And like most dreamers, he’s had many loves in his life, mostly fanciful pursuits such as guitar, woodworking, and public administration. But his love of craft beer was different—something his more pragmatic wife, Jen, recognized when she saw the attention Mike gave to his recreational homebrews. Together, they turned Mike’s latest dream into Scorched Earth Brewing Co.
Mike and Jen liken the “Scorched Earth” name to the wildfires that would often wipe out whole prairies in the years before Illinois was settled. In the place of that burnt grass, new growth would emerge, resulting in a more diverse ecosystem than was there before. This fresh start speaks directly to the blank-canvas style that defines Scorched Earth’s creative portfolio of beers, all of them with names such as Twisted Hickster and Rugged Coalminer.
In that rugged spirit—and to help the ingredients reach their full potential—Mike and his team craft each beer with old-world brewing techniques such as step mashing and decoction and even age some brews in wooden casks. The entire process takes place onsite at the brewery in Algonquin, where guides lead regular tours behind the scenes. Or you can just look out at the vats from the taproom, where you can drink Scorch Earth’s beers, play a game of shuffleboard, or simply hang. Feel free to bring your well-trained dog, too. We’ve all got many loves in our life.
Discover more Illinois Artisans at Illinois Made.