CHICAGO
11/14/2011 02:39 pm ET Updated Jan 14, 2012

Former Goose Island Brewmaster Takes On Hard Cider

First things first: You might want to take off your shoes. Pressing cider by hand involves no small amount of exertion, and things are going to get a little messy. Especially when you're in a room the size of a generous walk-in closet, and there is nowhere for discarded bits of apple and splatters of juice to land except on the floor or the walls or, apparently, your feet. The room is painted the kind of in-your-face bright orange usually reserved for insane people's art studios, and in it stands a barefoot Greg Hall, the former brewmaster of Goose Island. He's tossing bushels of Cox orange pippin apples through a six-foot-long wooden press, cranking 180 degrees at a time until he's red in the face, then collecting the juices and fermenting them with yeast in carboys (small-necked plastic vessels) labeled with strips of tape. This is home base for Hall's new company, Virtue Brands, and this is the testing ground for its first in a line of hard ciders: RedStreak.

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