Visitors Guide
Downstate Illinois Breweries And Brew History

Downstate Illinois Breweries And Brew History

Posted on 09/06/2022 by Tyler Pletsch

In our 21-county region, there is a little bit of everything no matter what you may have an interest in! With Wednesday, Sept. 7 being National Beer Lovers Day, we have decided to show off our amazing breweries! 

Our territory is rich in the brewery business. After all, Belleville became home to the first brewery in the state in 1832. We can thank Jacob Fleischbein for paving the way for breweries to take hold in our area. In fact, the brewing business was booming with the largest brewery west of Virginia being Washington Brewery out of Belleville. Business was going well for the breweries until Prohibition in 1919. After 1933, beer making stayed to the big cities and left our area. However, some small batch breweries would begin to stake their claim and now we are home to several craft breweries with another on the way!

First, let’s start in the metro area in O’Fallon with Peel Brewing Company. With five year-round beers and several seasonal/limited-release beers paired with wood-fired pizza, Peel is a venue that is known far and wide. From the hazy Perception IPA with a juicy and tropical flavor to their newly re-released Pinky and the Brain Belgian double IPA, there is a taste for just about any palate. For those who prefer a well-mixed cocktail, there is also a full-service bar on the second floor.

From there, we head south to Millstadt home to Millpond Brewing and Incubator. If you are looking for unique flavors and an ever-changing beer list, this is one stop you must make. After winning awards for their homebrewing, Bryan and Lizzy Schubert set up shop off E. Washington Street. Since then, patrons have flocked to Millstadt for their flavorful beers like Irene’s Blueberry Lemon Poundcake or their Strawberry & Rhubarb Pearl Snap Weisse. Be sure to snag a 4-pack before heading out because you won’t find it canned anywhere else!

Continuing south, you will find two breweries in Waterloo.

Off of East 3rd Street is a home built in 1854 that now houses Hopskeller Brewing Company. Opened in 2014 by a local history teacher Matt Schweizer, Hopskeller is now a fond destination for many beer and pizza lovers. For most, the Raspberry Ale is the go-to with its sweet and tart flavor profile. If you prefer a dark beer, you must give the Moorgate Porter a try; we promise it will excite your tastebuds with its chocolatey flavor!

Just one block northwest, you will find Stubborn German Brewing Company nestled inside an old Masonic Lodge. Brewmaster and owner Chris Rahn knows a thing or two about creating a unique beer. A local favorite is the Old Ledger Lager created from an original recipe from 1899 out of Old Monroe Brewery’s brewmaster Leonard Schoppe’s ledger. This light lager is sure to keep you refreshed after a long week. Also be sure to check out their Du Hops Mich, a New England IPA and collaboration beer with Heavy Riff in St. Louis.

To keep the German-style beers going, head over to Red Bud and take a seat inside Lieferbrau Brewery. Be sure to check out their Oktoberfest beer that is currently on tap or give their Golden Grain Hefeweizen a taste! Lieferbrau also has a full rail, and while they don’t serve food, you are encouraged to BYOF and stay a while! 

If you’re passing through Sparta on Route 4 or 154, be sure to see our friends at White Rooster Farmhouse Brewing. Founded in 2009 by three friends, White Rooster has become a staple in the community for their Belgian and farmhouse style ales. Their unique brewing process brings beer lovers together to try new flavors. Their Time and Place ale is a must if you love wine, since it spent 12 months fermenting in French red and white wine barrels. Also be sure to try their sour Kairos made with black tea, blackberry leaves, and dried blueberries.

Heading east into our central region, you have to stop at St. Nicholas Brewing Co.’s flagship location in Du Quoin. Whether you are out for the Du Quoin State Fair, or just passing through, this southern Illinois staple is sure to treat your tastebuds! Nothing says fall quite like their Oktoberfest Marzen Lager which is out now. And for our friends that are more on the fruitier side, check out their Strawberry or Peach Blonde Ales. Also mark your calendars to visit their two other locations in Chester and at the Southern Illinois Airport.

Staying in the central region, head north to Breese where you will not only find crisp soda but also some tasty beer crafted by the Excel Bottling Company. In case you didn’t know, the makers of Ski also have some amazing 21+ only drinks! No matter what type of beer lover you are, you will find something for everyone from year-round staples like their Stay Gold American IPA, seasonal drafts including the Winter Warmer English Style Ale, and their specialty beers including the Bruja Pumpkin Ale. On your way out, do not forget to snag some Ski or teas for the ride home!

Out in our eastern region on the Illinois-Indiana border in Palestine sits Gatter Brewing Company. No matter if you go for the small-town vibes or the Illinois Breakfast Stout, this Brewery will not disappoint. While there, you have to try their St. Amos Ale, a Belgian Strong Golden Ale, it will have you planning your next stop before you leave!

Finally, we will come full circle and tease a brewery opening soon in Belleville, Shoehorn Brewing. Shoehorn has been in the stages of remodeling a storefront in downtown Belleville with plans of opening in fall of 2022. With all the deep brewing history in Belleville, we cannot wait to see what they have to offer! To follow their progression, watch their Facebook page for updates here.

To find all the information just given and to map all the breweries, be sure to download our app. You can also look up events, venues, and more!

For Android users: Download the app here!

For IOS users: Download the app here!


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