Hidden in an Evanston alley on Chicago Avenue is the orange door to Evanston’s new nano brewery, Sketchbook. After raising money from more than 250 Kickstarter supporters in the spring, the community-supported brewery opened to the public in late November. Sketchbook invites guests to tastings and growler fills to its customers in an attempt to create a new speakeasy culture in Evanston.
“They don’t really care that we’re a little hard to find, and they seem to be happy to come to our neighborhood,” said co-owner Cesar Marron.
Marron and co-owner Shawn Decker are the principal owners of the brewery, managing a brewery on top of regular day-jobs but still keeping the shop open 4 days a week.
In addition to their walk-in offerings, Marron and Decker have worked with more than 10 local restaurants to pair beers with their menus. This Monday night, Sketchbook will be partnering with Boltwood for a prix fixe “Beer Dinner” menu featuring four Sketchbook beer pairings. The event, which will cost $55 per person, has been in the works for about two months, according to Marron.
“They wanted from the beginning to do a beer dinner,” Marron said.
The first collaboration with Boltwood happened before the restaurant even opened. Marron knew the owner and knew both would be opening their businesses around the same time, so the two got together and discussed potential partnerships. For one of Boltwood’s private dinners before its opening, Sketchbook provided the pairing beers.
Marron said he’d look forward to similar partnerships in the future, stressing the importance of staying local and supporting local businesses.
“That’s what we’re hoping to do more of, partner up with chefs around town and promote the local [business],” Marron said. “It’s not just about having a unique product that tastes a certain way.”