Flesk Brewing: Making a strong case for nanobreweries

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A few weeks back at a beer tasting event in Lisle, I had the opportunity to sample a couple of beers from Flesk Brewing Company, a new brewer out of nearby Lombard. After trying their saison and IPA, it was obvious these guys would have a bright future in the local beer market. Soon afterward, I sat down over a house beer with James and Will O’Brien, the brothers behind the operation, to learn more about their backgrounds and direction for Flesk.

Upon entering the brewery, a less than 1000-square-foot space in a business park, it was clear that their business was still in its beginning phases. They signed the lease in April 2012 and began brewing this past January. However, it was tough to get the word out to the market initially. “When we bottled our first batch, our friends and family bought every last one,” joked Will, the businessman of the two siblings.

With only 1BBL capacity at the time of this post, the brothers are currently able to brew just enough to meet the current demand. The O’Briens remain patient though, knowing that their dream brewery won’t happen overnight. In fact, they’ve come a long way since James received a home brewing kit for his 21st birthday, earned his chops at the Siebel Institute in Chicago and received his WBA International Diploma in Brewing Technology following his studies in Munich, Germany. James also is the head brewer for Lunar Brewing in Villa Park, which serves its beers only in its adjacent brewpub.

Flesk is still gathering feedback from its drinkers to determine if any of its four current bottled beers will become mainstays in its rotation. These include the Gnomom saison, Force of Nature Belgian IPA, Front Toward Enemy IPA and Feral Cat American Wheat. Also in the plans are a couple of lagers, a milk stout and a collaboration with Flight 112 in Elmhurst that will taste like an Irish Car Bomb (aptly named Nine Lives of Danny Greene).

You can find Flesk bombers in about a dozen liquor stores, mostly in the Lombard area, and the brothers are actively looking to expand further out, including draft accounts with bars. You will also see them at a handful of smaller tastings such as the Local Beer Showcase on April 4, this year’s Oak Park Micro Brew Review and various Chicago Craft Beer Week events. Due to their production limits, larger festivals just aren’t possible for Flesk right now. However, with another couple of fermenters joining the two they have now, the O’Brien brothers are taking the steps to bring us more of their brews and further their reach.

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