Metro-East Living

Check out these 8 craft brewers in the metro-east

Stubborn German Brewing to be part of Southern Illinois Beer Trail

Chris Rahn, Stubborn German Brewing Co., is excited about the future of brewing in the region and the launch of the Southern Illinois Beer Trail.
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Chris Rahn, Stubborn German Brewing Co., is excited about the future of brewing in the region and the launch of the Southern Illinois Beer Trail.

The booming craft beer movement has picked up supporters all across the metro-east.

You can enjoy a staggering number of styles of brews produced in the metro-east: From Pecan Brown by 4204 Main Street Brewing Co. to Blood Orange Wheat by Peel Brewing Co. to Fountain Creek Kolsch by Stubborn German Brewing Co. And that’s just a small sampling.

Nationwide, there were 5,234 craft brewers last year, up from just 537 in 1994, according to the Brewers Association, which bills itself as a “passionate voice for craft brewers.”

It’s just a whole culture that is vibrant and exciting.

Todd Kennedy, co-owner of 4204 Main Street Brewing Co.

Metro-east brewers say they entered the business in recent years for a myriad of reasons. They like the creativity brewing gives them. And they like the camaraderie of the brewing community.

“Beer really isn’t the dollar draft it used to be,” said Todd Kennedy, co-owner of 4204 Main Street Brewing Co. that expanded with a new brewery in a former grocery store in Belleville this spring. “It’s become like wine.”

Kennedy said it’s “neat to be creative” with all the different styles and varieties of brew you can produce.

“It’s just a whole culture that is vibrant and exciting,” he said.

Tammy and Chris Rahn are co-owners of the Stubborn German Brewing Co. that opened last year in Waterloo.

“We really enjoy the community that is around craft beer,” Tammy Rahn said. “It just seems to bring out the really interesting people. I feel like they take a lot of pride in drinking the beer that Chris takes a lot of pride in brewing.”

We really enjoy the community that is around craft beer.

Tammy Rahn, co-owner of Stubborn German Brewing Co.

Chris Rahn summed up his thoughts about creating new brews: “It doesn’t feel like work.”

Across the Waterloo town square from Stubborn German Brewing is the Hopskeller Brewing Co., which is being rebuilt after a fire last fall and is expected to reopen in coming weeks.

Matt Schweizer, the brewer for Hopskeller, described what inspires him to pursue craft brewing: “There is a lot of art to it. What you can do with it is nearly limitless, plus it tastes good and it has a little alcohol in it,” he said a laugh. “But the history behind it probably makes me most passionate about it; the culture that’s been in it for thousands of years.”

Tammy Rahn said brewers in the metro-east and other Southern Illinois towns have been discussing a marketing plan to join forces and promote what’s being called the Southern Illinois Beer Trail. Fans of locally produced beer would be encouraged to visit all the breweries in the region. You can find more information on the group’s Facebook page.

Rahn said maps and brochures may be printed to help people learn about the breweries that have been popping up in the area. It would be modeled after wine trails.

Here’s a look at eight craft brewers operating in the metro-east and three that are planned:

4204 Main Street Brewing Co.

▪  Year founded: 2014

▪  Addresses: 4204 W. Main St., Belleville; 6435 W. Main St., Belleville; and 180 E. Center Drive, Alton.

▪  Owners: Todd and Julia Kennedy

▪  Head brewer: Dustin Luber

▪  5 popular beers: Pecan Brown, Blonde Juele, Dunkelweizen, The Answer and Off-Duty Lager

060817DH brew crew
Derik Holtmann dholtmann@bnd.com

▪  Barrels: 6,000

▪  Distribution: Stores across Illinois and Missouri

▪  Days open: Seven days a week

▪  Restaurants: 4204 W. Main St. in Belleville and taproom food at 6435 W. Main St. in Belleville. The restaurant at 180 E. Center Drive in Alton is called The Perfect 10 Pub & Grill.

▪  Online: 4204 Main Street Brewing Co. on Facebook or www.mainstreetbrewingco.com/

▪  Phone: Belleville restaurant and brewery: 618-416-7261; Belleville production facility, taproom and banquet center: 618-310-0306; and Alton restaurant: 618-465-7260.

Excel Brewing Co.

▪  Year founded: 2012

▪  Address: 488 S. Broadway, Breese

▪  Owner: Bill Meier, and co-owner and general manager

▪  Head brewer: Nick Bifano

▪  5 popular beers: EastSide IPA, Lefty’s Lager, Southside Stout, Flash Bang, a hoppy American wheat; and Stay Gold, double IPA.

▪  Barrels: 2,500

▪  Distribution: Southern Illinois and Missouri. Also in Virginia and Pennsylvania.

▪  Days open: Retail store Monday through Saturday

▪  Restaurant: No

▪  Online: Excel Brewing Co. on Facebook or excelbottling.com/beer/

▪  Phone: 618-526-7159

Grafton Winery & Brewhaus

▪  Year brewery founded: 2009

▪  Address: 300 W. Main St., Grafton

▪  Owners: Mike and Lori Nikonovich

▪  Head brewer: Jason Wood

▪  5 popular beers: coffee stout, American wheat, American pilsner, IPA and bock.

▪  Barrels: 120

▪  Distribution: On-site

▪  Days open: Seven days a week

▪  Restaurant: Yes

▪  Online: Grafton Winery & Brewhaus on Facebook or www.thegraftonwinery.com

▪  Phone: 618-786-3001

Old Bakery Beer Co.

▪  Year founded: 2015

▪  Address: 400 Landmarks Blvd., Alton

▪  Owners: Lauren Pattan and James Rogalsky

▪  Head brewer: James Rogalsky

▪  5 popular beers: Citrus Sweet, Porter, North End IPA, Oktoberfest, Hibiscus Tart

▪  Barrels: 1,500

▪  Distribution: On-site and restaurants. Also cans in Southern Illinois and the St. Louis metro area

▪  Days open: Seven days a week

▪  Restaurant: Yes

▪  Online: The Old Bakery Beer Co. on Facebook or www.oldbakerybeer.com/

▪  Phone: 618-463-1470

Peel Brewing Co.

▪  Year founded: 2014

▪  Addresses: 104 S. Cherry St., O’Fallon and 921 S. Arbor Vitae, Edwardsville

▪  Owners and head brewers: Patrick Thirion and Brandon Case

▪  5 popular beers: Hefe, a German hefeweizen; Blood Orange Wheat; Belgian Strong Ale; Alterior Motive, a Northern Germany altbier; and White Peach IPA

▪  Barrels: 700

▪  Distribution: At the O’Fallon and Edwardsville sites.

▪  Days open: Seven days a week

▪  Restaurants: At the O’Fallon and Edwardsville sites featuring wood-fired pizzas.

▪  Online: Peel Brewing Co. on Facebook or www.peelpizza.com/craft-beers.

▪  Phone: 618-726-2244 in O’Fallon and 618-659-8561 in Edwardsville.

Recess Brewing

▪  Year founded: 2014

▪  Address: 307 N. Main St., Edwardsville

▪  Owner and head brewer: Matt Flach

▪  5 popular beers: Lincoln’s Lament, an American lager; 2211 IPA; Four Square, a nut brown ale; Pedagogical porter; and Comrade, an imperial stout produced for the brewery’s anniversary every December

▪  Barrels: 250

▪  Distribution: On-site and draft at area restaurants

▪  Days open: Tuesday to Sunday

▪  Restaurant: No, but you can bring your own food.

▪  Online: Recess Brewing on Facebook and recessbrewing.com.

▪  Phone: 618-692-5101

Stubborn German Brewing Co.

▪  Year founded: 2016

▪  Address: 119 S. Main St., Waterloo

▪  Owners: Chris and Tammy Rahn

▪  Head brewer: Chris Rahn

▪  5 popular beers: Stubbornfest, an Oktoberfest; Fountain Creek Kolsch; Waterloo Wheat, a hefeweizen; Schitzengiggle, a Munich dunkel; and Bean Tree Coffee Stout.

052317DH stubborn owners
Derik Holtmann dholtmann@bnd.com

▪  Barrels: 500

▪  Distribution: On-site

▪  Days open: Tuesday through Sunday

▪  Restaurant: No, but you can bring your own food.

▪  Online: Stubborn German Brewing Co. on Facebook or go to www.stubborngermanbrewing.com/

▪  Phone: 618-504-2444

White Rooster Farmhouse Brewery

▪  Year founded: 2017

▪  Address: 113 W. Jackson St., Sparta

▪  Owners and head brewers: Eric Ogilvie, Michael Deutschmann and Christopher Van Horn

▪  Popular beers: Features barrel-aged sour beers.

▪  Barrels: 80

▪  Distribution: On-site only

▪  Days open: Thursday to Sunday

▪  Restaurant: No, but Mr. Ripples Lunchbox food truck stops in parking lot

▪  Online: White Rooster Farmhouse Brewery on Facebook or www.whiteroosterfarmhousebrewery.com/

▪  Phone: 618-449-2077

Note: The number of barrels reflects what brewers expect to produce this year.

On the horizon

Hofbräuhaus

▪  Expect to open: Fall

▪  Address: Illinois 15 at DeMazenod Drive in Belleville

▪  Online: HBbelleville on Facebook

Hopskeller Brewing Co.

▪  Expect to open: August

▪  Address: 116 E. Third St., Waterloo

▪  Online: Hopskeller on Facebook or hopskellerbrewing.com

▪  Phone: 618-939-2337

Lieferbräu Brewery

▪  Expect to open: Early next year

▪  Address: 118 E. Market St., Red Bud

▪  Online: Lieferbräu Brewery on Facebook

▪  Phone: 618-559-7950

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