Thursday 7th of July 2011 04:28:49 PM link
Finally had the chance to drop by and check out the new brewery operation of the Blind Pig. We lucked out and were able to chat with Bill the brewer, who was great to talk to. One important note, their capacity is currently too small to meet demand, so no growler fills yet.
From outside, it almost looks like a quaint cafe with a pair of patio tables, a sidewalk sandwich board, with a black wood facade and gold trim. The brew kettles in the windows tip you off that this is no cafe, in fact it's a tiny brewery inside a cozy bar. Atmosphere is similar to the main Blind Pig bar, dimly lit, old barn wood, heavy beams overhead lined with old obscure bottles. Past the bar is a row of weathered nooks, appointed with equally time-worn tables and mismatched windowpanes set into the walls. Further back is a row of fermenters in a side room, and an open door leading out to a sizable back patio.
Tap selection was good, including Curmudgeon, Lakefront IBA, Bells Java, Avery DuganA, and a few others. Bottle list was similar to the other location. They were in between house batches, serving only their west coast IPA, which was excellent. Sadly they currently only have capacity to meet the demand of on-site consumption and don't offer growlers to go yet.
Champaign is lucky to have a high-quality microbrewery like this in town. If passing through, Blind Pig Brewery is a mandatory stop...
Selection: 4 |
Atmosphere: 4.5 |
Service: 4.5 |
Thursday 7th of July 2011 12:55:24 PM link
There are actually two places in Champaign called the Blind Pig, both owned by the same people. The brewery is on Neil, and it features a handful of excellent guest taps, 3-4 house brews, and a very impressive bottle selection (including some 22's). The "pub" around the corner does not have the house brews because of licensing restrictions, but has a better quantity (but maybe not quality) of drafts.
Limited selection but what is there is good. The standards that everyone was going for - the ESB and pale - were average to good, but I loved the "uber weizen" they had then, which was a wheat wine. Really well done. They had an imperial stout on the horizon and the brewer, who arrived early in the evening, was nice enough to give me a taste.
Their other guest drafts are excellent. I didn't even know you could get Green Flash in Illinois, but they had both their trippel on draft and the Hop Head Red on bottle. Avery 18th Anniversary, a Southern Tier imperial stout, and a Three Brothers lager were other highlights. Don't expect to get what's on the drafts menu on their web site, because it wasn't correct when I came in.
Great bartender that knew her beers and was up on what they had on tap and bottles. Atmosphere was that of a British pub with lots of wood and very low lighting. They have a popular back patio and you can drink on the sidewalk patio just out front (I found this really odd, but it's the standard in Champaign it seems).
No food, and be aware that they open at 3pm every day, which they seem to refuse to divulge on their site. Meters out front run until 9pm but there are ones around the corner that run until 5pm.
Tuesday and Wednesday is the "mug club" night. $5 gets you a 15oz mug with their logo printed on it and $2 off most drafts ($1 off the higher gravity ones), and you can take the mug with you. So I got my wheat wine pint for $2 and my Avery 18th for $2.50, and now have a mug. How are you going to beat that?
Selection: 4.25 |
Atmosphere: 4.5 |
Service: 5 |
Friday 13th of May 2011 03:05:32 PM link
This person needs 3 or more reviews on the site for their scores to start counting.
Great Beer. Unfortunately right now the equipment is so small that they often struggle to keep 3 or 4 of their beers on tap, but that just means there is always something fresh and new to try. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable. And best of all if you come in while the brewmaster is working (Bill) he'll be more than happy to tell you everything you wanted to know about beer and brewing.
Selection: 5 |
Atmosphere: 5 |
Service: 5 |
Wednesday 2nd of June 2010 02:15:11 PM link
Having been away from Champaign for several years, I was shocked and pleased to see one of the better beer bars in the city split into a regular bar, and a brewery. 2 locations, so make sure you have the right place if you want to see the brewery!
The brewing equipment and fermentors are so small, just jammed in wherever they will fit. Very cute. They have anywhere from 1-4 beers on tap (only the Hefe last time I was through...) All the beers have been very tasty, especially for such a small place. The belgian ales have been amazing. They do have samplers, and will even sample commercial tap beers. Try this place out!
Addendum 5/2012: Visited again this spring and was very impressed with the three beers and cider they had on tap. Improved quality from previous visit. Our bartender was fantastic and very knowledgable about beer--he even shared a beer from his own personal stash with me!
Selection: 4 |
Atmosphere: 4.25 |
Service: 4.75 |