This week we’re heading out to the burbs – Darien, Illinois to be exact, a.k.a the hometown of my grandmother (hey Grame!) to hang with the good people of Miskatonic Brewing Company. You’ve probably seen their Wise Fool IPA and Catchpenny around the Chicagoland area, but we managed to get our hands on some of their first can release of Epilogue from their Chapter IPA Series for this week’s Beer Drop feature!
This IIPA packs a punch at 8.5% but is so smooth and drinkable, you’ll hardly notice. This one’s particularly limited, so act quickly, people!
Read on for my interview with Josh Mowry, bossman over at Miskatonic, where we cover Epilogue, the meaning behind the name, and more!
Tell us more about Epilogue!
Epilogue is an IIPA that celebrates our favorite parts of the style while softening anything that might make it less drinkable, such as an alcohol bite or a palate-wrecking level of bitterness. The mango and papaya notes from the hopping jumps around well with the light malty start that dries out for the summer months where people will be enjoying it.
Hit us with the tasting notes:
Light malt bill with tones of caramel before falling away, finishing with a tropical fruit-like hop aroma that dries out spritzy and refreshing at the end with tempered bitterness for balance.
On the chilly side would be best, as the flavors are all intense enough they don’t need to warm up to express themselves. I’d use a glass that lets you get a big whiff with each sip (such as a tulip glass), and you can’t go wrong with letting Epilogue cut through some summer tacos or fajitas while complimenting a salsa with a little fruit in it.
Before we jump into the brewery, what was your path to getting into craft beer?
I’ve always loved cooking and hospitality, with a streak of chemistry. This scratches all those itches. Before beer, I was a Paralegal debating getting my law degree – I became a home brewer at first and then married into a family with multiple professional brewers. Once I realized they’ll pay you 9 to 5 for brewing it was all over.
So how did Miskatonic Brewing Company first come to be?
We began thinking about who we would be as a brewery seven years ago, but opened our doors almost exactly two years ago in 2015. We began canning last year in 2016 right around our 1 year anniversary.
Where does the name come from?
Miskatonic is a fictional place out of the stories by a long-dead author named H.P. Lovecraft. Lovecraft is an author that has faded almost completely from the public, but is held near and dear by an insane amount of authors even almost 100 years after his death. It’s his influence on others that was so important, not so much his direct work. We think that holds true for all crafts, including brewing. So much of what we do at Miskatonic was formative from others that came before us, and we wanted to give a nod to the role of influence with our name.
What’s the story behind your branding and beer names?
Lovecraft liked to write about things that seemed normal, until it got very, very weird. We think craft’s a lot like that as well, and wanted our logo to do the same thing. Our Victorian lady (we call her Cecilia) starts off normal, but by the time your eyes take in the whole silhouette, everything gets weird.
Most of our beer names are name for archetypes of characters you find in all kinds of stories. The Catchpenny is a miserly figure, like an Ebenezer Scrooge, and Shield Maiden is a strong female character, one of our favorites in stories. We try and match the names to the personalities of the styles we’re attempting to emulate.
What’s your favorite thing about Miskatonic? What makes it special?
All we’ve ever wanted to do at Miskatonic is to reach out to people with our beer and connect over the love of craft, and the hospitality that comes with it. I love looking out at our taproom and seeing us have some small part of people’s day, whether it be social or introspective. At the same time, we want to pay homage to really classic styles with tight, clean representations of these long-held types of beers. Everyone once in awhile we’ll brew a wilder offering that’s more original, like our Gardener Belgian Wit with Lavender, Vanilla and Lemon peel, but at the end of the day, we just care that the beer is clean and that it gets love from folks.
We love that – where can folks come see you guys?
Darien, IL, a suburb southwest of Chicago. We use our taproom to hold local groups and organizations often, as we see the role of the taproom as a sort of public house to be a part of the community.
Where do you see Miskatonic going from here?
Slowly and quietly growing into a tried and true standby in the Chicagoland market, perhaps the midwest in general eventually. And to keep our family at the brewery tight and happy.
Hot Hop Takes
Favorite craft beer festival:
Great Taste of the Midwest in Madison, WI is our favorite to go to as patrons. Tons of brewers just slinging their best, and the atmosphere is more to share with each other and the fervent lovers of craft in general rather than any type of marketing. Also, the whole city of Madison seems to hold great industry events all weekend. It’s a unique festival for sure.
Biggest beer pet peeve:
Festival goers who have no interest in even knowing the name or style of the beer they’re about to pound, just the ABV.
Favorite brewery other than your own:
Allagash Brewing in Maine. Quiet, refined, and thoughtful, they regularly crank out amazing beers, and often they’re not full of buzzwords. Process seems to be held as sacred as ingredients there, and that’s awesome.
Brewery you see as a measuring stick for what you’re trying to do:
Half Acre. They are fairly no-bullshit, friendly, and just want to make great beer people like to drink.
Beer trend that’ll be laughable five years from now:
NEIPAs. No hate on them existing, but this blinders issue with only seeking them out, and not appreciating multiple styles, is insane. It’s like the people who douse all their food in hot sauce.
The next big beer trend:
Milkshake IPAs (God help us)
Thanks for chatting with us, Josh – we can’t wait to see where Miskatonic goes from here! For a pint with a view, be sure to swing by Miskatonic’s Darien taproom the next time you’re in the southwest ‘burbs – you can find them at 1000 N Frontage Rd.
801 check-ins and counting – keep tabs on what Sean’s been drinking here. Spoiler alert, he’s been busy hunting down future Beer Drops…