About us

So Who Are The Hippos?

Twisted Hippo Taproom and Eatery is a brewery proudly located smack dab in the middle of Albany Park, Irving Park, Ravenswood Manor, and Horner Park. That’s a lot of neighborhoods, but we have a lot of love to share so it all works out.

We brew damned fine craft beer that is artful by design and twisted by nature. We proudly celebrate diversity, sustainability, and creativity in everything we do in our Chicago community and beyond.

So what makes us unique? Weeellll… aside from the giant pink hippo with antlers, a pig’s tail, and wings, it could be said that we exemplify our philosophy to ‘Embrace Your Strange’ in everything we do. Our taproom is filled with vibrant colors and bold architectural details, sustainably sourced with the guests’ needs in mind. Our staff is a carefully curated group of fun folks who embody what it means to be perfectly yourself, no matter what your quirk may be.

What kind of beer do we make? Weeellll… all kinds, really. We specialize in weird but awesome, balanced yet interesting. While many people look to replicate what’s trending at any given moment, we take a creative approach while respecting the base beer style. Not every beer is for every person, but there’s something here for everyone.

The same philosophy applies to our bar program and menus. In addition to our own brewery’s offerings, we support craft brewers, distillers, roasters, and cideries, wineries and soda makers with a wide array of options available. And we’re ready with good meal options for kids, adults, gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, as well, so that your whole group can come here and find something to enjoy.

Our goal is to create a positive culture that goes beyond drinking great beer. We believe good conversation and better company creates positive change, and we’re happy to share a space where we can all be our own versions of strange together!

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Lyle Leland
Lead Baker

Lyle leads our bakery program and creates amazing things consistently – like some sort of alchemist except with flour, spent-grain, and lots of other ingredients. It’s science but also magic, and as such we just say “yes, please” every time he hands us something. Every bite is enjoyed.

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Rachel Bujwid
Sales Associate

Rachel is a Chicago native who’s always been interested in everything craft beer. When she’s not slingin’ beer around Chicagoland, she’s probably playing D&D, listening to ‘Murder by Death’, or trying to pet all of the dogs.

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Mike Skifo
Assistant Brewer

“Chief Skeef” is our Assistant Brewer and brings both hard work and a lot of laughter to all of us at the Hippo. His skills and input are invaluable in the brewery.

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Kyle Reed
Brewery Manager

From grain to glass, Kyle is the man to see about the beer. When not taming the chaos of the brewhouse, you can find Kyle eating some fried chicken or talking about eating some fried chicken. He spends free time traveling with his wife Samantha, hanging with his cats, or tucked away at a local […]

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Todd Ruddick
Owner and Business Manager

Just a small town boy, born and raised in south Detroit, Todd took the midnight train going anywhere. He studied to be a rocket scientist and after stints working in heavily regulated industries such as aerospace, travel, gambling, and medicinal marijuana, obtaining a liquor license and running a brewpub seemed like the next logical step. […]

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Joanna Janczurewicz
Head Chef and Kitchen Manager

Originally from inner city Boston, she has an extensive background in art and design. Before making her way into the kitchen, [she] worked for many years as a program director at Northwestern University. Most recently– instrumental in opening ‘Charley Noble Sandwich Shop’ in Portage Park and spent the past three years as Director of Operations […]

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Rob Cólon
Taproom and Eatery Manager

Rob is a Sports Ball Nerd. Well, he may be more than just a Sports Ball Nerd – he’s also a Wine & Beer Geek, Geography Buff, and General Hospitality Aficionado. You can usually find him jammin’ to 80’s New Wave or housing down some tiny bacon pancakes because, don’t we all deserve doughnuts?

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Alex Borrayo
Sous Chef

Alex was born and raised on the North side of Chicago. He found his culinary inspiration as a child while helping his mother get a head start on dinner every night. Alex has 14 years or professional cooking experience, including large-scale hotel service, retail food service, and banquets. Alex intends on taking the culinary world […]

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Marilee Rutherford
Owner and Operations Director

With a Midwestern roots and a big ol’ heart, our own Mama Hippo is just as likely to drive a forklift as write a sonnet. You know… whatever needs doing. Marilee is well versed in all the words, but the curse ones are her favorite. She’s good at brewing, food, and sussing out the big […]

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Karl Rutherford
Owner and Brewery Director

A real Midwestern dude, Karl is three parts nice guy and one part rebel, driving his passion for designing approachable yet interesting beer. Fortunately for all of us, he tried to run away from home on a tiny pink plastic hippo as a toddler, eventually inspiring the metaphorical birth of Pinkelsworth T. Hipposford (Pinky), our […]

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Shawn Smith
Creative Director

Shawn is an artist, designer, and craft beer fan. He really likes to make stuff – especially murals and drawings – and used to run a business called ‘Shawnimals’ for a long time. He also made video games about ninjas. When not being creative, he’s a dad and a beard enthusiast.