Year in Review: 2016

This year was huge for Sketchbook: opening of the Tap Room, runaway bottle success, and a growing customer base.  If you're reading this, you're probably responsible for the awesomeness brewing here at Sketchbook--and we wanted to share Best of 2016 list with y'all.

BEST OPENING: On April 15, after months of renovation (including sourcing of vintage wood and stools), we opened our Tap Room at 821 Chicago. Eager folks streamed documented by this little video fun by Alice George.


  • 10  employees (with benefits!)
  • 39 different unique beers brewed and served
  • 228 new CSB members
  • 1,126 Barrels of beer brewed (more than 2x 2015)
  • 1,316 lbs of hops used
  • 30,000 gallons of water reclaimed via chilling process
  • 32,880 glasses of beer sold
  • 63,415 lbs of barley used (all composted or used as feed)


BEST POWER TOOL USAGE: Shawn working on the plumbing for our brewery expansion. 


BEST STAFF: Well, all of them--Sile, Beth, Connor, Ben, Jeremy and Justin. 

BEST USE OF STENCILS: For our soft opening in April, we invited our CSB members and Kickstarter donors to inscribe their name on our Hero Wall. 

BEST EXCEPTION TO OUR NO-TV POLICY: Game 7 of the World Series.

BEST COMMUNITY COLLABORATION: OPUS 327 commissioned a special Oktoberfest beer to celebrate their world-famous organ at St. Luke's episcopal church, just arounf the corner from us.  Diapason was a big hit, and we were crazy about the great label designed by Sketchbook friend Matt LaFleur. 

WORST EXCEPTION TO OUR NO-TV POLICY: The Presidential Election. Enuf said. 

BEST NEW BEER: Brunswick Mum, our Schwarzbier.  We tried it out as a Lab Beer and it was a hit! Find it on tap at Hopleaf in Andersonville, while it lasts. 

BEST BIRTHDAY PARTY: We turned two in November, and welcomed hundreds of our CSB members to a brewery tour.

BEST NEW MERCH: Our tin-tackers--great for basements or patios...

BEST TUESDAY IDEA: We launched Trad Tuesdays this year, acoustic sets of Irish, Cajun, Brazilian. Our customers seem to love the sound of fiddle and guitar in our Tap Room.

BEST COASTER: We held a contest this fall, giving away some CSB memberships...Our favorite of the bunch creates a superhero for our times. Thanks Nykko Lazar.


BEST NAME FOR A NEW BEER: Night Game, our Double IPA. Amy's dad Tom Wilkinson caught the Cub's reference (8.8% ABV, the same date as the Cub's first night game).  Another beer we piloted as a Lab Beer, the new big batch comes on the week of January 23rd--available in the Tap Room and in Growlers. 

BEST PICTURE OF CESAR AT WORK: We caught him prepping cabernet barrels. We are aging some of our farmhouse saison (Et Tu)--a treat coming in February!

Alice George