GDB’s 2013 Chicago Craft Beer Awards

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, age-gated children born in 1991 and beyond, to the third (now annual, we suppose) edition of the Chicago Craft Beer Awards.

You will recall that all of this started in 2011 with this Chitown On Tap piece, and the baton was passed to us last year where we came up with this.

This year, we’ve added some categories, removed some others, had a little fun with a few, and basically just thought “who deserves to be given an attaboy this year” until we came up with this. Much like we said last year, allow us to present you these Chicago Craft Beer “Awards” as our way to continue the appreciation and acknowledgement of the craftsmen and women who have made 2013 the best year in Chicago beer ever.

As always, for what we get right, thank them, for what we get wrong, blame us – and tell us who you think deserves respect and appreciation in ways we may have forgotten. It’s been a busy, busy year — the busiest damn year in Chicago beer ever, we merit. And it’s been a lot of fun keeping up with it.
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ANNOUNCING: The South of 80 2.0 Tap List

sof80breweries

In advance of our second annual Chicago Craft Beer Week event celebrating the unknown and under-the-radar breweries south of Interstate 80, we present to you the tap list for South of 80 2.0.

This list includes a diverse selection of beers, many brewed using old school and even old world techniques. From sessionable IPA’s and blonde ales, to higher ABV offerings like a beer brewed with maple sap in lieu of water and a Belgian Tripel – you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more unique selection of beer, under one roof, during Chicago Craft Beer Week.

All beers listed below will be available in flights and full pours.

Destihl (Bloomington, IL)

  • Strawberry Blonde Ale (5% ABV) – A fruit beer made by adding generous quantities of strawberries to a blonde ale base beer. Golden-strawberry blonde color, crisp/dry palate, light body, low hop characters & bitterness and light malt & fruit sweetness.
  • Deadhead Double Red Ale (9.1% ABV) – Imperial Red Ale featuring intense hop bitterness, flavor and aroma balanced by high notable alcohol content, fruity esters and caramel malt character.
  • Saint Dekkera® Reserve Sour Ale Series Strawberry/Raspberry – Aging since March 2012.
  • Saint Dekkera® Reserve Sour Ale Series Lambic – Aging since July 2011.

Rolling Meadows Brewery (Cantrall, IL)

  • Blood Orange Hefeweizen (5.8% ABV) – A hefeweizen, brewed with blood oranges, is the first beer brewed by the mothers of Rolling Meadows’ head brewers. Enjoy its fruity aroma, bright mouthfeel and hints of raspberry and grapefruit.
  • Lincoln’s Lager (6.5% ABV) – A dry, pleasantly hopped lager, perfectly sessionable and a favorite from last year’s South of 80.

Scratch Brewing (Ava, IL)

  • Acer Saccharum (9% ABV) – Named after the Latin for “Sugar Maple,” this beer is brewed entirely with maple sap in place of water, from trees harvested in southern Illinois. This beer is dark and malty, with cherry and fruit esters and a light smokiness the result of being brewed over a fire and adding several pieces of hot granite to the boil.
  • Arugula Rye (6% ABV) – Rye porter bittered with organic arugula from all seasons farm in Cobden, Illinois, and blended in the fermenter with roasted arugula root, giving the beer a roasted coffee-like aroma.
  • Blonde Gruit (4.5% ABV) – A gruit bittered and flavored entirely with plants other than hops, including dandelion, dock, ginger, nutmeg, and orange peel. Spicy, ginger aroma gives way to a green, tea-like tonic with low bitterness.

Six Row Brewing Company (St. Louis, MO)

  • Strawberry Honey Weizen (5.2% ABV) – Light on the palette and in color, our Strawberry Honey Weizen is designed to give you just a hint of fruit followed by our traditional German wheat beer breadiness.
  • Red Eye (5.5% ABV)A “session IPA,” medium copper in color, crisply bitter but slightly drier than your average IPA. We’ve finished and dry-hopped it with Galena hops for a mellow, earthy flavor and aroma.
  • Belgian Style Tripel (8.7% ABV) – Brewed for Six Row’s third anniversary. This dry example of a Tripel was brewed with a Trappist yeast making a gorgeous golden ale fit to enjoy for a birthday.

Urban Chestnut Brewing Company (St. Louis, MO)

  • Zwickel (5.1% ABV) – Our flagship lager, pronounced ‘zv-ick-el’, is an unfiltered, unpasteurized, German classic that finishes as a smooth-drinking, naturally cloudy bier.
  • Winged Nut (5.7% ABV) – It’s a little on the flighty side at 5.7% ABV and it’s a little on the wacky side because we brew it with finely milled chestnuts, Willamette hops, and we ferment it with a Bavarian Weissbier yeast strain. All of these nuances contribute to its ‘nutty’ personality.
  • STLIPA (8.1% ABV) – We pronounce it “sta-leep-ah”; you pronounce it how you like. STLIPA, which is the acronym for St. Louis India Pale Ale, is a double IPA brewed with Sterling, Cascade, Mt. Hood, Willamette and Chinook hops.

South of 80 2.0 takes place Tuesday, May 21st starting at 7 p.m. at The Green Lady in Lakeview and is free to attend.

Special thanks to our distribution partners, Chicago Beverage Systems and Donnewald Distributing, for helping make this event possible.

 

South of 80 2.0 Snapshot: Introducing Scratch Brewing

In the days leading up to our second South of 80 event during Chicago Craft Beer Week, we wanted to make you a little more familiar with our featured breweries, since we know that news from downstate doesn’t tend to get a lot of play up here. Today we take a look at what we consider to be hands down one of the most interesting brewers in the state, if not the whole Midwest: Scratch Brewing.

Welcome, Scratch Brewing Company.

Welcome, Scratch Brewing Company.

This band of brewers first got on our radar during our Save the Craft efforts when we traded a number of emails with Marika Josephson, then in the process of opening Scratch, which resulted in this tale. Since then, they’ve thrown open the doors down in tiny Ava, Illinois (pop: 662!), and just in the past month-and-a-half have seen a steady traffic of beer tourists from all over the country, seeking out these one-of-a-kind farmhouse-focused brews.

Scratch sits on a farm north of Carbondale and south of St. Louis, and it’s there that the Scratch crew is free to create pretty much anything they care to. In recent weeks their tap list has included a Carrot-Seed Biere de Garde, an Elderberry Black Ale and even a Licorice-Basil Stout. They use ingredients farmed on site and foraged from nearby forests and employ techniques like brewing over an open fire outdoors and using blazing-hot granite in the boil to create traditional “Stein” beers.

The best part is: it’s not just a gimmick. The stuff is good.

We sat down to sample some of their creations recently at The Green Lady, and were quite impressed with how solid of a beer these brewers can create with some admittedly bizarre ingredients. As brewer Aaron Kleidon said while we were sampling his beers, “We could brew all the normal stuff…but why would we?”

Why indeed, when their Arugula Rye Porter that uses all parts of the plant, from the peppery leaves to the roasted roots blended and boiled to create a rich coffee, chicory flavor. It is as complex and hearty as you want in the style but still smooth and easy-drinking. Or the Rose Root Biere de Mars, brewed over a fire with wild rose roots and a touch of sarsaparilla for a true “root beer” that’s both sweet and savory.

Shawn Connelly, a southern Illinois-based craft beer consultant, writer and Beer Philosopher calls the brewers at Scratch “fearless” in their approach to crafting unique beers. “I’ve probably sampled upwards of 15 beers out there to date and all have been above average to exceptional, which is quite a feat for a new brewery. Far and away one of the most inventive new breweries I’ve come across in some time,” said Connelly.

Come hang out with us at South of 80 during Chicago Craft Beer Week, and hopefully you’ll see why we’re so excited to have these guys join us at this event.

A reminder: While many Chicago Craft Beer Week events require tickets for admission, South of 80 2.0 is free to attend: just show up, drink the beer and enjoy. It’s our pleasure to help facilitate new and interesting brewers to come to Chicago; all we ask is that you join us to enjoy their efforts.

South of 80 2.0 takes place Tuesday, May 21st starting at 7 p.m. at The Green Lady in Lakeview. Beers from multiple downstate and St. Louis breweries will be on hand, many available in Chicago for the first time.

While there are many events taking place throughout the week, we do hope you’ll join us for a beer and help us raise a toast to the under-appreciated and under-recognized brewers that exist South of 80.

Downstate Brewers Invade Chicago Craft Beer Week for the Triumphant Return of “South of 80″ ***UPDATED***

Organized as part of this year’s Chicago Craft Beer Week to recognize and celebrate the beers created by downstate or St. Louis-area breweries, the nationally recognized craft beer website GuysDrinkingBeer.com and Chicago beer destination The Green Lady are excited to announce the followup to last year’s successful “South of 80” beer event, affectionately called “South of 80 2.0.”

This year’s event will take place at The Green Lady on Tuesday, May 21, starting at 7 p.m. Representatives from five breweries are expected to be on hand to show off their creations, many of which have never been available in Chicago before – some of which have never even been north of I-80, the demarcation line that has come to “define” Northern Illinois from all points south.

This year, GDB and TGL are excited and proud to announce the brewery lineup for this year’s downstate-focused event as follows:

Six Row Brewing Company (St. Louis, MO):SixRow_logo

Last year’s South of 80 was the first time Six Row poured in Chicago, and that event proved to be so successful, Six Rows beers are now being distributed by Chicago Beverage Systems; their DIPA and “Whale,” a wheat pale ale, can be found throughout the city.

After introducing their flagship brews in 2012, Six Row plans to bring some unique and never-before-seen beers to Chicago for South of 80 2.0.

scratch_outline and logo black
Scratch Brewing Company (Ava, IL):

We’re really excited to introduce these brewers to Chicago.

Scratch Brewing is a farm-to-table brewpub creating beers out of locally foraged products like mushrooms and nuts. Scratch is the brainchild of a trio of southern Illinois homebrewers and their beers are, without question, some of the most unusual we’ve ever seen, which is not something we say lightly. Scratch pulls ingredients like arugula, maple sap and cedar branches from the brewpub’s farm and utilizes old school techniques like brewing outdoors over and open flame. The world likely hasn’t seen brewing experiments like these.

GDB co-creator Ryan Hermes says Scratch is redefining the “farm-to-pint”, movement. “Expect a fresh take on traditional styles creatively brewed using unique ingredients that are grown on their very own farmland,” said Hermes. This will be the first time Scratch’s beers will be commercially available outside downstate Ava.Take note while they’re here – we expect you’ll soon be hearing a lot about them.

rollingmeadows
Rolling Meadows Brewery (Cantrall, IL):

When Chris Trudeau came to town last year and introduced his Abe’s Ale, Lincoln Lager and Springfield Wheat, brewed on their family farm outside of Springfield, they lived up to the high expectations set by this self-distributing capital city brewery.

This year, Rolling Meadows returns in the midst of a stretch where they released a barrel-aged version of Abe’s Ale, won a Good Food Award and have started sprinkling their beers around Chicago. This time around, Rolling Meadows will treat Chicagoans to popular downstate seasonal as well as a South of 80 favorite.

urban chesnut
Urban Chestnut (St. Louis, MO):

Since opening in 2010, Urban Chestnut’s brews have practically taken over St. Louis. This brewery’s beers have proven so popular they recently announced plans to expand their capacity; soon they’ll be able to exceed even the production levels of St. Louis’ flagship current reigning craft brewer, Schlafly.

Currently ranked as an “Exceptional” brewery by BeerAdvocate and praised as one of “The Best Beers of the Future” by Esquire Magazine, this will be Urban Chestnut’s very first foray into Chicago.

Destihl (Bloomington, IL):Destihllogo

Destihl, a hallmark brewpub of central Illinois, gained national attention at the 2011 Great American Beer Fest. The then, little-known brewpub based in downstate Normal brought along six of its signature sour beers which drew huge crowds and created a coast-to-coast buzz. Those of us who live in Illinois know about Destihl’s remarkable sours, the creation of CEO and Brewmaster Matt Potts, which is why we’re pleased to announce Destihl as a late-addition to the South of 80 2.0 lineup.

Many of you have likely encountered Destihl at beer fests across the state, but this will be the first to time – ever in Illinois – that Destihl’s beers will be on tap, at a bar, that isn’t one of Destihl’s brewpubs. No tiny three ounce samples here, unless you want a flight. You’ll be able to get full pours of Destihl’s beers at South of 80 2.0.

Specific draft lists for each brewery will follow as we grow closer to the event.

The Green Lady opened in 2011 under the direction of Melani Domingues, former manager of one of New York City’s best craft beer bars, the Ginger Man. Inspired by the Scottish spirit that’s both protector and demon (depending on your perspective), TGL’s draft list is always among the best in the city featuring unique beers from around the midwest and beyond.

GuysDrinkingBeer.com started in 2010 as a way for three friends to write about the beer they loved drinking, and since then has become a noted source for beer reviews, brewery news and advocacy for the issues in Chicago’s craft beer scene that they believe in. Since their start three years ago, they’ve earned praise from Chicago Magazine, the Huffington Post, Chicagoist.com and just last month the site was recognized by Saveur Magazine as one of the country’s best beer or wine blogs.

For more information, contact:

Ryan Hermes
Creator and Editor, GuysDrinkingBeer.com
ryan@guysdrinkingbeer.com

Karl Klockars
Co-Creator and Social Media Manager, GuysDrinkingBeer.com
773-769-7139
karl@guysdrinkingbeer.com

Melani Domingues
Owner, The Green Lady
773-525-5571
thegreenladychicago@gmail.com

A Day With The ABDI; Bridging The Gap Between Brewer & Distributor

“You sure do have some gumption…walking in to that room, saying the things you said.” I wheeled around to see an unnamed distributor wearing a black pullover with a grey Bud logo over his heart grinning at me. He found me pacing the hallway outside of the Picasso Ballroom at the Omni Hotel on Michigan Avenue, coming down from my presentation before twenty-or-so members of the Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois. My time behind the podium was only supposed to last 30 minutes, including 5 minutes set aside for Q & A. I wound up spending an hour standing before a roomful of distributors talking up locally brewed craft beer and answering their questions.

Before I get in to the meat and potatoes of what I said, and what they asked, there were two distinct impressions that roomful of distributors left me with. (1) They’re not as hell-bent on destroying craft beer as some of us think and (2) there are some pretty sizable misconceptions that the craft beer community has about distributors and that distributors have about craft beer and craft brewers.

If you read my post last week, then you know the game plan I had going in to the presentation. I essentially wanted to give the distributors present a snapshot of the current state of craft beer in Illinois and where it was headed; with an emphasis on small batch brewing. While I didn’t stray too far from my original message I did find myself veering off course a little thanks in part to some conversations I had with distributors before my presentation and the presenter who spoke before me.

“Right now, craft beer is the prettiest girl at the dance,” bellowed John Conlin – who runs Conlin Beverage Consulting. Well, he certainly had my attention.

Conlin, who lives in Colorado and travels the country working with distributors, interspersed other observations about craft beer in his hour-long presentation before the ABDI. At one point he chastised craft brewers for wanting “exceptions” (self-distribution rights) and questioned why a distributor should take a chance on a small, up-and-coming craft brewer. He went so far as to wonder aloud, why a small craft brewer should have access to the distributor’s thousands of bars, restaurants and liquor stores. What’s in it for the distributor – what do they (the craft brewer) bring to the table? He questioned.

I scribbled notes furiously as if I was preparing to cross-examine a witness. Then, John insinuated something that caused me to drop my pen and do a double-take; that craft brewers didn’t appreciate the three-tier system and that distributors should remind them (read: hold it over their head) what it’s done for them. Sure, there are plenty of brewers that would love to toss out the three-tier system but I think – for the most part – craft brewers benefit in some ways from it – and know that, maybe.

As I stepped to the podium I congratulated John on imploding about a quarter of my speech and also thanked him for giving me plenty of things to talk about. I then launched in to my presentation talking about who I was and why I was there, this site and Save The Craft. I tried to give the distributors a look in to the mind of a craft beer drinker; why we like what we like and why we’ll try just about any style of beer from any brewery once. I talked about the brewer too; giving them the back story of Argus Brewery and the soon-to-open New Chicago Beer Company. I also introduced them to the small and upcoming 4Paws and Scratch Brewing. To segue between the two breweries that had distributors and those that didn’t I posed a question to the room, “How many of you have craft beer reps or a craft beer manager?” To my surprise, almost everyone raised their hand.

In talking with some of the brewers a week before my presentation I was clued in to the fact that some distributors do have craft beer managers. I expected to see a few hands go up when I inquired about it. I did not, however, expect 90% of the distributors in attendance to have craft managers. Maybe it’s because I didn’t know the ins and outs of the distribution side of the industry, but I was fairly surprised to learn many of the distributors in the state think enough of craft beer to devote at least one person to the brand. Moreover, I was equally surprised and pleased that there many distributors in attendance are actively courting craft brewers – big and small.

How small? I quoted Matt Gebhardt’s goal of 300 barrels in his first year of operation at 4Paws to the roomful of distributors and asked if anyone would be willing to take on that small of an amount. I fully expected eyes to the floor, no one willing to make eye contact. I mean, let’s face it; a distributor probably isn’t going to make a ton of money off that small of an amount. But, without batting an eye, Kevin Mullarkey – President of Joseph Mullarkey Distributing – said he would. In fact, as I walked back to me seat after my presentation he handed me his card and wanted to get in touch with Matt. I have since passed that contact info along to Matt, who was jazzed to see there was already some interest brewing (pun intended) in his beer.

This lay to rest one of the misconceptions that I had of distributors – and I suspect some of you thought this way too – they are fiercely loyal to whatever is on the side of their trucks. Now, this may be true for the distributors that are still exclusive to Anheuser-Busch InBev or MillerCoors. But those distributors who declared their independence, breaking free from being tied to one macro-brand and whatever was under their umbrella, did so for a reason. They wanted to carry more variety. And they wanted to carry craft beer. That was the case for Scott Givens, CEO of Illinois Distributing Company. Scott’s a former A-B guy – as in he worked there – and Illinois Distributing was an exclusive A-B distributor until around 2008 when they went independent. Now, they distribute a handful of craft beers from the Missouri side.

Unfortunately you wouldn’t know it by going to their website. In fact, the only beers they list are all under the A-B InBev umbrella. This brings me to a point that I tried to drive home to the distributors; we think you don’t care about craft beer because it doesn’t look like you care about craft beer. Now, I talked to Scott personally and I know he gets it. And I know he sees a bright future for the craft beer industry and wants to be a part of it. But you wouldn’t know it by going to the online home of Illinois Distributing.

So where do we go from here? Well, I proposed – on the fly during my presentation – that we get some distributors and some craft brewers, both veterans and the news kids on the block, in a room to hash some things out. A Craft Beer Forum, if you will. If most distributors think like John Conlin lead me to believe he does; that chasing after craft brewers will be a waste of time and, why bother, because they don’t value the three-tier system anyway – then they’re wrong. And the only way to help them see that is to hear it from the brewers themselves. On the flip side, if a distributor really does care about craft beer and will give craft brands solid representation and won’t let product waste away on pallets in the warehouse then brewers need to hear that from the distributors.

I closed out my presentation by reminding the distributors there that you and the craft brewers are both after the same things. You care about beer, you want to get a cold, fresh product out in a timely fashion and you want to make money doing so. So why work against each other if you’re all after the same thing? It doesn’t have to be “us versus them.” Maybe this forum will be a step towards beer solidarity between brewer and distributor.

Stepping In To The Lion’s Den: I’m Speaking to the ABDI

Photo Courtesy ABDI, Facebook

RYAN: As you read this I have most likely already begun my presentation; talking about breweries, farm-to-table brewpubs and why guys that have trucks with “Budweiser” on them should give a damn.

Today, I am speaking before the Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois.

A number of people will be speaking after me. They’re experts, consultants and attorneys. They know their stuff. So what am I? Well, I’m a guy that likes to drink beer. And about every 16th review or so I manage something that appears well written. I also like to follow beer politics, which may be what landed me here in the first place. Whatever the reason, I am in a room full of beer distributors repping you – the craft brewer and the craft beer drinker.

Instead of spouting off about what I think I know in the world of craft beer, I decided to reach out to new and experienced brewers alike to shape my presentation and find out what they thought of the three-tier system, self-distribution and distributors in general. It seemed logical, they’re the ones in the trenches each and every day. Continue reading

The A-B Empire Strikes Back

On Friday, May 6th, Anheuser-Busch’s attorney’s filed a motion in federal court asking Judge Robert Dow Jr. to extend the stay on his decision regarding a lawsuit over distribution rights in Illinois. A-B will formally present this motion on May 27th.

You are probably sick of reading the background on this issue, but just in case this is the first you’re hearing of it we’ll recap things again. Last year A-B tried to buy its remaining stake in a Chicago area beer distributor. The Illinois Liquor Control Commission said A-B couldn’t do that because out-of-state breweries aren’t allowed to self-distribute their beer in Illinois. But because breweries in Illinois could self-distribute, A-B sued the ILCC claiming discrimination and the judge agreed. His ruling in the case was to end self-distribution rights for all breweries in Illinois as opposed to extending the right to self-distribute to out-of-state breweries. The judge, though, stayed his decision until March 31st to give the Illinois legislature an opportunity to find a compromise. By mid-March negotiations had hit a wall and no deal was in sight so the judge extended his stay until May 31st, which happens to be the end of the legislative session. A-B’s motion aims to extend the stay while the appeal process shakes out.

Less than a month (October 1st, 2010) after the judge issued his initial ruling A-B filed an appeal. If you aren’t familiar with how the appeals process works in federal court, well, you aren’t alone. We don’t know much either, but judging from A-B’s affidavit the process is not a fast one. A little over three months (January 11th, 2011) after A-B said they would appeal, they filed their opening brief. The defendants, in this case the Illinois Liquor Control Commission (ILCC), have until May 25th (five months later) to respond. A-B then has another 20 days to respond to the ILCC’s response. Continue reading

Save The Craft: The Chips Have Fallen & Lines Have Been Drawn

RYAN: If their is one constant I took away from my time covering state government in Springfield it’s that things rarely play out the way you anticipate they will. There are twists and turns and bends in the negotiation process and sometimes the final bill that is produced is not a popular option. In fact, there are instances were no one really wins. And that may very end up being the case with SB754, depending on which side you reside on.

Myself, Karl and Andrew started Save The Craft because we wanted you to be in the know and in the loop on what was happening with this legislation in Springfield. We like beer, just like you do. We shop at the same beer stores and visit the same bars. So we thought it was only fair and right for the craft beer community in Illinois to have an active role in shaping the future of craft beer in our state. Our end goal of this campaign is to protect the future of craft beer in Illinois and to see more local beer on the shelves of beer stores across the state. We want a brewery in Springfield and a brewpub in southern Illinois that uses local grown goods in the brewing process.

Things took an interesting turn on Wednesday after SB754 passed out of the Senate Revenue Committee that caused us to take a breath and firmly affix ourselves smack dab in the middle. You see, the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild sent out an email blast to its members encouraging them to call their state senator and urge them to vote “NO” on SB754. This email came one day after I personally talked to Big Muddy Brewing founder Chuck Stuhrenberg, who seemed rather ecstatic about the legislation. So the organization representing craft brewers and brewpubs in the state opposes the current legislation but the man that epitomizes the heart of this issue backs it. Kind of puts us in a bit of a pickle, huh? Continue reading

Save THEIR Craft: A Homebrewers Trials & Tribulations Of Opening A Brewpub And Why Self-Distribution Matters

Last month we told you about one of two breweries in Illinois that distributes their own beer, Argus Brewery in Chicago. Argus got its start by shopping its beer to restaurants in the suburbs after distributors wouldn’t return their phone calls. Over a year later, Argus still self-distributes about one-third of its beer, mostly in DuPage County, and relies on distributors to handle the rest. But it wasn’t until Argus was able to get a toe-hold in the market that distributors took notice, according to owner Bob Jensen. “We weren’t able to get their attention initially because we weren’t established,” he told us.

But what does the pending legislation before the Illinois House and Senate mean for the future brewers of Illinois? Today we’re going to answer that question and tell you about a homebrewer who is in the midst of starting her own brewpub – and is relying on the ability to self-distribute to do so.

Meet Marika Josephson.

photo courtesy Facebook

Marika lives in southern Illinois and has been homebrewing for about two years, taking a special interest in farmhouse ales, Belgian brewing techniques and spontaneous fermentation. She has chronicled her homebrew adventures on her website, She Brews Good Ale. She also covers the craft beer scene in southern Illinois for Examiner.com and is a contributing writer at eHow and travels.com.

Her exposure to what she called the “craft beer renaissances” in New York and San Diego inspired her to start her own brewpub in southern Illinois, an area in the state that has only one brewery. In fact, according to the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild’s map of breweries, Big Muddy Brewing in Murphysboro is the only brewery or brewpub south of the state capitol of Springfield.

Her brewpub, which is planned for an area outside of Carbondale, will focus on using locally produced hops, grains, fruits, herbs and spices. This seems to be an increasing trend among craft brewers to either use locally grown materials or growing their own. For instance Brewery Terra Firma, former Right Brain Brewery head brewer John Niedermaier’s latest project, will use hops and spices grown on site.

But before Marika can even get to this point she has to go through mounds of paperwork, establish a location long before it will open and buy tens of thousands of dollars in equipment. Continue reading