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Quinn, Magee On Hand For Lagunitas Brewhouse, Taproom Dedication

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Jun 17, 2014 7:35PM

Lagunita Brewing's Tony Magee (left) and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn. (Chuck Sudo/Chicagoist)

Lagunitas Brewing’s enormous Chicago brewhouse has been in operation for nearly two months but Tuesday marked both its official opening and the debut of Lagunitas’ long-awaited taproom. Befitting a Lagunitas event Tuesday’s gathering was a combination of the serious and cheeky.

“I want this brewery to be here 100 years from now,” Lagunitas Brewing’s Tony Magee told an assemblage of media and VIPs outside his company’s Douglas Park brewhouse. “There will be babies born today in this neighborhood who will one day take a tour of this facility and say, ‘I want to be a brewer.’“

Legacy has been a recurring theme for Magee throughout Lagunitas’ construction of their new brewery in the former Ryerson steel plant. Born in Rogers Park; raised in Morton Grove; a graduate of the Illinois Institute of Technology and Northern Illinois University; Magee has framed the brewery’s buildout not as much a Chicago homecoming as an expansion for Lagunitas. There was Magee, equal parts shrewd businessman and circus ringleader, touting the 150 jobs Lagunitas is creating, the delays in the construction which he said were Lagunitas’ doing, and how the construction became more than expanding the brewery's capacity. With Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicago Deputy Mayor Steve Koch at his side, Magee called building this brewery “the most rewarding experience of my life."

The view outside Lagunitas' taproom. (Photo credit: Chuck Sudo/Chicagoist)

Quinn, looking for every bit of good publicity he can get in his re-election campaign, said Lagunitas’ new brewery and the neighboring Cinespace Chicago soundstages are examples of how he’s fighting for the everyman and how Douglas Park is a neighborhood on the rise. After Quinn, Magee and Koch cut a chain with bolt cutters—“the only ribbon I could find was crime scene tape,” Magee joked—a marching band led the assemblage through the brewhouse and to the taproom. Visitors will not be disappointed. Located above the brewhouse, the taps are full of nothing but Lagunitas selections. The taproom has a capacity for seating 300 people between bar seating, a handful of high tables and picnic seating. Large windows give visitors a birdseye view of the in-process brewing operations below. Expect a complete menu of comfort food and music on stage will ensure visitors leave sated and happy.

Chuck Sudo/Chicagoist

Lagunitas’ Karen Hamilton (Magee’s sister and the company’s marketing director) said the taproom will be open from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. “Mondays and Tuesdays we’ll turn over the taproom to nonprofit organizations to raise money for their causes,” Hamilton added.

Lagunitas’ taproom will soft open Wednesday June 18, with an official grand opening June 25. It’s located at 1843 S. Washtenaw Ave.