It all began in Helsinki.
Four Grayslake hockey dads went to Helsinki in 2009 to watch the Chicago Blackhawks play, the season they won the Stanley Cup.
Don Chatten, Kurt Engdahl, Bill Hermes and Jeff Shepherd soaked in the culture and sampled the Helsinki beers, even having a drink with Coach Q, Joel Quenneville.
There, an idea was born.
"Why don't we make microbrews with obscure hockey names?" asked Chatten. "That's what we asked ourselves. And here we are."
And so Light the Lamp Brewery, at lightthelampbrewery.com, was born. They incorporated in November 2010 and began experimenting with recipes and bottling processes, designing logos and T-shirts.
Light the Lamp offfically went into production in 2011. Two more men have joined the COB (Colleagues Of Beer) cast - Dave Cavanaugh and Craig Nielsen.
The Light the Lamp microbrews include:
- Red Line Ale
- Sin Bin Stout
- Bench Minor Blonde
- 1980 Miracle American Pale Ale
- Hattrick Hefeweizen
- Light the Lamp Oktoberfest
- Wrap Around Wheat
"We are in the final stages of licensing the product," said Chatten. "We want to find a local space in downtown Grayslake to brew it. Craft beers are coming on strong. We are really just trying to build the buzz."
Light the Lamp Brewery held its first beer tasting May 19 and drew a large crowd of happy samplers. Proceeds from the event went to support breast cancer awareness and the Save-A-Pet Animal Shelter in Grayslake.
"We all have day jobs too," said Hermes. "We are having fun with this. I love meeting and greeting people and talking about hockey and beer. It's all about the beer."
The COB are a laid back band of brothers who have bonded over beer and hockey. Now they are turning that into a business.
"We are trying to create a casual craft brew environment where people just want to hang out with their friends," Hermes said.
"What's not to like about this?" joked Kurt Engdahl, looking around the backyard beer tasting. "It has been fun. The concept is great and we have a good product. We're just hockey guys who are sitting around making beer."
Dave Cavanaugh said that many of the COB coached their kids' hockey teams together. Craig Nielsen said their big goal is to find a space in downtown Grayslake for a small, local brew house where people can just get together with friends.
"That's what we want to do," Nielsen said. "And hopefully, be open by hockey season."
For information, visit www.lightthelampbrewery.com.