Every year, we try to spice things up here at Rule29 by creating opportunities for collaboration and pushing ourselves out of our creative confines. In past years we’ve had company trips to type museums, hosted competitive gourmet cook-offs, and created various competitions…But this year we wanted to go even further.
This past summer, we heard that a new brewery, Penrose Brewing (to be exact), was establishing themselves in our ‘hood. Co-founders, Eric and Tom, both hail from Goose Island originally but made the move out to Geneva when they decided to establish Penrose. The location was no arbitrary decision; having grown up here, Eric knew the culture of the town would fit well with their brand. They also knew that Geneva’s superior water quality would allow them to create better quality beer. (Water content is high in beer, so the chemistry of water can greatly affect the taste and quality of the beer). Choosing the name “Penrose,” which is inspired by a very precise tiling pattern, Eric and Tom aim to emphasize that their excellent brews are simply the expression of good science and artistry.
Because we’d heard that they were a creative bunch, we were already dreaming up ways that we could collaborate with them by the time Penrose was laying foundations at their new place. We conspired with Tom and Eric to host our annual Advisors Dinner in March and, more importantly, to help us take the dinner to the next level by premiering two specially-crafted Rule29 beers, inspired by our staff and brewed by Penrose.
To create the beers, our Rule29 family split into two teams: “Team Justin” and “Team Bob.” Each had about about two months to devise a recipe, brew it with Tom and Eric, and then create the brand. While Team Justin decided to go the “food-over-form” route (what beer goes best with Tacos??), Team Bob chose to root their beer in experience (what kind of beer would we want to drink while sitting around the table, sharing our lives?). Each teams’ beer was revealed on the night of the Advisor Dinner paired with food from one of our favorite restaurants and clients Blackberry Market.
El Caballito (Team Justin’s beer) was crafted to be a hybrid style inspired by Mexican Lagers and German Goses, perfect for pairing with your favorite taco meal or to drink, simply as a refreshment after a hard day’s work. Conteur (Team Bob’s beer) is a Blackberry Saison brew – a beer style that originated from beers brewed in farmhouses over the long winter months (sound familiar?) – that flavorfully incorporates the taste of a variety of local elements (Heritage Prairie Farm honey, blackberries and fresh Geneva water).
In the end, Conteur won the esteemed judges vote, but we all know that Penrose is the real winner. Not only did they manage to brew our beers with impressive finesse, but they also celebrated an incredibly successful opening week, which included the inauguration of their back room with our Advisor Dinner.
Many thanks to Penrose for so graciously enduring our eclectic beer fantasies, for hosting our Advisor dinner and, really, for just being all-around great neighbors and friends. We look forward to future creative collaborations (and hopefully many more good pours)!