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Tighthead Brewery in Mundelein opens tap room; distribution growing

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Updated: February 6, 2012 8:13AM

Bruce Dir has turned his passion for craft beer into a new career.

Dir is owner and founder of Tighthead Brewing Co., Mundelein’s newest microbrewery located on Archer Avenue near the downtown Metra station.

With money he saved over the years and help from a Small Business Administration loan, Dir converted a portion of the former Anatol building into the new Tighthead Brewery. And the business opened up its tap room area to the public on Dec. 22, giving residents a taste of some of Tighthead’s unique craft beers. Those include the Comfortably Blond Ale, the Scarlet Fire Red Ale, the Irie IPA (India Pale Ale) and the Boxcar Porter, a dark, rich winter seasonal beer.

‘Diverse crowd’

Pints of beer range from $4.75 to $5.75 depending upon the type of brew customers choose. They can also purchase 64-ounce sealed jugs of beer to go known as Growlers.

Dir said the crowds have been pretty good during the first few days since the bar area opened.

“It’s a pretty diverse crowd,” said Dir. “We’ve had older people coming in along with couples sitting right next to 21 year olds. But everyone has an appreciation for craft beer. That’s the common theme.”

Dir has plenty of experience brewing craft beer. He has been home brewing beer for 17 years and is part of the Babble Homebrewing Club, which has held home brewing demonstrations the past two years at the Mundelein Days celebration. He worked for about a year at Flatlander’s Restaurant and Brewery as an assistant brewer and obtained a commercial brewing certificate from the Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago in 2010.

Early customers were not disappointed by the quality of the beer.

‘Really outstanding’

Eric Bruce of Grayslake visited the tap room of the brewery with a friend, Mike Catuara of Chicago. It was his second visit to the brewery since the bar opened.

“I used to be part of the Babble Homebrewing Club years ago and I knew Bruce and I knew it would be good,” he said. “All the beers are really outstanding, really high quality.”

Dan and Valerie Morey of Mundelein had been following updates about Tighthead Brewery on Facebook and were excited when the bar area finally opened.

Valerie Morey is particularly fond of the India Pale Ale, while Dan Morey likes the variety of brews that are offered and looks forward to the brewery’s selection of seasonal brews.

Dan Morey thinks the brewery will prove to be a popular attraction for residents of Mundelein and surrounding communities.

“I think Mundelein is a little underappreciated in terms of the villages around this area, and I think he’s trying to change that image,” he said. “I know Mundelein’s excited about having them here. I think it’s going to be a real good thing.”

The bar area, however, will only be a small part of the brewery’s business. Tighthead Brewery is a commercial production brewery that produces kegs of different varieties of brew for bars and restaurants from throughout the area.

Dir said they’ve already sold beer to a number of Lake County bars and restaurants, including Park Street restaurant in Mundelein, Gale Street Inn in Mundelein, Firkin’s in Libertyville, Whirlyball in Vernon Hills, Cubbie Bear North in Lincolnshire, Biaggi’s in Deerfield and the Vine in Grayslake. Starting in January, he said they plan to expand their distribution into parts of Cook County.

“We’ll be expanding our distribution quite a bit and it will open up a lot more opportunities,” he said.

Also after the first of the year, Dir said the brewery plans to add brewery tours on weekends and hopes to add some outdoor events in the parking lot area during warmer months.

“I’ve told the village that breweries are destination spots,” he said. “A lot of people like to do tastings and like to do tours.”

Hours of operation for the bar area are Wednesday through Friday, 4 to 10 p.m.; Saturdays, noon to 10 p.m.; and Sundays, noon to 6 p.m. More information about Tighthead Brewery is available at the company’s website,,, on Facebook at or by calling (847) 970-9174.

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