Tuesday, November 13, 2012

From the tanks of sky blue waters: Shedd brews "Penguin Hops"

RevolutiBrewing used hops grown Shedd’s gardens.  |  BrennHernandez~Shedd Aquarium
Revolution Brewing used hops grown in the Shedd’s gardens. | Brenna Hernandez~Shedd Aquarium

For all you do, this Shedd’s for you.

The Shedd Aquarium is going into the beer business, sort of.
Hops from the Shedd’s gardens are being brewed up in a local craft beer.
After being planted five years ago in an effort to beautify the grounds during construction, the Shedd’s hops were harvested this month and made into beer by Revolution Brewing, a craft brewery in Logan Square.

The beer, dubbed Penguin Hops, will go on sale Nov. 28 at Revolution’s two locations.
Shedd officials hope it will help put the spotlight on the gardens.
Containing more than 400 plants, the aquarium’s gardens already provide homes to migrating birds and help feed the aquarium’s animals. All of the plants are organically grown without chemicals or pesticides.

But the gardens are largely overshadowed by all the fish and other sea creatures on display.
“The fact that we’re making beer brings attention to the gardens,” said Christine Nye, the Shedd’s manager of horticulture. “Lot’s of people don’t know we have a garden.”
The 15-foot-tall hops plants were just an aesthetically-pleasing part of the aquarium’s exterior until this fall, Nye said.

When a Shedd staffer and homebrewer noticed the plants, the employee suggested that the hops be turned into beer. Nye took the idea to Shedd’s development team, who organized the partnership with Revolution.
“They are local, and they do support a lot of the same sustainability initiatives that we do,” Nye said of the brewer. 

The Shedd staff harvested the hops, and delivered them to the brewers at Revolution earlier this month. The craft brewery then used the hops to make Penguin Hops.
And craft beer aficionados can feel good about their imbibing. For every pint of Penguin Hops sold, Revolution is donating $1 to the Shedd to support their conservation efforts. 

While there will be a limited supply of Penguin Hops, Nye says this may not be the last time you hear of the beer.
“If the beer is warmly received, we would be very open to doing it again,” she said. 

The beer is still brewing, but will go on sale Nov. 28 at Revolution’s Brew pub at 2323 N. Milwaukee in Logan Square, and at their Tap Room located at 3340 N. Kedzie.

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