Shop Talk: Celebrating Community, Conversation,… | Revolution Brewing
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Brewpub + Restaurant

Hours

Mon-Tue / Closed
Wed-Thu / Noon-11pm
Fri-Sat / Noon-Midnight
Sun / Noon-11pm
Kitchen / Service stops 1 hour prior closing

Address

2323 N. Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

773-227-2739

Taproom + Production Brewery

Upcoming Closures

Sunday, October 3 — Closed for a Private Event
Friday, October 22 — Closed for a Private Event

Hours

Mon-Tue / Closed
Wed-Thu / 2-9pm
Fri / 2-10pm
Sat / Noon-10pm
Sun / Noon-6pm

Address

3340 N. Kedzie Ave
Chicago, IL 60618

773-588-2267

Shop Talk: Celebrating Community, Conversation, and Healing

A long-awaited collaboration with friends, brewed to support Black art and artists

You know that friend you're always exchanging "let's get together soon!" messages with because something's always coming up to get in the way? That was us and 18th Street Brewery for years. Their founder, Drew Fox, did much of his brewery planning at the Revolution Brewpub bar before they opened in Gary in 2013. But we hadn't made a beer together until the upcoming Barrel & Flow Festival gave us the perfect opportunity.

Barrel & Flow (September 10-12 2021 in Pittsburgh) ⁠sets out to honor the interconnected and important sectors of Black arts, celebrate Black artists, and share how collective art is greater together than the sum of its individual parts. Revolution and 18th Street are proud to have brewed Shop Talk as our entry in the festival.

The Beer

Shop Talk is a classic IPA built to celebrate conversation, healing, and growth in our communities. Both Rev and 18th Street make all manner of beer, but bonding over classic IPA was our common language.

This one's not a throwback – it's a new expression of something timeless. Crystal clear and redolent with citrus and floral hop oils. It's a smooth, soft sipper that slides across the tongue with those familiar grapefruit and orange notes. There's pine, but it doesn't barge into the place demanding to be served next without an appointment. It's floral, but not in a garden party way. There's an easy honeyed finish, but maybe that's just the summer vibes and the power of friendship. The point being, it's a little of a lot, in a way that lends itself to companionable drinking as much as a deeper dive into the architecture of the thing. It's the beer you want to have with a good pal across the table from you.

All proceeds from the sale of Shop Talk will be donated to My Block, My Hood, My City in support of their mission to inspire youth, empower communities, and build a better world one block at a time.⁠⁠⁠⁠ Four-packs are available now at our Taproom and Brewpub, heading out for local distribution, and will be available through Tavour's Barrel & Flow mix pack of all the festival's collaborations.

The Art

When it came time to create a label for our collaboration illustrator, comic artist, and professor John Jennings was more than up to the job. John's a former Midwesterner who has worked on projects for Marvel Comics, adapted the legendary works of Octavia E. Butler, and served as the creative force for Shop Talk.

At the time we brought John into this collaboration project, there was no set name and endless possibilities. John took the spirit of Barrel & Flow and went near and far in search of inspiration.

"The themes around this beer were connection, African-American culture, safe spaces in Black communities and how all of that would resonate in an Afro-centric beer festival," Jennings said. "I thought about the Afro-futurist perspective, the Great Migration, the history of the South Side of Chicago. Just all kinds of ideas tumbling around in our heads."

Eventually, he came to the idea of Shop Talk – the common shared language of particular professions – and applying that to both breweries and the common cultural (and pop-cultural) barbershop space. Shop talk is an understanding, a common language, and the latest about the latest.

"I liked the idea of reclaiming the idea of this COVID-affected space. Barbershops were originally a place of literal healing, doctoring as well as haircuts. The red on the barber pole represents a wrapped wound, and the concept of healing," Jennings said. "It's also a space that welcomes any class or age. Whether you're 8 or 80, paying 2 dollars or 200, everybody needs a haircut. The space becomes familiar, and takes on a life of its own."

The nexus of conversation, healing, and community drives not just the name of this beer, but what Barrel & Flow is all about. At its best, Jennings said, the barbershop represents an interstitial, liminal space in the same way that a crossroads, depot, or airport does depending on your cultural signifier of choice. At first, there's a discomfort as a new entry to an established space. But soon after, you belong. Things are cool. It's conversation, it's familiarity, it's community.

We're happy to have John, 18th Street, festival founder Day Bracey, and everyone at Barrel & Flow as part of our community. We hope Shop Talk, the festival, and everything in between is just the start of new spaces, new conversations, and a new way forward.