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Happiness is a Home Brew

John Beystehner (left) and David Nabong both work at Brew and Grow in Crystal Lake. They each brew their own beer in their spare time. (Photos by Melissa Emory)

Bill Cross of McHenry loves to cook, and he loves beer.

A trip to a craft brewery inspired him to bring them together to create a most flavorful union.

“My kids took me on a tour of Gray’s Brewery in Janesville, [Wis.], and the guy gave an excellent tour,” he says. “When it was over, we came home and I said, ‘I’m going to start doing that.’”

Cross purchased a homebrewing equipment kit and an ingredient package to brew an Irish stout.

“I like dark beers, and the guy at the brew shop recommended it,” Cross says. “He said dark beers hide a lot of faults, and he recommends them to beginners.”

That experience got him hooked, and Cross has since expanded his brewing equipment collection and branched into more exotic varieties such as a sweet potato stout.

“It was a pain in the neck because you had to bake the potatoes,” Cross says. “It was delicious, but without much sweet potato character. I won’t do it again.”

To read the full story, pick up the latest issue of McHenry County Magazine.