Chicago’s far western suburbs have been seeing a huge explosion of new breweries over the past few years. The tri-city area of Batavia, Geneva, and St. Charles went from just one brewery in 2017 (Penrose) to now having EIGHT breweries within six miles of each other.
While Pollyanna and Alter opened up secondary locations in the area, a few new breweries have also popped up...including one that opened up last year, right in the middle of the pandemic - Art History Brewing.
Art History opened early in 2020 after owner Tom Rau graduated with a diploma in International Brewing Technology from the Siebel Institute of Technology and the World Brewing Academy in Munich, Germany. So, with that background, it’s no surprise that Art History has a focus on European Lagers. However, they also brew a lot of hop-forward modern American styles, like the beer I have today - Art History Major.
Despite the brewery being just five minutes away from my house, somehow I have yet to try any of their beers, making Art History Major the first beer I get to try from them.
Art History Major is a New England IPA brewed with Citra and Loral hops and Golden Promise malt. It has a solid 6.6% ABV and a single 16-ounce can cost $3.88. My pint was canned on January 4th and this review was written on February 3rd.
The beer poured a cloudy, murky straw color with just about a finger of eggshell white head topping it off. The foam was incredibly dense and frothy, like that on a cappuccino, and refused to fizzle away, creating a thick barrier between me and the beer.
On the nose, the beer was teeming with floral and citrus notes. Leading the way was sweeter, candied citrus notes of lemon and tangerine. The flaked grains added some cereal-like qualities to the beer as well but, overall, this was a rather inviting hazy IPA.
My first sip began with a soft and creamy mouthfeel and very minimal carbonation. Peaking through that fluffy thickness were those citrus notes. Sugary lemon and tangerine flavors led the way and gave off that familiar Lemonheads candy flavor, without the tartness of course.
The candied fruit notes lasted the vast majority of the time but, around the midway point, the hops weren’t done.
A slightly sticky, resinous lemongrass flavor appeared and blended in with the other flavors really well. There were some other light floral and grassy notes but, for the most part, they all stayed underneath the tangerine and lemon.
It finished very cleanly. There was a light sticky resin that lingered on and gave off hints of the lemongrass but, otherwise, it was a very smooth finish.
Overall, this was a very soft and crushable IPA. It started to sit a bit heavier towards the end but, otherwise, it was almost too easy to drink. The hops were present without producing a bitter bite and the flavors were a little muted but tasty.
This might have been my first Art History beer but it certainly won’t be my last.