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March Monthly Brew

March Monthly Brew

March 13, 2017

Tangled Roots is more than a name, it’s a nod to our shared history

When you first walk into Tangled Roots Brewing Company it’s hard not to notice the huge copper kettles tucked behind the bar. While they serve a very important purpose — the two 400 gallon vessels are responsible for making every large batch of beer at the brewery — they also can be seen as a metaphor for how the brewery came together.

The brewery became a melting pot that attracted a diverse group of people from diverse geographical locations, including La Salle County, South Africa, Germany and Chicago, to start a brewery in Ottawa, Illinois.

“It’s the Great American Beer Story,” said Chief Commercial Officer Scott Struchen, “the American melting pot.”

Tangled Roots’ Headbrewer Louie Rizzo, for instance, was born and raised in Spring Valley. Tangled Roots CEO Keith Pearse acknowledged Rizzo’s natural feel for the art of brewing beer.

“It goes to show that you don’t need age and experience,” he said of Rizzo, who is 26. “Passion is more important.”

Pearse, who grew up in Southern Africa, started working life as a mechanical engineer which led to building breweries in the United Kingdom. After an MBA, he began working for SABMiller where he filled a number of diverse roles from M&A to corporate strategy to managing brewery operations.

Struchen is a native Chicagoan with years of experience in the restaurant and brewing industry, including working as Vice President of the Chicago Beer Company.

Pearse and Struchen had a chance meeting with local entrepreneurs Inga Carus, of Ottawa, and her husband Peter Limberger, who grew up in Germany, all with a common interest to start a brewery. And the rest was history.

“Clearly there was the chemistry necessary to put a team together,” Struchen said. “It was clear all the parts fit together right.”

This group of individuals traveled diverse and winding paths but their lives became entangled when those paths intersected in Ottawa. The name Tangled Roots celebrates those roads and the diverse backgrounds.

“We all come from diverse backgrounds, from different countries, and have different experiences and professional know how,” Limberger said. “That’s how Tangled Roots came together — and how we came up with the name.”

From Our Founders

It seems like an old cliché when you say “time flies when you’re having fun”. The funny thing about it is that I don’t know if I am getting old and the clock is moving extremely fast or I am really having the time of my life. It never really occurred to me as a younger man that I was going be a partner of a brewery, not to say that I didn’t have my fill of beer either or that it qualifies me for anything other than a college kid that likes to drink.

The word “time” really sticks out to me in the above statement because we just don’t get enough of it. Throughout the last year, we as a company have seen amazing things happen in the community around us. Ottawa, Illinois, has really been an exciting place to be. In the last year, Tangled Roots Brewing Company and The Lone Buffalo have really come into their own. Our company has gone from a true start up where we have seen our share of heartbreak and even more importantly real successes.

Some of my fondest memories from this past year are really funny! Like the time we had to close down Route 23 and bring our equipment in the brewery. The people of the town gathered around and looked at us like we were bringing the nuclear warheads of beer into their town. When I saw this picture, It dawned on me… the fermentation tanks looked a little like “Little Boy.” Yeah explain that one to the cops.

In the end, as a team we really have come together and created a great place to work, a great place to eat, and best of all a great place to drink a “Damn Good Beer!” Where does all that time go? It goes into lots and lots of planning and even more meetings. Meetings to have meetings, to set meetings. But where does all that time go? Well the answer is… in your glass of beer. We as a company work the long hours so our guests can enjoy our craft beer! That, my friends, is the meaning of having the time of your life! So grab a cold one and enjoy! From our family to yours… Cheers – Scott Struchen

Employee of the Month 

Ethen Server Assistant

Congratulations to TRBC Employee of the Month, Ethen Schaive! Ethan works at The Lone Buffalo as a Server Assistant where he supports the service of guests in the front and back of the restaurant. On a normal night, you may see Ethan setting tables, preparing for parties, serving food, and even moving furniture!

Ethan will be celebrating one year at The Lone Buffalo on March 7. Over the last year, he’s learned some valuable lessons about working in the restaurant industry, “Ask questions and do things right the first time,” he said. He handles the pressures of high expectation well, which is reflected in his strong work ethic and ability to complete tasks quickly and efficiently without hesitation. Ethan goes above and beyond every shift he works. He is a true asset to our team and a role model for other employees.

“I am highly impressed with the increased knowledge and skill level Ethan has developed in just one year,” said Rich Crum, General Manager of the Lone Buffalo. Ethan is a Junior at Ottawa Township High School and lives with his dad, step-mom, and two step-siblings. In his spare time, you may find him hanging out with his friends or playing video games. Here’s a little more about Ethan:

What do you like most about working at The Lone Buffalo by TRBC?
It’s a fun environment and I work with fun people. What are some of your favorite menu items? Anything with meatballs: meatball flatbread and meatball sub. I also like the bison burger.

What is your favorite memory since joining the team a year ago?
The company Christmas Party was really fun.

Congratulations, Ethan!

Top 5 Craft Beer Industry Trends in 2017

5. More macro drinkers shifting into the category. People are gravitating towards craft beer swiftly, a new found interest in local hand crafted beer. Most people cite words like taste, flavor, variety, better, and local for their reasons to buy and try craft beer. The industry is taking notice and brewing beers that are more approachable to new craft beer drinkers.

4. New found appreciation for lighter less bitter golden ales and blonde ales. IPAs still hold 60% of all craft beer growth. Meanwhile in the past year golden ales/blondes have been credited to 1/6 of all craft beer incremental growth. As macro drinkers continue to take the plunge into micro, breweries will see a spike in growth with golden ales and blondes.

3. A boost in refreshing lagers and crisp pilsners. When craft brewers started brewing, ales were the simple way to start. Ales are brewed at higher temperatures and ferment more quickly, shorter production time. Ales are fuller flavored, any flaws are easily hidden by hop flavor, where as these flaws would be more obvious in a lager. “Why didn’t people try to brew it (lagers) right away? It’s really hard to make, it’s really expensive and it’s really hard to be consistent,” adds Doug Tirola, a New York filmmaker. Breweries throughout the U.S. are ready to take on the challenge of brewing traditional German beers.

2. A trend closely related to #4 and #3, lower ABV, more sessionable beers in larger pack types. These entry level beers, are less offensive to the inexperienced craft beer palette, and easily enjoyed by new craft beer drinkers. Craft beer is becoming available in larger pack types, 6pks were the standard for many years, now we are seeing 12pks, 15pks and possibly 18pks in the market. Lower ABV beers provide consumers an opportunity to enjoy multiple beers, breweries like it because it helps to drive volume in sales with the larger pack types.

1. More and more CANS, each year growth of cans has not so quietly pushed in way into in craft industry. Oskar Blues Brewery started canning Dales Pale Ale in 2002. From 2013 to 2016, cans have more than doubled in growth in all sizes of breweries. Bottles still are the craft beer benchmark for package, dominating almost 60% of market.

Kale Yeah 

Kale. Some love it, some hate it. But the truth is, Kale is packed with vitamins and minerals that your body needs. If you’re of the variety of people that doesn’t love Kale you might have already tuned out. So let’s talk about the stuff you like first. A creamy, house-made Caesar dressing, with fresh Parmesan cheese, thinly sliced Brussels sprouts for a tangy crunch… Now we’re talking right?

Paired with our grilled chicken, this salad tastes a lot more like an indulgence than a healthy, cancer fighting, power packed lunch or dinner. One cup of Kale contains 3 grams of protein which will fuel your body with energy and 2.5 grams of fiber which can help manage blood sugar and make you feel full! Kale also contains nutrients that can prevent against macular degeneration and cataracts! A great chef can turn a dish using an ingredient that you may not have thought you enjoyed, into something that is your favorite! Chef Brok and Chef Scott have done this for many with our Kale Caesar Salad!

What guests are saying:
“My go-to is the kale Caesar salad with shrimp and the gluten-free flat breads,” said Wendy Sanders. “I like the out of the ordinary menu options available!”


What’s On Tap

Click here for our updated Tap List



With festival season upon us, Tangled Roots Brewing Company is excited to get a kick start on beer festivals this year!

This month you can find us at Cabin Fever – A Back Alley Beer Tasting, at 5420-22 W Devon, Chicago. More info here!

Keep an eye out for more festivals in the area that you can come and have a drink with us at!

Upcoming Events

Every Sunday – Brunch in The Lone Buffalo

Every Wednesday – Ladies Night

Every Thursday – Experimental Brew on tap

St. Patrick’s Day Celebration: March 17th Tap Room/Lone Buffalo

Cox’s Army: March 18th in The Tap Room

Christina Eltrevoog: March 25th in The Tap Room

Kimi Hayes Duo: March 24th in The Tap Room

The Woods Brothers: March 31st in The Tap Room


Amanda Hart is the Marketing Director at Tangled Roots Brewing Company.

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