Brewery Feature: Great Central Brewing Company
The first time I visited Great Central was the opening day of their taproom. That was back in September when I had just started a girl rates beer and I was checking out all of the local breweries. I was always fascinated by Great Central and their unique business model. GC is a contract brewery, meaning breweries give them their recipes to brew and package their beer at a larger scale than the brewery is capable of doing by themselves. Keeping that in mind, you would assume that their facility is pretty large, but you really wouldn't be prepared for how large it is. The sheer size of the space as well as the brewing capacity is something to marvel at, especially since they've only been brewing about a year and a half.
Lets talk for a second about the contract work that they do. If you're a brewery that is looking to increase production or clear up some space in the fermenters for some more experimental beer, GC is the place you need to call. You give them the recipe you want them to brew and they'll take it from there! From brewing all the way to packaging, you're in good hands. If you want to test out the beer they make, they even have their own line of German beers that take you to Germany with one sip.
Being of German heritage, I really appreciate a good, quality German beer. Luckily for me, this is the style of beer that GC specializes in. Their brewmaster, Andreas, was born and trained in Germany so the beer is incredibly true to style. I haven't been to Germany yet, but I've heard a rumor that their beer tasted just like the stuff in Germany. His expertise combined with head brewer, Laura's, Ph.D. experience working with yeast provide them with the capability to brew with the highest level of quality every time. It really shows in the quality of both their own German styles as well as the beers they brew for their clients.
One of my favorite things about GC is their taproom. It has a traditional German beer hall feeling, with long tables capable of accommodating large groups. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable about what they're serving. It serves as a perfect showcase of what they can do, you can try about 20 different styles that they brew, both their own and the breweries they brew for.
As far as the beer goes, my absolute favorite beer they brew is their Hefeweizen. I often find myself really craving a good hef and theirs really fits the bill! Clean and refreshing with the classic banana and clove flavors. My other favorites are probably Son of Juice from Maplewood and Silent Disco from Funk Brewing.
To sum it up, this place is awesome, whether you're a consumer looking to get fresh beer from more than one place in one spot or a brewer looking to expand production of your flagship beer. If you find yourself in the west loop, I really hope you'll check them out. The west loop has become quite a beer destination with Goose Island, On Tour, Finch and Great Central all within walking distance of each other. Keep an eye out for when one of them has a food truck!