McHenry Brewing Company Opens Patio Space, Taps Into History
McHenry Brewing Company Opens Patio Space, Taps Into History

McHenry Brewing Company Opens Patio Space, Taps Into History

MCHENRY, IL — Even before he became the self-proclaimed “head honcho” at McHenry Brewing Company, Bob Master had a fascination with history, which made his venture in the craft beer business at his current location a perfect fit.

For Master took over operations of the former Chain O’ Lakes Brewing Company facility on Pearl Street in McHenry in 2018, re-establishing ties with the original McHenry Brewing Company’s past, which dates to 1860. Over the past five years, Master has helped to bring the brewery into the craft beer revolution that has swept across McHenry County in recent years while managing to find his own place on that landscape with his own spin on the beer he enjoys most.

Once one of just three craft beer producers along with Crystal Lake Brewing Company and Scorched Earth Brewing in Algonquin, McHenry Brewing Company is now part of a collection of nearly a dozen craft beer producers across the county that offer local suds lovers their take on one of the country’s most popular adult beverages.

Find out what's happening in Crystal Lake-Carywith free, real-time updates from Patch.

On Wednesday, McHenry Brewing will take another step into the modern-day by officially opening its improved patio space that will provide customers with a relaxed environment to enjoy a cold beer, live music, and food from local eateries.

The new patio space has been in the works for the past year, Master said. Although the brewery has offered an outdoor seating area with a half-dozen picnic tables, the new and improved beer garden will provide seating for around 40 patrons in a space that opens the brewery’s tap room up to an even more relaxed setting to help commemorate the brewery’s five-year anniversary this weekend.

Find out what's happening in Crystal Lake-Carywith free, real-time updates from Patch.

The plan calls for the brewery to offer a full slate of live music events while scheduling a parade of food trucks from local restaurants through September. Master said that depending on scheduling, he hopes to offer a variety of different food trucks throughout the summer as a way of celebrating other small businesses. The collaboration with other businesses has helped to create a sense of community that has grown along with McHenry County’s foray into craft beer.

“We’ve made some really good friends throughout the years with different food trucks and (businesses) and we really enjoy having those people around,” Master told Patch on Wednesday.

“I see the beer industry as a big family. Everyone is willing to help each other out. If we have questions, we can always bounce ideas or questions off of each other.”

Coming up on his five-year anniversary in the historic space that was started by George Gribbler more than 150 years ago, Master has continued to make his own name in the craft beer world. He tends to stick close to a traditional offering of beer offerings with its flagship brews being its Fox River Scotch Ale and its Pearl Street Czech Pilsner. The brewery also makes its own root beer and also has an open seasonal tap that allows some of Master’s creativity as a brewer to take over.

The rotating tap changes every 1-2 weeks, he said, and Master will sometimes venture into a small batch of a pineapple-coconut milkshake IPA along with some festive seasonal beers such as a pumpkin ale for Halloween and an oatmeal raisin cookie beer for the wintertime. Eventually, Master would like to expand into distributing his beer to local stores and retailers like other area craft beer makers have. But for now, he is content to keep everything in-house where his beer and his surroundings’ history speaks for themselves.

The space boasts original labels and photos from McHenry Brewing Company’s early offerings from the 1860s, giving the taproom and brewery a definite community feel.

“That (history) definitely spoke to me, and I wanted to incorporate that as much as possible,” said Master, who majored in history in college. “It’s kind of cool when you tell the story of a brewery so long ago and you see (customers) faces kind of light up and they say, ‘Oh, that’s so cool — I never knew there was so much history in McHenry.’”

Now, with the expansion into the improved patio space, Master is looking forward to watching as customers can enjoy a new way to enjoy his beer in a new way.

“It will be nice to just sit back out there, listen to music and enjoy the sun and just see more people outside,” Master said.

The patio hours will mirror those of the taproom and will be open from 4-8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, from 4-9 p.m. on Friday, from 2-9 p.m. on Saturday, and from 12-5 p.m. on Sunday.

Get more local news delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for free Patch newsletters and alerts.

Click Here: Thomas Muller Jersey Sale