Will Duncan shows off a can Babygold Coldbeer brewed exclusively for Fitzgerald’s by Oak Park’s Kinslahger Brewing Company. (Melissa Elsmo/Eats Editor)

Years ago, Will Duncan, owner of FitzGerald’s Nightclub, 6615 W. Roosevelt Rd., in Berwyn homebrewed a beer for his wife, Jess, to coincide with the arrival of their first child. Duncan crafted the beer to be in line with his wife’s preferences and the couple called the crisp, golden-hued beer, “Babygold.” 

The name stuck with the pair and the beverage went on to inspire the name for Chef John Manion’s forthcoming barbecue restaurant located on the FitzGerald’s property. With the opening of Babygold Barbecue on the horizon, Duncan and Manion collaborated with Keith Huizinga, co-owner of Kinslahger Brewing Company, 6806 Roosevelt Rd., in Oak Park, to capture the “Babygold spirit” in a custom-brewed house beer.

“Will knows his stuff,” said Huizinga. “We had a discussion about what he hoped to achieve with the beer and then had a tasting to try different styles before we settled on a Czech Pilsner.”

The resulting Babygold Coldbeer is brewed by Kinslahger exclusively for Fitzgerald’s and is designed to pair perfectly with barbecue. Like all Czech pilsners, Babygold Coldbeer, is brewed with 100% Saaz hops, but Kinslahger gave the brew a distinctive Midwest twist by sourcing the hops from Hop Head Farms in Michigan.

Like wine grapes, hops are impacted by environmental factors including climate and soil. Huizinga notes the Michigan hops reflect their regional terroir by giving the finished pilsner a subtly different flavor — he detects more floral than herbal notes in the finished product made using American Saaz hops.

Huizinga describes Babygold Coldbeer as a “nice, balanced, easy-drinking beer with a clean bitter finish.” Drinkers should find it to be malty compared to German and American pilsners and will likely deem it to be the perfect accompaniment to a bold smoked meat meal, great music and good conversation.

“Will has brought new energy to Fitzgerald’s and Roosevelt Road,” said Huizinga. “As long as he wants this beer, we’ll keep making it.”

Though food-lovers will have to wait a while longer for Manion’s thoughtful barbecue, Babygold Coldbeer, is available now to help curb your cravings. Four packs are available for pick up and delivery via Fitzgerald’s online store.

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