Illinois breweries kick off Craft Beer Week with tribute to Brown Ale

Illinois breweries kick off Craft Beer Week with tribute to Brown Ale


When it comes to fall beers, Brown Ale clearly does not get a lot of love. What with Oktoberfest and pumpkin beers, Brown Ale just gets forgotten.  But that ends this weekend, when half a dozen Illinois breweries kick off their Craft Beer Week by getting together to each offer their take on the classic style.

What is a Brown ale?

Ironically, Brown ales are often confused with or linked to Porters. Brown ales are sweeter and do not have much of a roasted malt flavor. Brown ales are nutty leaning-toward chocolatey.

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Craft Beer Week

Craft Beer Week returns to southwest Illinois Oct. 15 to Oct. 22. The week kicks off with the Craft Brew Fest Saturday, Oct. 15 from Noon to 4 p.m. at Old Herald Square in Collinsville.

This event features samples of beer from the six participating breweries including Old Herald Brewery & Distillery, Old Bakery Beer Co., Opera House Brewing, Schafly Highland Square, Recess Brewing and Peel Brewing.

Each of the breweries will be serving up their own version of a Brown Ale based on the same base beer. The base Brown Ale is 4.5% ABV, 25 IBU and 20 SRM and each beer will include a different locally-sourced ingredient.

Schlafly – Honey Brown Ale
Old Herald – Wheat Brown Ale
Peel – Belgian Brown Ale
Recess – Spiced Brown Ale
Mississippi Culture – TBD
Opera House – Coffee Brown Ale

Old Bakery Beer: Corn Brown Ale

The Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau (of SW Illinois) has organized a collaboration brew between several Metro East breweries dating back to 2018.

“This year, we chose to do a Brown Ale with Illinois-produced grain or adjunct. We chose to brew ours with Bloody Butcher Corn, which lightens the body a bit. We also included a blend of nutty & toasty malts to round things out,” said James Rogalsky, head brewer at Old Bakery Beer in Alton.

R&R Nut Brown Ale, which is short for Rivers & Routes, will be lighter in body thanks to the Bloody Butcher Corn. It’s a classic English-style Nut Brown Ale brewed with toast & nutty malts and fermented with a British Ale yeast.

Brewers Tasting Notes:

  • Overall Impression: Classic English-style Nut Brown Ale.
  • Visual: Crystal clear. Dark Brown color. Ruby tones when held up to light.
  • Aroma: Nutty, Toasty, bit of British Ale yeast character
  • Flavor: Malty, smooth
  • Mouthfeel: Mellow
  • Body: Medium-low body


  • Yeast: British Ale
  • Hops: Palisade
  • Malt: Brewers, Munich, Aromatic, Chocolate
  • Other: Illinois-grown Bloody Butcher Corn.

Food Pairings:

  • Cuisine: Fish & Chips!

More Info

There will also be coffee samples available during the fest from local roasters including Heart2Heart, Verona Coffee and Mina’s. Vendors and live music are also on tap.

Tickets are $30 per person and includes coffee and beer tasting with a commemorative glass; $10 per person for coffee tastings only and admission is free for designated drivers. Tickets can be purchased here.

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