New Brew

Appears in the December 2022 issue.

By Peter Gianopulos

Naperville’s first nonalcoholic beer operation is open for business

Go Brewing staffers with owners Heather and John Chura (center)
Go Brewing staffers with owners Heather and John Chura (center)

Feeling a little lethargic lately? Energy levels stuck in neutral? Does your memory, at times, feel like it’s steeped in a pea-soup thick London fog? Maybe it’s not you. Maybe it’s your choice of beers.

Joe Chura, who’s just launched Naperville’s first nonalcoholic beer operation, Go Brewing (1665 Quincy Ave.), can empathize. During the pandemic, the serial entrepreneur and his wife, Heather, decided to conduct an experiment and give up alcohol—cold turkey—for 75 straight days.

The first two weeks? Dante’s Inferno. Weeks three through seven? Valhalla.

The couple discovered three things from their Prohibition-style purge: 1. The majority of nonalcoholic beers on the market taste like glorified well water. 2. There was—and continues to be—a serious dearth of social activities that don’t “revolve, in some way or another, around consuming alcohol,” as Chura says. And 3. Abstaining from alcohol gave them more zip than the Energizer Bunny.

“We realized that we craved the social connections that came with drinking more than the alcohol itself,” he says.

A bartender filling a glass with beer

Enter Go Brewing, the Churas’ just-opened 6,000-square-foot nonalcohol and low-alcohol brewery and entertainment complex, which will prove that some beer can animate you rather than enervate you. Instead of boiling off or vacuuming out alcohol from beer via de-alcoholizing methods—as many big beer houses do—Go Brewing has developed a method for shortening the traditional fermentation process. This preserves the flavors we all know and love while arresting the formation of alcohol.

Go’s nonalcohol (less than 0.5 percent by volume) and low-alcohol (0.5 to 2.5 percent) selections should taste familiar. In the early going, the brewery will be tapping Pilsners, IPAs, witbiers, and stouts. All of which Chura says are not only less filling (take that, Bud Light) but contain an average of just 35 to 60 calories a pop.

Plus, Chura insists, Go’s brews often taste fresher and cleaner than many traditional beers, thus allowing his brewmaster, James Bigler, to dial up underlying flavors that can become muted. “You can really detect, for example, the citrus in our IPA,” Chura says, “and all sorts of coffee and cocoa in our stouts.”

Although food trucks, pop-up caterers, and musical performers will be staples at the brewery, Chura plans on inviting high-profile health and wellness speakers, and weather permitting, even set up a cold-plunge pool—all in the hopes of proving low alcohol doesn’t have to mean low fun.


Photos courtesy of Go Brewing