Podcast Episode 328: Art History is Finding Innovation in Its Focus on Tradition

From its outpost an hour outside of downtown Chicago, Art History has quietly built momentum by focusing on a range of Czech- and German-inspired lagers as well as bitters, milds, and other English styles. In this episode, head brewer Greg Browne and cofounder Tom Rau share their approach to making traditional beers cool again.

Jamie Bogner Nov 4, 2023 - 6 min read

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In Geneva, Illinois, Art History Brewing doesn’t want to be everything to everyone, but they’re committed to brewing traditional styles well, while also making them relevant to today’s drinkers. That message has resonated in the broader Chicago beer world, winning them fans among some of the most influential bars and retailers in the city. For head brewer Greg Browne, it’s the logical outcome of a career spent brewing these beers in smaller ways at other breweries. And for co-owner Tom Rau, it’s a way to focus on beers about which they’re personally passionate, meanwhile offering something different and beer-focused to the broad community of Chicago drinkers.
In this episode, they discuss:

  • innovation through focusing on traditional styles
  • achieving the flavor results of decoction through other brewing means
  • building color in Czech-style pale lager
  • using the Hochkurz mash and an oversized lauter tun
  • ingredient selection for Northern German-style pils and Czech-style dark lager
  • designing and brewing smoked lagers
  • choosing yeasts for specific, regionally-inspired English-style ales

And more.

This episode is brought to you by:

G&D Chillers
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Sponsored by BSG and their partners HVG, who bring you the very best in German hops. Including Amira, the latest from their hop Breeding Program. With its classic hoppy, slightly herbal, and zesty lemon aromas it’s the ideal hop for those looking to capture the traditional flavor of a classic German lager. Visit BSGCraftbrewing.com to learn more.

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This episode is brought to you by Yakima Chief Hops. The 7th Annual Pink Boots Blend is now available for pre-order! $3 of every pound of the Pink Boots Blend purchased will be donated to the Pink Boots Society, a nonprofit organization that support women and non-binary individuals in the fermented and alcoholic industry through education. Place your orders from Yakima Chief Hops and secure your volume of this limited blend for your Pink Boots Collaboration Brew Day on March 8th, International Women’s Day. Learn more at www.yakimachief.com/pink-boots-blend

Jamie Bogner is the Cofounder and Editorial Director of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine®. Email him at [email protected].