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Down the Pipeline in the hotbed that is chicagos brewing comunity Pipeworks Brewing stands above the rest. By Jacob Singer

Pipeworks Brewing is a labor of love from a couple of beer enthusiasts and homebrewers. Beejay Oslon from Chicago, and Gerrit Lewis from Colorado have joined together in the Windy City to bring their collective vision of craft brewing to the public. Beejay and Gerrit have traveled to Belgium to live and work while honing their brewing skills under the watchful eye of Urbain Coutteau of the De Struise Brouwers. While there, they have been able to collaborate with Struise and Alvinne to bring their first offerings to the public, even before they moved in to their current brewery.

They get asked the question a lot so the are used to it: Why the name Pipeworks Brewing? In their own words, Beejay,Gerrit and Scott explained to me, in their own words, how they got the name, omitting very little and always willing to explain their day to day brewing process to someone who knows next to nothing about how beer is made.

It all started Belgium. The morning the Urbain had picked us up from the airport we ending up heading to the Netherlands to do some business with an exporter there. On this drive he told us that we would be brewing a collaborative brew with himself and Alvinne, complete with our own labels. This beer would later become Pipedream. Of course we were extremely excited and it wasn’t until a few days later that we realized that we’d need some sort of name for our brewery to go with De Struises and Alvinne.

But are a couple of silly plumbing related beer names enough to commit to naming a beer company Pipeworks?

Well the story goes a little further. While Gerrit was in college and living in the dorms at an unnamed college. A little prank got a little out of control. I don’t really have all the details, but I can tell you it involved an overflowing toilet on the 17th floor of the dorm building and some massive flooding. Since then Gerrit has gained the moniker the 17th floor plumber. So when westarted talking out the name hit seemed to have a great deal to do with us after all.

So while most of the silly plumbing references have since been forgotten, though we may resurrect one or two, the name has stuck.


Although you may not end up as a “Beer Geek� as the tattoos across Beejay Olsons knuckles proudly claims he is. The art of craft brewing is growing by the day here in the US as well as around the world and Chicago may well be the center of the movement.

Special thanks go out to the Pipeworks Brewing crew for welcoming me, sharing their love of craft beer, their knowledge about brewing and of course a few of their amazing brews.

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