Baderbrau Brewing Company
Using original recipes and formulas to expand their portfolio of fine beers
The name Baderbräu created something of a phenomenon around Chicago, Illinois when it was first introduced in the late 1980’s. The Pilsner-style Ale was fashioned after the great Czech Pilsners that delighted drinkers for many years and became a Windy City favorite. More than 200 bars featured Baderbräu on tap. It was actually Chicago’s first craft beer, but the bottom dropped out and the brewery went into bankruptcy.
Meanwhile, a University of Chicago student had made Baderbräu his favorite drink. Rob Sama actively began work on a fan site for the beer. His ardor increased after graduation and Sama, who had gone into finance, found the trademark of his beloved brew was available. He purchased the trademark and the odyssey of the Baderbräu Brewing Company reached fruition.
Wisely, Rob Sama hunted down the original brew master for the old Baderbräu label who was then 85 and living in Canada. The pair set out to recreate the original recipe and re-branded the brewery’s label.
The new look features a symbolic phoenix (the phoenix rises again) with accompanying flaming wings (the great Chicago fire) and the mascot of Sama’s alma mater, the University of Chicago. In 2014, the company leased a vacant warehouse on Chicago’s South Side and created a 20,000 square foot production floor and a 4,000 square foot tap room.
The brewery and tap room opened in May of 2016 to the delight of Chicago’s beer-drinking population.
From an initial production of 1200 barrels annually, the Baderbräu Brewing Company has grown to over 4,000 annual barrels with a goal of 5,000 in the not too distant future.
Owner, Rob Sama now devotes all of his time and energy to the project and has introduced some innovations to the operation. Art hangs throughout the brewery and is even sold on the spot to interested buyers. The company rents out the production space for weddings and social events and also features a VIP room that is called The Gallery that is also available for rent. The Baderbräu Mug Club offers additional benefits to members.
More importantly, Baderbräu Brewing Company has expanded its portfolio to include a number of beer types in addition to its classic Czech Pilsner. Two of these special beers are featured in this month’s Craft Beer Club selections.