Prost to Dovetail Brewery, A New Brewery With Old-School Methods
In carpentry, a dovetail joint refers to two interlocking pieces that strengthen one another to contribute to structural integrity.
It’s a fitting choice for the name of Bill Wesselink and Hagen Dost’s brewery at Ravenswood and Belle Plaine — the brewers’ passion for history and traditional styles bridge the past and future of Chicago brewing, the brewery has quickly connected with the local beer scene and with the Northcenter and Ravenswood neighborhoods and of course, as Dost put it, there’s the strength of the brewers’ creative collaboration with one another, the actual inspiration behind the name.
Although both native to Chicagoland, Wesselink and Dost met far away from home while studying beer at the famed Doemens Akademie in Munich. The two struck up a friendship and realized they shared a passion for traditional brewing methods.
The Dovetail team applied the methods they learned at small breweries across Germany and Belgium to create complex and delicious continental European beers, such as German Hefeweizens and Rauchbiers, Czech Pilsners, Polish Grodziskies and barrel-aged Belgian Lambic-style sour beers.
“There’s a whole world to beer and we wanted to take it in a different direction,” Dost says. “A lager, for example, doesn’t have to be boring and bland. There’s a complexity and beauty to lagers.”
And Dovetail employs some methods you won’t find at many other Chicago breweries, including the use of a coolship in the fermentation process and modifying the chemistry of the water in the brewery to mimic that of Plzeň, the Czech city which gave Pilsner beer its name and is home to some of the best water for brewing in the world.
Dovetail has quickly become a local favorite thanks to its easy-drinking but complex brews, neighborly vibes and exuberant events, including a recent Oktoberfest celebration with neighbors Begyle Brewing. On the horizon are regular “Fruehschoppen” celebrations, or Sunday Funday in the German tradition. The brewery will open early on Sundays for guests to come in, mingle and enjoy a leisurely breakfast pint and sausages from Sausage Konig. And even in the early hours, they’re attracting some devoted local fans.
“We have a crew of regulars already,” Dost says. “We’ve gotten some incredible support from the neighborhood and want to be good neighbors too.”
1800 W. Belle Plaine