Good Beer Hunting is a critical, creative, and curious voice in the world of beer. We write about and partner with breweries of all shapes and sizes in order to create a better future for the craft.
Major city suburbs are often viewed by their urban counterparts as meek, mild, and unhip. Solemn Oath is here to dissuade city dwellers of this notion. Located in posh suburban Naperville, SOB hides in a no-frills industrial park waiting for those in the know to come to it for the belgo-American and barrel aged brews.
Beer names like Punk Rock for Rich Kids, Butterfly Flashmob, and Ticklefight may seem like gimmick, but coupled with former Rock Bottom Brewery head brewer Tim Marshall’s masterful recipes and Jourdon Gullett’s face-melting illustrations, these beers are slaying Chicago craft. The small taproom encourages conversation among drinkers and gives a full view of the brewery, but with the Barley brothers’ plans to expand, things won’t stay small long. If you think the suburbs is for settling down, think again.
Patrick Rue, founder and beer savant from The Bruery, has been making some of the most ambitious beers in the US for years, and he’s inspired any number of breweries since to try the Belgian thing, which remains a long haul in a country that’s obsessed with pale malt hoppy beers with zero yeast character. He didn’t have a lot of models to learn from when he took the leap into small batch brewing, and now so many are following in his footsteps.
One of those brewers who followed in his footsteps, is John Barley, the founder of Solemn Oath Brewery. When John was starting up, he collected business plans from anyone who would share them, he hired a brewer who wanted to play with Belgian yeast and hops, and rallied his family around him to join the start-up brewery game. Four years in and he’s a growing production brewery, perpetually on the cusp of compelling a major expansion. These two couldn’t be more different, and their breweries have little in common other than their inspiration point, which they share below!