United in brew

Justin Aprahamian, the envy of some cooking school online students, was awarded the 2014 James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef Midwest award. His work at the fine dining restaurant of Sanford in Milwaukee has put his cooking on the map. Sanford was only recently turned over to Aprahamian, who stood as sous chef under the original owner Sandy D’Amato. Aprahamian’s ambition has pushed him beyond wanting to cook the best food, he has also begun the feat of brewing the best beer in the Midwest. Teamed with John Lavelle, the two have opened a brewery by the name of Like Minds.

Aprahamian came to beer through food. Serving the drink at the restaurant, he found he could produce as delicate a concoction as his food. Lavelle comes from the other side of the food world, tech. Lavelle created the Beer Fridge app. The application allows beer drinkers to track and note beers they are interested in or have tasted. With these two minds, the first Like Minds beer had to be original.

Aprahamian and Lavelle called their premier drink Serre – French for greenhouse. This Belgian rhubarb saison required Aprahamian to juice 800 pounds of fresh rhubarb for the 20 half barrels that they produced. The duo teamed up with Hinterland Brewery in Green Bay to manufacture the beer, and they hope to have a summer beer soon. Aprahamian is planning on a cucumber pilsner at the moment.

“No style really is going to be off limits,” Aprahamian told Angela Peterson from the Journal Sentinel.

Like Minds will take a true chef’s approach to brewing. With seasonal products and seasonal flavors, the two hope to create great-tasting and creative beers. If the beers are anything like Aprahamian’s cooking, then it can be expected to make a few ripples in the large craft beer market.

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