New breweries are opening at a furious clip in and around Chicago. Today we launch an occasional series to highlight them called — imaginatively, we'd like to think — New Brew Alert.
First up, we have Ten Ninety.
Name: Ten Ninety
Location: Contract brewed at Big Chicago Brewing in Zion; hoping to opening a brewery of its own in Chicago in about two years.
At the helm: The three partners are Brian Schafer (a chief financial officer at a scrap metal company), Andy Smith (a patent attorney) and Jamie Hoban (a banker). Over time, some of the partners plan to segue from their white-collar jobs to full-time brewery operation.
Philosophy: Ten Ninety — a geeky brewer's term for the starting gravity of its first four beers — plans to exclusively make "imperial" beers: high-alcohol, big-flavored brews, which can be applied even to traditionally milder styles. With its clean label design and bold flavors, Ten Ninety envisions its brews as primarily wine-like food pairings.
The beer: Ten Ninety will have three year-round beers: a wit with honey added that's a mighty 10.1 percent alcohol, a tripel with Indian palm sugar (10.3 percent alcohol) and an India pale ale (9.8 percent alcohol). There will also be a handful of seasonal releases, the first a cayenne pomegranate porter that clocks in at a whopping 12.8 percent alcohol (wine-like indeed).
Be sure to try: Because they haven't started full-scale production yet, I tasted Ten Ninety's year-old home brew, which makes lasting judgment difficult. However, they nailed the wit that I tried. Round, sweet (think honey and raisins) and boozy while remaining dry and clean, it would make an ideal food beer.
Find it: Distributed by Louis Glunz, Ten Ninety will be available on tap at craft beer bars in June. Large format and 12-ounce bottles will follow later this summer.
More information: ten-ninety.com
Want to make us aware of a new brewery in or around Chicago? Write to Tribune beer writer Josh Noel at firstname.lastname@example.org.