The other morning I laid awake in bed turning over and over the work we're doing (and planning on doing) at IBW in order to distill down what the criminals in the film world call a logline. It's that one sentence that provides your character, your conflict and the arc to resolution in one snappy moment.
When a fanatical U.S. general launches an air strike against the Soviets, they raise the stakes by threatening to unleash a "doomsday device," setting the stage for Armageddon in this black comedy.
For good and ill, it's meant to make your product engrossing and ultimately marketable in a tight, tidy and extremely portable package. We could spend the rest of our lives arguing about the merits of film's - or beer's for that matter - need to be marketable... and tidy. But none of that matters.
What I've always liked about loglines is their unapologetic service to efficiency. They force you to think and think and re-think your goal, to discard fat and ultimately get an alignment that, without a logline, might otherwise evade you.
So here's what I came up with for IBW's logline:
IBW is a Chicago based artisanal brewery producing distinctly American interpretations of Franco-Belgian farmhouse styles.
Here's what that means, broken into essential parts:
IBW is a Chicago based artisanal brewery = We are an urban brewery in Chicago, not the suburbs. We love this terrible city and are proud to call it home. Additionally, we happen to be a very fucking small brewery, working in a creepy, demon-haunted basement with equipment we have hand made.
Franco-Belgian = The Franco-Belgian region is the south eastern part of Belgium that stretches from Brussels and bleeds into France. Wallonia, as this area is called, is distinct from Flanders (the Flemish more North-Easternly part of Belgium), so much so that they are always bitching about one another and talking about secession. It's so crazy that, if you are in Brussels, every street has 2 names, a French name and a Flemish name. If you ask a Franco-Belgian about a Flemish street, they will act like they have no idea what you are talking about. I shit you not. I won't be surprised when threats of secession are made good in our lifetime.
Wallonian breweries that we take inspiration from include Fantome, Orval, La Chouffe, Rochefort, Blaugies, Vapeur… these are breweries that typically take a more culinary, less stylistic approach to their beer, creating idiosyncratic, flamboyant spice and herbed beers as opposed to more defined and conservative offerings of say the German and Czech traditions for sure.
Farmhouse styles = Farmhouse is a broad family of beer styles which are generally rustic, varied interpretations of beers made with some combination of 2-Row, Pilsner Malts, a wheat or other protein addition (oats, spelt, buckwheat, quinoa) and a spicy, earthy yeast strain. Historically, most farmhouses clocked in around 3-5% ABV with some exceptions. Farmhouse beers were generally "working beers" made in the winter (usually November-December) and stored in oak barrels to be consumed while working through the hot summer months.
Distinctly American = We are deeply in love and inspired by Belgium, by their beer, their culture and the warm "Fuck You" attitude they've rendered after centuries of playing host to warring Europe. But we aren't Belgians, we aren't pretending to be and we definitely aren't limiting ourselves to only Belgian influences.
We also proudly count the many beers and rich culture of our own fucked up homeland amongst our many influences. It would be insanely stupid not to. We're as inspired by William S. Burroughs as we are by Dany Prignon from Fantome. Our beers pay as much honor to the DIY punk rock movement as they do to Orval or La Chouffe.
There you have it. The anatomy of our baby. The brains, blood and soul of our little tyrant.