By Tia Carol Jones
Did you know that the Chicago Defender has a beer named after it? We didn’t either.
Not until a phone call from Haymarket Brewing. a couple of days after the announcement that the Chicago Defender had printed its last publication and would be primarily web-based.
So, the Defender team decided to go check it out and talk to Peter Crowley, co-founder and brewmaster, and Michael Gemma, director of operations, at Haymarket.
Haymarket Pub and Brewery is located at 737 W. Randolph St. It’s not too far from the site where a labor demonstration for an eight-hour work day resulted in a massacre known as the Haymarket Riot. With a nod to that history, there is the Mathias Imperial IPA, named after Officer Mathias Degan, who was killed in the Haymarket Riot. And Lucy’s Belgian Tripel, named after Lucy Parsons, whose husband was executed for his alleged involvement in the Haymarket Riot.
“We created the beer, then we came up with a name for it,” Crowley said. “We pow wow and came up with names.”
The Defender American Stout has coffee, chocolate and orange flavors which come from Amarillo Hops. “I found out about the Defender periodical and we try to match flavors,” Crowley said. “We wanted a big, bold flavor. It’s a powerful beer, it’s a powerful newspaper.”
The beer is brewed in Michigan, where the other Haymarket is located, and it takes four and a half weeks. Crowley said they had been working on the Stout since 2000 and in 2011, it was first brewed. Since then, it has won two Gold medals at the World Beer Cup. Crowley said the beer only wins Gold.
Crowley said the aim is to get the name out there so people will want to learn its namesake’s history. The can, which has the classic Defender script and image of a paperboy with his satchel of newspapers with one in his hand, was a collaboration between artist John Airo, who does all Haymarket’s creative artwork; and Haymarket’s designer Sarah VonderHaar.
“The Chicago Defender was the biggest thing to come out of Chicago in 100 years,” he said. “What the newspaper accomplished in that time is amazing. It is one of the most influential newspapers in the country.”
This article originally appeared in the Chicago Defender.