The Oldest Brewery In Illinois Has Been Doing Things The Old-Fashioned Way Since 1871
History and great beer come together for an amazing experience at Illinois’ oldest brewery. Located in Rockford, this riverside restaurant is a wonderful spot for casual dates and special events.
This award-winning brewery is iconic to this part of the state. Scroll on for more details.
The building that currently houses Prairie Street Brewing Co. is considered the oldest standing brewery in the state. It was built in 1857, and any that opened before it were destroyed in 1871 by the Great Chicago Fire.
This place is so old, it's had to survive prohibition. By 1909, the facility was putting out 75,000 barrels of beer each year. Though it tried to continue operations in 1919, the Feds found out and converted the space into the Rockford Storage Warehouse.
The original owner of the the state's oldest brewery was an Englishman who utilized old-fashioned, European methods of beer-making that the current owners still use today. In 1860, a lager called Nikolob took off. It was known as "The Beer That Made Milwaukee Jealous" and many believe it is where the idea for Michelob originated.
Jonathan Peacock immigrated from England in 1847 from the town of Markingham. He originally ended up in Chicago before making his own way in Rockford. His first method of beer-making was to hand-grind malt in a coffee grinder and brew the mash in a washtub.
Illinois' oldest brewery changed many hands over the years. The property was bought by its current owners in 1999 but it did not become a brewery again until 2013 when it opened as the Rockford Brewing Co. The name was changed to Prairie Street Brewing in 2016.
Inside or out, you'll find a plethora of lovely places to sit and enjoy your meal or drink at this excellent restaurant. In addition to a bar and dining room, there is also event space and docks for boats sailing the Fox River.
Delicious pub fare brings guests back time and again. Appetizers like cheese curds, chicken wings, and tacos will get your stomach prepared for main dishes like burgers, fish n' chips, mac and cheese, breaded tenderloin sandwiches, and much more. Salads, soups, and sides abound as well.
Cap off your meal with something sweet. A S'mores tart, cheesecake, beignets, and root beer floats will charm your sweet tooth. There are also several dessert cocktails to choose from, like a Chocolate Tini and coffee with Baileys.
Prairie Street Brewing is known for several types of beers, including seasonal varieties. Screw City Light is a must-try, and other favorites include the Peacock Pale Ale, Rocktown Brown, and Krystal River Roll. You can stop by any day to taste them all.
Generally, the restaurant is open at 11 a.m. for beer and food. The kitchen is open each night until 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. and the bar is typically open an hour later. Check the website (link below) for specific hours.
Prairie Street Brewing Co. is located at 200 Prairie St., Rockford, IL 61107, and you can learn more on its
website or Facebook page.
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