Jared Rouben seems to spend just as much time at the farmers market as he does at Goose Island's Clybourn brewpub, where he has been a brewer for four years. So it's not much of a surprise that the new brewery he plans to launch will focus on what he calls "culinary-driven beer."
"These are beers that have layers of flavor," Rouben said. "Food is what brings these beers to life. Without food, I don't think you'd have beer."
Rouben's made a name for himself in the Chicago beer scene with this style of beer, producing a popular series of collaborative brews with chefs such as Frontera Grill's Rick Bayless and Hot Chocolate's Mindy Segal, as well as using fruit from Midwest growers in his farmers market series of beers for the brewpub. His last day at the brewpub will be in mid-January.
"I'm excited about continuing my relationships with Midwestern farmers and with Midwestern chefs. That's where this all began and where I hope to continue. Without them, I don't think I would be the brewer I am today," Rouben said.
It's a love affair that harkens back to Rouben's culinary school days, when he trained as a chef while founding his school's beer club.
"When you're creative [when brewing], you have the same mindset a cook would have when creating a dish," Rouben said.
He hopes the new brewery, which will be located in Chicago, will be producing small batches of seasonal beers by the end of the year. Though expectations in the craft beer world are high for his new project, Rouben isn't rushing to grow faster than the supply of ingredients will allow.
"It'll grow organically," he said. "I'm not in any rush to grow faster than it should."
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