The first time we met Metropolitan Brewing President and co-founder Tracy Hurst was at #VeganVortex, a seasonal vegan market that takes place in a biker bar in Logan Square. She gave our marketing manager Natalie, who happens to have co-founded the market, a big hug and immediately starting cracking us up. We knew we had to get her in our office to talk more about beer and veganism on the double.
Tracy, who sports a full-sleeve of robot tattoos, co-founded Metropolitan Brewery in 2009. This was before the micro-brew boom, and they were the first new brewery to open in Chicago in ten years. Even though dozens of other breweries have opened since, Metro continues to stand out by only producing German-style beers, mostly lagers, and through it's commitment to a 100% vegan brewing process.
But wait, isn't all beer vegan? You'd be surprised! Some beers, usually British ones, use gelatin or casein as part of their process. (Gelatin is made from animal bones and cartilage and casein is a protein found in cow's milk.) Some breweries even use fish bladders in a process called fining, which removes impurities. Luckily most German beers are inherently vegan, so Tracy and her team stick to traditional methods.
We were so fascinated by Metropolitan Brewery's inspiration, and how it compares to some other Chicago breweries we sent our own co-founder Sarah on a mission to learn more. We'll be sharing her video interviews with Tracy, and founders of two other breweries on St. Patrick's Day. In the meantime, read more about Metropolitan Brewery at MetroBrewing.com.