La Grange resident Grant Hamilton hadn't always planned to open a brewery. All it really took was the realization that he's a beer lover—and he, too, could make it at home.
The beer lover and his two partners, Brett Semenske and Chris DiBraccio will open Imperial Oak Brewing, 501 Willow Rd. in Willow Springs, at the end of next month or the beginning of March, Hamilton told Patch.
For years, Hamilton, who does video production for Comcast, said he’d go to other breweries and routinely order the flights and samplers.
“I was sitting in (a brewery) one day, and (was) thinking, ‘Man, I love beer. Why don’t I know how to make it?’,” he said. “There’s good beer to be had at home—so I jumped on the internet and ordered a home brew kit and the rest is history.”
The home brew kit has grown to take over his garage, and his brewing has sparked a newfound interest in craft beer in the neighborhood, he said.
Hamilton met Semenske and DiBraccio, who owns Brixie's Bar & Grill in Brookfield, when he joined the Brixie's Brew Club. The trio decided last January that it was “now or never” to work on making the brewery a reality.
Hamilton said he and Semenske will focus on the brewing aspect of Imperial Oak while DiBraccio focuses on the business side.
The focus of the brewery will be imperial strength and barrel-aged brews, with some experimental styles, Hamilton said.
"Imperial," he said, refers to stronger beers, while "Oak" refers to barrel aging, using different types of wood to get different flavors and effects in the product. He added Imperial Oak has been in talks with Quincy Street Distillery about getting their barrels used for gin.
According to a news release from the business, "The Imperial Oak tap room will be comfortable and inviting, while at the same time,
maintaining the feel of a working brewery."
Construction Begins on New Brewery