If you’re a craft beer drinker and fan of local breweries, chances are you’ve heard of,
and tried Rolling Meadows Brewery. Eighteen21.com spoke with Craig Trudeau and the Rolling Meadows team to find out about the brewery’s award winning beer.
The story of Rolling Meadows Brewery is an interesting one. Rolling Meadows Brewery
didn’t start out as a brewery, but rather as a part of a multi-generational agricultural
project in rural Illinois. Founded by Chris Trudeau, his mother Caren Trudeau, Connie
Regan and her son Dustin, the brewery is located in Cantrall, Illinois, and became a
natural extension of the working family farm 15 years ago when Caren discovered wild
hops growing on the land and started stove top beer brewing with Connie. Connie and
Caren both quickly discovered their knack for brewing wheat and farmhouse-style beers
and began serving them at the farm during annual harvest parties. The beer was met with rave reviews and requested by several chefs in the area to serve in their restaurants. Thus, Rolling Meadows Brewery was born and officially opened for business in 2011.
“Rolling Meadows Brewery would not exist without Connie Regan, who passed away
suddenly this past May,’ said Craig. “She was the heart and soul of the brewery, and we are devastated by her loss. But we’ve been so unbelievably grateful to have the love and tremendous support of the local community, who want to see Rolling Meadows Brewery move forward and succeed. In this spirit, we are inspired to keep working hard, engaging with and giving back to the community, and continuing Connie’s legacy.”
Dustin, the current brew master, and co-founder Chris expanded and experimented with beer recipes from their mothers, Caren and Connie, on a professional grade brewing
system called the Sabco BrewMagic. The equipment helped them create more
consistent and scalable beers and resulted in the growth of the brewery.
“Dustin became brew master on our seven-barrel system, which was installed on his
21st birthday. In just six years, Dustin has proved to be a strong, knowledgeable brewer
whose creativity and talent astounds us. His creations have won several national awards, and we can’t wait to see what he comes up with next,” said Craig.
The beers are brewed on-site along the historic Sangamon River and use artesian
aquifer water, fruit, herbs, and wild hops to produce estate beers with unique flavors and aromas. Utilizing the natural resources around them at Rolling Meadows Farm, Rolling Meadows Brewery also collaborates with the Jefferies family and uses berries from Jefferies’ Orchard in many of its seasonal brews – creating beers and flavors that cannot be found elsewhere.
“We’re probably best known for our Abe’s Ale, which is our maple syrup brown ale. This
beer won the prestigious Good Food Award in 2013 and our Barrel-aged Abe’s Ale won
the same award in 2015.” Abe’s Ale is currently available on tap at the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel in downtown Springfield and will soon be released in 16 oz. cans in stores.
Rolling Meadows Brewery is currently streamlining its portfolio to include core beers of
its Session Lager, Abe’s Ale, and a Session IPA. Rolling Meadows Brewery also offers
seasonal brews, such as Strawberry Basil Ale, Blueberry Thyme Lager, and Cherry Wit.
Other popular beers include the Blood Orange Hefeweizen, Black Market Bock, and
Coffee Break – which resulted from a successful collaboration with Custom Cup Coffee
and sold out in 48 hours. This year, Rolling Meadows Brewery also teamed up with
Josh and Jay during the Downhome Music and Beer Festival and created a special
collaboration beer exclusively for the festival. The Farmhouse Saison can be found at
downtown Springfield’s Celtic Mist Pub.
“In addition to changes in our portfolio, our team’s been working hard on a new and
revamped look for our brand,” said Craig. “Throughout the next few months, people will
soon be seeing newly designed labels and packaging. The recent release of our Session Lager in our new 16 oz. cans was extremely well received, so we’re thrilled to
be sharing this with the Springfield community and looking forward to the next part of
our company’s journey.”
A variety of Rolling Meadows Brewery beers are currently available for purchase at HyVee, Schnucks, Friar Tuck’s, Famous, Party House, and in restaurants and bars
including Maldaner’s, American Harvest, Augie’s Front Burner, Bob’s Butternut Hut, The Gin Mill, and Celtic Mist Pub.