In this edition of the Hoplinks, something is soon-to-be brewing in Old Irving Park, a distributor merges, Hot Doug’s is sorta back, cider returns to the city, and a Villain offers you the chance to get spontaneous. Let us know what else we missed in the comments!

OLD IRVING PARK, CHICAGO – Something is definitely happening at the site of the previously Homaro Cantu planned Crooked Fork Brewery. Unfortunately, nobody seems to know what’s going on after a mysterious sign for “Old Irving Brewing Co.” appeared last month outside the building. While Trevor Rose-Hamblin, the man who take over the brewery project after Cantu’s death last year denies any knowledge, a quick Google search led us to a recently closed logo competition for the project and their placeholder website. Something is happening here and we’ll be keeping a close eye on it. [Eater]

CHICAGO, IL – Wirtz Beverage, one of the city’s largest beer distributors, has changed its name to Breakthru following a merger with Charmer Sunbelt. The new company will distribute wine, beer, and spirits in 19 markets and will continue business as usual for their Chicago accounts. [Chicago Sun-Times]


Doug Sohn of Hot Doug’s fame is teaming up with Marz Brewing for a pop-up hot dog joint at Publican Quality Meats. The guaranteed-to-have-long-lines event will take place on January 18th and is first come, first serve. Get there early for the best in encased meats, duck fat fries and great local beer. [Eater]

NAVY PIER, CHICAGO – The annual Cider Summit returns to Chicago on February 27th at the Navy Pier Grand Ballroom. Tickets are on sale now for $30 through the end of the month with two sessions available. If cider is your thing, be sure to check out our latest interview with Northcenter cidery Broken Nose[THR Wire]

SOUTH LOOP, CHICAGO – South Clark Street beer staple Villains will feature a large list of Mikkeller Spontan beers, starting January 12th at 5pm. The spontaneous fermented beers are barrel aged in Belgium, imported from Denmark, and are unlikely to be found anywhere Stateside this month. [THR Wire]


Photograph from our interview with cider maker Paul Cade of Broken Nose in Northcenter.