So I entered the taproom on a Friday afternoon. I had driven in some crazy rainstorm for about two and a half hours from Milwaukee when I finally got to Four Fathers Brewing in Valparaiso (Valpo if you are a local or just don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot trying to pronounce the full thing right).
Four Fathers was definitely on my list. It’s been on my list since I tried their Valhalla Stout I got through Tavour. I was a little bit like a kid at Disneyland. You know… you’ve been watching Frozen for two years nonstop and you finally get an autograph and a picture with Elsa… Yeah, that type of feeling. I met with owners Beth and Jason Lacny. Super nice folks. We chatted for a while, and they gave me a tour of their new location. Pretty cool stuff.
They first opened Four Fathers in April of 2014 on the other side of town and recently moved to their new, bigger location. But how did this whole thing start anyway? Well, you may have guessed it: Jason was a home brewer. In the summer of 2009, Beth was pregnant with their first son and encouraged her husband to find a hobby. “He was buying a lot of beer,” Beth said. “So this was saving us money and he was focusing on something other than me.” But who knew that this new hobby would turn into their new baby…? So in 2014, they took the plunge and opened their very own brewery with a 1-BBL system.
They brewed on that system a couple handful of times and quickly decided to upgrade to a 3-BBL system. Probably a wise decision… Like most breweries, Four Fathers rebrews their most popular styles pretty consistently and strives for innovation and creativity… always. “I don’t think we can sit still long enough,” Jason said. “We rebrew our most popular styles, but we still have the opportunity to brew some fun stuff.” And with this new space, they have lots of space for growth. Jason said they are focusing on their barrel-aging program at the moment but will eventually buy a bigger brewing system as well.
Jason fell in love with craft beer when he and Beth were in college. With his background in microbiology, Jason is a perfect candidate for making amazing brews! They usually decide on recipes as a group with his wife Beth and Production Manager Matt Festa aka Patrick Sprayze (you know, there is a lot of cleaning going on…). Jason said they try to come up with interesting styles like their Sour IPA. “It’s an open-forum process,” he said. “It’s a pretty collaborative effort. Hilazious is a great example of that: It started with a goofup I had in my car. Sometimes the wires get crossed.” You know… hilarious + crazy = Hilazious. Right?! Jason and Beth thought it would be a cool beer name and sat on it for a while. It is now the name of their Sour IPA series, which will be brewed with different hops and fruits. I’ve had their first one with pineapple and Idaho 7. Delish!
I have to say, I’ve had quite a few of their brews now, and I am a fan. They make some of the best stouts out there. I mean it. That’s probably because they kind of have this thing down. They actually started their whole venture with their Wheelhouse Imperial Coffee Stout. It was their first ever recipe and it stuck. They have now brewed several variations of it, aged in different barrels. They release it every November on the Saturday after Black Friday. Something to look forward to!
But why Four Fathers? It kind of has a double meaning. Beth loves history and their taproom pays homage to the men and women in uniform with pictures of their own family members who are/were in the service. It’s a nice touch and the name lands itself to that. Four Fathers also refers to the four main ingredients in beer. It all makes sense!
Til next time, Four Fathers!