In the race to open the most breweries in the shortest time, Chicago is giving Minnesota a hard run for its money. I count something like 13 breweries that have opened in the Chicago Metro alone since the beginning of June. And there is a whole gaggle of them just weeks away from making beer. When I moved from there in 2002 there wasn’t much going on beer-wise in the city, but in the intervening years Chicago has become a sort of beer-brewing Mecca.
One of the more interesting Chicagoland newcomers is Solemn Oath Brewery. Solemn Oath is located about 45-minutes west of the Chicago “Loop” in the town of Naperville. Tucked into a non-descript, industrial strip on the west side of town, the brewery is unassuming on approach. When you enter the taproom you find yourself practically in the center of the brewery. As owner/brewer Joe Barley told me, “If someone holds your chair you can reach out and touch our hot liquor tank.”
Solemn Oath is making beers with some interesting flavor profiles. My favorite when I visited was Sweet Sweet Whisper Kisses, a 9% saison brewed with honey. One of their flagship beers is called Khlörost, a Belgian witbier infused with coffee of different origins. A witbier with coffee sounds like a bad idea, but it works. If you’re in the Chicago Metro, a visit to Solemn Oath is worth the trip out to Naperville.