John Laffler, left, and Dave Bleitner, right, of Off Color Brewing


John Laffler (Goose Island) and David Bleitner (Two Brothers Brewing), the lager-heads behind Off Color Brewing, have been hopping busy preparing for the April launch of their first beers. Here’s what will fill Off Color’s first bottles:

  • A gose, called Ampel for now, is a tart wheat beer Off Color makes from two beers blended together. “One is a kind of flabby, relatively generic wheat beer,” Laffler says. “And then we introduced a second beer, a more acidic brew fermented only with lactobacillus.” They pasteurize the acidic beer and blend it into the flabby beer. According to Laffler, neither one rates on its own, but the mixture works. “Lots of people think we are kind of nuts for doing this, but we think the beer tastes good,” he says.
  • Stuck (also tentatively named) is Off Color’s version of the nearly unknown German style kottbusser, made with honey, molasses, and oats. “We are trying to get all the aromatics of the honey, molasses, and oats,” Laffler says. “We want the beer to be very, very dry.” Careful fermentation is the secret. Even so, “It’s a little easier to make [than Ampel] because we are producing only one beer,” he says.



A preview event featuring other beers—collaborations with area breweries such as Metropolitan and Three Floyds—is scheduled for March 10 and 11 at Black Rock Pub & Kitchen. Tickets are $40 a head and can be purchased here.

Photograph: Josh Noel, Chicago Tribune