The brewing and bottling spirit of Collinsville could be on the verge of a renaissance, thanks to Derik Reiser and his wife, Whitney.
On a cold and cloudy Wednesday morning, the metro-east couple beamed with pride as they spoke about plans to open a microbrewery and craft distillery in downtown Collinsville.
Located at 115 E. Clay St., the former home of the Collinsville Herald newspaper will receive a $2.8 million makeover this spring. Reiser said $650,000 will come from tax increment financing.
The city approved the redevelopment agreement Feb. 12.
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“There’s a rich and almost forgotten history of brewing and distilling in Collinsville,” Derik Reiser said. “It was one of the first areas settled in Madison County. Some of the first businesses were breweries and distilleries.”
To honor that history and the story behind the building, the brewery will operate under the name Old Herald Brewing Co., while the craft distillery will be known as Ardent Spirits, Inc.
Construction inside the 15,000-square-foot space is expected to begin next month, Reiser said, and if everything goes as planned, the kitchen, event space and taproom will open this summer.
The production process will be on display in the space, but the Reisers also want to create a place where people can come and relax. “It’s not just a place to tour," Derik Reiser said. “It’s a place where you can hang out and enjoy the beverages.”
Craft beer will be brewed on one side. On the opposite end, a distillery will produce vodka, gin and whiskey. The whiskey, which takes time to age, will not be available right away, but customers will be able try craft gin and infused vodkas.
Whitney Reiser envisions a restaurant and event space where patrons enjoy both food and drinks.
“Collinsville needs that,” she said. “Collinsville needs a place where you can have a special event, birthday parties, anniversary parties, civic group (gatherings).”
Her husband agreed. He hopes the business draws a crowd to the place they call home.
"It feels like the right time and the right place," Derik Reiser said. "We're in the heart of the metro-east. There's no craft brewing and distillery experience like this."
Global Brew in O'Fallon debuts new menu with gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches
If you want a bite to eat with your beer, Global Brew Tap House recently debuted its new menu with an unexpected item on the list —gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches.
Warning: These aren’t your grandmother’s Kraft Singles grilled cheese.
The grilled cheese creations at Global Brew — ranging from about $8 to $10 in price — come packed with savory and sometimes sweet ingredients. Take the buffalo grilled cheese, for example: It's packed with savory chicken, blue cheese and cranberry relish.
Not into grilled cheese?
The restaurant’s new menu also features a cheese board ($24) filled with hand-selected meats, cheeses, bread, nuts, jam and a honeycomb. Over-the-top tater tot creations are on the menu, too.
The tap house has tots with sweet Thai chili sauce, tots with house-made beer cheese and tots tossed in a Mexican spice blend just to name a few.
"It's a fun offering for everyone to pair with their beers and have a good time," owner Ryan High said.
The menu is only available at the O'Fallon location for now.
Want to give it a try? Global Brew opens at 3 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, and offers a full lunch menu beginning at 11 a.m. on Thursday through Sunday.
Beers from around the world — 50 beers on tap and 200 bottled beers — continue to draw a crowd in O'Fallon and Edwardsville. You can still order food from other restaurants at both locations. The bring-your-own-food option still stands.
A big change, however, is planned for the Edwardsville location. Regulars at that tap house should expect a move from 112 S. Buchanan St. later this year, High said. An announcement about the Edwardsville move is forthcoming.
Downtown Belleville art gallery to close
An art gallery in downtown Belleville announced Wednesday it was going out of business. Hamilton Gallerie d'Art, at 8 S. Church St., has been open since May, just after 2017's Art on The Square.
The gallery announced its closing Wednesday on Facebook. All art is 30 percent off, and some furniture from the gallery will also be sold.
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Staff writer Kara Berg contributed to this report.