Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Brewery Visit: Penrose Brewing, Geneva, IL

Art, Science, and Belgian-Inspired Brewing

Penrose Brewing Taproom

Saturday, I suddenly realized I had a morning to myself - the rest of the fam was heading out to do their thing and that meant....an outing just for me. I emailed Penrose Brewing, to see if they had availability for their early bird tour at 11:00 and they did, oh yes. After getting some chores done, I headed out to Geneva, ready to taste and learn - I had heard nothing but good things about Penrose's beer and a brewery tour always is interesting, since no two are alike.

Turned out that, while some other folks had signed up, I was the only one who showed up, so Rob, one of the Taproom Bartenders pulled a tasting glass of Peppercorn Saison for me as we awaited the no-shows, then led me to the back of the building for the start of the tour. Since one of the founders, Eric, is an engineer originally, Penrose is set up in a linear fashion, following the steps of the brewing process, which was a nice scaffold for the tour as well. Penrose uses some local products, which is great, though I'm waiting to find a brewery that uses nothing but local. Ah dreams. The brewery does not feel empty, but there is room to expand, so Penrose has the opportunity to build some history in this location.  Rob was a gracious host, taking time to answer questions and obviously tailoring the tour to my level - easy to do when there's only one person, but I'm guessing he does it for all groups.

Penrose Brewing Brewery

After the tour, it was time to drink. It doesn't get any better than following the literal path of the beer as it is transformed from raw products to Belgian-inspired goodness, then tasting the result.  The day I visited, 8 beers were available on tap, and flights range from $2-3 per tasting portion, depending on beer. No food is served, unfortunately, but you can bring your own. The taproom is exploring the possibility of having prepared food available, but until then, bring your favorite and taste away. The beers were all high quality, with a wide range of tastes and textures. There are occasional taps that are taproom only, but the rest of the beers will become available shortly, as Penrose has started bottling its beer recently. Be on the lookout and enjoy.

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