The long-awaited redebut of Berghoff Brewing and its lineup of new beers is just around the corner — as in next week. Berghoff Brewing was once a standout brand in the Midwest craft brewing scene, and this relaunch looks to breathe new life into the company.
The new beers of Berghoff will greet the world June 20 and June 21 at festive launch parties in Chicago and Milwaukee. Berghoff aims to capture a larger audience of beer lovers with their revamped products, and the launch parties are a first opportunity for discerning Illinois and Wisconsin beer lovers to sample their new recipes. Berghoff beers will be available in Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana.
“We are truly excited to be showcasing our new beers. We’re proud of our updated portfolio, and we look forward to sharing them with old fans and a whole lot of new consumers who have never tried Berghoff before,” said Owner Ben Minkoff, whose family has owned General Beverage Distributors in Wisconsin for the past 80 years and purchased the Berghoff brand in 1994.
The Chicago event on June 20 will go from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. at Sheffield’s; the Milwaukee on June 21 starts at 5 p.m. at Burnhearts Bar. At both events, beer drinkers will enjoy Berghoff’s line-up of German-style, American-brewed beers including:
- A seasonal Solstice Wit Beer (5.2 percent ABV), made with Calamansi juice, an Asian citrus fruit, and spices, for a refreshing summery beer from a long tradition of unfiltered wheat beers;
- Straight Up Hefeweizen (5.2 percent ABV), a Bavarian hefeweizen, with the creamy goodness of wheat, plus a fruity and spicy nose;
- Dortwunder Lager (5.5 percent ABV), a classic and evenly balanced pale lager in the Dortmunder tradition;
- Reppin’ Red Ale (6.2 percent ABV), a serious red ale that mixes tangy rye and crisp toasted malts with plenty of American hop character;
- Sir Dunkle Crispy Dark Lager (5.5 percent ABV), smooth and malty, with a bright crispness, making a drinkable and very satisfying beer; and
- The first beer in their Überbier Series, Germaniac Extra Pale Ale (6.3 percent ABV), brewed with honey and molasses for a briskly hopped extra pale ale patterned after the old “outlaw” beer style, Kottbüsser.
Minkoff consulted with brewing experts Randy Mosher and John Hannafan to create the recipes for the top-notch German-style beers that were brewed at the Stevens Point production facility, located in Stevens Point, Wisc. Mosher is an acknowledged craft beer expert, whose books include Tasting Beer and Radical Brewing. An accomplished designer, he also contributed to Berhgoff’s new packaging and brand messaging. Hannafan is owner of John Hannafan & Assoc., a brewery and brewing consulting firm located in Chicago.
The first batch of Berghoff beer was brewed in 1887 by Herman Berghoff and his three brothers, Henry, Hubert and Gustav. Demand for their beer grew with astonishing speed, and, by 1890, the brothers were producing 90,000 barrels of lager annually. A showcase at the 1892 Chicago World’s Fair put Berghoff on the national map, expanding their reach into new markets and introducing hundreds of thousands of new drinkers to their authentic German-style beers.
During World War I, the brothers cemented their brewing company’s place in American history, changing their slogan from “a real German brew” to “a real honest brew” in honor of their adopted homeland. In a bold show of American ingenuity, Berghoff produced soft drinks, including a root beer and a malt tonic, throughout Prohibition, and was the first to return to production and sale of alcoholic beers when the Volstead Act was repealed, pouring at The Berghoff, the first liquor license to be re-granted in Chicago.