New brewery moves closer to opening in Evanston

Jia You, City Editor

A new restaurant and brewery came a step closer to opening in Evanston after the city’s Liquor Control Review Board amended its license Thursday to allow beer sampling.

Smylie Bros. Restaurant and Brewery could open as a 150-seat restaurant and 10-barrel brewhouse at 1615 Oak Ave. as early as this November, owner Michael Smylie said. Smylie appeared in front of the board to request amending the restaurant’s Class T license to allow free beer sampling. He said the sampling is necessary because the brewer would sell beer in growlers, which are half-gallon jugs.

“It’s hard for me to imagine people buying that much beer without tasting it first,” Smylie told The Daily.

The board approved his application, referring it to the City Council for consideration. 

Liquor commissioner Dick Peach said the original license did not contain language on beer sampling because it is the first microbrewer license the city issued.

“We never thought about it,” Peach told The Daily.

Smylie said his brewery will specialize in producing local beer, in addition to featuring an eclectic selection of American bar food.

“We’re really going to focus on using local ingredients and selling beer that’s produced in the Midwest,” he said. “We want to be the community center of beer brewing.”

The brewhouse would also offer classes for local brewers, and may even allow them to brew their products in house and put them on tap, Smylie said.

“I think it’s just a great way to reach out to the community and get them to not only come and enjoy the food at the restaurant but also play a part in telling us what kind of beer they want to see produced,” Smylie said.

He said he expects a diverse clientele and looks forward to business opportunities with Northwestern institutions, such as Kellogg School of Management.