Community Spotlight: Galena Brewing Co.

GALENA, Ill. - We continue our community spotlight on Galena with a trip to the only brewery in town.

The Galena Brewing Company was converted out of an old funeral home almost ten years ago.

Beer lovers Warren and Kathy Bell already own a local B&B, and jumped at the chance to bring a brewery back to Main Street, after an 80-year drought. 

Marija Maksimovic is bartender and manager.

"The idea is to first to start the small brewery and then grow to restaurant and brewery now," says Maksimovic. We are starting to grow more and more, and I think that was the basic idea for owners also, they are happy every summer we are busier and busier."

Dan Simon is a brewer at Galena Brewing Co.

He says a beer's success comes down to the yeast and the water.

"The water supply in Galena is relatively unique," says Simon. "We have alkaline water supply that lends itself very well to certain styles of beer just using the natural elements of the water."

Each batch takes about seven hours from start to finish. 

The brewery can make 300 gallons of beer per batch. 

In a month, they'll run about 20 batches - or about six thousand gallons.

Galena was one of the original mineral boom towns in the 1800's, the lead capital of the world, and home to nine different breweries - until the original Galena Brewing Co. closed in the 30's.

"A couple of English guys come thru town and bought one of the recipes from Galena Brewing Co., took it off to Jamaica and ended up making one of the most popular beers in the world today - Red Stripe Beer. It started here and has all the same labeling and everything else," says Simon.

Today, the brewery is winning top awards for its dozen beers - including the World Cup for its Irish Stout.

The key, says Simon, goes back to Galena's special water supply to brew the best beer for that style.

"Beer in general has been around for thousands of years. So it's a matter of finding the style and not changing too many things. If the style is established, then go with what's known on it."

50-percent of proceeds from the brewery's latest selection, the Major Daviess Summer Ale, goes to the Jo Daviess Conservation Fund.

Click here for more information and tour times.

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