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Discover your Main Street USA beer experience in Southern Illinois

Jul 25, 2023 09:52AM ● By Jordan Palmer
The city of St. Louis may be in Missouri, but when it comes to beer, no river or state line can separate us. In St. Louis, beer flows east to west and back again because beer lovers know that breweries east of Mississippi are doing great things. Area breweries in Illinois also share a different feel and vibe.

There is something pretty special about drinking beer in a small town, surrounded by the aesthetics of a historic building, on a street that feels like Main Street USA. That is the experience you'll find at nearly every one of these Illinois breweries.


Situated in the town square that is downtown Waterloo is a story in of itself. Located in a pre-Civil War home, the brewery was severely damaged by fire, but re-opened a year later. Their beer menu is influenced by English styles as well as the Pacific Northwest. You'll find a full menu to accompany your beer of choice. Not-to- miss beers include their Bluegrass Breeze American Wheat (4.5%) and the Across the Pond IPA (7.2%).



When you pull into Red Bud, you’re reminded of the charm of Main Street America, as the brewery is located in the small four-way intersection of historic old buildings downtown. Lieferbräu has 12 full taps featuring a well-rounded beer menu that ranges from pilsners to IPAs to stouts. If you can, visit them in warmer months to enjoy their amazing back patio. Check out the 20th Century Hops and Red Bud Light (4.2%). 


When creating the Millpond Brewing & Incubator, owner Bryan L. Schubert wanted the brewery to be “a gathering place” for everyone. Many would agree that Schubert has succeeded. That, plus creating really tasty brews. The town of Millstadt has a historic link to water, and Schubert uses this as the muse for a special “body of water” series of New England-Style IPAs and pale ales. When in the brewery, ask what is available from the series. If you're a fan of that style, you'll be trying some of the area's best.


This brewery/distillery is located in a 100-plus year building that once housed a small town newspaper. The decor in its full-service restaurant pays homage to the past, but is all about the present. A robust beer and spirits menu is available daily with eight taps rotating often, and
a full line of their spirits is available for tasting and bottle purchases. Put the Brew Fest Brown (4.0%) and Late Edition IPA (6.3%) on your must-try list. 



This is a classic American experience. When you’re visiting Opera House Brewing Company, you’re enjoying a brew in a historic building that could be in any small American town. The fun of going to this brewery is trying new things. They make unique beers and flip their inventory quickly. The best way to keep up with this brewery is through social media. You can find them on Facebook and Instagram.



Schlafly Beer opened its first Illinois expansion in December 2021. The fourth Schlafly brewpub features an 80-seat restaurant and three-season patio that seats 100 guests. Schlafly’s signature beer styles and pub fare are on the menu, as well as specialty beer brewed just for the Illinois location. There also will be an on-site retail experience for Schlafly gear, growlers, brewpub-only special releases, and more. Don’t miss their famous Pale Ale (4.4%) and their renowned Coffee Stout (5.7%). 



This is perhaps one of the most unique brewing experiences in the nation, much less southern Illinois. Scratch Brewing Company is a farmhouse brewery and has been named one of the most beautiful places to drink beer in the world by All About Beer Magazine. Most everything they make is brewed with homegrown and locally farmed and foraged ingredients. The beers on tap are always a unique surprise, featuring ingredients not usually found in beer such as elderberry, ginger, dandelion, maple sap, and chanterelle mushrooms.



One of the newest breweries to open in southern Illinois is Shoehorn Brewing. Co-owners Mike Johnson and Jeremy Hall opened their brewery right on Main Street in Belleville, Illinois. The team came up with the moniker as they tried to add a nano-brewery inside Hall’s homebrew store, Down the Hall Homebrew. Look for “beers with a twist,” including sours, lagers, and New England–style IPAs. Consider their Gose the Goserian (5.8%) and Darmstadt Lager (4.2%).



Located in downtown Waterloo, Stubborn German has been an anchor for the beer scene in Illinois for years. Also known for its robust whiskey selection, Stubborn German specializes in true German and American beer styles. If you have the opportunity, plan to visit in October around the time of their annual Stubbornfest. Their Oktoberfest beer during Stubbornfest is so popular it's made all year long! 



The Old Bakery Beer Company was born in early 2015 in the old Colonial Bakery building in downtown Alton, Illinois. It's the only certified organic brewery in the St. Louis area. Aside from the beer, Old Bakery features a full restaurant menu and has become a top destination along the Great River Road. Among their popular beers is the flagship Citrus Wheat (4.7%), brewed with Illinois-grown wheat, lemon peel, and orange peel. Another popular beer to try is their Carrot Cake Brown Ale (6%). 

Hopskeller Brewing Company

Lieferbräu Brewery

Millpond Brewing and Incubator

Old Herald Brewery & Distillery

Opera House Brewing Company

Facebook @ Opera House Brewing Company

Schlafly Highland Square

Scratch Brewing Company

Shoehorn Brewing

Stubborn German Brewing Company

The Old Bakery Beer Company