The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

First Look: Brew & Grow's New West Loop Store

By Roger Kamholz in Food on Nov 16, 2011 7:40PM

Walking around Brew & Grow's new store in the West Loop sparks ideas. You find yourself motivated to take on a roster of new homegrown projects, from growing your own greens hydroponically to brewing your own beer. We recently got a tour of the three-week-old space on South Morgan Street, and were amazed by the sheer size and potential of it all.

The store is the Brew & Grow chain's second inroad into the city. The first is located on North Kedzie Avenue (near Addison). Six other branches are peppered throughout Illinois and Wisconsin. They're basically one-stop shops for all the equipment, literature and supplies you need to get busy making a variety of foods, drinks and plants at home.

B&G's idiosyncratic assortment of products - wine- and cheesemaking kits, hydroponic gardening equipment, etc. - can be traced to the hobbies and passions of David Ittel, who runs the company with his two sons, Jason and Sean. Judging by his kick-ass baby arugula (ready to eat in just one week), David has a knack for gardening. The store can set you up with lamps, automatic watering systems, plant food and more. Think of it as the fast track to salads you can completely call your own.

On the "Brew" side, you have David Kelley, the store's beer expert, who showed off B&G's impressive inventories of yeast strains, hops and grains during our visit. Kelley also makes and serves beer on the premises, exhibiting his talent for the craft. He's collaborating with several of Chicago's commercial brewers, such as Revolution Brewing and Finch's, to create brewing kits for home use based on beers you'd get at their breweries and brewpubs.

Brew & Grow is located at 19 S. Morgan St., Open 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Phone number is 312-243-0005.