Really, what isn’t Drew Fox working on? The brewer behind Gary, Indiana’s 18th Street Brewery has taken on a lot in the brewery’s first two years, from multiple spatial expansions to an all-sour-beer side project called Sour Note, to collaborations with the buzzy Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co. And there’s only more to come this year.
Last week, Fox announced that 18th Street would expand (for the fourth time in its history) to take over the former fur factory space adjacent to the brewery. That will add more barrel-aging room and nearly double the brewery’s capacity to approximately 1,000 barrels this year, keeping up with demand for 18th Street and Sour Note’s bottles. Release days—especially for the Sour Note line, Sinister Double IPA and Hunter variations (18th Street’s milk stout that now has eight iterations)—frequently draw crowds from across Indiana and nearby Chicago.
Those fans will want to keep an eye out for more information on a big event coming mid-April: a massive barrel-aged beer release party. Since opening, the brewery has been barrel-aging everything from Hunter verticals to Sour Note farmhouse ales, mainly in barrels from Michigan’s Journeyman Distillery. On a TBA date in mid-April, Fox will tap approximately 30 of these barrel-aged beers at a party to celebrate the brewery’s coming expansion. He says 80 percent of the beers available that day will be draft-only, with the remainder in 500mL bottles for purchase.
In addition to planning the barrel-aged beer party, Fox and his team have their eye on another Hunter variation for 2015, as well as more Sour Note releases. Most Sour Note bottles, including a recently released sour red ale, are available primarily at the brewpub with just a few bottles sent to distribution. If you’re frustrated by their rare availability, just hope that 18th Street continues to expand at its current pace.