Beer In The Park - Ninja vs. Unicorn

Beer in the Park is a weekly series that showcases some of our favorite craft beers, past, present, and future. Most, if not all, of the beers covered will be available at the Naperville Ale Fest.

Whether you’re a craft beer aficionado or a newcomer, the Naperville Ale Fest has something for everyone. Located at the Naper Settlement, with downtown Naperville as a backdrop, it is the ideal setting to experience craft beer.

Brewery: Pipeworks Brewing Company
Beer: Ninja vs. Unicorn
Style: American Double IPA


Photo: Matt Tanaka Marketing

Nestled in Chicago’s West side lies Pipeworks, a small yet significant brewery. Described as “craft beer nerds” Beejay Oslon and Gerrit Lewis opened the brewery in 2012, to be one of constant experimentation, constantly brewing new recipes. We spoke with Mike Schallau about the brewery, their creative and communal approach and one of their most popular beers, Ninja vs. Unicorn.

Origin Story: Pipeworks Founders Look To Chicago Beer Fans To Raise Capital
At the time of its inception, Chicago was lacking the kinds of craft beer that Beejay Olson and Gerrit Lewis were craving. After years of homebrewing the two then took matters into their own hands and began working on the business plan that would become Pipeworks. They wanted a different kind of brewery, the kind that would be truly community-supported and where the beer drinking public could directly contribute to the beer they were drinking. They turned to Kickstarter... and raised over $30,000 in the process. Chicago was clearly on the same page.


Photo: Matt Tanaka Marketing


Constant Creativity: New Beers Determined By Beer Fans
Walking down the countless aisles of a liquor store, you would be hard pressed not to notice a four pack of Pipeworks beer. The cans practically jump out at you, with artwork that reflects the unique nature of each and every beer. The brewery is notable for its concept and execution of making beer: “We don’t really adhere to style guidelines specifically, even for our more traditional beers. We’re just trying to make the most delicious tasting thing.” The focus is on delivering the best possible taste to its supportive community, bringing back only the beers that are well received.


Photo: Matt Tanaka Marketing

Ninja vs Unicorn is one of the exceptions to Pipework's constant experimentation. As one of their year-round beers, this big, robust beer was one of the first regularly available double IPAs by a Chicago brewery in Chicago. Mike describes its flavor profiles as, "Very citrus forward, a lot of tropical fruit and then a little bit of pine in the background, a little bit of that dankness." It's a beer that's uniquely, Pipeworks."

In years to come, Pipeworks hopes to continue delivering quality beers to their community. “We want to be good citizens of the craft beer community.” With its creative and experimental mindset, Pipeworks represents the Chicago cult community of craft beer.

The fourth annual Naperville Ale Fest will take place on Saturday, July 16, 2016 and will showcase over 200 unique beers from craft breweries around the country. The fest will also feature live music and food from some of the area’s favorite restaurants and food trucks. Situated on the grounds of the Naper Settlement, with downtown Naperville as a backdrop, it is the ideal setting to experience craft beer. A portion of the proceeds from the Naperville Ale Fest will benefit the Naper Settlement and the Naperville Heritage Society.

Naperville Ale Fest
Saturday, July 16th
Naper Settlement

Josh Seago