Tag - alton

3rd Annual Rock the Hops in Alton – Tickets Selling Fast

Rock the Hops in Alton Celebrates Music, Beer & Art

Alton, IL/August 18, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – Alton will be sipping beer and rocking on Saturday, August 19th at the third annual Rock the Hops Festival.  The event celebrates music, beer, and art across multiple venues in the historic downtown Alton entertainment district.  Now in its third year, the event was dreamed up by Alton-natives and alternative-rockers Drew and Hope Mader.  The event doubled in size last year.  It’s added even more venues, acts, and craft brewers this year.

The Rock the Hops festival runs from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Saturday, and includes dozens of musical performances, scores of craft beers to sample, plus lots of vendor booths showcasing the work of local artists and artisans.  Venues participating in this year’s event include Bottle and Barrel, Chez Marilyn, Elijah P’s, Germania Brew House, Hops House at Argosy Casino, The Old Bakery Beer Company, and Tony’s.

There will be more than 40 styles of craft beer to sample.  The list of brewers participating in this year’s event includes several St. Louis area favorites like 4 Hands Brewing Company (St. Louis), 4204 Main Street Brewing Company (Belleville), Excel Bottling & Brewing Company (Breese), Big Muddy Brewing (Murphysboro), Grafton Winery & Brewhaus (Grafton), Gumbo Flats Brewery (Chesterfield), Peel Brewing Company (O’Fallon, IL), Recess Brewing (Edwardsville), The Old Bakery Beer Company (Alton), O’Fallon Brewery (Maryland Heights), Schlafly Beer (St. Louis), Urban Chestnut Brewing Co (St. Louis), and more.  Some Illinois craft brewers who might not be as well known in the Gateway City will also be there.  Look for Destihl Brewery of Normal and Champaign as well as St. Nicholas Brewing Co. of Du Quoin.  The list of out-of-town craft brewers includes Elysian Brewing (Seattle) and Golden Road Brewing (Los Angeles), with more labels signing on.

More than 29 local bands will perform throughout the festival, including the Mader’s Hope & Therapy, which is actually playing at Tony’s at 8:15, as the event winds down.  Some of the other local favorites at Rock and Hops include Seashine, The Trophy Mules, Prairie Rehab, The Fade, Pono AM, Hideous gentlemen, Catching the Westbound, MFG, Polyshades, Mayor Maynot, Orphan Welles, Bastard and the Crows, Floor Nine, Scribble, and The Bonbon Plot.

The Bonbon Plot performing earlier this year at Lighthouse Sounds (115 Market St, Alton) is among the bands lined up for Alton’s 2017 Rock the Hops festival Saturday, August 19.

In its first two years, the event sold out completely.  As of this writing, there are still General Admission tickets ($30) available through Brown Paper Tickets (http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2989197).  But festival organizers say the event is likely to sell out again this year, and may do so well ahead of the 2:00 p.m. start time Saturday.

Grand Opening of Germania Brew Haus in Alton

Grand Opening of Germania Brew Haus in Alton

Alton’s New Coffee House & Tap Room Opens – Bermania Brew Haus, Alton

Alton, IL/July 9, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – St. Louis diners and beer lovers are already well aware of the renaissance in artisan brewing that has taken hold in the metro area.  There are dozens of craft brewers in the region, with new brewpubs and taprooms opening all the time.  One of the newest to join this rebirth, is breathing new life into an old community with fresh beer and gourmet coffee on tap daily.  Germania Brew Haus in the old Germania Bank building at 617 East Broadway is part of the rejuvenation of Alton’s Historic downtown.  Although GBH has been serving coffee and beer since June, the official grand opening was Friday, July 7th.  They offered $1 espresso drinks that day to celebrate.

This combination taproom and gourmet coffee house is the brainchild of Southern Illinois natives Jared and Carolyn Brynildsen.  The husband-wife team are active-duty military officers.  Jared is a medivac helicopter pilot for the Army, and Carolyn is an Air Force Intelligence officer.  Jared grew up in Alton and Carolyn in Troy, Illinois.  Both are currently stationed in Hawaii.  Their families are handling day-to-day operations at GBH.  Jared has said the couple wanted to be part of Alton’s commercial revitalization.  “Alton is on the brink of a renaissance, and we believe that Germania Brew Haus will be a great addition to the city and its commercial growth,” he said.  “We hope other new businesses will follow suit and take advantage of the potential East Broadway has.”

The Brynildsens originally set out to open a taproom that would showcase local and regional craft beers, but after seeing the space, Carolyn says it just beckoned to be a coffee house.  She told the Alton Telegraph the place came with a coffee house vibe built in.  “It was decorated and built like this, and with just a few paint touch ups, we didn’t have to do much,” she said.  “The fact that it looked like this, really, we had to do a coffee shop too.”  So the pair set out to create a setting in which patrons could learn more about their personal taste in both gourmet coffee and artisan beer.  They also wanted to grow appreciation for local craft breweries, the local community, and the local makers surrounding their unique establishment.  Besides showcasing local beer, they also source the coffee shop’s bakery items locally.

The coffee shop at Germania Brew Haus opened June 9th, offering hot, frozen, and iced espresso-based drinks as well as several non-coffee selections.  Customers can customize their espresso drinks by substituting soy milk, coconut milk, almond milk, or half & half.  Additional flavor shots and extra espresso shots are also available.  Drinks can also be made with decaf and skim milk by request.  GBH offers the classic coffee house selections one would expect, including three excellent versions of a mocha.  There’s the classic Cafe Mocha made with gourmet chocolate syrup, steamed milk, and espresso; the White Chocolate Mocha made with white chocolate syrup, steamed milk, and espresso; and the GBH Mocha with white chocolate, swirls of caramel, steamed milk, and espresso.  Customers will also find two kinds of cappuccino on the menu—American and the less milky Italian. On the frozen (blended) side of the menu, there are the classic mochas and lattes along with some non-coffee choices like the Vanilla Creme, the Green Teazy Freezy, and the Hot Chocolate Freeze.  They also make a terrific fruit smoothie, and kids sizes are available.  GBH also offers iced lattes, including and iced chai tea latte that is a terrific summertime treat, and refreshing Italian sodas.

But Germania Brew Haus is also a self-service tap room offering locally produced craft and artisan beers.  This is the second self-serve tap room to open in the St. Louis area this year (Tapped at 7278 Manchester Road in Maplewood was the first).  At GBH, patrons receive an electronic device tied to their tab.  They swipe it at the tap before a beer is poured and the computerized tap system keeps track of how much the customer owes.  The Brynildsens chose the self-serve tap system so that patrons could explore as many of their craft beer offerings as they want to, since the system allows patrons to pour a small amount of as many beers as they’d like to try.  The soft opening of GBH’s craft beer tap wall was June 29th.

The 16 taps feature a regularly rotating beer selection showcasing primarily local breweries, with the occasional regional or visiting label to keep things fresh.  As of this writing, the taps offer a veritable tour of St. Louis’ craft breweries on both sides of the river.  There are currently three pale ales: Farmhouse IPA (Schlafly, St. Louis), Gentle Giant IPA (The Old Bakery Beer Company, Alton), and Peloton Pale Ale (St. Nicholas Brewing Company, Du Quoin, IL).  There are three “light” beers: Hopfentea Sour – Berliner Weisse (Perennial Artisan Ales, St. Louis), Wheach Fruit Beer (O’Fallon Brewery, Maryland Heights), and Schnickelfritz Hefeweizen (Urban Chestnut Brewing Co., St. Louis).  There are five dark beers on tap: Pecan Brown Ale (4204 Main Street Brewing Co., Belleville), Dorfbier Lager (Urban Chestnut), Pedagogical Session Porter (Recess Brewing, Edwardsville), Vanilla Stout (Big Muddy Brewing, Murphysboro, IL), and Bona Fide Imperial Coffee Stout (4 Hands Brewing Co., St. Louis).  The final tap is offering Pink Lemonade Cider Beer (Crown Valley Brewing, Ste. Genevieve), which may be one of the best summer beers made in the region.

The coffee shop at Germania Brew Haus is open every day (Monday – Friday and weekends) from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  The tap room is open Thursday – Sunday until 11:00 p.m.  The Brynildsens have said they want Germania Brew Haus to be a welcoming space where customers of all ages can gather and share in espresso-based drinks, craft beers on tap, and community events.  They’re also hoping GBH is part of a renaissance in the old Alton business district, and more businesses will open up to fill the empty spaces around Jacoby Arts Center.

Contact Information:

Germania Brew Haus
Owners: Jared and Carolyn Brynildsen
General Manager: Ben Brynildsen (Jared’s brother)
617 East Broadway
Alton, IL 62002
Phone: (314)-667-4751


35 Years of Cheap Eats and “the Coldest Beer in Town” Fast Eddie’s Bon Air

ALTON, IL: (STLRestaurant.News) – Fast Eddie’s Bon Air – According to the “Beer With Your Buds” survey, when Americans go out for a drink, the majority order beer.  The national survey was commissioned by the makers of Budweiser in honor of National Drink Beer Day (Sept. 28, 2016).  Beer’s popularity isn’t news to patrons or proprietors of Fast Eddie’s Bon Air at 1530 East 4th Street in Alton.  They’ve been serving “the coldest beer in town” since 1981, although the bar’s history goes back even further.

The Bon Air was opened by Anheuser Busch in 1921.  They operated it as a bar selling their beer products, including Budweiser, for about 10-years.  Then new laws took effect that prohibited breweries from owning taverns.  So they sold it to Sam Balco.  He, and later his son, operated the Bon Air until 1981.  That’s when “Fast” Eddie Scholar bought it, and things began to change.

Scholar quadrupled the size of the bar, taking it from 80 to more than 400 seats.  A major expansion in 2008 added a heated, outdoor patio and doubled the seating.  With 800 seats, huge lunch crowds, and standing-room only evenings, it’s not hard to believe they may sell more Anheuser Busch products than any other bar in the Midwest.

Fast Eddie’s Bon Air is known for more than just cold beer.  After customer requests, Scholar added food.  The simple, seven-item menu of tasty, affordable eats is one of Fast Eddie’s biggest claims to fame.  At just $1.99, the half-pound “Fat Eddie” burger may be the best bar food bargain anywhere.  And their basket of fries is legendary.  But it doesn’t stop there.  For just $3.99, you can get the “Big Elwood on a Stick.” It’s a generous kebab of succulent, marinated beef tenderloin and green pepper.  Also $3.99 is the “Hot Chick on a Stick,” Cajun-style chicken wings skewered kebab-style.  The famous, Peel N’ Eat Shrimp is still a deal at 39-cents each! Don’t forget the Pork Kebabs and homemade Brats.

As Food Network’s Alton Brown said when he featured Fast Eddie’s on Feasting on Asphalt, every dish is “a perfectly seasoned standout.”  Brown called it a classic roadhouse, but with better food.

The bar has grown and changed over the years.  Eddie Scholar was fond of saying there’s always a party at the bar, and with a huge variety of top-named bands playing on the Fast Eddie’s stage every night, he may have been right. Eddie Scholar himself died in 2015, but his family still runs Fast Eddie’s Bon Air the way he did.

Some things never change. You still have to be 21 or older to enter Fast Eddie’s.  There’s still a one-drink minimum.  They only take cash!  And there’s no takeout!  But if you go, you can still see some of the bar’s original Anheuser Busch signage and the beer will definitely be cold.

Fast Eddie’s Bon Air is open Monday – Thursday: 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. and Friday-Sunday: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Contact Information:

Fast Eddie’s Bon Air

1530 E. 4th Street

Alton IL 62002

Phone: (618) 462-5532

Video courtesy of Food Network