Brant Dubovick is an industry veteran. He went from brewery to brewery taking charge of brewery operations and producing quality beer. But he was working toward someone else’s vision. Until 2013 when Dubovick was able to create his own space, with owner Greg Shuff, in DryHop, a brewpub in Chicago’s Lakeview East neighborhood. Two years later, the duo founded Corridor Brewery & Provisions, a craft brewery and restaurant. Corridor produces a diverse range of beer from juicy, hazy IPAs to subtle farmhouse ales. Dubovick is set to open a third brewery project, Roebuck, which will focus on craft beer and pizza.

It’s clear that Dubovick has left his mark on the competitive and storied beer scene of Chicago. And he’s not done.

We chatted with Dubovick ahead of Juicy Brews Art Gallery, a Hop Culture beer festival on July 20th hosted by Marz Community Brewing. Dubovick shared his thoughts on hazy IPAs, the beauty of summertime pilsners, and his obsession with ABBA.

John A. Paradiso: How’d you get your start in the brewing industry?

Brant Dubovick: I had always been involved with brewpubs from a front of house aspect, but I got a “real” job in ’98 for health insurance reasons. My girlfriend at the time–now my wife–Denise bought me a homebrew kit because she knew I loved and missed the industry. That push from her got the ball rolling on thinking this is what I want to do with my life. Fortunately, I had friends in the industry and a good friend Chris Young got me an interview with Christian Heim at Lancaster Brewing Company. This was the time that if you were willing to take $8/hr you could get an assistant brewer gig. So, I took the $8/hr job and lived off hot dogs, free tacos at the brewery, and our wedding money for a year until I could move up the ladder.

JP: Why did you want to launch a brewery?

BD: Because I wanted to put my stamp on a project. Before DryHop, Corridor, and soon Roebuck, I had always taken over for the Head Brewer and been the new guy. I craved to be “the” guy. I wanted to create something from the ground up, not just feel like a substitute teacher or a placeholder brewing someone else’s ideas and concepts. Fortunately, Greg gave me that first shot with DryHop in 2011, and I feel that, together with him and a strong team, we’ve built something pretty special in Chicago.

© 2018 Galdones Photography

JP: Which brewery has your favorite label designs?

BD: I am a big fan of Dan Grzeca going back to his work with 3 Floyd’s. I am really digging his Hop Butcher designs. Also, Half Acre and Pipeworks are really killing it both with beer and art.

JP: What’s an absurd thing that you love?

BD: Dancing Queen by Abba. I am obsessed with that song for some reason.

JP: What are your thoughts on the state of hazy IPAs in the industry?

BD: Although I do not think it has peaked, I do see the clamoring in Chicago to get the next “juiciest” hazy waning a bit. Especially in the late fall and winter when I saw pastry stouts taking over as the “gotta have it” style. That being said, I have been in this industry for over 20 years and I have never seen a style take off and sustain for as long as the haze.

Photo courtesy of Corridor Brewery & Provisions

JP: What is your favorite beer to drink now?

BD: In the summer–or anytime really–any quality Pilsener I can get my hands on–local, import, adjunct, does not matter, Also, if it’s on, I cannot get enough of Jonathan Cutler’s Top Heavy Hefeweizen at Piece.

JP: What’s the best idea you’ve ever had?

BD: It’s a pretty recent one. Deciding with Greg Shuff and Roger Cuzelis to switch focus on farmhouse styles and to steer the ship towards the haze at Corridor. As soon as we released Squeezit, Van Hazen, and Highway to Haze, along with a few others, we took off like a rocket ship and have not looked back.

JP: Are you reading anything interesting?

BD: Beastie Boys Book. It’s a really interesting way they set the book up almost like a textbook. Also, having grown up in New York in the ’80s, it’s a great time machine back to growing up in my favorite time to have been in NYC.

JP: Give us a few songs to add to an all-star bottle share playlist.
“Midnight in a Perfect World,” DJ Shadow
“Giza Butler,” Sleep
“My Philosophy,” Boogie Down Productions
“Dancing Queen,” ABBA
“I Sat By The Ocean,” Queens of the Stone Age

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