Thursday, August 16, 2007

John S. Rhodell Brewery (Peoria, IL)


John S. Rhodell is a pub in a downtown, rejuvenated river front area next door to an Irish pub that seemed to be doing good business as well in the late afternoon. Rhodell is a clean, well kept bar that's full of locals. The clientele seemed a bit upscale for the honky tonk motiff after work drinkers in ties mostly. Friendly; I got lots of enthusiastic advice as to what to order. It is also a brew on premises and the small kettles are in the back, and the brew club was later that night as several people were trucking in bottles. Didn't see a separate brewery for the stock, so not sure where the pub beer is brewed and didn't have time to ask.

As for the beer, it was a good stop and worth getting off the freeway a mile or so. Parking across the street from the bar and free. The Honey Pilsner was clean and bright with a pleasant after taste, and the Belgian Farmhouse was peppery, strong bodied and interesting. The Oatmeal Porter was solid, smooth, and medium bodied with a slight coffee taste. Only the Angry Angus didn't strike my fancy; it was too bit astringent and seemed off balance to me. My final beer was a draft of Summit Hop Head IPA, which lived up to its name. A clean pale ale with lots and lots of nose, a dry finish and a little grassy in the taste.

Overall, a strong brewery in Peoria and a place, if I needed to spend a night in Illinois for some reason, I might set up shop here to explore a few more of their brews or the bottles behind the bar. Compared to the Quad Cities earlier in the day and the beer in Bloomington/Normal that evening, this was a very good stop and easily the best of the day except for maybe Bent River.

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