Billy Goat beer

Who brews the Billy Goat’s mystery house beers?

Photo: Zach Weiss
The Billy Goat Tavern

Q My bartender at the Billy Goat was being weirdly secretive and wouldn’t tell me who brews the bar’s house beer. He just said, “It’s our beer.” Now I’m really curious.—Heather, Humboldt Park

A Only the bar’s horned-beast logo and the vague label “Dark” distinguish the house dark beer. The light lager isn’t even marked. See, the Billy Goat is not really the kind of place where a patron often inquires about the origins of what’s in his glass. It was only after a double “cheezborger” and mugs of both brews at the 430 North Michigan Avenue outpost, a legendary journalist’s haunt, that we started getting answers. “It’s brewed by Berghoff,” bartender-server Hector Quinones finally admitted. “We have eight locations plus two more opening up, so it’s kind of hard to make our own beer for everybody.” He’s half right; Berghoff outsources all its brewing to Minhas Craft Brewery in Monroe, Wisconsin. “Sometimes bars will buy our beers and get them labeled something else,” says Minhas’s president of brewery operations, Gary Olson. “The bar’s name is registered and instead of a ‘Berghoff Lager’ label, we can put, say, ‘Billy Goat Lager.’ ”

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