Illinois’ First Non-Alcoholic Brewery Poised to Open by Spring

Think all the great flavor you love without the next-day blues.
Illinois’ First Non-Alcoholic Brewery Poised to Open by Spring
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Joe Chura, together with co-founders Heather Chura, Bruce Etzcorn, and James Bigler, will open Illinois’ first non-alcoholic brewery this coming spring in the space that currently houses 2 Fools Cider. While 2 Fools Cider relocates about a mile west in Naperville to a larger facility, Go Brewing will adopt the space, expand the tasting room, and begin brewing all the beers you love, without the alcohol.

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Chura says the impetus for opening Go Brewing comes from the desire to offer a place where people can enjoy the social experience of having a cold beer from a tap that doesn’t come with all the typical side-effects. In other words, craft non-alcoholic beer provides the same great flavor and social experience as its counterpart without all the calories or the hangover.

“There aren’t many alternatives to going out and enjoying yourself on a weekend or even on a daily basis that doesn’t involve alcohol consumption, heavy or not heavy,” Chura said over a phone interview with What Now Chicago on Monday afternoon. “Everything is kind of geared around that. And we thought, why can’t we have both? Why can’t we have a brewery that has better-for-you beer, for lack of better words, and also have a really fun atmosphere?”

The team expects the brewery to be fully open, tasting room and all, by the end of the first quarter of 2022. And Go Brewing will be so much more than a brewery. “We’re going to have things like live music and experiential events like cold-plunge Sundays and 5K Saturdays. We’ll have athletic events as well as classes and food pairings with food trucks,” Chura said.

The space will be renovated to accommodate those plans. The new tasting room will feature a large bar over-looking the brewing area, as well as flexible seating that can easily be scaled back to make room for the events like yoga and food tastings. “We want to make it a very comfortable place where people can go and hang out,” Chura added.

Bigler, who is also Go Brewing’s head brewer, says the brewery is focused on providing great flavors. “I think it’s easy to look at the non-alcoholic beer and see it as a change from how beer is traditionally made,” Bigler said. “But we’re taking the route of using the exact same ingredients and processes.” The difference comes with creating less-fermentable beers. “You’ll find the same types of malts, the same hops,” he said.

Go Brewing is approaching the beer market from a culinary perspective—flavor and experience are more important than the buzz. “The value isn’t in the alcohol, the value is in the types of ingredients we’re using” Bigler said.

The team is aiming to build a catalogue of beers over time, some of which will be seasonal. For now, Go Brewing expects to debut with an IPA, a pilsner, a stout, maybe a hazy IPA, and a low-gluten or gluten-free beer.

The brewery will begin experimenting with a wider audience, piloting flavor profiles as early as next month. Chura says the company will dedicate the first few of months of 2022 to testing the beers; if all goes as planned, you can expect to find Go Brewing fully open by the end of the first quarter of 2022.

Eve Payne

Eve Payne is a freelance writer with an MFA in poetry from Syracuse University. In 2019, she received the Leonard Brown Prize for her poetry, which has appeared or is forthcoming in Colorado Review, The Adroit Journal, Nashville Review, and RHINO.
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