Scott's knowledge on the brewing process is nearly encyclopedic, and his passion for cars is at mach 10. My interview with Scott went for well over an hour, and it felt like the floodgates opened when I asked him about his binder of beer spreadsheets detailing the ins and outs of every batch of beer he's produced. I'll save the details of which type of barley does what, hop ratios, and carbonation levels for the tours we do.
Scott started his beer journey spitballing dreams with his brother talking about their bucket lists. His brother wanted to make sausage from scratch and Scott expressed his interest in making beer. Fast forward 6 months and he's on his back porch with his first beer. Acorn IPA, called such because acorns kept falling in from the tree he was making it under. “Admittedly it wasn’t very good but I loved every second of it.” This started Scott on a beer journey that took him to Munich, Germany to try all the beers he could get his mitts on. 14 years of brewing experience later led him to becoming the head brewer of Double Clutch when it opened in 2021.
Much like a blacksmith trying to forge the best sword from their iron, Scott, our head brewer, is always trying to make better and better German beer. “My philosophy is to pick a lane and do as well as you can in that lane and perfect it.” Scott follows the ancient German brewing tradition of Reinheitsgebot which only allows water, barley malt, hops, and yeast to maintain purity. “My interest is in German lagers and German ales... I call them naked beers because there’s nowhere to hide.” Finding out you messed up a batch after the 8 to 12 week process is grueling but worth it when you get it right. Unlike more forgiving styles like ipas where you can hide the imperfections with overwhelming hop flavor. Scott imports most ingredients like barley and hops from Germany and locally sources the yeast. His passion for sticking to tradition and being creative within the tradition can be felt not only in the beer itself but also in the atmosphere at Double Clutch.
What’s next for Double Clutch? Moving into more restaurants, distribution and all the hurdles and challenges that go with it. “At the back of my mind I've wanted this to grow into a recognizable brand in Chicagoland. But that requires a much bigger facility. I don’t think of it as competition, I can call another head brewer at another brewery and if they need something i’ll go help them and if I need something they’ll help me. We all rise together.” Chicago’s brewing scene is very friendly. “I think there's room enough for everybody to succeed. “I think the beer in Chicago is better than a lot of cities in America because of the friendly competition. Millennium Hall has a double clutch taproom that we’re supplying. We’re in a position to rise faster than we thought and get our name out there. It’s a logistic challenge that I couldn’t predict and didn’t consider but I’m willing to take on.” Scott said his biggest concern is making sure the highest quality beer is on the taps in all the restaurants Double Clutch produces for.
What will Scott’s next batch be? “The next beers that will come out will be our Oktoberfest beers in mid august. We have our first fest beer which is a richer version of our Helles lager and our Märzen which has been aged for 6 months.” September 24th is our Oktoberfest party, and those two styles are going to be new to the taproom boards. “I’ve been so focused on Oktoberfest I’m not sure where we’re going to go next.”
While Scott is searching for what beer he’ll perfect next, it is sure to be absolutely delicious and absolutely German.