Inside 500-gallon tanks sits history turned hops.
Soon you can get a taste of Naperville’s most famous tree – the Hobson oak – bottled up and turned into a beer.
“I think that the Hobson Oak brings people together. It was part of a community that obviously had a passion for this tree. Everybody has their own story, some of them intersect like Josh from Miskatonic’s and mine where we brought our kids out there before the tree was cut down to say goodbye to it,” said Jeremiah Zimmer, co-founder of Hop Butcher for the World, A Beer Company.
The two brewers bonded over their mutual love of the tree, wondering if they could pair it with their love of beer. They pitched the idea to the Naperville Parks Foundation and quickly got approval.
“So to be able to take a small amount of that tree, infuse it into a beer, and then take a portion of the proceeds from the beer that we sell and donate it back to the Naperville Parks Foundation is something that we felt was super unique,” said Zimmer.
Miskatonic Brewing Company in Darien, Hop Butcher for the World Beer Company in Chicago, and Naperville’s own Solemn Oath Brewery have all joined forces to create two beers using woodchips from the 250 year-old burr oak.
“We got some kilned chips, we took those chips and we took our sort of our most delicate, subtle beer that we make year-round and we soaked the chips in that beer just to see what the adorned, naked character of the oak itself would impart into a beer,” explained Josh Mowry, co-founder of Miskatonic Brewing. From there we figured out where we wanted to go with the actual recipe that we’re going to be doing.”
That recipe will be Miskatonic’s Hobson Oak pale and hoppy IPA, meant to be an appealing drink for even those who aren’t beer drinkers.
“There’s going to be some balance to it so not too bitter, not too sweet. There’s going to be some orange and citrus flavors,” explained Zimmer. “The vanilla piece of what we’re going for with the beer itself is designed to pair with what we think the wood will bring, it’s just a matter of really dialing in how long we circulate that beer throughout the wood or how long we allow it to soak in the fermenter after fermentation is complete, that’s going to help us find that sweet spot.”
The second beer from the tree will be a heavy and dark stout that will age in barrels at Solemn Oath.
They’ll both be branded, as “Ole Knotty” and Miskatonic will be making a large brew of it later this month. Also stay tuned this month when Miskatonic Brewing will host a release of “Ole Knotty.”
Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.
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