If you’ve ever been to a brewpub or a taproom, you might have noticed a sense of community that permeates the space. There is this feeling of participation in one’s neighborhood, of locality and growth, development and relationship. They’re quickly overtaking other public spaces, like event halls and lodges, as a focal point for local culture and events. Unlike the bars and restaurants of old, they embody the spirit of creativity with a DIY spin. When going to a brewery’s pub or taproom, you can often feel the philosophy of the people running the place. You get to sample their body of work in a space meant to complement that work.
If breweries had an analogue to the anime world, it would be animation studios. Since both are the main creative enterprises of their particular industry, there are many parallels to be made here. Some breweries are more subdued and focused, while others are bold and experimental, and the same is true for anime studios. For this article, I thought it would be fun to compare a few Chicagoland breweries to current anime studios and describe their similarities.
Anime Studio: Trigger
If there is anything that you can say about Trigger it’s that they’re flashy and fun, and are willing to take risks when they think something can be “cool”. If you’re not familiar with Pipeworks Brewing, they are exactly the same. Both companies have a sense of playfulness and mastery of style while still doing things their own way, if only because it’s cool. Pipeworks beers can be over the top, using ingredients that you might not expect in styles that would not normally call for it. Examples include a double IPA that used actual pine, a purple beer (for real), and multiple beers based on popular cocktails. However, they don’t experiment so far that it becomes unrecognizable, just like Trigger. They’re both having fun staying just outside the lines.
Anime Studio: Production IG
Brewery: Revolution Brewing
Production IG is known for well made, action-oriented works that usually have mass appeal, especially with adults. If that isn’t a great way to also describe Revolution, then I don’t know what is. What you will get from both companies is solid, well-liked work that even your non-hobbyist friends will talk about. People will mention liking the original Ghost in the Shell anime in the same way that they will order an Anti-Hero from Revolution. They like it, but that’s as far as they will delve into either artistic genre. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that either. I know I catch myself from time to time trying to convert “casual” fans, but sometimes it’s best to just let it be. You both like this one thing, isn’t that enough?
Anime Studio: 4°C
Brewery: Off Color Brewing
Much of the original content that 4°C produces can be seen as unconventional, in that it doesn’t look or feel like most anime. You won’t find the conventional hot-blooded shonen protagonists or any other such tropes, but you will find solid animation and a great sense of playfulness. You’ll also see animation techniques and stories you might not find elsewhere. This is exactly like Off Color Brewing’s philosophy. You won’t find many popular craft beer styles, like IPAs, from Off Color, but what you will find is lesser-known styles executed perfectly. Off Color has worked with the Field Museum on multiple historic beers that try to replicate original recipes. If you love outside-the-norm but well made beers, Off Color is the go-to Chicago brewery.
Regardless of what you’re line of work is, or what your hobbies are, there is always a little bit of personality that you impart into it. And depending on what you add, you might strike a chord with others, so much so that they identify with what you’re doing. Next time you’re at a restaurant you like, or drinking one of your favorite drinks, or watching an anime you’re enamored with, take a step back and reflect on it. The experience in both anime and beer probably resonates with you on some basic level that you might not have noticed otherwise, and finding those connections is a wonderful opportunity that can put us in tune with who we are and, more importantly, how we fit into the rest of the world.