Take a drink ... just one drink and you will understand why locally brewed craft beers are all the rage in the Great Rivers & Routes region of southwest Illinois.
Who knew that creating great craft beer would become an art form? Or that it would inspire local, regional or even national economic growth? And really, when you can brew creative drafts like Hibiscus Tart, Barley Wine beer and Blood Orange among others, why wouldn't you?
Stop in at the local craft breweries in the region and discover for yourself why these brewers have found their place in the craft beer scene.
Believe it or not, wine isn’t for everyone. That realization prompted Mike and Lori Nikonovich, the owners of Grafton Winery, to add a brewhaus to their highly successful and award winning winery in Grafton.
The brewhaus, located on the main floor of the winery, offers a relaxed setting to sample the locally made craft beers. Open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, the brew pub satisfies Nikonovich’s desire to offer a unique venue and beer that isn’t available anywhere else. The Brewhaus beer is also available upstairs at the Winery and at the Grafton Winery The Vineyards location.
When James Rogalsky and Lauren Pattan opened the doors of their new craft brewery in Alton, they weren’t sure what to expect.
“For us, it’s more than just being fulfilled running a restaurant and brewery,” Lauren Pattan explains. “It’s an opportunity to help build a community around it and to help the area. The most rewarding conversations we have had are when people say they moved to Alton because we have a craft brewery here.”
James Rogalsky, the company’s brewmaster, has created the area’s only certified organic brewery and has crafted 38 different beers over the last two years. The beers are created using exclusively American malt and hops primarily grown in the Midwest. That’s a big deal, the couple maintains, since nationwide many beers are created using European grains. The restaurant also focuses on sustainability with its menu highlighting locally sourced foods including produce and meat.
The region’s newest craft brewery is based in Uptown Collinsville and brings the city’s beer brewing past into the future.
The former Collinsville Herald newspaper building has been converted into a family-friendly restaurant serving craft beer, spirits and sodas, all produced in-house. Owners Derik and Whitney Reiser are determined to blend the city’s rich craft spirit past with new brews.
It might look and taste like a high end pizza restaurant, but Peel also brews its own craft beer. The brewery is actually located in nearby O’Fallon, IL, but the beer is served at the Edwardsville location.
Enjoy an unfiltered India Pale Ale named “Milk N Honey” or sip on a sweetly orange tinted Blood Orange Wheat brew. Seasonal and year round brews are available.
Edwardsville is home to a community supported brewery, Recess Brewing, which has been operating from its Main Street location for four years.
At Recess, the names of the beer are as artistic as the brew itself. Customers can enjoy the rustic indoor seating sipping on the likes of “Lincoln’s Lament” which is styled after Civil War-era beer or “Foursquare” their version of a nutty American Brown Ale. Bottled brews include “Cougars Near You”, a blonde ale created from a recipe from the SIUE Fermentation class and “Summer Brunch”, an amber ale.
Food isn’t served at Recess but customers are encouraged to bring their own in or order from a nearby restaurant and have food delivered.