Meet JD McCormick. He’s original. He’s innovative. He’s completely nuts about yeast!
“Some people study economics or marketing, but I’ve got a degree in yeast,” jokes 28-year-old brewer JD McCormick.
That’s right, yeast…the main component responsible for the fermentation of McCormick’s meticulously hand-crafted beers at Moonshine Brewing Company. Having studied at North America’s oldest brewer’s academy, Siebel Institute, as well as the world-renowned Doemens brewer’s academy in Germany, McCormick taps into a discerning knowledge of yeast to create ground-breaking micro brews. But it’s so much more than that. This renegade brewer has a true affinity for yeast…an affection that runs deep.
“Yeast is the forgotten ingredient when it comes to brewing,” says McCormick, who admits he throws out all style guidelines when it comes to producing his suds. “Whereas most brewers work with one type of [yeast] strain, I incorporate many, each producing a different style beer. “ McCormick also experiments regularly with mixing yeasts, churning out truly novel beers full of spirit, soul and character.
There are literally hundreds of varieties of yeast strains, from top-fermenting yeasts used for
Ales and Stouts, to bottom-fermenting yeasts used for Pilsners and Bocks. On any given day, this ‘mad hopper’ can be found sifting or mixing yeasts amongst the massive stainless steel tanks in his brewery at Moonshine Brewing Company. Although he doesn’t do it by the book, it didn’t take long for McCormick to find his first winning formula…
…Case in point: White Lightning – McCormick’s original frothy masterpiece. Hot off the coattails of his appointment to head brewmaster at Moonshine Brewing Company in the summer of 2011, McCormick introduced his first beer, White Lightning. It would become the fastest beer to sell out in the history of the 5-year old brewery. A Belgian White sourced from the same yeast strain as Belgian’s legendary Hoegaarden beer, White Lightning has since been a staple at Moonshine Brewing Company.
Rounding out the current lineup of McCormick’s beers currently on tap are:
Pumpkin Ale 5.4% abv
Rye White Ale 5.9% abv
Belgian White Ale 6.9% abv
IPA 6.9% abv
$6 PUTIN BRITCHES
Imperial Stout 8.0% abv
Dry Irish Stout 4.3% abv
**Note – Moonshine beers rotate regularly, so these specific beers will not always be available.
McCormick always has five to six original Moonshine beers on tap at Moonshine Brewing Company. In typical urban roadhouse tradition, the brews are offered on tap in mason jars for $4 – $6, or in growlers to go. The glass growler is 64 ounces for only $16 for low gravity and $20 high gravity and is reusable (refills $12 and $17). All Moonshine beer is brewed in the on-site brewery, consisting of a ten barrel system that produces 310 gallons (about 20 kegs) at one time. The four fermenters and six stainless steel tanks are housed in an annex room at Moonshine. For a private tour or tasting, please contact Henry at email@example.com
The future for McCormick involves a look into the past. He aims to use his astute knowledge of the history of yeast and its influences on beer-making to fine tune new creations, putting Moonshine Brewing Company on the forefront of the Chicago brewing revolution. “The difference between my Moonshine beer and other beer is creativity. My brewing is a product of my passion for art, science and history, and I’m true to my own inspiration,” McCormick concludes. “I hope to continue experimenting with mixing yeasts to produce beer that nobody has ever tasted. Beer that’s truly unique and extraordinary.”