Rising Star Brewer Dave Bleitner of Off Color Brewing - Biography

Chicago, IL

May 2015

If it’s safe to say the Great Recession closed more than few doors, it’s also safe to say it opened a few, too. For Dave Bleitner, then in his mid-twenties, 2008 saw the end of a career trading options. By the time his twenty-fifth birthday rolled round, Bleitner unemployed and fairly intoxicated—a combination which somehow propelled him to enroll in the beer program at the Siebel Institute of Technoloogy.

Bleitner wasn’t necessarily pursuing a new career; worst case scenario, it would be a fun vacation. Seven years later, vacation is still going well. Bleitner started interning at Metropolitan Brewing, where he met future partner John Laffler. The two hit it off, and soon enough plans for Off Color Brewing were under way. Meanwhile, Bleitner was making a name for himself in beer, earning the 2009 Worshipful Company of Brewers GCB award from the Institute of Brewing & Distilling.

Established, and officially lauded, in the beer world, Bleitner next took a job at Two Brothers Brewing in Warrenville, Illinois, a gig that helped him continue to hone his skills but took a toll at 40 miles, each way. Fortunately, Bleitner and Laffler’s long-simmering plans for Off Color Brewing were ready to bear fruit, with the duo opening their brewery in 2013, combining tested brewing skills with a confidently off-kilter style and helping to define the same (exploding) craft brewing community they came up in. In 2015, the pair earned a StarChefs Rising Star Brewers Award for their work at Off Color Brewing.

Photo credit: Michael Kiser/Good Beer Hunting