Pulling into the parking lot of Destihl’s Brewery, housed in a warehouse area of Bloomington, one would not expect to find a brewery capable of producing dozens of beers. Alas, there they are with only the logoed mash tank outside alerting the public to their whereabouts.
Upon entering, there is an industrial themed reception area, complete with t-shirts for sale advertising Destihl Beers. Past reception, you walk into a 20,000 square foot facility that is spacious and pristine. The stainless tanks shine in such a way that you feel as though they are polished daily. I visited Destihl Brewery during an open house event aimed to introduce the public to the brewery.
Destihl is popular for reintroducing growlers to the area; the half-gallon, glass bottles designed to look like moonshine jugs, but were named after the noise beer would make in the 1900s when beer was brought home from bars in pails and the carbon dioxide would escape as people walked with them. The growlers allow this gastrobrewpub to sell their beer in package, with the added incentive that it can be brought back and refilled again (for a fee).
Now Destihl is looking to expand their product farther by increasing brewing capacity and a canning line. Matt Potts, Destihl’s Brewmaster, explained:
Within our first year, we plan to complete phase 3 of our production brewery project, which includes adding a canning line and additional, larger fermenters to increase our fermentation capacity to over 10,000 barrels annually (compared to our current capacity of about 3500 barrels/year). By the end of our first year, we hope to be canning at least 4 of our different beer brands, and we will begin releasing the first of our barrel-aged Saint Dekkera® Reserve Sour Ales in corked & caged bottles. By the end of our second year, I am planning to increase production capacity (more fermentation tanks) to achieve about 15,000 barrels per year and adding additional canned beer to our lineup. During our first 2 years, we will also at least double the amount of oak barrels we have from over 300 now to over 600 barrels, and I would like to add a couple more foudres (large oak tanks) during this time as well.
The first beers to be canned and distributed are [tentatively]: Vertex IPA, Hoperation Overload Double IPA, DeadHead Double Red Ale and Abbey’s Single. All cans will be available to purchase at the gastrobrewpubs, approximately 22 locations in Wisconsin where Destihl is currently being distributed, and soon a Chicago-land area-distributor to be announced this week. Destihl currently self-distributes and will until they exceed the state’s 7500 barrel production rule.
In addition to the brewery’s news and developments, the Champaign Destihl has also had some exciting changes as they recently brought on new Executive Chef, Jacob Sartin. Destihl’s COO, Jason Bratcher says,
Chef Jacob is a well-rounded chef, he has a vast knowledge of food and flavors. Simple food with complex flavors being his forte. He prefers to make food from scratch, using local ingredients whenever possible, the theme with which DESTIHL operates.
In addition, Destihl changes their menu to reflect the season, at this time Chef Jacob is currently in the process of creating some fall menu items that will complement their craft beers.
Heres a look at what Destihl is currently featuring on draught (handles are regularly rotated):
- Ambassador Am-Belgo Double Pale Ale
- Deadhead Double Red Ale *
- Downstate Pale Ale*
- Vertex IPA
- Road Block Red Ale
- Champaign Blonde Ale
- Weissenheimer Hefeweizen
- Apricot Wheat Ale
- 120 Shilling Scotch Ale
- Altercation German-Style Sticke Alt
- Black Angel Stout (American Style)
- Miner’s Ruin ‘California Common’ Warm Fermented Amber Lager
- Pappy’s London Style Robust Porter
- Strawberry Blonde Ale* – Seasonal
- Cerise Stout Imperiale (wood aged)
- 120 Shilling-Scotch conditioned with honey & oak chips (special blend)
- Clarice Belgian-Style Strong Dark Ale
- Lawnmower Ale
*Tried and Recommended by writer
DESTIHL® is located at 301 N. Neil Street, Champaign. You can contact them at (217)356-0301.