A couple of backyard hobbyists with a passion for brew and a knack for creating unique, flavor-rich recipes that prove easy on the taste buds, Mother Earth and your wallet opened TenNinety’s doors at 1025 Waukegan Road in up-and-coming downtown Glenview this weekend.
Glenview resident Brian Schafer and partner Jamie Hoban didn’t set out to be craft brewers – they had desk jobs in the corporate finance world and home-brewed on weekends, for fun. But 8 years ago, when Brian started entering regional competitions and beating the pros at their own game, a dream was born that led to quitting his day job and opening this sleepy suburb’s first craft brewery, much to the delight and accolades of neighborhood residents who’ve been keeping close watch on the evolution of this one-time card-and-party franchise space into a gleaming, uber cool bar and microbrewery.
“Half-Wit was our first brew,” Brian explained while pouring flights and pints for enthusiastic locals congregated at the bar not much past noon on opening day. “It’s half wheat – wit – get it?”
We got it – and tried some.
Honey, coriander and orange peel added during the brewing process has made Half-Wit a hit. The brewery’s top-seller is now available in 6-packs at local markets like across-the-street neighbor Heinen’s, whose expansive parking lot will welcome TenNiney customers. It’s also distributed in sixers at Whole Foods and Binny’s, and on-tap at local Glenview watering holes Glenview House and The Curragh.
The folks on hand also seemed partial to the Imperial Witbier, a Belgian-style full-on wheat with 10.1% alcohol-content–a category first.
“Nobody makes 10% wheat beer. But it takes just as long to brew a 10% as it does a 3%, so I figured, if I’m gonna make my wife mad because I spend the whole weekend brewing I might as well go for 10%!”
We agreed, and tried some.
Along with top-seller Half-Wit we had an array of ales, IPAs and Porters to choose from, and the option of heading home with an eco-friendly Growler. Customers can buy a reusable half-gallon jug for $4 and bring it back for refills of anything from a 9% Sour Scotch ale aged in red wine barrels to a 10.8% porter redolent of cayenne and pomegranate, according to the menu, which changes daily.
“How long does a Growler stay fresh?” we asked while sipping the lovely Pink Tie Saison, a 6% Belgian farmhouse Ale.
“Not very long,” Brian said. After all, this is the good stuff–locally sourced ingredients, no preservatives. “Once it’s open–figure not more than a week.”
“It’ll never last a week in our house,” predicted another patron.
Space for events, outdoor seating, live entertainment, a food-truck partnership and clubby, armchair seating in front of a fireplace and wide-screen promise to make TenNinety Glenview’s place to see and be seen.
Location: 125 Waukegan Road, Glenview