Many of today’s brewery stories start with homebrewing equipment in a college apartment or sips of craft beer on a road trip across the United States that inspired owners to dream up new beer recipes and contribute to the growing craft landscape in the U.S.
Pleasant House Brewing Company started a little differently. In some ways, it started at owner Art Jackson’s family estate in Yorkshire England called – unsurprisingly – Pleasant House. Jackson, first generation American, was a chef in Chicago, when he and his wife, Chelsea decided to honor his English ancestry by opening Pleasant House Bakery in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood. They started with their now-famous, Royal Pies – traditional British meat pies made with savory ingredients in flakey, buttery pastry. Their Chicago establishment is BYOB, which brought up an important question to the owners.
“Honestly, what’s better with a savory meat pie than a really good beer? Somewhere it was always the next logical step for us,” said Chelsea Kalberloh Jackson, owner of Pleasant House Brewing Company.
The Jacksons knew they’d need space to brew and when friends directed them to quaint Three Oaks, Michigan – the rural setting and proximity to amazing growing regions, as well as being just over an hour outside of Chicago made it the perfect location to start brewing beer equal to their menu.
“When you’re brewing 10 gallon batches, you have an amazing amount of flexibility to be creative and bold,” said Pleasant House’s head brewer, Gloria Fahim. “When you have a food-focused restaurant, pairing becomes an important part of your brewing process.”
Kalberloh Jackson agrees, saying that their ability to keep their tap board fresh and unique, gives customers an opportunity to explore craft beer and even offer up their own suggestions.
“We’re invested in the craft landscape,” says Kalberloh Jackson. “The way we source our ingredients, running our urban farming space and beer are all an important part of that landscape.”
Kalberloh Jackson notes that their customers were craft beer drinkers long before Pleasant House started brewing beer. Those interested in an artisan approach to their food, would expect nothing less in their drink. Kalberloh Jackson remarks that even Pleasant House’s mantra – Do it f’ the sen – is at the very heart of craft.
“It’s a Yorkshire saying that means ‘do it for yourself’ – which is what craft food and drink is all about. It’s about choosing flavors that speak to you – your palate, your preference, your life.”