This past Sunday, I was back in the Champaign-Urbana area. This time, I spent a considerable amount of time at Riggs Beer Company. Riggs Beer Company is a family-owned brewery that opened its doors to the public in June 2016 and is located at 1901 S. High Cross Road in Urbana, Illinois.
For the past year, I have been following events held by the Brewery on Visit Champaign County, but in between everything else, I had not made it until Sunday’s tour and sampling.
Tours begin at 3PM. However, since, I arrived a bit earlier, I sat at the bar for a while, admired the ambiance, and enjoyed an American Lager. Yummm.
The American Lager is Riggs’ take on America’s most popular beer style. The brewery uses a large dose of non-GMO corn from their family’s farm to create this American classic. It is fermented, conditioned, and lagered in their brewery for a full six weeks for an unbeatable smoothness.
Brewery Tours, Cont’d.
Once each tour participant had checked in, we began the tour with Matt Riggs. Matt is very personable and in charge of beer production, sales, distribution, and general brewery management.
Related | The Taste of Champaign-Urbana
On our tour, we learned quite a bit about the beer industry, got our taste buds on some wheat, and learned what makes Riggs Beer Company unique from its competitors. A few things that really stood out to me (and, that I appreciated) was the family-friendly concept that was adopted from Germany. With the establishment being family-friendly, you can actually bring your children (and, your food) with you while you relax in the Tap Room or Beer Garden.
The Tap Room seats 95 people in a cozy environment with a great view of the production brewery. The outside Beer Garden seats 200 people. Its family-friendly atmosphere is enhanced by a playground and outdoor games surrounded by test plots of barley and hops!
Another thing that stood out to me was the positive community engagement and collaboration. While I was seated at the bar, there was a social gathering being held on the porch area, as well as a University of Illinois presentation going on as we began our tour.
In addition to learning about the uniqueness of Riggs, we learned how corn is used in beer and learned more about the processes behind beer production as a whole.
While Matt did a majority of the talking, we were free to chime in and ask questions whenever we wished, as well as step inside and see their fancy corn mill, and climb up to have a look inside their unique four-vessel brewhouse.
Having a look inside the barrels, as well as the rest of the tour takes approximately an hour and requires wearing closed-toe shoes. Please, keep this in mind as you schedule your tour.
The cost for the tour is $10 per person and includes a generous sampling of Riggs beers. However, you can get an amazing discount by using Groupon to secure your tour! Simply, create an account on Groupon (using my referral link) and purchase a two-person tour and sampling for $13!
While learning about the chemistry of beer brewery is interesting and fascinating; the fun comes in when the samples come in! Wouldn’t you agree?
Our Tour Samples Included:
The American Lager (See Description Above)
Psst. This was my favorite!
According to Riggs, Hefeweizen is the most popular style of the southern German state of Bavaria for good reason. It has a rich banana aroma but finishes clean, slightly tart, and refreshing. Matt’s favorite beer style is Hefeweizen, which is probably why he took especially good notes on how to make it during his studies.
Riggs describes this beer as a “dual citizen” of the US and Germany. Dark German malts are used to create a red color and subtle fruitiness that is unlike any other beer on the market. A healthy dose of American aroma hops accentuate the fruitiness and provide a refined bitterness that will leave you ready for another drink.
India Pale Lager
Riggs decided to see what would happen if they used a German Lager yeast in an American IPA to create a truly blank canvas for the finest aroma hop varieties to shine through, and it happened with the India Pale Lager.
Upcoming Events at Riggs Beer Company:
We sure had an amazing time! So, if you are interested in their next seasonal beer release, why not stop in on Thursday, January, 25th from 5-8PM for the Seasonal Beer Release of Weizenbock! Or, schedule a tour today.
P.S. Don’t forget your growler to take home of your favorite beer!
Tour ℅ Riggs Beer Company.
This post contains Groupon referral links.