As we all do at this time of year, it's time to look back at 2014. If we do say so ourselves, it's been quite the year for The Hop Review. We've been lucky enough to sit down with no-less than 28 of the craft beer industry's most knowledgeable, passionate, and driven people. This is all on top of the many events we've attended and the countless other awesome folks we've come across; many of who we plan to chat with throughout the next year.
As if we needed any more reasons to make a pit stop on the way to or from Chicago, we've now got another one – tucked away in Valparaiso. Anchoring a small industrial building along humble two-lane Lincolnway road sits Four Fathers Brewing. As relatively fresh faces to the Northwest Indiana beer scene, these four partners have aimed to make 'Valpo' part of the craft beer sandwich between Chicago and West Michigan. Brewers Jason Lacny and Colin Oswald, and their wives Beth and Kim, respectively, have set out to create a community taproom full of uniquely brewed pints. We dropped in to see how opening the space has treated them, their plans for exploring beer styles and how they fit in to the Midwest brew scene.
Two thirds of The Hop Review have roots in Michigan. Despite that fact, neither of us have spent much time in the southwest part of the state and, perhaps more egregiously, haven't taken the time to stop in Kalamazoo (widely considered the second best beer city in Michigan) for a brew on our way back to Chicago.
On an recent May Saturday morning, we woke up early, jumped in our car, and set out on a mission to change that. Luckily for us, there are more than enough beer-themed distractions scattered between Chicago and Kalamazoo to break up the trip and allow us the opportunity to check in with some of the Midwest's finest breweries along the I-94 corridor.