On the main page of Skeleton Key’s web site, it describes themselves as a “Craft Microbrewery, Brewery Incubator & Learnin’ Spot.” A few short weeks ago, I did some learnin’ at their Home Brewing Class. This is one of many classes that SKB offers (they offer beer-related classes and class in many other topics that you can drink beer at).
The class took place on November 21, which was taught by Eileen Uchima from Urban Knaves of Grain. UKG is the oldest and largest home brewing club in DuPage County. Eileen, and most of her family actually, has a lot of experience brewing beers, wines, meads and more. Her “day job” is at Brew&Grow in Bolingbrook.
Also popping in on the class from time to time was Emily Slayton, one of the owners of Skeleton Key. She took us on the brewery tour, assisted and answered questions, and tended bar with her husband Paul (and two students from the College of DuPage’s Craft Beer Industry Profesisonal Track).
The class entailed actually brewing a milk stout, using a kit made by Brewers Best. These kits are typically the entry point for home brewers, giving you the necessary ingredients in their proper amounts in easy to use packaging. During the class, we worked with a 5-gallon kit … although I have seen 1-gallon kits at B&G and at Chicago Brew Werks.
Eileen has also brought different grains and hops to the class … letting us look, small and event eat some of the ingredients of the beer. As she explained, this is where the flavor of the beer comes from … it makes sense to know the parts.
We went through the process and steps, making the beer as we went along. Eileen tweaked the beer recipe only a slight bit, adding some sea salt after the boil. The goal being a great tasting Salted Caramel Milk Stout, enhancing some of the already-existing caramel notes from the kit.
One of the things that Emily showed us, including providing printed instructions, was how to make our own wort chiller. This little tip will end up saving me some serious $$$.
I unfortunately had to leave before we started putting our concoction into the fermenter, part of the being a dad of a 21-month old. But, I definitely recommend check out one of SKB’s classes!
DID YOU KNOW
…that Emily and Paul Slayton are instructors at the College of DuPage? Check out this article on Paul (and fam) on the College of DuPage’s web site. And, if you haven’t figured out the name “Skeleton Key” came about … you will be reading that article.
Skeleton Key Brewery released their upcoming new classes for 2020. Some classes can be purchased separately, some must be picked up as a collection. Click this link for more info.
NEW YEARS RESOLUTION SERIES 4-PACK
AVAILABLE SEPARATELY OR AS A SERIES
- Jan 5, 11am – 1pm: Boxing and Beer
Meet at UFC Gym on 75th (in Woodridge) for a 45-minute intro class, than go to SKB for a guided beer tasting and brewery tour.
- Jan 12, 11am – 1pm: Worms and Beer
Learn how to vermicompost from a Master Gardner! Leave with a fully-stocked worm box, ready to transform food into “black gold” for your gardner. Enjoy a beer while you learn.
- Jan 19, 11am – 1pm: Bookbinding and Beer
Learn bookbinding, which allows you to create a journal that lies flat so you can sketch or scribble with ease. Includes necessary materials, as well as on overview of techniques and of course a beer.
- Jan 26, 10am – 11:30am: Mediation and Beer
Learn about meditation, experience one yourself, then join your fellow classmates for a beer in the top room!
MINDFULNESS MEDITATION: 4-WEEK SERIES
ONLY AVAILABLE AS SERIES
- Feb 2, Feb 9, Feb 16, Feb 23 from 10am – 11:30am
During this four-week series, meditation instructor Lisa Sparagna will share mindfulness tools you can use in your everyday life. Each week, you will be guided through a different meditation, focusing on breath, mantra, visualization and body scan. After class, enjoy a beer in the taproom (one beer included each week)!
LOCAL BREWERS SERIES: CRAFT STYLE CLASSES (WITH TASTINGS)
AVAILABLE SEPARATELY OR AS A SERIES
- Jan 27, 6:00pm to 8:00pm: Hazy vs Milkshake IPAs with Eric Bramwell of Riverlands Brewing Company
- Feb 24, 6:00pm to 8:00pm: Pastry Stouts with Mike Pallen of Mikerphone
- Mar 30, 6:00pm to 8:00pm: Ciders with the whole crew from 2Fools Cider
- Apr 27, 6:00pm to 8:00pm: Foraged Beers with Emily Slayton of Skeleton Key Brewery
KEEP UP TO DATE
Keep up to date with all things Skeleton Key by visiting them online at https://www.skeletonkeybrewery.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/skeletonkeybrewery/.