Heavy Hops Ep. 015: Rustic Ales of Chicago (Mike Schallau/Is Was Brewing)

Belgian ales of all styles are favorites at Heavy Hops. Whether its a farmhouse ale with spelt from Brasserie de Blaugies, a beautiful unsweetened lambic from Cantillon or a hoppy pale ale from De La Senne, these beers all carry a strong sense of place. Their sensibilities are clear and intentional: from aroma and flavor to the designs on the labels. The “hand of the maker” is always present and lends remarkable distinctiveness. It is this connection between place, people and the beer that we find most compelling.

Taking inspiration from these producers Mike Schallau embarked on a new Chicago-based journey, Is/Was Brewing. The construction of his beers are simple, but their dryness and complexity lend insane drinkability. For Episode 015 of Heavy Hops we speak with Mike about his beers, recipe formulation, sources of inspiration, and what integrity means as a producer of these styles of beer. Bottle conditioning and choice of bottle type is an artistic choice for Mike and we explore why in our tasting. We also touch on his formative experiences as a craft beer drinker and at Pipeworks Brewing as Director of Operations and Barrel Aging; how COVID-19 has brought Is/Was closer to its customers; and what it is about the eccentric characters of Belgium that inspires him.

Beers Enjoyed:
Is/Was Stay
Is/Was Stay Brett
Is/Was Spandrel (Green Bottle)
Is/Was Spandrel (Brown Bottle)
Hill Farmstead Dorothy (2014 vintage)

Find Is/Was:
Official Website

Heavy Hops:

Episode Art and HH Logo By: Bryn Gleason

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