The 9500 block of Ogden Avenue in Brookfield will be home to a second craft brewing company in the coming months, after the new owners of the former Congress Park Community Hall building at 9509 Ogden Ave. complete renovations.
In March, a company called Koblish Properties LLC purchased the building for $185,000 from a real estate trust connected to the owners of Panel Window Company Inc., which had operated at that address for decades.
The property is across the street from Imperial Oak Brewing, which opened its doors in 2021.
The manager of Koblish Properties is listed in Illinois Secretary of State records as James Koblish, of LaGrange Park. He’s also one of three managers of Bevmasters LLC, which operates under the name Hop District Community Brewers, a craft beer producer which opened a brewery and taproom room at 23 E. 31st St. in LaGrange Park in 2022.
Attempts to get more information on what’s planned for the Brookfield property from Hop District by phone and email were not successful.
Hop District celebrated its first anniversary at its location at the northwest corner of 31st Street and Meadowcrest Road on May 20. Earlier this month, the taproom started opening its doors on Mondays and now serves thirsty customers seven days a week both inside and on their new outdoor patio.
According to an article published by LaGrange Patch in 2022, Koblish had started distilling liquor in 2009 and by 2013 had begun brewing beer. When Koblish was furloughed from his job with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, he and his fiancée, Shayne Hansen, shifted gears.
The business is “an IPA and lager-focused craft brewery,” according to its website, but it also produces “sours, big imperial stouts and plenty of seasonal brews.” The business has food partnerships with Mattone Restaurant and Bar, which is just a short distance west, and El Pollo Food Truck, which is there on weekends.
Brookfield Village Planner Emily Egan said that it will take some months for Hop District to build out the space, which she characterized as a “complete gut and interior demo.”
Over the years, the former community hall had been broken up into smaller spaces, Egan said.
“I think they’re trying to get back to it being a big, open space,” Egan said of Hop District’s plans. The company has not yet submitted any architectural drawings for the interior renovation, she added.
Egan said it was her understanding that the Brookfield location primarily would be used for beer production, but that village officials are encouraging Hop District to include a small taproom.
“They are considering that,” said Egan, who added it could take six months or more for the build out to be completed.
In the years immediately after it was built, the Congress Park Community Hall served a variety of purposes. In March 1925, the West Suburban Athletic Club brought an “All Star Athletic Carnival” to the building with Tony Rocco, “Italian middleweight champion wrestler” as the star attraction, along with a “professional exhibition of bag punching and Indian club swinging.”
In Nov. 1927, the hall was used as a polling place for an Elementary School District 102 building bond referendum.
By the mid-1970s, the building housed AAA Appliance and Furniture and most recently was home to Panel Window Company Inc., whose sign still hangs from the building’s façade.
The window company was incorporated in 1959, but it appears to have moved to 9509 Ogden Ave. in 1979, according to Illinois Secretary of State records.