans who follow Lagunitas founder Tony Magee on Twitter have had a pretty clear view of the back-and-forth between the brewery and the city.

Since announcing plans in April to open a tap room and production brewery in Chicago, Lagunitas has been working with the city to ensure that the Douglas Park facility, a former steel distribution warehouse, would be up to fire code.

As Magee found out, morphing the 1970s building into a sleekand safebrewery was going to take some work.

"Building anything is like a form of war. You make the best possible plan, then tear it up once the real fighting begins ..." Magee tweeted Feb. 18.

But now that he's resolved fire code issues, mostly having to do with sprinklers, Magee expects to have the tap room open by June, with the brewery fully operational by October.

And as for his relationship with the city? There were never any hard feelings.

"It was the good kind of back-and-forth," Magee said. "In the past few months, there's been a number of high-profile fires in the city. That raises a lot of attention."

With all systems go, Magee and his team look forward to the tap room's summer opening. The pub will be located in the center of the massive warehouse, which has ceilings that rise to more than 50 feet, and its windows will offer views of the brewing process that will begin there in the fall.

An Arlington Heights, Ill., native who later moved to California, Magee is enthusiastic about his return to the Midwestand yes, even his tweets are more upbeat these days.   @redeyeeatdrink

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